Datran Acquires Skylist

Database marketer Datran Media has broadened its services with the acquisition of email service provider Skylist. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Skylist have been leaders on the retention side of the business, and Datran have been leaders on the acquisition side. We’re stepping back and creating a new ‘performance customer management’ category that’s about customer management across the entire lifetime sales cycle,” Sean O’Neal, Datran’s CMO, told ClickZ.

The first fruit of the merger is a joint product called AdLoyalty, which combines Skylist’s Stormpost delivery platform with Datran’s marketing engine and analytics.

“Skylist’s Stormpost is an email marketing automation solution; it sends what you tell it to send, where you tell it to go. It’s not deciding which emails to send,” Josh Baer, founder and president of Skylist and now CTO at Datran, told ClickZ. “Datran has an intelligent system of figuring out what goes where, what to send to who, and when to send it. Those two things go together naturally very well.”

Two large brand clients are up and running with AdLoyalty, and about a dozen others are in the pipeline, according to O’Neal, who declined to name those clients. The product is drawing interest from marketers in several categories, especially those with multiple brands they wish to leverage for both acquisition and retention purposes, according to Baer.

The two have been working to integrate their sales databases for the past month, after quietly sealing the deal. Datran has been a Skylist customer, so the two are very familiar with each other and have been working together in some capacity for several years, O’Neal said.

Skylist will retain its brand, and remain in Austin. Datran is based in New York.

The move follows several similar acquisitions in the space, with large database companies deciding to snatch up the email service providers to bring those capabilities in-house.

An incomplete list includes Acxiom’s acquisition of Digital Impact and Merkle’s acquisition of Quris last year. Alliance Data’s Epsilon acquired BigFoot Interactive in 2005, and picked up DoubleClick’s email unit in February 2006. JL Halsey bought Lyris in May 2005 and then snapped up E-mailLabs in October.

Experian acquired Cheetahmail and Harte-Hanks acquired Postfuture in 2004. infoUSA snagged Yesmail in 2003, and failed at an attempt to acquire Digital Impact last year.

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