Constant Contact acquires Bantam Live for $15M

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Constant Contact, an e-mail marketing software provider, acquired social CRM company Bantam Live for $15 million on February 15. 

The deal will allow Constant Contact to integrate a social CRM platform in its e-mail services to develop a unified repository of customer data across all channels, including clicks, e-mail opens, survey responses, event participation and social media interactions. Constant Contact will launch a social media marketing platform with these unified functions in the second half of this year.  

The ability to understand how customers share, refer, endorse and engage across all channels will allow small businesses to better engage their customers, said Eric Groves, SVP of strategy, corporate development and innovation at Constant Contact.

“Constant Contact is focused on helping small businesses build relationships with customers,” he said. “We looked all over to find the partner that had built an application that had met what we try to deliver.”

Groves cited Bantam's “ease of use, scalability,” and focus on small business as reasons why Constant Contact decided to acquire the company.

Constant Contact will open a development office in New York, where Bantam is currently located, where the Bantam Live staff will report. There will be no layoffs as a result of the acquisition, said Groves. “We'll be scaling up the operation and building out the team,” he said.

John Rourke, formally the CEO of Bantam Live, will report directly to Groves as a member of Constant Contact's strategic business team. The company did not immediately give him a new official title.

“We were a startup two years ago,” said Rourke. “We built a highly scalable social CRM system. This acquisition allows us to take the technology we've built onto the world stage of small businesses.”  

Constant Contact acquired NutshellMail, a social media monitoring firm, last May. At the time, Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman said the acquisition would help customers improve social media marketing and measure the impact of their initiatives. The Bantam Live purchase will build on that strategy, said Groves.

“We're trying to build a centralized solution to help small businesses,” he said. “NutshellMail captures a lot of social threads happening around a business and funnels it back to the business. What we get with Bantam Live is the ability to understand who is saying what [within social threads]. You get the contact piece of the equation.”  

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