December 21st, 2012 by Judith Aquino

Oracle_wordmark.svgAs marketers try to keep track of their multichannel campaigns, many are turning to marketing automation platforms as a way to stay on top of the madness. In a CMO Council survey of more than 550 marketing leaders, one out of four respondents indicated they would be investing in a marketing automation platform next year.

Oracle’s announcement that it had snapped up Eloqua further suggests that the demand for marketing automation technology is growing, according to vendors.

“As market consolidation continues, major players like Oracle are realizing they are missing market share and through acquisition are trying to fill a major gap,” said Stephane Dehoche, president and CEO of Neolane, a provider of conversational marketing software, in a statement.

Atri Chatterjee, CMO at marketing automation provider Act-On Software, cited research from consulting firm Raab & Associates that shows less than 30 percent of the market for enterprise marketing automation solutions has been penetrated. “The marketing automation market is huge and the fact that Oracle is entering shows things are only just now starting out,” added Chatterjee.

Speculation about whether or not Oracle’s nemesis Salesforce.com will respond by purchasing Eloqua’s rival, Marketo, or a similar company, are already rampant as well.

The marketing automation space is an increasingly tough space to enter, warns Liz Miller, CMO Council vice president of operations and programs. Part of the challenge is the marketers themselves.

“As marketers we tend to platform hop a lot,” Miller told CRM. “We’ll often try a system and find that it doesn’t sync with older databases… these [marketing automation platforms] are all SaaS-based and if it doesn’t do what we want, we move to the next one.”

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