IBM acquires Silverpop to boost its online marketing personalization products

Silverpop builds profiles of individuals and crafts promotions to target them

Continuing its run of digital marketer acquisitions, IBM has announced its purchase of Silverpop, which specializes in managing personally-customized Internet promotions.

Silverpop assembles profiles of individuals from social media sites, Web usage, email and other digital signals. It then can craft personalized offers and promotions based on these profiles. It can target both the business and consumer markets.

IBM plans to integrate Silverpop's technologies into its own marketing services.

"The acquisition is about delivering on mass personalization at scale and identity," wrote R "Ray" Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research, in an email he sent to reporters. "While IBM has an army of assets in play for marketing, the reality is that you need mass personalization at scale to deliver on relevancy and context."

Silverpop has 8,000 customers worldwide, including Mazda, Stonyfield Farm and Advanced Micro Devices.

Of particular interest to IBM is how Silverpop's technology can identify and understand the needs of individuals based on digital behavior.

For instance it can identify individuals interested in college savings plans based on their use of a college savings calculator. Technology early adopters can be identified by their browsing habits, and their history of tuning into webinars or downloading white papers.

IBM has amassed quite a bit of digital marketing technology and talent over the past few years. In 2012, the company acquired customer experience software vendor Tealeaf.

In 2010, IBM purchased marketing software provider Unica for US$480 million. It also purchased marketing analysis software provider Coremetrics that year.

Silverpop's technologies will be folded into the Enterprise Marketing Management portfolio of the IBM Software Group.

IBM did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, which the company expects to close by the middle of the year.

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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