The martech consolidation trend was in full swing this week with two mega-acquisitions announced.
In the larger of the two, Salesforce announced it is purchasing Slack, the workplace communications firm, in a combined cash-stock deal worth roughly $27.7 billion -- its biggest purchase ever.
In the lesser transaction, Facebook said it is acquiring Kustomer, a CRM platform -- with a price of $1 billion, according to media reports.
What does it all mean for email? For starters, Slack has famously said it would replace email. That is big talk, but it’s unlikely to happen.
“Slack is actually making email stronger,” says Kerel Cooper, senior vice president of global marketing at LiveIntent. “Email remains the top-performing channel for brands and marketers, but their marketing efforts can get buried when inboxes become overloaded.
Cooper says as “the adoption of productivity tools like Slack lighten the email load and make work more efficient, the opportunity for publishers who send email with marketing units in them or brands who send marketing messages grows.”
What good is Slack otherwise?
Spiceworks Ziff Davis reports that 41% of business chat app adopters “use tools such as Slack and Teams frequently for external communications, compared to 79% for internal communications,” says Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks Ziff Davis, according to Tom Taulli, writing in Forbes.
This “represents an opportunity for Salesforce, which has clear intentions to use Slack to help facilitate better communications between businesses and their customers and partners using ‘Slack Connect,” Tsai says.
As for the Facebook Kustomer purchase, some sources see this as an email play. Cooper is one.
“As we’ve seen with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and essentially all holiday promotions since October, email is the tried and true tool that brands and marketers turn to re-engage their customers, offer support, and drive loyalty,” Cooper says.
This is a lesson Facebook needs to learn.
“As Facebook extends its efforts to bring commerce to its messaging channels like WhatsApp and Messenger, it needs to conform to the reality that conversations with the modern consumer take place across devices, channels and platforms,” Cooper says.
Cooper adds that “Kustomer will provide that ability because their CRM dexterity is built on top of the email address, the workhorse of CRM and the fulcrum of identity in a world where the third-party cookie is going away.”
Continuing, Cooper says “Facebook's efforts to bring commerce and advertising to their messaging system looks a lot like email, the original people-based marketing channel. What's old is new again.”
Challin Meink, senior director of marketing at Avionos, adds that “email is the tried and true tool that brands and marketer turn to to re-engage their customers, offer support, and drive loyalty.”
Facebook and Instagram have been “driving more focus toward in-app purchases with tools like Facebook Shops and Instagram’s now more prominent Shopping option,” Meink adds.
These platforms “have to be able to roll in customer service for things like product information, reviews, and returns,” Meink continues. “That’s where Kustomer comes in.”
Meink notes that “many of those service activities take place via email, chat bots, messaging platforms, and text, so having a single source for CSRs to respond to streamlines much of that communication.”
For customers, email will “likely be the mode of communication of choice. It provides an easy chain to reference. It doesn’t get dropped or time out like many chat systems. Overall, it’s just more trustworthy until other systems become more prevalent.”