ExactTarget (NYSE:ET), a cloud provider of online marketing applications, priced its IPO at $19, which was above the $17 to $18 price range. So far in today’s trading, the stock is up 28%. The underwriters included JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Deutsche Bank Securities (NYSE:DB) and Stifel Nicolaus Weisel.
ExactTarget operates a platform that helps companies manage their online marketing campaigns. It’s a full-blown service that focuses on channels like email, SMS, mobile and social media. “It’s not easy for companies to manage the huge growth in online and mobile content,” said Scott Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of ExactTarget, in an interview shortly after the IPO launched today.
ExactTarget also connects to many sources of data, such as popular business applications from Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), SAP (NYSE:SAP) and Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE). This makes it easier to create personalized marketing messages, which often allow for better results.
Last year, ExactTarget posted $207 million in revenues, up 55% from the prior year. Impressively, the company has generated positive revenue growth for 44 consecutive quarters.
A key to ExactTarget’s success is it sales organization. “In mid-2009, we saw an opportunity to accelerate our growth,” said Dorsey.
Now, ExactTarget has 290 salespeople, which makes it the largest salesforce in the marketing cloud space. A field team focuses on enterprise customers, while an inside sales team handles small and midsize businesses. But there are also relationship managers who help current customers. This leads to more upgrades and renewals. “We also have a strong channel partner program,” said Dorsey. “It represents about 17% of our revenues.”
But the key growth driver for ExactTarget is its focus on the red-hot market for social media. According to Forrester, about 26% of total advertising budgets will be spent on interactive market channels by 2016. And in light of ExactTarget’s strong platform and trusted brand, it should get a nice size of this market opportunity.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “The Complete M&A Handbook”, “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli or reach him via email. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.