Adobe buys Marketo for $4.75bn

Adobe Buys Marketo
James T FletcherJames T Fletcher
CEO, Principal Consultant

22/9/2018

Adobe’s $4.75bn purchase of Marketo is not only great for the future of the product but are they lining up a fight with Salesforce.com?

I’ve said for some time the sale of Marketo would be to a “biggy”. With the recent infrastructure selection being Google, the rumour mill kicked off. But let’s be honest, Google hasn’t ever looked too much into email tech or marketing automation technology. Plus we’d seen SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle threw into the mix – so I’m thankful it’s Adobe.

B2B and B2C Coverage

We all know if you want Adobe Marketing Cloud, you need deep pockets! Historically Adobe has always been looking for scalability. This is something Marketo can help them achieve. Marketo will also add an incredibly stable B2B marketing platform to their Marketing Cloud which already has CMS, personalisation, segmentation and hugely powerful analytics and insights.

Those of us who are close to Marketo have always known its weaknesses when it comes to transactional B2C marketing. NeoLane, Adobe’s marketing automation technology acquired a few years ago, is fantastic for just that.

Adobe cares about experience

If you look at Adobe’s track record they’re well respected and loved by most of their clients, importantly in Marketing. They’re also very good at rebranding and integrating to acquisitions. What’s this mean for existing customers?  That this purchase shouldn’t be daunting for them.

That being said, 90% of our conversations with frustrated Marketo customers are still just doing email marketing. We’re always talking about marketing automation maturity – helping companies drive the maturity of digital marketing. This typically comes in the form of automated business processes, or more sophisticated approaches to marketing, resulting in improved ROI from their Marketo investment.

Queue the fist fight with Salesforce.com?

Some of us know the early (rumoured) stories of Phil Fernandez telling Marc Benniof to “shove it” (in the nicest possible words) when he made a ridiculously low ball offer to buy Marketo. This was back in the early days when the organisations were in bed together. So has Adobe just rocked the SFDC boat? Hmmm quite likely.

But let’s be honest, if you’re in the marketing automation industry, and you’re championing SFDC Marketing Cloud, you’re probably not aware of the cool features that Marketo and Adobe, have on offer. Or you’ve just been under a rock for some time.

On the business front

As an entrepreneur, I have to say well done to Vista Equity Partners for an absolute steal at $1.8bn and a HUGE profit on a few years work. That being said – it does suck when a VC buys a company and forces them to focus too much on selling and not on quality sales. But then again, the gripe of not seeing value from Marketo is one we help with on a daily basis.