February 26, 2013
Oracle vs. Salesforce: Social Acquisition Face-off (click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Now that Oracle's $871 million purchase of Eloqua is complete, you can expect tighter integration between the cloud-based marketing platform and Oracle's sales, service, social and e-commerce applications. But that doesn't mean preexisting integrations with third-party applications will go to seed.
This promise was echoed on Monday by Oracle applications executive Steve Miranda and Eloqua CEO Joe Payne to allay any lingering concerns that things might change for customers of the formerly independent company. Eloqua applications manage customer contacts, leads and marketing campaigns across email, landing pages, social networks and other methods of promotion and sales-lead capture. The applications are particularly focused on business-to-business marketing, though they're also used by business-to-consumer firms that sell through direct sales teams. When Oracle's acquisition was announced in December, customers were "a little nervous" that Oracle might not play nice, admitted Payne during a conference call with analysts on Monday. But the consistent message from Oracle has been that customers will be able to freely combine Eloqua with the content, sales, service, social, BI and e-commerce platforms of their choice. When Eloqua was independent, Salesforce.com was a frequent partner, but that's not the only vendor Eloqua works with. "We're also working with Microsoft Dynamics and even SAP, where we've built two integrations for new cloud applications in just the last three months," Payne said. [ Want more on state-of-the-art digital marketing? Read Why CMO Tech Spending Is Good For IT. ] In a Web conference last week, Oracle executive VP Thomas Kurian promised ongoing support for bi-directional data integration with third-party applications, maintenance of user interface integrations for seamless handoffs between CRM and marketing apps, sustained reporting links for BI, and a continuation of the option of using Salesforce Chatter or Microsoft Yammer as the collaboration platform within Eloqua. The new links planned between Eloqua and Oracle applications are numerous. Customers will be able to use Eloqua in conjunction with the cloud-based Oracle Social Suite, including Oracle Social Marketing (for launching campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks), Oracle Social Engagement and Monitoring (for responding to service requests and gauging customer sentiment on public social networks), and Oracle Social Network (for supporting internal collaboration). Eloqua will be pre-integrated with the Oracle Fusion CRM and Oracle CRM On Demand so qualified leads from Eloqua can be passed on to salespeople and prospect information passed back to Eloqua for enrichment and lead nurturing. Oracle said it will also capture information from Oracle service cloud offerings (mostly RightNow applications) so contact-center and self-service interaction data can be passed back to Eloqua to help targeted cross-sell and up-sell campaigns. In the e-commerce arena, new linking options with Oracle ATG will create another two-way information exchange whereby Eloqua will be able to gather and enrich customer information from Web landing pages and e-commerce sites -- yet another point of customer interaction. "We aim to be the destination where marketers maintain all their buyer profile information and keep it up to date," Payne said. "If we can capture more information, we can help our customers know their prospects and customers better and build better-targeted marketing campaigns." Eloqua has most often competed with vendors including Marketo and Pardot when working with midsize companies, but it often squared off against Oracle (specifically the CRM On Demand Marketing app) in large enterprise deals, according to Payne. Another competitor in larger deals has been Aprimo, a company acquired by Teradata in 2010. With investments from Oracle in localization into new languages and with Oracle's large sales footprint, Eloqua is headed into new global markets. And with its ties to Oracle ATG, there's a new opportunity to do more with business-to-consumer marketing through e-commerce sites and supporting digital campaigns. In this case, the targeting information in Eloqua could help customize the appearance of websites to key customer groups or even individual customers. "We have a lot of customers using ATG today that are using other tools to configure their sites, but Eloqua gives us a powerful front-end engine to go after those opportunities," said Oracle's Steve Miranda. That's low-hanging fruit that could quickly amp up Eloqua's consumer marketing footprint.
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