HootSuite CEO questions proprietary software push in marketing automation boom

Burgeoning demand for marketing automation software tools from the likes of Oracle, Adobe and Salesforce is being driven by rapidly changing consumer habits powered by social media and a shift in corporate spending from IT to marketing – but may not make business sense, according to the CEO of HootSuite.

In a blog post Ryan Holmes pointed to recent bog ticket acquisitions, such as Salesforce’s $2.5bn swoop on marketing and analytics tool ExactTarget, whilst IBM snapped up customised campaign tool Silverpop for a reported nine figure sum.

Outlining why this might be so Holmes wrote: “Social media ushered in a new era of intimate, personalized marketing. Not surprisingly, consumers have grown less receptive to traditional ‘spray and pray’ mass marketing. To this end, the latest generation of marketing automation software is finding creative ways to bridge the gap: applying the intimacy, personalization and insights gained from social media on a mass scale.”

Ruminating over whether these big budget buys were actually beneficial however Holmes wasn’t so sure, observing: “On the one hand, the appeal of a one-stop solution is obvious. A large enterprise can tap into the Salesforce cloud, for instance, and ostensibly find all the tools needed to handle its digital marketing efforts in one place. But these kind of ‘omnibus’ marketing products can also come with drawbacks.

Instead Holmes, naturally, touts open platforms such as HootSuite as the way ahead thanks to their incorporation of 100s of marketing, social media and productivity apps, writing: “Clients who opt for all-in-one clouds or suites are bound to end up with a few clunkers in the mix. In this environment, the few remaining open platforms – which provide an ecosystem where different tools can compete and rise to the top – are the best bet of all.”

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