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Why Oracle bought Eloqua, and what it means for the market

Chris Kanaracus | Dec. 21, 2012
Oracle surprised many tech industry observers by announcing Thursday it would pay US$871 million for marketing automation software vendor Eloqua. The move seemed a bit unlikely given the amount of sales and marketing software Oracle already had.

Some provide the ability to run email marketing campaigns. Newer ones focus on social media. Some center on "inbound marketing," the notion of drawing customers to a company website through search engine optimization, blogs and other means. Still others manage "outbound marketing," such as television and radio ads.

"There's a real gauntlet of obstacles when you consider what you need for your marketing programs," Pombriant said.

Eloqua offers a long list of specialized marketing capabilities, including marketing measurement, email marketing, lead nurturing and customer targeting and segmentation.

All told, the purchase will give Oracle "the ability to track, capture and analyze a potential buyer's Digital Body Language including their preferences, behavior and decision-making processes," according to its announcement.

The big picture: "The statement Oracle is making to the market is that customer engagement technologies are really important and where companies need to be spending their time," Berridge said. "They're not out there buying some old ERP vendor right now. In this case, they bought a company that has cutting-edge technology."

The move also speaks to the fact that sales and marketing professionals are having more influence on IT purchasing. "Many organizations have been spending so much capital on back-office ERP projects that they're figuring out how the way to drive value is to look at your customer acquisition, customer service and customer retention [processes]," he said.

 

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