One of the two leaders in communications measurement - CYMFONY - just got gobbled up. Consolidation was inevitible in this market - and as I've said before, it won't serve communicators as well as it will serve marketers.
Ultimately what we needed was an evolution of communications measurement that was an inch wide and a mile deep. Maybe we will get that... But back to the announcement:
Steven Fredericks, TNS MI president and CEO, said the company had been looking to acquire a company in the market influence analytics space for about a year and decided on Cymfony because "they were the most advanced in terms of the technology."
"We decided we had to go and get the leader [in the space]," he added. "We think this whole area is going to explode in the next couple of years. We think it's going to reach the tipping point very quickly and we wanted to target it."
Now, CYMFONY is a very fine company with some great talent and neat innovations - I'm not sure there is much credence to them being the most advanced in technology or being the leader in the space, but then his guess is as good as mine on both fronts. What I do agree absolutely with is that this validates the incredible investment of time and money made by the big measurement vendors.
Where CYMFONY had established an enviable lead is in measuring conversations across blogs and in the various recommendation zones of sites such as Amazon. When coupled with core media data, this is immensely powerful to everyone from product management through customer service. Brand tracking is just one dimension that this capability delivers. CYMFONY were on the right track in delving into product monitoring, reputation analytics, and marketing performance measurement.
The real rub here is that the kind of data and insight CYMFONY and Biz360 have been generating is of immense value to media planners and marketers as a whole. TNS are now armed with the most complete set of tools for the CMO and that will make for a pretty compelling proposition that others will have trouble competing with - especially the smaller vendors who are already under substantial pressure. As Katie says, the giants are lining-up.
We needed a powerhouse and we got one. Congrats to TNS and go for it - you have a very large market waiting for what you have just created. In many respects they could be answering a question that many of us have had about this space for some time - "is communications measurement a feature of a broader marketing performance and analytics tool-kit, or, a stand-alone industry serving the communicator...?"
BTW, hat-tip to CYMFONY's PR team - they did a great job of SEO optimizing the announcement and complementing the press release with blog posts and a podcast.