Marketing technology today is a massive market, with over 8,000 companies recognized in a recent, well-regarded survey. Those companies span the gamut of solutions, from complete marketing clouds such as Acoustic, to thousands of highly focused point solutions for very specific applications. Every year, dozens of new companies are born, and dozens disappear. Those that disappear may cease to exist completely, but are often involved in merger and acquisition activity, endlessly aggregating functionality and customers to find competitive advantage.
Acoustic, the largest independent marketing cloud with a total focus on the marketer, was officially born in July 2019, but that doesn’t tell the whole story at all. In fact, the roots of Acoustic stretch all the way back to 1999 and the founding of three of the most foundational and important companies in the marketing space: Coremetrics, SilverPop, and Tealeaf. (Also occurring in 1999? The founding of Salesforce and the panic over the Y2K problem.)
Each of these three companies, much like so many companies in this space, were founded to bring focus and engineering talent to bear on a critical problem facing the industry. Hard problems, like email automation, customer experience, and real-time analytics require solutions that are built to scale and stand the test of time. In a rapidly changing technology landscape, foundational solutions often become the glue built to hold together future additions and enhancements.
These three companies – Coremetrics in analytics, SilverPop in email automation, and Tealeaf in customer experience analytics – rapidly grew to acquire noteworthy customers, strategic partners, and widespread respect for their technology. But, just like the market today, there was a bigger company eager to enter the space. Between 2010 and 2014, IBM acquired all three of these companies, and ultimately they became the foundation of the IBM Watson Marketing solutions.
This is the story of technology companies – big companies buy smaller companies to gain access to innovation solutions they can’t easily develop on their own. For IBM, it involved investing nearly $2B to acquire and develop the products. As the market matured, the powerful technologies continued to develop and mature as well. Ultimately, over 3,500 customers worldwide were using the solutions that had started back in 1999.
This is also the story of technology companies – big companies realize they are spread too thin or need to shift priorities, resulting in their spinning out and selling off assets no longer aligned with their core mission. The cycle happens again and again, providing renewal opportunities for the big company as well as the smaller parts eager to flourish again on their own. In 2019, these solutions separated from IBM and found new investors, Centerbridge Partners, creating a standalone company: Acoustic.
So, Acoustic might sound like the new kid on the block, but we are really the culmination of decades of experience and leadership, with the ability to focus all our attention on creating the best performing marketing cloud for leaders in 2020 and beyond. Over the past year, our team has completely rethought and reengineered the platform for the future, including moving our solutions to AWS, the leading public cloud for growing companies. Even as we solve today’s problems, we tap into the experience of our customers, partners, and employees in bringing foundational knowledge to bear. Building marketing technology is hard work, but with our foundational technologies and recent innovations and investments, we are working to ensure that Acoustic marketing technology is the brilliant solution needed in today’s world.