Vista Equity Partners Acquires Marketo, Inc.

You may have seen the most recent news: Marketo acquisition by Vista Equity Partners was finalized and Marketo went private after having been a public for three years ago. As part of Marketo family, I get asked frequently, what that means for Marketo.

Marketo, Before Going Public in 2013

When Marketo started it was chaotic, in a good way. They were a flourishing startup and employees were excited and jubilant. The engineers and developers driving the rapid growth were passionate about Marketo’s future.

As the company grew the expectation for investments grew with it. Marketo’s continued growth became precarious. It left everyone there guessing what to do next.

Going public was the clear choice, but that’s when key players that helped develop the product left. This is when Marketo went through a lot of organizational restructuring. Some questioned where Marketo would be in a year.

Now, they can be more confident Vista will corral everybody, clean up a little bit, and put money where it should be; anything that helps Marketo develop a competitive advantage and continue to evolve with the marketing industry.

Why Marketo Chose Vista over Microsoft and SAP

Being purchased by a major company would not allow Marketo much flexibility. Going private allows them to face true north –to have a better longer-term outlook, instead of folding into somebody else’s vision.

Originally, Marketo became a market leader because they stayed on top of industry trends and focused on delivering value to shareholders, investors, and users. They had to go private if they wanted to recapture that.

What the Vista Acquisition Means for Marketo Inc.

This acquisition could not come soon enough. Marketo had been pushing Project Orion, a major platform re-architecture project, which would have went faster had they been private. Now, the company will be pushing marketers to focus on data and analytics. Expect improvements in those areas of Marketo’s functionality in the next year.

Vista is known for investing in technology-enabled companies and making them more lucrative. And what Marketo does best is develop software. It is very user-friendly, and the interface is effortless and intuitive. Vista will analyze the areas where Marketo can improve, remove any fringe, and keep Marketo developers focused on their core capabilities.

For Marketo Users

The transition will be smooth and virtually unnoticeable. Hopefully, in the near future Marketo can reacquire key developers, and product structures will improve. As for changes with the platform, both companies have said nothing will happen immediately. If anything, Vista will support current management and leadership, giving them more freedom to focus on projects they want to develop.

Marketo’s Next Phase of Growth

There are definitely a lot of things in the industry that are becoming more intuitive. Artificial intelligence lets automated systems learn past behaviors. For Marketo this equates to customer-based automation. A focus on data and analytics will get Marketo to that phase. Better intuition, improved automation.

Focusing B2B and B2C coming together and learning from each other is another piece in the Marketo puzzle. The company will move toward being more fluid and flexible for its client network.

Under Vista, Marketo will be able to pursue things they could not before. They will be able to invest, and take things to the next level.

Will the Acquisition Change the Way Marketo Consultants do Business?

It will, and the change is welcome. Marketo will once again have the flexibility to operate more efficiently and effectively. Expect Marketo’s relationships to strengthen, as well as a deepening of their partnered ecosystem. The more consultants know and earlier they know it, the more it adds value to clients’ businesses. It will bring back the camaraderie Marketo was known for, it will make Marketo purple again.

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