Oracle has laid in out in detail how it intends to compete with the likes of Salesforce.com in the highly competitive arena for next-generation marketing software.
The vendor spent US$871 million in December to acquire marketing automation vendor Eloqua, and during a webcast event on Thursday, executives described how the software will fit into Oracle's broader portfolio of "customer experience" software.
"Great customer experiences come from the sum of all interactions with a vendor," from the initial research before making a purchase to ongoing customer service well after the sale, Oracle co-president Mark Hurd said during the event. In addition, "customers today "are always connected, always aware and always sharing," Hurd said.
Moreover, customers are better informed, have more control over how they want to interact with sellers, have higher expectations and have more influence, thanks substantially to the rise of social media, according to Oracle's executive vice president of product development, Thomas Kurian.
But Eloqua's software can "create modern marketers," who "know exactly what their customers want," allowing them to deliver a better experience and ultimately, increase sales, Kurian said.
Companies that benefit most from Eloqua's technology are those that sell mostly with a direct sales force, said Eloqua CEO Joe Payne . That's because customers today "don't call salespeople," he said. "We do online research, we download white papers, we go on social media. Buyers are eliminating 50 percent of vendors without even talking to a salesperson."
Eloqua's technology manages "the up-front part of the process," helping companies "see who wants to buy today and [then] prioritize those folks for your sales organization," Payne said.
In addition, Eloqua has analytic capabilities that measure which marketing campaigns run via it are the most effective, solving a long-standing problem, according to Payne. "The old CEO joke is, 'I waste half my money in marketing, I just don't know what half.'"
Eloqua's other strengths compared to its competition include broad globalization, with the ability to handle complex privacy and security requirements that tend to vary across geographies, Payne said.
Kurian also explained how Eloqua will be integrated with Oracle's related software.
For example, Oracle Social Engagement and Monitoring will classify and aggregate social data and feed it into Eloqua's segmentation model, Kurian added. Sales and marketing teams will be able to collaborate using Oracle Social Network. Finally, Oracle's core CRM (customer relationship management) software will provide lead management, sales automation and contact management as well as feed customer profile data into Eloqua for campaign targeting and other purposes, he said.
Kurian didn't provide estimated dates of availability for the various integrations with Eloqua, or any details about pricing and bundling options that may be in the offing.
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