Marketing automation has just reached its proverbial tipping point, a business phenomenon writer Bryan Walsh described as, “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.” Early this year, many experts predicted the category would boom in 2010, and news just hit that Oracle has acquired the intellectual property assets of marketing automation vendor Market2Lead.
Companies around the world tell us that marketing automation is the most important sales and marketing investment they’ve made. I expect Oracle’s entry to make a major difference in the attention paid to this sector. It’s going to open marketers’ eyes, and, as a result, expand the market. This is exactly the type of movement this industry needs.
You see, the potential market for lead management systems is less than 10 percent penetrated. Although the sales and marketing teams using this technology are winning their markets because they are able to react to buyers in real time and measure what is working, upwards of 90 percent of their counterparts have yet to recognize the value in marketing automation.
That’s all about to change. When a bellwether like Oracle makes a move, everyone takes notice.
This means that more large customers will buy software in the space, and that can only be good for Eloqua. After all, we offer the most robust solution that delivers the fastest time to value. That is why industry shake-ups are traditionally a very good thing for category leaders. When fresh eyes look at a market, they are immediately drawn to the companies with the strongest track record, most momentum and broadest reach. That’s the trifecta; that’s Eloqua.
Today’s news is the second big move in the marketing automation space in the last month, alone. Yesterday, China.com (now CDC Software) announced it completed a major investment in Marketbright. Observers are likely to predict the CDC and Oracle deals will trigger further M&A activity. It’s always possible one acquisition sets off a chain reaction. But don’t expect such speculation to distract Eloqua from our core focus on organic growth through technical innovation and tireless service. That’s how we grow.
One unusual twist to the Oracle/Market2Lead story is that Oracle bought Market2Lead’s IP, not its customer contracts. It appears as though Oracle has left some of the early pioneers of the space – Market2Lead’s customers – behind in this acquisition. As the company that invented the space, Eloqua is prepared to assist all those who play in it. If Market2lead customers feel this change hinders their ability to succeed, we stand ready to help. I am in contact with Market2Lead’s management to develop a seamless transition plan for any customers who want to move to the Eloqua platform. The transition plan I’ve proposed emerged from one-on-one talks I’ve had with them about what’s in the best interest of their clients. With collaboration like this, not only are Market2Lead clients in good hands with Eloqua, but so too is the marketing automation industry.