digibyte - Marketo and Infor join forces in marketing cloud wars

Phil Wainewright Profile picture for user pwainewright March 13, 2017
A new power bloc emerges in the marketing cloud wars as digital marketing pureplay Marketo partners with enterprise business software giant Infor

Digital marketing provider Marketo and business software vendor Infor have today jointly announced a "global strategic partnership," creating a new power bloc in the 'marketing cloud wars' we've been following over the past few years at diginomica.

The alliance will see Marketo's digital engagement platform integrated with Infor's cloud-based CRM and product configuration software, joining up the sales and marketing process from prospect engagement through to closing and delivering the sale. Infor CEO Charles Phillips told Fortune today that the integration should be completed in time for Marketo's annual conference in late April.

Marketo, which was taken private in a $1.79 billion deal last May by Vista Equity Partners, has been the only significant pureplay digital marketing provider left standing in the marketing cloud landscape. Rival software giants Oracle, Salesforce and SAP have each built up their own marketing product offerings through acquisitions, while Microsoft last September adopted Adobe's Marketing Cloud as the preferred solution for enterprise customers of its cloud-based Dynamics 365 ERP suite.

The Marketo partnership is Infor's first major alliance with an ISV partner. It comes at an interesting juncture for Infor, which this year is set to complete a five-year journey to transition its formerly on-premise core products to multi-tenant cloud operation.

Infor has previously filled perceived gaps in its offerings via acquisition, most notably spending $675 million two years ago to acquire global trade and supply chain management platform GT Nexus. But although Infor recently completed a $2 billion funding round from industrial powerhouse Koch Industries and has said it could access additional funding if the right acquisition target came along, acquiring Marketo would have stretched its resources.

For Marketo, the Infor partnership is its first major announcement since former SAP and Salesforce executive Steve Lucas took over as CEO in November. Shortly before the Vista acquisition, Marketo had launched what it called a fundamental rearchitecture of its platform to support customer engagement at big data scale. In interviews since becoming CEO, Lucas has emphasized Marketo's strategic customer engagement capabilities, seeking to differentiate the vendor from a more utilitarian marketing automation role.

Marketo already has 650 vendors in its ecosystem but the Infor partnership is presented as on a different scale, enabling a co-ordinated sales and marketing push.

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