Oracle Exec Discusses Marketing Cloud Updates, DataFox Acquisition & Blurring The Line Between B2B & B2C

Published: March 27, 2019

During its Modern Customer Experience conference, Oracle unveiled new features for its Marketing Cloud. The updates to Oracle Eloqua, Responsys, Infinity and Maxymiser aim to eliminate data silos and provide real-time insights into behavioral data. Shashi Seth, SVP of Oracle Marketing Cloud, shared details on the updates and more in an exclusive interview with Demand Gen Report.

Demand Gen Report: We’re starting to hear a lot amongst our reader base that unstructured data is one thing, but being able to get the actual insights out of it and act on those insights has grown really important. Could you shine a little more light on the importance of these types of integrations into the Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Eloqua in particular?

Shashi Seth: I think you’ve probably heard us talk a lot about the foundation of marketing for us at Oracle Marketing Cloud is really data and we’re basically leveraging the history of Oracle, which has been a database for 40 years, and bringing that back to the forefront. Huge investments have gone in this area like our acquisitions of Maxymiser and Infinity, and announcement of CX Audience and CX Unity — these are all data plays.

A lot of our investments have gone into integrating that data into our product. We’re starting with Eloqua and Infinity, but the reality is we’re actually going to use Infinity both as a product and a platform across all our assets. The reason for it is simple: if you want to capture micro moments, then you need to have all the data streaming in and be connected to your marketing and CX product over time.

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Infinity is the first to take a step in that direction, but Maxymiser is leveraging Infinity as well and our goal is that, over time, we will have the notion of one customer connected across all our assets. That way, you have a perfect understanding of the journey in real time, so that your assets like marketing automation can also act in real time. That’s a huge effort that we have been investing in and our goal is that at some point, our customers really don’t have to do much in understanding their buyers because we’ve already solved that problem for them.

DGR: How crucial are intent signals and account behavioral insights to B2B organizations and how does the DataFox acquisition fit into this?

Seth: If you think about B2B marketing, understanding who the person is that is coming to spend time on your website, microsites, etc. is crucial. You need to know which organization they came from. Are they an influencer or decision maker in that organization? Who are the other people in that organization that you need to reach out to in order to close this deal? How many signals do we have to have for a better understanding of lead scoring? You need to bring all of that information together with financial information about the renewal due, last deal size and discounts given. Is this person going to be a value shopper or is this going to be a strategic shopper? This kind of information tends to live in different silos, but nobody has extracted it and put it together so that marketers can easily have access to it and be able to take action.

With the DataFox acquisition, we looked at the investments we were making in the account-based marketing space and saw a clear opportunity for us to come together, integrate and put together a product that would be really stunning. This is the start of that journey, there’s lots more that we can do and will do, and we are talking about other data sources to be brought to the table with a product like Eloqua. You’re going to see lots of that at MCX this year, where there will be conversations about different ISVs and how we’re working with them across the CX portfolio, and that is going to be a big thing for us as well this year.

DGR: I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the blurring of the lines between B2B and B2C. When it comes to the solutions that you’re offering, such as Oracle Responsys, are you seeing any overlap in the use of these types of tools into the B2B world now?

Seth: Absolutely, yes. The eye-opening moment for me was about this time last year. I was meeting with a utility provider in France. I was sitting in the meeting with their CMO and she was describing their use cases, which centered around things like billing and reminders, new products and offerings, outage notification and all kinds of stuff. And as I’m sitting there, I actually had no idea what products they were using. In my head, I was thinking it’s going to be Responsys. All the use cases pointed to Responsys and what was surprising was that she said Eloqua.

I had one of those reactions where after the meeting I asked the sales team, “Hey, how come they have Eloqua?” They said, “They were a B2B company, so we went in and proposed Eloqua, and it made sense at that time.” But you’re right. I think, looking at the use cases, it is starting to feel a lot more like B2C and I think we are seeing a massive shift in people on both sides of the aisle actually requiring products like Responsys and Eloqua together.

If you’re a B2B company, of course you’re going to want to do large nurturing sends of maybe tens of millions of emails at the same time to get people new product, pricing, case studies, etc. Could you do that with Eloqua? Yes, but I think Responsys is a much better suited product for that. And if you want to do customer acquisition regardless of whether you’re B2B or B2C, you’d definitely want things like Eloqua and if you have an inside sales team regardless of whether you’re B2B or B2C. Another example: if you’re a car dealer or if you’re a car company that has a large dealership, you probably want to already start moving towards lead nurturing even in that B2C environment. I think we’re seeing that overlap become much more aggressive. We’re starting to see customers have more of those conversations around, “Help me solve the problems and forget about what we call these tools. I don’t care if they’re B2B or B2C. As long as the product solved my problem, I’m happy to engage.” I think that shift is opening up a new set of opportunities for everyone.

DGR: What does the future look like for Oracle Marketing Cloud?

Seth: I think there’s a long journey ahead of us. Our investments in data, in intelligence, in omnichannel marketing are making the user experience a lot simpler and easier. And we’re making sure that our ISV partners can come on that journey with us. Like we announced, Responsys has an extension framework exactly like the one that Eloqua has had, so that our customers can create one app that works across B2B and B2C.

Those are investments that are going to continue through 2019 because we know that they have very large benefits. It gives us the opportunity to have a true platform, so to speak, for Marketing Cloud. When we integrate things like social, Maxymiser and Infinity into Responsys, you start getting a platform and our investments in those areas have been much appreciated by our customers.

I believe that we’re starting to have conversations with them that transcend just, “How do I use this tool?” Now we’re talking about, “What do you think is the right strategy for our data? What do you think is the right strategy for our organization? What kind of goals should we set in motion? Should we be able to achieve X, Y and Z in millions of dollars of revenue every year, and if we want to set those goals, how do we get there? Can you help us get there?” Those all point to something, which I believe is the golden era of modern marketing. It’s here and is going to be here for the next five to 10 years, and that opportunity is huge. It’s really staring us in the face and it’s up to us to respond with these great products and services, and solution sets that will help our customers be successful.

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