Sometimes, when two companies combine, they create a kind of Frankenstein monster — disparate parts not quite coming together in harmony.
Sun Microsystems co-founder and former CEO Scott McNealy sees a lot of what he called “Frankenstein architecture” in the current digital marketing space. This industry resembles the fragmented “computer industry in the 1980s,” he told me.
So it will be interesting to see if the recent acquisition of UK-based digital marketing firm EngageSciences by McNealy’s current company, social intelligence firm Wayin, creates a new Frankenstein or something more harmonious.
Both companies were founded in 2011. Wayin, based in Denver, offers searching and display of social posts, as well as visualizations of social data, like graphs showing which presidential candidate is getting the most public posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Its customers include the Denver Broncos, The Weather Channel and Walgreens.
EngageSciences, based in the UK, specializes in conducting digital campaigns based around interactive features that collect user feedback and personal data, through signups and opinions captured in contests, quizzes, polls, product feedback, user reviews and the like. Its clients include Microsoft and AOL.
Both companies traffic in user expression. But Wayin displays user expression and visualizations of the resulting data, while EngageSciences tries to get users to give their opinions, as well as their email addresses.
Together, they create something that might be described in shorthand as Spredfast + SurveyMonkey. That is, show user expression on a topic, capture user feedback and build your marketing list.
Here, for example, is a trend screen from a recently launched digital effort by the combined companies for the National Hockey League draft:
And a participatory screen, where you can be the General Manager:
The combined entity has a large and growing footprint. New Wayin CEO and former EngageSciences’ head Richard Jones told me that one in 14 of the world’s population has participated in a campaign run through the two companies’ platforms. Next year, he said, the combined platform will reach one in seven.
In that combined effort, he said, a user can search, curate and display social content from attendees at, say, the annual Coachella music festival, while showing graphs of which bands are generating the most positive comments. At the same time, the new Wayin platform can offer, say, features with polls, quizzes and attendee reviews about the festival.
The merged company “creates a category leader in this emerging space,” McNealy told me. We’ll have to wait and see if this is a one-of-a-kind assembled creature… or the beginning of a species.