DoubleClick Acquires SmartPath

  |  March 2, 2004   |  Comments

The online ad technology provider gets into the marketing resource management business.

NEW YORK - DoubleClick has acquired SmartPath, a marketing resource management software firm. It's a move that augments the online ad firm's current marketing automation offerings and takes the company deeper into other forms of media.

Financial terms of the all-cash deal weren't disclosed.

The 35-employee, five-year-old SmartPath, one of the top two companies in the $93 million marketing resource management (MRM) area, provides tools to help marketers manage campaigns and budgets across all channels, including print and television. The company's tools manage strategic planning, project management, workflow, document management and financial management.

DoubleClick executives said the new software will integrate with its existing marketing automation software, Ensemble.

"Ensemble enables you to look at customer data and segment it," said Michael Doernberg, CEO of SmartPath. "With our technology, you could make a list request from Ensemble and move it on to the next person."

Doernberg continued with another example of what SmartPath does: "At Wyeth, one of our customers, there's a highly regulated compliance process. They have to send documents out for approval. We came up with an electronic routing and online markup process to streamline this."

SmartPath's customers include Target, Victoria's Secret, the National Geographic Society, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline.

"SmartPath is certainly one of the MRM vendors considered best of breed," said Kimberly Collins, research director for Gartner "The solution has the capabilities marketers are looking for and has depth and richness. When people are looking for best of breed, Aprimo and SmartPath are the typical two on the short list, though Aprimo is the leader."

According to Gartner, MRM generated $93.6 million in 2003. At an expected compounded annual growth rate of 14 percent, Gartner estimates revenues of $172.6 million for 2007 for the large vendors alone.

For DoubleClick, the acquisition is an opportunity to offer more services to its current clients and deepen its relationship with them.

"If anything, DoubleClick can increase spending from existing clients with the acquisition," said Christa Sober, VP of research with Weisel Partners. In late February, DoubleClick coordinated its media buying technology with Donovan Data Systems' (DDS) billing software, a move apparently aimed at easing traditional agencies' transition into online media. Many believe moves to be necessary for online spending levels to rise. By taking a company that also works with print and television into its fold, DoubleClick is continuing to broaden its offline-related offerings.

DoubleClick recently reported its first full year of GAAP profitability. DoubleClick reinvented itself as a provider of technological advertising solutions to survive the dot-com downturn and the resulting crash in online advertising spending. The company is now one of the central companies in the digital marketing space.

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Janis Mara

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