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Race for the "ultimate marketing cloud” set to hot up in 2015

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5th Jan 2015
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Just before Christmas, Oracle announced it would be acquiring Datalogix, a US-based data collection company that gathers information from retailers and shares it with advertising partners.

Some analysts predicted the deal was worth somewhere in the “high hundreds of millions of dollars”, although no figure has been confirmed by Oracle.

In any case, the deal probably didn’t feature too prominently on the radar of most marketers, given the timing of the announcement, just two days before most businesses closed down for the seasonal break, when the mince pies and mulled wine were due to be cracked out.   

However, it could be significant on a number of levels moving into the New Year, not least for marketing professionals looking at Oracle as an option for an all-encompassing marketing tech solution.

As Brian Weiser, an advertising industry analyst with Pivotal Research told the New York Times, “the bulk of marketers, especially performance-based marketers, want to feel increasingly confident in the choices they make”, and the deal should help the California-based software giant to further instill this confidence in its customers.

Part of Datalogix’s attraction is that it collates data from supermarket loyalty cards and other retail channels and passes it onto digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter who are, in turn, able to use this data to prove to marketers that ads on their services lead to sales in stores.        

And beyond the Oracle perspective, Forrester’s principal analyst for customer insight, Fatemeh Khatibloo, has stated in her weekly blog post that the acquisition is further proof that major technology providers will continue to target marketers with new solutions, which can only spell more spending on the vendors’ behalf, and more overwhelming choice for marketing professionals to wade through in 2015:

“The bigger picture is this: the Datalogix and Bluekai acquisition (earlier in 2014), along with many others of the past year –  including Conversant by Epsilon, LiveRamp by Acxiom, and Adometry by Google –  are evidence of a fast-consolidating marketing and advertising technology landscape.

“2015 will doubtless bring more [merger and acquisition] activity in this space, with a likely run on smaller technology and data vendors that have mostly been flying under the radar. What this race for the ultimate "marketing cloud" will mean to [customer insight] pros remains to be seen, but you should certainly anticipate plenty of shakeups in your vendor relationships over the next 18 months.”

Datalogix was just one of many big vendor acquisitions related to the marketing cloud wars in the last couple of years, with Salesforce, Adobe and IBM also making significant acquisitions and announcements through the course of 2013 and 2014, in a bid to cement their positions as leaders in the field.

And while some experts thought the level of acquisition would drop off after 2013, Oracle’s latest announcement, and Khatibloo's comments, suggest there may be no let-up in the spending moving into 2015.

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