Last year the big news in the Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) industry was Medallia going public and SAP’s acquisition of Qualtrics. That was a wake-up call to the rest of the industry that it’s time to make a move. Typically industries consolidate around a few (3-5) players, with the rest fighting for scraps.
Last week InMoment announced a merger with MaritzCX, creating a combined company that serves 2,000+ brands with 1,500 employees worldwide. PE firm Madison Dearborn Partners backed the deal. The go-forward brand will be InMoment, and InMoment CEO Andrew Joiner will lead the combined organization as CEO. To me, this looks more like an acquisition than a merger.
I spoke with InMoment CMO Kristi Knight to understand the rationale for the deal, along with integration plans. Madison Dearborn had already invested in InMoment in May 2019, and decided to up the ante and create a larger EFM brand built around the InMoment platform and a brand focused on “customer intelligence,” not just surveys.
MaritzCX brings considerable assets to the table, including a large professional services force and expertise in certain industries, most notably automotive and financial services. Knight says InMoment offers unique platform capabilities such as InMoment Explorer, which can be used to mine unstructured data for customer insight.
What about integration? MaritzCX will operate as “MaritzCX, an InMoment company” for a time, and its customers will have access to InMoment capabilities via a cloud-based integration. In other words, no disruption, just new capabilities offered from one platform to the other.
CX and market research veteran Dave Fish of CuriosityCX sees value — and complications — in the combination of product and services.
While some of the software companies scoff at the servicing side 1) because it’s messy and 2) because it’s hard to scale, that IMO is where there is still white space.
I agree. Despite the challenges of valuing a business that includes a significant mix of ‘product’ and ‘services’ I’m glad to see at least one firm staffing up to help brands figure out this CX thing. CX success rates are not good, and won’t improve with vendors just throwing technology at the problem a la the bad old CRM days.
That said, Medallia has a services arm, and so does SAP/Qualtrics (via the Temkin Group acquisition). Along with a lot of smart independent consultants like Fish, there is plenty of CX help out there. Use it!
Just speculating here, I think pressure will build over time for InMoment to consolidate on one platform (InMoment) and move MaritzCX customers across. Yes, you can integrate, but it’s expensive to support two platforms. Watch this space.
Gird Your Loins
Another major EFM player was also in the news last week. Confirmit was acquired by Verdane, a Northern European specialist growth equity investor, and will merge with market research analytics firm Dapresy. No word yet on the name for the combined firm. Confirmit was already the combination of a number of acquisitions including EFM industry pioneer CustomerSat.
The Confirmit/Dapresy combination will be fighting it out with SAP/Qualtrics and InMoment/MaritzCX, along with other contact center and analytics players like Verint and NICE which have built up EFM capabilities in recent years.
I’m waiting for another major CRM vendor to make a move, like Oracle or Salesforce.com. While EFM is not an enormous industry, customer listening is a strategic capability for any brand.
Last year SurveyMonkey acquired GetFeedback as part of a push into larger (and B2B) enterprises. Salesforce Ventures has backed both companies, so it’s not much of a stretch to envision Salesforce.com acquiring SurveyMonkey.
So, business as usual in the tech industry. For more on how the EFM industry has consolidated, read Dave Fish’s post here.
Or my take (from 2017) at Voice of Customer Industry Trends: Consolidation, Disruption, and the Rise of Real-Time Action.
Disclosure: This post is part of my independent coverage of EFM industry developments. No endorsement is implied of any companies mentioned. Some vendors discussed have been sponsors of CustomerThink.