A week in digital M&A

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In the last few weeks, the buying and selling among digital marketing agencies seems to have sped up. Just to recap, IBM continued its pursuit to bolster its analytics offering with the purchase of Unica; Webtrends acquired social marketing company Transpond; today JWT bought Digitaria, and Campbell-Mithun and digital agency MRM merged; a couple of weeks ago, e-mail marketing company StrongMail acquired two interactive-focused firms.  

Although each of these recent acquisitions contains its own unique impetus, they all demonstrate the continued digitalization of the marketing industry.

Last week, private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson released its industry forecast that showed traditional direct spending and revenue will experience slower growth than other communications sectors, hit by increased postal rates and the existing Do Not Call list. Yet, the pure-play consumer Internet and mobile services segment (businesses that originated online) is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of nearly 15% from 2009 to 2014. While this shouldn't surprise anyone who has been following or working in this industry for any length of time, the sheer size of that number should make veterans sit up and take notice.

From groups urging the US Postal Service to go digital to the success of Facebook, consumers and businesses continue to demand proficiency in the latest technologies wherever they go – at home, at work, in the marketplace. The smart players in the marketing world recognized this trend long ago and continue to work toward a model that will integrate online marketing seamlessly into existing models - even if it requires a little M&A.

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