"Rather than merging with larger companies like so many others, we decided to form partnerships," said Nussey, author of the book "The Quiet Revolution in E-Mail Marketing."
"My motives are based on driving shareholder value, but I also believe that e-mail remains such a deep specialty that this is the best approach on behalf of all of our clients."
The most recent example of Nussey's approach was last month's announcement that Silverpop has paired up with Abacus, a division of DoubleClick, to provide the data-base marketer with e-mail marketing services.
In March, Silverpop announced partnerships with the four main Web analytics companies: Coremetrics, Omniture, WebSideStory and WebTrends.
"Our view is to build partnerships and deliver on them so that the integration is something better than if we actually merged with a direct marketing company, or a Web analytics company or some other company," Nussey said.
That also means customers are not limited to one Web analytics tool or one direct marketing solution, he said. "I really believe that letting customers choose their solution providers is the right way to go, building their own best-of-breed solutions based on their needs," he said.
Still, clients don't want the process to be complicated, so Nussey consistently strives for integration and good communication between partners. He said Silverpop is very good at execution. "We're not perfect, but we've focused on it heavily," he said. "It's the critical skill set to make partnerships work."
"Many clients," Nussey said, "prefer the choice of vendors for competitive reasons; but they still want the promise of services being tied together seamlessly. It is the promise of a single data solution.
"I argue that the integration is achievable through mechanisms that don't require M&A."