I was tremendously flattered to be selected for BtoB Magazine's Who's Who list in 2006. A reporter for the magazine, Carol Krol, interviewed me in advance, and asked why Silverpop hadn't followed the path of so many other ESPs and sell out to a larger company.
While we have received many solicitations to join the merger and acquisition activity in our space, I truly believe that we can offer the very best solution to our clients as an independent company.
As a small, independent company, we do only one thing--email marketing. We have nothing else to fall back on, and we are passionate about being the best at what we do. The fact is, nearly every leader in cutting-edge markets started out as a small upstart surrounded by huge incumbents. Whether it was Intel, Cisco or Microsoft, these companies ultimately became giants themselves because they focused on one set of important products and had no choice but to be world-class with them. While most main-frame companies were trying to make their own small computers, IBM made the radical decision to partner with Intel and Microsoft to offer a joint solution based around best-in-class components. That decision created the entire PC industry as we know it, and nearly everyone who reads this blog has that decision to thank for their jobs today.
Most of the M&A activity in our space has been from direct and database marketing firms. For those of you who have been in this industry a while, you will recall that most of these companies had acquired or invested in email marketing companies four to five years ago. Those acquisitions did not work out, and the email units subsequently were shut down. It's possible that things are different this time around, but it's not a bet I think our clients want us to make. The fact is that we share clients with many database marketing firms (a few of which have acquired our competitors), and integration is very achievable, regardless of whether they own us or we remain independent. In fact, our recent partnership with Abacus is a testament to the quality of integration that can be achieved between partners. Our shared clients benefit from the combination of two fully integrated best-in-class companies, yet they retain the ability the mix and match different vendors in the future.
When it comes to email, Web analytics, consumer data and database management, one size does not fit all.