“That’s One Small Step For Oracle, One Giant Leap For Marketing Automation.”

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Oracle took a small step into the marketing automation space on Tuesday, when it announced it had purchased the intellectual property (IP) assets of Market2Lead, one of the many marketing automation players. The asset purchase amount has not been described in the brief announcement on Oracle’s website or on Market2Lead website.

Oracle has a number of CRM apps -Siebel, PeopleSoft, E-Business Suite CRM and CRM On Demand (previously Siebel On Demand, SAAS offering). Oracle will plan to integrate Market2Lead’s technology into its CRM apps. While all the reports so far have focused on how Oracle balances its acquired technology with its relationships with other marketing automation providers (“Inner circle”).It will be interesting to watch how the actual integration rolls out.

It is interesting because Market2Lead’s big focus was mostly on development of workflow technology (which was very sophisticated, with flowchart like options). Market2Lead had very less to offer on any other front – its email campaign was white labeling of Exact Target’s email solution and its web forms are a very simple implementation, something Oracle would already have as a plugin in its wide platform.

By looking at the blog posts of various Marketing automation providers, one can hear all positive noises, almost everybody feels that it is a validation of this space.

So is Oracle’s acquisition of Market2Lead a Giant Leap for Marketing Automation? Most industry observers have mentioned in the past that market penetration for marketing automation is low and more evangelism is needed. This acquisition definitely raises the noise levels, Oracle has a reputation for having one of the most aggressive sales teams in the world, so awareness is inevitable and in fact – expected to increase considerably.

As far as the future of other marketing automation vendors is concerned in terms of direct impact, it may not be significant, at least in near future – Oracle will take time to integrate the Market2Lead technology with its CRM platforms and even once done, is expected to offer the fully integrated platform to it’s existing customers which primarily are large enterprises. This could have been the primary reason why this was an asset purchase and not an acquisition with a premium – acquiring Market2Lead customer base might not have been important for Oracle.

With Oracle only picking up Market2Lead’s IP assets and not its customer base, marketing automation rivals have rolled out offers and migration path to Market2Lead’s customer base.

At LeadForce1 we have been working hard to make marketing automation more intelligent and we welcome any news that brings into focus an industry which is yet to get its due!

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