Unica Turns Blue: IBM’s Acquisition Further Proof of Marketing Automation & Analytics Growth

Upon seeing the online media frenzy about the announcement of IBM’s intention to buy Unica, it was hard for me not to create a blog post of my own about the pending acquisition. If you have not yet heard, IBM has announced that they plan to purchase Unica, for $21 per share, or approximately $480 million, in Q410. Of particular note, this purchase price is a 120% premium to Unica’s recent market cap, which is a very high number and indicative of the value that marketing automation companies are able to create.

This announcement is exciting although not surprising to me.  Marketing automation and enterprise marketing software have long been undervalued in the marketplace.  Four years ago, when we were first raising money to found Marketo, many prospective investors expressed the opinion that marketing automation was a “failed category”, or was unnecessary, or was just something that the big CRM vendors would get around to some day.  We persevered, and found believers in our idea.  Now, 600 customers later, Marketo is a proof point that marketing automation is most definitely alive and well as a category. Although Unica is not a direct competitor to us at Marketo, we think this acquisition move by IBM is another key vote of confidence that this category is on the rise.

While Unica is often considered a B2C marketing automation company, it is important to note its recent focus on marketing analytics to augment their historical strengths in campaign execution.  This is surely one of the reasons IBM is interested in this acquisition.  Outside of web analytics, marketing analytics is a huge untapped area of the software market.  Marketo knows that marketing automation is just a piece of the puzzle. It takes powerful analytics and exceptional methodology to create a sustainably successful business. This is why Marketo has released its new Revenue Cycle Analytics family of products – a way to keep marketers leading their companies’ revenue growth through meaningful measurement, forecasting and accountability.

I am excited for Unica and wish them the best through this next stage of their journey.