With Oracle's acquisition of marketing automation provider Eloqua, what's the integration plan? It's wide and far reaching.

The CXM Life Cycle

There are two things Oracle wants us to know it for, aside from its middleware and database technology. Those things are customer experience and the cloud. And this is where Eloqua fits in very nicely.

Oracle acquired Eloqua late December 2012 for US$ 871 million, and it has made the cloud-based marketing automation provider the center of its Marketing Cloud. Oracle's Cloud services support over 10,000 customers (or 25 million users), and the cloud is a key focus for Oracle moving forward.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd said that we are seeing a fundamental shift in customer experience management (CXM) that is transforming the buying process. People are well informed, reaching brands from multiple interaction points, they have higher expectations and wield much more influence than ever before. Consider that in a recent Oracle study, 89% of customers would switch brands because of a poor customer experience.

But it's not simply a matter of having good content, or a solid marketing strategy or rocking sales team. The CXM life cycle is a sum of all interactions: content, social, marketing, commerce, sales and service.

The Oracle Cloud Has it All

Common data management, a rules and decisions framework, API services, collaboration and business intelligence. On top of that foundation you see the core components. Use it all or mix and match as desired.

Oracle's CXM Cloud

In this new cloud-based world, Eloqua supports the modern marketer who knows what customers and prospects want. 

Eloqua's Role in the CXM Platform

According to Eloqua CEO Joe Payne, in many ways it's business as usual for Eloqua. Under Oracle's wing, Eloqua is still committed to an open integration strategy, and it is still committed to not only continuing support for other integrated tools, like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but it will also continue to provide ongoing enhancements. We will also see bi-directional integration for customer activity and pipeline data across all the different CXM components, as well as integrated user experiences like in Eloqua Engage, Profiler and Discover. 

On a call with Joe Payne and Steve Miranda, EVP Application Development, the question was asked if Eloqua would stop supporting integration with Salesforce Chatter. Payne indicated that Eloqua had picked Chatter as a matter of expediency -- many of Salesforce's clients are also Eloqua clients. But essentially, Payne said, Eloqua is a tool agnostic platform, so we should expect to see more integrations with similar tools (like Yammer, and Oracle's own solution).

We aren't looking at the final version of Eloqua either (not that we thought we were). Oracle brings many opportunities for expansion into global markets, and we'll see localization and international support. Payne indicated that Oracle was already heavily investing in Eloqua and that he was excited about the opportunity to expand Eloqua's reach dramatically.

We can also expect integration with the Sales Cloud and Social Relationship Management, and with the Service Cloud to help facilitate automated customer life cycle management. A number of integration points were listed for each cloud. One item from the Sales Cloud is that Eloqua will connect to the Oracle Customer Hub where all master customer and product data is managed, enhancing the customer profile with marketing profile data and "Digital Body Language." Also, the Oracle Social Network will be embedded within Eloqua as it is with the Sales Cloud and the Oracle Service Cloud provided enterprise wide collaboration. 

In terms of the Social Relationship Management platform (SRM), SRM will continue to provide social media campaign execution and social feedback, while Eloqua will provide marketing automation and multi-channel campaign management. SRM will also feed Eloqua's segmentation model with customer social media data.

Oracle EVP Product Development, Thomas Kurian, also talked about improving the user experiences of Profiler, Discover and Engage. In terms of new functionality, he said that content strategy will be integrated with display advertising via Eloqua's AdFocus solution, and indicated new vertical products for Insurance and Manufacturing markets.

Additional areas of integration that people would be interested in include ATG e-commerce integration to support B2C customers (and also keep in mind that many B2B customers also have an e-commerce component to their CXM strategy). Payne acknowledged that Eloqua is strong with sales and marketing, but it can also augment B2C marketing. We could also see Oracle's RTD (real-time decisions) platform sit between Eloqua and the e-commerce engine.

One thing I didn't really see was an integration with web content management, supporting the personalization of websites. Payne noted that many customers are overwhelmed by the idea of personalized content on the website, pointing to a below 50% adoption rate. Which seems to mean that while we'll see integration with e-commerce, don't expect to see integration with Oracle's WebCenter WEM offering in the near future. 

The Destination for Marketers

One final point that is interesting to note is that Payne dislikes the term "marketing automation vendor." He believes it undersells what Eloqua has to offer, which is the destination for marketers. The Eloqua platform is where marketers will store all buyer profiles and information and share it. The Eloqua App Cloud allows other marketer solutions to connect to Eloqua to share this information.

Overall, while we can expect much integration between Eloqua and Oracle CXM solutions, we can also expect that Eloqua will continue its roadmap of open integration. Oracle is a big organization with big plans, and it will be interesting to see how much influence Eloqua will have on its Customer Experience roadmap and if, in the end, it will be swallowed up and take on a new form.