DoubleClick Acquires Marketing Resource Firm

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DoubleClick Inc. agreed to buy SmartPath Inc., a marketing resource management software firm, for an undisclosed sum, the company announced yesterday at its annual Insight conference New York City.


The deal, expected to close within 30 days, is key to DoubleClick's plans to launch a marketing resource management business. It also will extend DoubleClick's marketing automation platform and diversify its portfolio of offerings.


"What you're seeing is increasing automation in marketing products and services," said DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan.


SmartPath's software helps marketers and ad agencies manage the operational aspects of marketing. These include strategic planning, workflow, and management of projects, marketing financials and documents.


In essence, SmartPath software is a common platform to plan and create ad campaigns and budgets across marketing channels.


DoubleClick, New York, has not announced its decision on retaining the SmartPath name, though it is expected by the time the deal closes. It will continue to use SmartPath's facilities in Morrisville, NC, and add to the staff of 35.


SmartPath competes with market leader Aprimo Inc., an Indianapolis firm that yesterday debuted its Product Management QuickStart solution. Aprimo's new offering is said to help marketers define workflow for the starting of marketing projects, reduce execution cycle time via best practice workflows and create auditable online review processes.


The benefits to buying SmartPath are many. It not only boosts DoubleClick's services in planning and operations, but also adds to offerings in data/analytics, optimization and channel execution. DoubleClick's position in financial services and pharmaceuticals will strengthen as well.


"By putting these companies together, we'll be able to integrate our products," Ryan said.


DoubleClick will sell the SmartPath MMS offering through its worldwide sales force, both separately and as an integrated product with DoubleClick Ensemble. The release in June of Ensemble 7.0 will reflect the integration of SmartPath MMS with Ensemble.


SmartPath customers can expect to lean on DoubleClick for support and deployment help. Customers include Kohler, National Geographic Society, GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth, Target Corp., Progress Energy and Victoria's Secret. Agencies like Leo Burnett and Carmichael Lynch are users, too.


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