Jenny Sussin

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Jenny Sussin
Principal Research Analyst
2 years with Gartner
4 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a princial research analyst in the ITL Enterprise Software group of Gartner Research, with primary focus on social for CRM. Read Full Bio

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Pac-man Thinks the Social CRM Market Looks Tasty

by Jenny Sussin  |  May 30, 2012  |  2 Comments

Remember Pac-Man? He used to eat all of those little dots until there were none left and he could run freely? Of course there were the ghosts but sometimes Pac-Man would eat a special little dot and then he could eat the ghosts too. This is the social CRM market.

In the past two weeks there have been three significant acquisitions in this space involving players previously included on the magic quadrant for social CRM [clients only] aka “the big dogs” in this space.

1. Oracle buys Vitrue

2. Bazaarvoice buys PowerReviews

3. Salesforce.com buys Buddy Media

What’s a dot to do? Why does Pac-Man insist on eating these dots? Pac-Man needs these dots to not only score points (make more $$) but he also hopes he’ll eat one of the magic dots and be able to turn on the ghosts (his competition) instead of having the ghosts following his every move, looking to take him down. Making sense? If you’ve lost me already, you may want to call this post quits and try back another day.

One of the most interesting things a vendor has ever asserted to me is that the social CRM space is a “land grab game.” Eating littler dots might not mean making as much money, but it still clears away the dots, getting Pac-Man closer to his goal of total domination of the puzzle board. Pac-man understands he can’t ever be the ONLY hungry guy on the board, but he wants the ghosts to know he has a magic dot/trick up his sleeve.

So let’s talk dots: Vitrue, PowerReviews, Buddy Media. Why would Pac-man eat these dots? These dots are each strong competition for another competitor in the market. Vitrue and Buddy Media were competitors in the social marketing, specifically Facebook marketing, space. In terms of Bazaarvoice buying PowerReviews, let’s put it this way: if Bazaarvoice was Pac-man, then PowerReviews was one of their ghosts.

This may win funniest cartoon I've seen in a while...

So let’s talk about “the” ghosts: Oracle, Bazaarvoice, Salesforce. They’re all Pac-man and they’re all ghosts, it depends who you talk to. They’re all looking to expand their social CRM business. In the case of Oracle and Salesforce, they’re trying to complete an offering and remain competitive with one another. In the case of Bazaarvoice, they had the opportunity to eat a ghost.

CHILL WITH THE PAC-MAN, SUSSIN, AND TELL ME WHAT I NEED TO KNOW

I’ve told you, we’ve told you, and we’ll say it again: this market is going to continue through a period of consolidation for another 12-18 months. What you, the reader, are going to do about that depends on your position. If you are a client, I would urge you to take a look at some of the First Takes on these acquisitions (looking for upcoming notes by Adam Sarner and Gene Alvarez) where we go a bit more in depth about what each acquisition means to the Pac-man, the dot and the ghosts.

Let me know what you think in the comments section here. Also please call out my typos, I know you all love that.

 

 

 

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