ExactTarget is Just What the Doctor Ordered

On Tuesday, June 4, the consolidation of the marketing automation market continued when salesforce.com announced the acquisition of ExactTarget for $2.5 billion.  Oracle’s previous salesforce-exacttargetacquisition of Eloqua put Oracle square in the sights of salesforce.com, giving Oracle a world class marketing offering that added strength to their pursuit of CRM customers. And with a rumored 80% of Eloqua’s customers using salesforce.com for salesforce automation, Oracle created another threat through their new-found access to salesforce.com customers.

So with Oracle forcing salesforce.com to add to its application portfolio, Salesforce had a couple directions it could go: (1) buy Eloqua’s chief rival Marketo, (2) buy an email marketing system such as Vertical Response and build out the rest of the Marketing Automation functionality, (3) purchase one of the contender MA systems such as Pardot (now ET) or Silverpop or (4) buy a smaller MA player for a technology solution such as Treehouse.  In the end, Salesforce selected public company ExactTarget with a solid marketing automation solution and stronger email marketing solution.

So who will win the marketing automation game?  salesforce.com or Oracle?  Which company will get the better leverage from their installed base and their sales organization?  How well will each company leverage their other CRM components? And what about Marketo?  Will they succeed through their ease-of-use positioning?  Can Marketo win by focusing on the mid-market? Or do they also need the leverage from a large software player?

These dynamics are the fun part about hot segments in the software business. It’s not only a question of who can win the chess match but more importantly, who can win the execution play.

Good selling!

Bonnie Crater

About Bonnie Crater

Bonnie is a 5-time VP of Marketing at Genesys, Netscape, Oracle (Network Computer Inc.), Stratify, and VoiceObjects. While valuing the creative side of marketing, Bonnie's real love is marketing operations -- measuring marketing investments and determining investment optimization. Now as CEO of Full Circle Insights, Bonnie is working to help fellow marketers get the data needed to succeed. In 2000, Bonnie was named one of the “Top 20 Female Executives in Silicon Valley” by San Jose Magazine. Bonnie holds a B.A. in biology from Princeton University.