Oracle announced today that it will acquire Eloqua, a SaaS marketing automation provider. Oracle’s stated motives address, head-on, the zeitgeist facing the 21st century marketer. Today’s buyer definitely controls the buying process more than today’s seller controls the selling process. Digitally active and socially connected, buyers demand consistent, seamless, and seemingly sentient engagement across multiple (online, offline, digital, physical, social) channels and touch points. I agree with the assessment of my colleague Rob Brosnan, in his blog that this is a move that has large ramifications for the future of all customer relationship marketers and marketing vendors. In this blog, I wanted to ponder some of the near term implications, the WIM – What it Means – as we like to say at Forrester, especially for the B-2-B marketer. I see some clear winners, but it gets a little hazy after that.
Oracle presented a grand vision -- a comprehensive customer experience cloud that enables business to create an integrated, end-to-end process of marketing, sales, service, and support with the goal of delivering a delightful customer experience. Oracle made a big bold move to deliver on that vision. They have picked up a company with a robust product, happy customers, and (arguably) the best brand in the B2B marketing automation space. For B2B marketers, Oracle is now the first vendor to actually have a shot at providing a unified automation platform for the end-to-end lead to revenue process.