Oracle Buys Vitrue For Social Marketing
Vitrue could provide the social marketing hook to drive sales into RightNow and Oracle's CRM systems.
Vitrue is a cloud service for managing social media publishing and structured marketing campaigns across Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, with particular emphasis on Facebook for embeddable page tab content and applications, such as the Vitrue Shop social storefront. Vitrue also offers analytics to measure the effect of social campaigns. Buddy Media is Vitrue's most direct competitor.
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Oracle declined an interview request, pointing to an acquisition announcement on its website for the answers to all questions. "Vitrue's social marketing platform helps organizations enhance their social marketing efforts to the next level of social engagement by giving brands the ability to scale across multiple social networks, target messages from global to local, create unique and consistent brand experiences, and publish content that engages fans and drives leads," read the statement. "Together, Oracle and Vitrue plan to enable a unified social experience across customer interactions, resulting in meaningful customer engagements with consistent brand experiences across all channels and media; improved return on investment for social sales and marketing campaigns across paid, owned, and social media; and enhanced customer service through real-time responsiveness and high-touch engagement."
The purchase price was not disclosed, although TechCrunch reported it to be $300 million. Vitrue is a private company, based in Atlanta. Oracle said it expected the transaction to close this summer.
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Within minutes after the announcement, Constellation Research Group analyst Alan Lepofsky posted to Twitter that the purchase of Vitrue made sense as a follow up to Oracle's acquisition of RightNow, which offers cloud software for managing online and social customer support and engagement. Announced in October and valued at about $1.5 billion, it was one of the biggest technology acquisitions of 2011.
"By combining Vitrue + CRM + RightNow, Oracle provides end-end engagement w/ customers from marketing to sales to support," Lepofsky tweeted.
In an interview, Lepofsky said he sees the purchase as part of a larger trend toward major enterprise software companies putting their stamp on social business by trying to control core business processes, end-to-end. Oracle already had multiple CRM technologies for tracking customer contacts, and with RightNow it got technologies for online support and customer engagement across multiple channels, including social media. What Oracle didn't have until now was the marketing piece--the technology for pushing content into social media and creating the interest that creates the leads, some of which will eventually find their way into CRM as sales opportunities.
"Vitrue was definitely strong on the content side, so it's a logical fit," Lepofsky said. When a lead is generated, "if a RightNow monitor brought that in from Twitter, it would be interesting to know if that customer contact came from content broadcast by Vitrue," he said.
Because Vitrue is a relatively small company, he said it would make sense for it to become a part of the RightNow suite of products.
While entering social media publishing might seem a stretch for an enterprise software company like Oracle, "it does make sense to me in this changing landscape of what customer interaction looks like," said Zach Hofer-Shall, a Forrester Research analyst. "Whether Oracle wanted to be in it or not, all of Oracle's customers have to start caring about this." Buying Vitrue is "a very big signal that they know their customers know the world has to start caring about social relationships," he said.
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