ExactTarget made fairly big news on Tuesday with their acquisition of CoTweet. The email marketing and one-to-one marketing provider acquired the popular Web-based platform that allows companies to manage multiple Twitter accounts from a single dashboard. To date, CoTweet has teamed with brands such as Whole Foods, Starbucks, JetBlue, Ford, Pepsi, Sprint and Coca-Cola to effectively manage global Twitter engagement. So what does an email marketer want with a Twitter platform?
What they originally have planned for the service, may shed some light on that. According the their release, CoTweet will operate in San Francisco as a business unit of ExactTarget and will lead the company’s social media product development. CoTweet co-founder and chief executive Jesse Engle will also lead the San Francisco operation and spearhead the creation and expansion of the company’s social media lab.
“What we’re seeing in the market is organizations are moving quickly to try to capture the potential of social, but are discovering that it’s siloed and not integrated effectively with other forms of digital communications,” said Scott Dorsey, ExactTarget co-founder and chief executive officer. “By combining the power of ExactTarget and CoTweet, we can provide businesses a complete solution to tie together all forms of interactive communications and drive deeper customer engagement online.”
An end-to-end marketing tool, which includes social media functionality could be huge, but initially I would have some fears with an email marketing company (synonymous in some consumers’ eyes with spam), imploring similar tactics with social media. Do they really understand the back and forth engagement between consumers and brands that makes Twitter what it is? It doesn’t sound like Jesse Engle of CoTweet has that fear.
“We see a huge opportunity to build on ExactTarget’s incredible business and customer relationships to help companies drive more measurable value from social media,” said Engle. “As part of ExactTarget, we’ll have the global resources to cement our early lead, rapidly expand our platform and develop the next generation of social media communication tools.”
Perhaps then, they do understand the difference in the social media channel. If it allows for CoTweet to build on their services and offer more real-time measurement and CRM functionality then I’m all for it. If they can apply email measurement and CRM to social, and even mobile, ExactTarget could turn the acquisition into a future leadership position in the holistic Web marketing space.