Monday, October 30, 2006

Does Eloqua Compete with Aprimo and Unica?

Not to be obsessive or anything, but I do want to respond a bit more to the anonymous comment on last Thursday’s post, which said (the comment, that is) “Eloqua is definitely a marketing automation and campaign management tool. They go head to head with likes of Aprimo and Unica and are beating up on them. MRM is not something Eloqua does now, but I would expect them to in the future.”

The anonymity of the comment bothered me a bit, but that’s my fault. The rules of this blog have now changed so only registered members can comment.

My real concern is the substance. As my original post stated, Eloqua and similar products do provide some marketing automation and campaign management functions. I don’t consider them true marketing automation and campaign management tools because I consider the defining characteristics of those tools to include a full-scale marketing database: one which contains a complete view of customer data, including detailed purchase history. Eloqua keeps only a customer profile and communication history and is intended to work with a conventional CRM system that holds the rest.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Eloqua is sold as a system for lead generation and nurturing, not long-term management of on-going customer relationships. Its limited database is perfectly adequate for this purpose. In fact, I think very highly of Eloqua in general. Click here for my recent detailed review of the product.

The comment about Eloqua “beating up” on the likes of Aprimo and Unica is worth its own discussion. Because Eloqua is so different from those other products, there are certainly clients for whom it is more appropriate. To repeat a phrase I’ve heard many times from different vendors, if both products are being considered in the same situation, one of them is in the wrong place. That Eloqua gets chosen in those situations simply indicates it’s the right tool, not that is it better than those other products at their own core functions.

Which brings up a final bit of whining. Why do some software salespeople feel they must claim their product is the best at everything? It’s obviously not true and can only result in their being included in sales situations which they will lose, or, even worse, will fail at should they win. Maybe it’s just that salespeople are competitive by nature. Still, one of the basics of good sales training is learning to distinguish suitable from unsuitable opportunities. I guess some people need an occasional refresher course.

1 comment:

Steve said...

David,

Two things about this kill me. One is that I work for Eloqua and one of the things we openly talk about is how we need to be transparent in how we do business -- the classic Cluetrain "markets are conversations" model.

The second thing is that as a blogger myself, I'm constantly battling with whether to allow anonymous commenters, knowing that some corporations frown on their employees contributing to blogs, mainly due to the fear of proprietary information traveling outside the corporate firewall. On the other hand, I'm accountable for what I say in a public forum, so part of me thinks that everyone who comments should be as well.

Anyway, the reality is that Eloqua does not do classic MRM today (though we may in the future), and we do not primarily compete with B2C solutions like those you mentioned. And while we all wish we were dominating the competition, there is a lot of talent out there and we don't take either Aprimo or Unica for granted.

To paraphrase a classic Saturday Night Live sketch, Eloqua is not both a floor wax and a dessert topping. You've already written a great review of our software here, so I won't belabor the point.

I don't think it's whining for you to point out that a lot of enterprise salespeople are guilty of hyperbole when it comes to their products.

Steve Gershik
Director of Marketing Innovation
Eloqua
steve.gershik@eloqua.com