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Chuck Schaeffer Oracle Acquires Eloqua

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Marketing Automation Will Morph with CRM Software

Oracle has acquired marketing automation software pioneer Eloqua for $871M, and with this acquisition accelerates its growth into a red hot marketing software industry. This acquisition is interesting not because Oracle gains an impressive product, but because this product is symbiotic with Oracle’s CRM and Customer Experience (CX) software solutions, and will further fuel a movement where competing CRM software publishers follow suit.

Oracle’s buy of Eloqua makes sense. Oracle previously tested the marketing automation software market by acquiring Market2Lead in May 2010. This was a small acquisition that Oracle acquired for parts, and inserted those parts into its Oracle CRM onDemand and later Fusion CRM software. Now with Eloqua, the company will integrate a best-in-class marketing automation solution with Oracle CRM software, and find themselves in a solid position to deliver high value competitive differentiation for tasks such as digital lead acquisition, lead scoring, nurture campaigns and rich lead gen analytics—all capabilities that are in high demand from CMO’s and marketers, and not available from CRM rivals such as Salesforce.com and SAP.

There may be some eventual customer fallout as the bulk of Eloqua customers also use Salesforce.com. In fact, while it's not publicly disclosed, Salesforce.com uses Eloqua for its marketing automation. As the titans that run both Oracle and Salesforce become more distanced, and their co-opetition becomes less gentlemanly and more strained, its quite likely that Salesforce will distance itself from Eloqua and finally buy Marketo.

In fact, many enterprise software publishers are clearly taking note of the rising marketing automation software industry. Infor acquired OrbisGlobal a few weeks ago, Microsoft acquired MarketingPilot in October and ExactTarget acquired Pardot also in October. IBM has acquired Unica and TeraData acquired Aprimo.

Eloqua was the first “marketing automation software” vendor as the company actually coined the phrase and was further the first to go public. The rest of the marketing automation software industry consists entirely of small private companies, many of which are experiencing high-growth, but are nonetheless extremely small companies that will undoubtedly become very big targets for CRM and other enterprise software makers.

Gartner analyst Laura McLellan has further fueled marketing automation interest by stating that CMOs will outspend CIOs in 2017. While her statement is largely taken out of context as that spend level includes non-marketing software investments in digital practices and ancillary technology such as e-commerce, it’s nonetheless reflective that while IT budgets are forecast to grow 4.7 percent, technology induced marketing budgets are predicted to grow by 11 percent. And when examining overall CRM software market growth which is projected at 9 percent CAGR through 2016, the analyst firm also predicts that marketing automation will reach just under $4.7 billion in market value, thereby becoming the highest growth CRM software sector with a 10.7 percent CAGR, as compared to 8.9 percent growth for sales applications and 7.8 percent growth for customer service and support applications.

And grow they should. CMOs and marketers are the last executives to gain a technology platform to call their own. While HR Directors build upon HCM software platforms, CFOs take advantage of ERP systems and Sales leaders standardize on CRM applications, marketers have been left to cobble together dozens of disjointed marketing tools in siloed environments, and suffer the effects of redundant data entry, absence of departmental-wide performance metrics, slowed cycle times and disparate data sets for staged or aged reporting.

Oracle’s move to bring marketing automation into CRM and customer experience will deliver a marketing platform for marketers to call their own, better align marketing with sales, and trigger a move by CRM software competitors to follow suit. End

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Oracle’s move to bring marketing automation into CRM and customer experience will deliver a marketing platform for marketers to call their own, better align marketing with sales, and trigger a move by CRM software competitors to follow suit.

 

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