Oracle kicked off its Interact 2014 conference today by noting it has added 350 marketing applications and data partners in the past year. That's resulted in "the industry's largest marketing technology ecosystem."

As part of that, Oracle said its AppCloud now includes 235 fully integrated apps. Its BlueKai program has about 300 partners in data, media, privacy and technology that leverage BlueKai data for solutions that extend beyond ad targeting.

The announcements, issued hours before the conference opened, said the growth means clients can more easily build a personal dialogue with customers across channels, a goal that has evolved into something of a Holy Grail for digital marketers. Perhaps more significantly, the conference is also providing some clarity on Oracle's roadmap for integrating its costly acquisitions, including $871 million for Eloqua, $1.5 billion for Responsys and an estimated $350 million-plus for BlueKai.

A Bigger AppCloud

Oracle is integrating by expanding its ecosystem instead of  only building a complete suite of solutions based on its acquisitions. Kevin Akeroyd, general manager of the Oracle Marketing Cloud. elaborated on the company's commitment to integration in an hour-long conversation with reporters later in the day.

"Unlike the past, when it's been enough to go out and buy best-of-breed, I believe the winners are going to be the ones who are very committed to integration. Integration is going to become as important, if not more important, as buying best-of-breed assets," he said.

Akeroyd said Oracle had already proven it's "very, very good at integration" by fully integrating Eloqua into its suite within six months of purchase. Compendium was integrated into Eloqua in four months, he said, and the company plans to integrate BlueKai and Responsys "just as aggressively."

Shakeout Ahead

Later, he predicted there would be "a shakeout" in the fast-growing digital marketing space, hinting that smaller players could fall by the wayside.

"I do think there's going to be a shakeout in the marketplace where the pretenders are going to shake out and the real players that have investments, have best-of-breed, have real solutions instead of pretty PowerPoints [will succeed]," he said. "I can tell you we absolutely see that coming." 

That said, he declined to speculate when Oracle would recover its own huge investment in marketing technology. Instead, he gave hints that the company would continue deepen its already bullish commitment to the space.

Can't Keep Up

"I think what Oracle realizes is it can't acquire fast enough and can't innovate fast enough. There's just no way. Marketing is changing much too  fast. So that's where the whole AppCloud comes in," said Scott Vaughan, CMO at Integrate, an Oracle partner that offers a cloud-based platform for moving outside data into marketing platforms.