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Marketing automation firm Marketo has made its first acquisition ever with the purchase of social campaign service Crowd Factory, the company announced Wednesday morning.

Marketo and competing marketing automation firms like Eloqua, Pardot, and Silverpop offer software and services focused on improving and managing sales lead generation. But now with its buy of Crowd Factory, Marketo says it will have an edge on its competition by embracing social marketing, much of which is business-to-consumer rather than business-to-business where Marketo mostly plays.

“With Marketo and Crowd Factory on a single platform, marketers will be able to build and manage social campaigns alongside more traditional B-to-B marketing,” Marketo Chief Revenue Officer Paul Albright told VentureBeat.

Crowd Factory’s “social campaign management platform” assists marketers with social and word-of-mouth marketing, growing marketing databases with social data, and attracting new customers. Furthermore, it allows marketers to add social apps and messages quickly on every possible channel, including “Facebook pages, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, landing pages, websites, banner ads, or e-mails.” Crowd Factory then tracks the reach and impact of social sharing to help determine return on investment.

“Crowd Factory pioneered the idea of Social ROI by empowering marketers to push viral campaigns throughout the social web, and then track that valuable social activity back to individual influencers and conversions,” said Sanjay Dholakia, CEO of Crowd Factory, in a statement. “This fits perfectly into the vision of marketing automation that Marketo has led: that all marketing activity matters and can be measured against the bottom line. We are excited to join the Marketo team and help companies of any size in any market segment generate more campaigns, more leads and, ultimately, more customers.”

San Mateo, Calif.-based Marketo was founded in 2006 and has raised a massive $107 million in total funding to date. Its last funding occurred in November, with a major $50 million round raised from Battery Ventures and participation from Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), InterWest Partners, Mayfield Fund, and Storm Ventures.

Photo credit: ra2 studio/Shutterstock

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