Silverpop buys Vtrenz for lead management

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The mergers and acquisition activity in the e-mail services space continues apace with news yesterday that Silverpop Systems Inc. has bought Vtrenz Inc., a marketing automation and lead management company.

The deal brings with it Vtrenz clients such as Ciena, Aramark, Fortified Software and MapInfo along with a presence in the Midwest. Silverpop rivals Experian's CheetahMail and Responsys recently concluded similar purchases to expand their footprints and offerings.

"We're just responding to what our customers are asking for," said Bill Nussey, CEO of Silverpop, Atlanta. "We're not acquiring because we need to expand. We're acquiring because our customers are asking us for more."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Based in Fargo, ND, Vtrenz' integrated marketing automation platform lets marketers create, execute and automate multichannel campaigns. The technology also allows users to score and direct qualified leads to sales people and analyze marketing results via campaign analytics.

Vtrenz will become a unit of Silverpop. Founder Brian Gramer becomes regional vice president of Silverpop's Vtrenz product and president/CEO Will Schnabel is the new vice president of Vtrenz operation.

All 35 Vtrenz employees will keep their jobs.

"We plan on growing and hiring more," Mr. Gramer said.

Silverpop is one of the leading e-mail service providers. Besides its Southern base, the company also has offices in Irvine, CA, and London. Clients of its campaign and deployment services include Fossil, Mazda, UPS and The Bombay Company.

"A lot of our customers are doing high-end involvement sales and e-mail's a component of that, but there's much more to it," Mr. Nussey said. "You need to integrate with CRM systems like Salesforce.com seamlessly. So Vtrenz goes well beyond e-mail and integrates CRM, landing pages, surveys, customer scoring, Web analytics and advanced campaign automation."

The Vtrenz purchase comes soon after France's Emailing Solution was sold to database and marketing services giant Experian to expand its CheetahMail subsidiary's presence in the French and Spanish markets. Also, e-mail marketing services firm Responsys bought Loyalty Matrix to strengthen its predictability and optimization offerings.

Both the Emailing Solution and Loyalty Matrix deals were made public earlier this month.

Vtrenz' Mr. Gramer said his company's decision to sell was driven by a desire to grow.

"Some people think that selling a company is an ending," Mr. Gramer said. "In this case, it's the opposite. It's actually the starting point to take it to the next level of growth … [Silverpop's] scalability is what Vtrenz needed to bring to their marketplace."

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