this week said its has offered about $2.5 billion to bring marketing platform ExactTarget under the umbrella of its cloud products.

But as Forbes writer Lisa Arthur writes, there are conflicting options on whether it will be a good merger of assets or bad.

Instead, she takes a look at why marketing automation companies are hot. For one thing, new solutions for big data analytics are breaking down barriers between sales and marketing, she concludes.
What organizations want, she believes is the ability to better control, make sense of and drive revenue using big data insights.
In a news release Salesforce said that combining ExactTarget’s digital marketing capabilities with its sales, service and social marketing solutions marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the Web.
ExactTarget says it is used by more than 6,000 companies including Coca-Cola, Gap and Nike for digital marketing. The platform offers ways to transmit marketing messages across email, smart phones, social networks and Web sites. Through what it calls an interactive marketing hub, campaigns can be co-ordinated across these outlets. It also has an app marketplace for ExactTarget and ISV built applications.
It also offers a wide range of analytics pulled from CRM, Web sites, social media, point-of-purchase devices and other sources in real time. Metrics include delivery rates, open rates and click activity.