Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why Microsoft bought MarketingPilot for Dynamics CRM

According to Gartner analyst Laura McLellan, by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs. Gartner’s annual marketing budget research (for 2013) with high-tech providers also found increased budgets in every type of provider, in every geography, and every size of provider.

A few days ago (February 28th 2013), Salesforce announced results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full fiscal year ended January 31, 2013. While I won't regurgitate the details of the earnings and their revenues here, I do want to talk a little bit about some comments that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff made during the conference call with financial analysts, which drives home Gartner's research I mentioned earlier.

"We're trying to build a muscle at Salesforce that will enable us to talk comfortably with chief marketing officers and have a holistic conversation about how they're connecting with their customers," Benioff said. "We need to buy more marketing companies, honestly, because there's more for us to do."

There is a growing chasm between what the typical CRM systems (like Microsoft and Salesforce) provide and what the customer wants, when it comes to marketing capabilities. Add to that the earlier statement from Gartner that soon the marketing budgets being more than IT budgets , and we can see why CRM companies are rushing to cover this field.

Coming back to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, an announcement was made in October of 2012 about acquisition of Marketing Pilot by Microsoft. So for the first time Dynamics CRM would potentially provide a complete end-to-end campaign management utility for its users that is a native solution. Marketing Pilot is more than just campaign management though-
Marketing Pilot helps plan and manage marketing resources across different marketing teams
It provides accurate insight into campaign expenditure and marketing budgets, helping better forecasts for future campaigns.
It allows for integrating media buying planning, traffic, creative production, and accounting.

It is an exciting time to be part of the Dynamics CRM community. The investment by the Dynamics CRM team in marketing space is excellent news for the customers. While there are lot of products that provide marketing addons to crm, I think it makes it much easier for the customer/ partner to work with a Microsoft license rather than worry about complex alliances and external partnerships.Now that we see the same intent from other CRM companies like Salesforce, it makes the Marketing Pilot acquisition look smarter every day!

Note: More details of the product vision and Marketing Pilot plans will be unveiled during Convergence 2013. I for one am looking forward to it!

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