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Siebel buys Paragren to bolster marketing abilities

Siebel will fold data mining tools and software that enables companies to sort through huge mailing lists into its existing marketing product line by next summer.

Siebel Systems said it has acquired Paragren Technologies in a cash deal and will use the company's technology to give its customers the ability to build highly targeted marketing campaigns.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Paragren's 40 employees will remain at the company's offices in Reston, Va.

Paragren, a subsidiary of APAC Customer Services, makes data mining tools and software that enables companies to sort through huge mailing lists and target customers by zip code, income bracket, past buying habits and other criteria. Siebel will fold that technology into its existing marketing product line by next summer, the company said.

The acquisition comes as competition from Siebel's rivals is heating up. Though the San Mateo, Calif.-based company is the leading maker of so-called customer relationship management (CRM) software, SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft and other "enterprise" software makers are hotly pursuing the emerging market, working to improve the depth of products used to capture all sorts of customer data gathered via call centers or salespeople in the field.

Using Siebel's existing marketing software, customers can design an ad campaign, test a marketing message before it's launched, time a campaign to run over several weeks so responses don't swamp the Web site or call center, and measure its results. Paragren's software will enhance the design component of Siebel's suite, the company said.

"If you are a credit card company, you need (to find) people who spend a lot but don't pay their whole bill on time," said Wister Walcott, Siebel's senior director of marketing automation products. "You want to find people who have just sent their kids to college or bought a house or a car and sort them by household income or zip code."

While Siebel released the first generation of its own database marketing software last summer, Walcott said Paragren, which put four years of development into its database software, will provide more depth--including the ability to launch targeted campaigns via email, on a Web site or by telephone through a call center.

Paragren's customers include PNC Bank, Ameritech and Finland's largest telecommunications company, Sonera Telecommunications.