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Competitor: Oracle's Latest Acquisition Fills 'Major Gap'

Oracle's $1.5 billion acquisition of Responsys last month is the company's attempt to fill its “major gap” in the marketing technology space, an Oracle competitor told CMSWire.

“This announcement continues to provide validation and further attention to the importance of the marketing technology space,” Suresh Vittal, vice president of strategy at Adobe Campaign, told CMSWire. “However at its core, Oracle is a CRM company and doesn’t understand marketers’ daily issues. It realized it was missing market share. Through another acquisition, it is trying to fill a major gap as the stakes are continuing to increase.”

Adobe's Take on Oracle

Oracle bought marketing cloud vendor Responsys Dec. 20, exactly a year after Oracle announced its $871 million buy of marketing automation company Eloqua. According to Adobe’s Vittal, Oracle realized when it acquired Eloqua that the acquisition provided it with B2B capabilities, but didn’t scale to deliver to B2C marketers. He continued:

This led them to an email marketing solution that has less than 10 percent uptake of other channels in their installed base: Responsys. They will find that Responsys too struggles with high volumes cross-channel and real-time customer engagement scenarios.”

Deborah Hellinger of Oracle’s media team declined to specifically respond to Adobe’s comments when contacted by CMSWire. An email to Responsys’ media relations manager was not returned.

Vittal pointed to Forrester Wave's on campaign management for proof of his take on Responsys. Forrester, contacted by CMSWire, confirmed the latest report was released January 2012. In it, Forrester said Responsys’ continued growth proves it can sustain the on-demand, interactive cross-channel campaign management category that Forrester credited Responsys with creating.

"Its clients were highly pleased with the product’s flexibility, personalized messaging, and ease of use, but they cited a need for improvement in application programming interface (API) performance," Forrester wrote. "The company remains a strong choice for interactive marketers, but it faces the same challenge as its closest competitor in email — ExactTarget. Responsys must accelerate planned improvements to analytics, optimization, and mobile execution."

Forrester grouped Responsys with ExactTarget and Neolane as those "poised to disrupt the campaign management market by delivering integrated campaign execution focused on interactive customer dialogues."

Acquisitions the Norm

It should be noted that Adobe's footprint in this space was helped through acquisition: Day, OmnitureNeolane, Efficient Frontier, etc. Acquisitions such as this have, in fact, been the norm for this space the past four years, including IBM/Unica, SDL/Alterian, Teradata/Aprimo, Oracle/Eloqua, Salesforce/Exact Target, and now Oracle/Responsys.

There have been others, too. 

Oracle’s Eloqua and Responsys acquisitions signal that Oracle wants to own the larger, enterprise markets since those solutions provided the most robust solution set for more complex organizations, said Chris Golec, CEO and founder of Demandbase, whose customers include Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe, IBM and Microsoft.

“That said, I very seldom see customers standardize on single providers for their entire marketing stack,” Golec added.

Connecting with the CMO

Another competitor of Oracle’s, SDL, said it will be tough for IT-based Oracle to “build a rapport” with the chief marketing officer (CMO).

“The buying center is quickly shifting away from IT — where Oracle has had the strongest foothold — and is moving squarely into marketing,” said SDL’s Paige O’Neill, the company’s chief marketing officer. “Historically, Oracle has not understood how to engage with marketers, and despite these acquisitions, I think it will be very difficult for Oracle to shift their mindset away from IT to be able to effectively speak to and build rapport with the CMO.”

 

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