Thursday, June 02, 2011

Oracle Integrates On Demand Marketing with On Demand CRM

Summary: Oracle has integrated marketing automation with its on-demand CRM product. Will competitors do the same?

If I were more on the ball, I would have noticed that May 25 marked a full year since Oracle bought the intellectual property* of high-end B2B marketing automation vendor Market2Lead. I was actually briefed on May 17 by the Oracle team handling the resulting product but hadn’t noticed that the anniversary was approaching. I wonder if they had cake?

I hope so, since they’ve clearly been working hard. In February they released the first “Oraclized” version of the product, now Oracle CRM On Demand Marketing. This included a redesigned user interface that matches the look, feel, and terminology of Oracle’s on-demand CRM product, is available in the same 20 languages, and allows unified user IDs and log-ins.

The new system uses the same data structures as the rest of Oracle CRM On Demand. It shares many physical tables as well, but keeps the major contact tables separate yet synchronized. This is largely because Marketing systems typically contain many more leads than Sales wants in CRM. Marketing systems also run large, complex queries that would interfere with CRM performance if both systems used the same physical files.

The unified data structure allows unified reporting across the customer buying process. Although Oracle doesn’t use the term, this is very consistent with the revenue management concepts described by other B2B marketing automation vendors. Oracle’s new Marketing system supports this with a separate analytical database, which is essential for advanced revenue reporting such as time-series analysis.

Except for improved reporting, the features of the new Oracle product are pretty much the same as the old Market2Lead, which I last reviewed two years ago. This was, and remains, one of the most powerful in the industry. Important capabilities include “adaptive” program flows, which vary depending on customer behavior; advanced Web pages and forms; automated content recommendations; and several types of asset templates. These are mostly relevant to large companies, which fits nicely with Oracle’s customer base.

In fact, most On Demand Marketing sales are part of an Oracle CRM On Demand installation, either at current Oracle CRM users or at clients buying both CRM and marketing automation simultaneously. It doesn’t hurt that On Demand Marketing is the only choice for companies who want a Software-as-a-Service marketing system from Oracle. The company’s other big marketing automation product, Siebel Marketing, is on-premise software.

All this makes Oracle a poster child of sorts for the proposition that CRM and marketing automation should be part of a single system. I’ve argued this for a long time but it’s still a minority view, especially (and for obvious reasons) among the vendors of stand-alone marketing automation products. Oracle itself has announced an initiative for “cross channel customer experience management” which incorporates its products for CRM, marketing, loyalty, real-time decisions, and ecommerce.

It will be interesting to see whether Oracle’s integrated marketing-plus-sales product leads its not-so-friendly competitors at to respond with an integrated solution of their own. Or, more broadly, whether IBM sticks to its position that it doesn’t need a CRM product to dominate the integrated marketing world. The B2B marketing automation vendors are definitely mice at an elephant dance. It’s a dangerous but exciting position.

* It wasn’t an outright acquisition because wouldn’t permit integration with an Oracle-owned product. So existing Market2Lead clients remained with the old company until it could migrate them to other marketing platforms. Once this is done, Market2Lead will complete its shutdown.

1 comment:

Joe Smith said...

Thank you for posting - it's wonderful to see industry movement in this direction. At ApexTwo, we've long shared your belief that CRM and automated marketing are a match made in Heaven. We provide customized SugarCRM implementation services hand-in-hand with solid Marketing Automation solutions for exponential ROI. (Sugar is steadily getting a leg up on Salesforce - something to keep an eye on!)
Check it out at