Marketo + Adobe… now what?

Well, the day has finally come where Marketo has been acquired by one of the giants. I think most of us knew this day was inevitable – but there were some surprises along the way.

Why did this happen? What does this mean for Marketo? And what does the future hold?

From the time Marketo started really finding its stride and then ultimately going public, it seemed inevitable that they would get acquired. Eloqua was acquired by Oracle, Pardot by Salesforce and SilverPop by IBM. The minnows were getting eaten by the whales one by one.

But, HubSpot and Marketo remained independent, for the time being. When Vista acquired Marketo back in August of 2016 it seemed like the countdown was on for them to whip the company into good financial shape and then sell them to one of the remaining giants – Adobe and SAP came to mind.

Why did this happen?

Personally (and this is all speculative) I thought SAP would be the one that would acquire them. Steve Lucas and Mika Yamamoto, their CEO and President, respectively, both came from prominent positions at SAP and their current Marketing solution Hybris is not necessarily in the same conversations as the Eloqua, Marketo, and Pardots of the world.

The Adobe acquisition makes a lot of sense. Like all the big players they are building out their marketing cloud and have very strong footholds in the CMS and web analytics space with their Adobe Experience Manager product line. Many of our customers are already using Adobe AEM and we have even built custom web analytics integrations connecting the data from Marketo and Adobe AEM together using APIs. Web teams love Adobe’s products, and Marketing Operations teams love Marketo. So, Adobe manages to get more fully engrained with the customer by owning both products.

Also, let’s address the elephant in the room, which is Adobe’s current marketing automation solution, formerly Neolane. Adobe acquired Neolane back in 2013, and at the time cited they were “offering a best-in-class platform for sophisticated automation and execution of campaigns across the Web, email, social, mobile, call center, direct mail and point of sale (POS).” Having worked a little bit with Neolane it was a far cry from Marketo, and my guess is that they had a hard time competing against Marketo in this space. Now, bundling Adobe AEM and Marketo and making them integrated out of the box would be an amazing end-to-end solution and would provide marketers and web people alike with reporting that they are dreaming of.

What does this mean for Marketo?

It’s definitely still fresh and new and hasn’t fully sunk in, but I think at the end of the day this is a really good thing for Marketo. Time will tell but under Adobe I think we will see more product innovation, more integrations with other Adobe platforms and hopefully an expansion of the LaunchPoint program to help compete with Salesforce’s Appexchange.

What does this mean for our clients?

Business will remain as usual for both us and our clients. Our prediction is that the shift from being owned by Private Equity to a large corporation like Adobe will lead to more innovation and improvement of Marketo. We are excited to see the possibilities that open up once the change comes into effect. This could be as early as November based on Adobe’s fiscal year.

The team will keep a close eye on announcements of any changes and will be sure to update our clients as they come. We look forward to seeing the impact that Adobe will have on Marketo, and are optimistic about how the acquisition will elevate the platform.