Austin-based Spredfast announced yesterday that it had acquired fellow social media marketing platform Shoutlet. The acquisition is yet another consolidation in the social marketing tools space, and it highlights a new trend we’re seeing in how companies use social.
In his recently published report “The 2015 State of Social Business” my colleague Ed Terpening found that businesses are beginning to move from social marketing into social business, utilizing social not just as a content broadcast channel, but as valuable source of customer data. According to Spredfast CEO Rod Favaron, it was Shoutlet’s capabilities in this area that made it such an attractive buy for Spredfast. “We think taking social insights about the customer plays across the business, including marketing, and other parts of the customer experience,” said Favaron in a phone conversation. “Thats one of the tech we’re really excited about.”
Shoutlet’s “Profiles” feature allows users to collect data on all types of customer interactions across social channels, segment them and enrich them with third party data. These profiles can then be used for a variety of other non-social functions such as building email lists, personalizing customer service and making strategic business decisions.
By acquiring Shoutlet, Spredfast is aiming to grow beyond the “social media marketing” tag and be seen as a platform through which organizations can unify their sales, service and marketing engagements. It’s an ambition that mirrors that of its heavily funded competitor Sprinklr, and it’s a vision that companies would do well to take notice of.
Out of all the customer engagement channels available to a company, social media is the one best poised to deliver a unified brand experience to a customer. To reach any single customer, social can simultaneously serve as marketing channel (delivering paid, earned and owned content) as well as a sales and service platform, not to mention a source of customer behavior data. However, in order to do that effectively, brands must be able to use either a single, integrated social suite, or work on integrating existing social tools. Regardless of which way they choose to go, the goal must be the same: to provide customers with a personalized, unified experience of the brand across all channels of interaction. And Spredfast just made itself a little more attractive to brands working towards that vision.
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