Deal for US$1.4 billion doesn’t gain Oracle new technology but it does add marketing flair

Oracle Corp.’s purchase this week of cloud marketing automation vendor Responsys Inc. for just under US$1.4 billion has generated a lot of industry comment.

In a research note Ovum senior analyst Gerry Brown says the deal doesn’t mean a lot for enterprise customers, suggesting it was meant to show Oracle is trying to show financial markets it “hasn’t lost  its acquisition mojo.”

More importantly, the deal counters Salesforce’s purchase of ExactTarget (and, Brown says, it did so after passing on Responsys) and Pardot. Oracle also blunts the potency of Adobe’s Neolane acquistion, says Brown.

The fact is, he adds, Oracle didn’t gain a significant piece of technology in buying Responsys,

“A lot of Responsys’ product functionality is already contained in Eloqua (which Oracle acquired in December 2012)’s products. Oracle’s claim to now be the only vendor to offer both B2C and B2B marketing automation is ambitious. Responsys would never turn their backs on a B2B customer, nor would Eloqua turn their backs on a B2C customer. The technology is very similar, but the emphasis is slightly different. Responsys’ marketing-oriented services capability is interesting to have, but Oracle already has great data integration capabilities.”

One thing Brown likes about Responsys is that it produces profits (which he says is unusual for a SaaS-based vendor).

Responsys sells mainly email and data integration customized marketing automation solutions to large retailers and consumer goods companies. Responsys has the best messaging for such customers, Brown says, adding its value proposition “stands head and shoulders above its peers. Responsys can certainly ‘talk the marketing talk’, which Oracle has struggled with in the past.”

On the other hand, he adds, Responsys hasn’t grown or scaled its business like ExactTarget has.

Meanwhile Gartner analyst Julie Hopkins writes that “bringing these two providers together as part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud underscores Oracle’s focus on the marketing organization as a source of growth, addresses a gap in their existing marketing cloud offering, and in their words,  demonstrates an effort  to bring together “best in class” capabilities for both B2B and B2C marketers.”

But she also notes that all digital marketing providers — including Oracle, Adobe and Salesforce — still have inconsistent key functions such as content marketing, ad tech, PPC bid management, web analytics and tag management in their offerings.

Whoever best integrates and adds these functions, she suggests, will be the winner.

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