IBM purchases Xtify to target new marketing channels

Xtify will allow IBM customers to stay on top of new mobile and Web marketing channels

Continuing to build its portfolio of software for supporting electronic commerce operations, IBM has acquired Xtify, a provider of push notification-based marketing services for mobile platforms. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IBM will fold Xtify's software into the company's Smarter Commerce line of digital marketing software and services. IBM is hoping to serve the growing market in mobile payment transactions. Gartner estimates that US$235.4 billion in mobile payments will be transacted in 2013, up 44 percent from 2012.

Xtify, founded in 2009 and based in New York, has a range of large consumer-focused clients, including beauty product vendor Sephora, Disney Stores, and the Tribune Group and 20th Century Fox media conglomerates.

Xtify offers a hosted platform to track those who visit e-commerce websites or use mobile applications from their mobile phones. It can alert possible customers when new content appears on the site, or send them personalized messages to let them know of possibly interesting promotions. The service can follow a user across different devices, be it a desktop computer or smartphone.

By using Xtify's push notification services, retailers could build a more intimate relationship with their current and potential customers, boosting sales and site visits.

IBM will run Xtify's service on its recently acquired data centers from SoftLayer, extending the reach and scalability of the service.

Matthew Casey, a software analyst for the IT analysis firm Technology Business Research (TBR), noted that, with the Xtify purchase, chief marketing officers (CMOs) should watch IBM to see what it will offer them in the future.

"Traditional marketing channels become ineffective as customer touch-points with organizations change from in-person and direct interactions to mobile and online engagements," Casey wrote in an email statement. "For IBM, Xtify's cloud-based mobile marketing platform provides a centralized tool for multi-channel marketing across native web-based notifications and push SMS messaging, with industry-specific packaging for the travel and hospitality, financial, government and retail spaces."

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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