Familiar yet new: Acoustic focuses its attention on marketing

Following its acquisition by Centerbridge Partners, the IBM spin-off is presenting itself as an independent company on the market.

Familiar yet new: Acoustic focuses its attention on marketing

Is it possible to launch a start-up with 1100 employees and 3500 customers? Sure. Especially if IBM is the start-up’s parent company. IBM’s marketing solutions have been independent for quite some time now and, although Acoustic is a new player on the market, it is actually quite well established. After its acquisition by Centerbridge Partners, Acoustic CEO Mark Simpson says the company is now working in a market alongside Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce. A league of its own.

Acoustic intends to concentrate on marketing. It is essential to process more and more data intelligently and as efficiently as possible on a growing number of channels for numerous campaigns. It therefore makes sense to implement automation based on AI, which can learn from its own data. With further modules from IBM’s history such as Pricing, Promotion and Content, the “young” company sees itself as more than well equipped. The aim is to position itself as an open ecosystem in which different, often isolated solutions and technologies, and above all data from various sources, are brought together to provide with a seamless overview of their customers and prospects.

Focus on the data-driven CMO

Speaking of the new beginning a few months ago, CEO Mark Simpson is optimistic, but aware of the competition and the opportunities: “After all, we emerged from IBM as one of the four largest marketing clouds. With over 1,100 employees and 3,500 customers, we are a pretty big start-up.” He emphasizes the potential of the products that are to be marketed and intensively further developed: “In the next 12 months, we will be investing between 10 and 20 million dollars in the complete replacement of all our products.” Old code is to be replaced, new user interfaces implemented and forward-looking technologies, for example in the areas of AI and data protection, used even more intensively.


“Adobe is known for creativity, Oracle for data and Salesforce for CRM. We focus on the CMO, on the marketeer,” Simpson is quoted as saying with regard to the company’s positioning. The aim is to present itself as an open ecosystem in which different, often isolated solutions and technologies, and above all data from various sources, are brought together to provide CMOs with a seamless picture of their customers and prospects.

On the path to offering a Software-as-a-Service model

With IBM Watson working in the background, it will be quite interesting to see what artificial intelligence features Acoustic will be implementing in its products. It is undisputed among experts and analysts that AI is playing and will continue to play an important role in the field of marketing. The AI functionality is to be significantly expanded and, according to Simpson, the company also wants to “open up to other technologies and technology providers”.

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Acoustic is on its way to providing a Software-as-a-Service model that can be used to constantly offer enhancements. Characteristics of Acoustic’s “modern” marketing solution include a modern backend based on a modern cloud infrastructure with native cloud services. Microservices and an elastic architecture that can absorb peak demand are other paradigms that the company relies on for its solutions, in addition to a simple user interface.

“It’s a challenging and exciting thing for all Acoustic employees,” says Stefan Pfeiffer, who is on loan from IBM to Acoustic for marketing and communications in Germany and Europe for several months. It is now a matter of creating the common spirit for the globally active company in addition to the complete technical infrastructure within a short time. One of his challenges is to create a presentation area at DMEXCO in just a few weeks, where all participating partners and stakeholders are to be presented in a new guise. This also includes discussions with the media and service providers, who will be interested in the new company. “This is a good opportunity for us to talk to customers and prospects, agencies and business partners,” says Pfeiffer.

The bottom line

It takes some courage for Acoustic to reposition itself in the market at this speed. At the same time, the self-confidence acquired in the years with IBM is sure to help the company face the challenges of the constantly developing market with high-quality technology solutions. Ultimately, heightened competition will produce better results for customers. The right focus for development is required. Perhaps the company can be even more flexible in this regard in the future, as it no longer has to convince its large parent company, but just its own stakeholders.