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Deluxe Corp. took a significant step in developing its interactive marketing services for SMBs capability with its recent $27 million acquisition of Vertical Response, an email and social media marketing provider. Deluxe’s origins are in providing business checking services. The company in recent years has expanded to offer a suite of marketing services.

Gordon Henry, VP & GM of Small Business Services, explained that the Vertical Response deal filled an existing gap in its IMS service offering to SMBs. Henry sees the SMB offering as having three essential elements: digital presence (websites), communications (email, social), and customer acquisition (SEM).

Deluxe has acquired  a presence solution (Hostopia) and a customer acquisition platform (Orange Soda). Vertical Response fills in the communications piece. Vertical Response is a 12-year-old company, based in San Francisco, with about 50,000 customers, according to Henry. The company has been broadening its offering to include social marketing capabilities, which was one of the key attractions to Deluxe.

Vertical Response CEO  Janine Popick  offers her take on the deal on the Vertical Response blog.

“It is a world class platform that will be significantly improved over the next three to six months,” Henry said.

As with Orange Soda and Hostopia, Vertical Response will continue to service its customers though its existing brand.

In related news, Deluxe recently brought in Todd Leeloy, a former VP of Digital at Dex One (now Dex Media), to serve as general manager of Orange Soda.

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