It's one thing to spend a couple of billion dollars acquiring digitalmarketing technologies and another to make them truly useful to today'smarketers.
Nobody knows this better than companies like Oracle or Adobe, who went onmultiyear shopping sprees to beef-up their capabilities in email management,social listening, customer analytics, email management, omnichannel messagingand other areas. The big question was could these companies quickly integratethese products in a meaningful way amid a fast-changing marketing industry.
Oracle, a newer player in the "marketing cloud" arena, showed off aseries of its summer releases today at its Interact 2014 show in San Francisco,drawing boffo reviews from many of the 1,000-plus marketers in attendance.Clearly, the unofficial theme of the conference is "we are very, very goodat integrating," as marketing cloud GeneralManager Kevin Akeroyd told us last evening.
The question of integration is key because marketers sending messages acrosschannels now need to personalize the right message to increasingly mobilecustomers at just the right time and in the right place. Adobehas made progress in some areas. For example, a year after purchasingNeolane's email management tools, it has them working with three of the fiveother areas of its product suite. Another update is expected this fall.
Based on today's presentations, it appears Oracle is moving faster followingacquisitions that included $871 million for Eloqua, $1.5 billion forResponsys and an estimated $350 million-plus for BlueKai. As Akeroyd noted,Oracle integrated Eloqua in just six months, and added the features ofCompendium to that just four months later.
John Stetic, group vice president for the Oracle Marketing Cloud, todaydemonstrated how features from BlueKai, Reponsys, PushIO, Eloqua and otheracquired companies are all part of the current release.
For example, a marketer can now use a single system to track social mediatraffic, target emails to specific users, have content approved through asimplified workflows, send messages that adapt to whatever device the person isusing, coordinate text and email, set up new campaigns and manage contentassets. "We're going to be even more excited in the fall when we start totalk about additional integrations," he said.
To be sure, it will take years to determine if the massive investments intoday's marketing technologies will pay off for Oracle or other large players.Scores of new, cheap, SaaS-based alternatives are readily available, offeringthe advantages of easier upgrades. And new marketing demands surface by themonth, an evolutionary process that is likely to test the useful lifespan of theacquired technologies. But today, the marketers seemed to like what they heard.
They Like It
CMSWire asked some of the marketers in the audience what they liked and whatthey didn't about what they saw. The feedback was overall quite positive.
For example, we asked Susan Jit, a marketing manager for Harry & Davidwho used the Reponsys platform before the acquisition, how she'd rate the toolson a scale of five. "I was expecting three and what they showed me was afive," she said. "It seems like it's a lot easiier. There's so muchthat they can offer. The only challenge is learning the things they canoffer."
Kevin Bird, president of Buddhacom, a digital agency, said the new productswere "absolutely" things they would use with clients. "We workwith our clients on the SRM and Eloqua platform, so the addition of theResponsys and BlueKai are a big plus," he said. "To be able to go backand forth between Responsys and Eloqua gives them scale."
"Responsys gives our customer the opportunity to develop a deeperrelationship and understanding of the customer's wants and needs," headded. "When you combine that with the BlueKai data managementplatform, it enables medium to large retailers or enterprise-level companies tobe able to extract data that not only enables their sales teams, but enablesproduct development and enables customer relationship managementdevelopment."
Steve Mosinski, director of e-commerce for the Dollar Thrifty AutomativeGroup, said the tools would let him build on the Responsys platform he alreadyuses. "We're looking at becoming a little more dynamic, such asgeo-targeting customers when they arrive at an airport," he said. "Wecan find a way to make that kind of campaign setup work for us and get a littlebit more dynamic ... we probably need to get better in targeting."