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August 4, 2015

Salesforce & Oracle threaten Adobe-IBM marketing hegemony

Technology is no longer differentiator in marketing platforms, analyst claims.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Salesforce and Oracle are threatening to upset the hegemony of the digital advertising market as their marketing platforms close in behind Adobe and IBM.

An analysis of the seven key vendors, which comprise three-quarters of the market, argued that different strategies in execution are now separating the market leaders, the technological distinction having lapsed after a series of acquisitions.

Produced by the research firm Ovum, the report also claims that the market for digital marketing platforms is worth some $5bn (£3.2bn) worldwide, with growth likely to remain high and competition intense.

Gerry Brown, senior analyst of marketing technology at Ovum, said: "IBM has progressed little in recent times, whereas Oracle has improved its overall Marketing Cloud proposition into a more coherent and compelling entity which it is now leveraging into its large enterprise installed base.

"Salesforce is the ‘new kid on the block’, having risen from relative obscurity to challenge the established hegemony."

Brown added that Adobe’s key advantage was a close relationships it had forged with marketing agencies, which had allowed the company to leverage the agencies’ closeness to chief marketing officers (CMOs).

"Other vendors have been more tentative in collaborating with the agencies, and Adobe is the agencies’ dominant partner," Brown said.

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IBM’s spree of acquisitions in the space has also led to a greater focus on integration rather than innovation, according to the analyst, whilst Salesforce’s focus on data-as-a-service was proving attractive to customers.

Paul Smith, EMEA general manager of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, agreed that analytics was "playing an increasing important role in this area", and had led to "higher-precision marketing".

"Combined with a single customer view, analytics are enabling a much more personalised customer experience and CMOs are really starting to focus on this one-to-one customer journey as well," he said.

Zuzanna Gierlinska, director of data management platform EMEA at Oracle Marketing Cloud, concurred with Smith’s view on the importance of analytics capabilities in the marketing market.

"Data has become a vital weapon in any marketing team’s arsenal, one that delivers on the promise of right message in front of the right person at the right time cross-channel," she said.

Neither Adobe or IBM could be reached for comment by CBR.

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