Oracle buys IP assets of marketing automation vendor

It plans to add the capabilities to its CRM software

Oracle has acquired the intellectual property assets of Market2Lead, maker of marketing automation and demand-generation software, for an undisclosed sum.

CMO.com.au feature: Tech in marketing: What marketing automation can do for smaller businesses

The deal closed Monday, according to an Oracle spokeswoman.

Market2Lead's technology will be rolled into Oracle's CRM (customer relationship management) software, the company said in a brief statement posted to its Web site. Further information was not immediately available.

The news brought a quick reaction from Joseph Payne, CEO of Market2Lead competitor Eloqua.

"The potential market for lead management systems is less than 10 percent penetrated," he wrote in a blog post. "That's all about to change. When a bellwether like Oracle makes a move, everyone takes notice."

That theory has some legs, according to 451 Group analyst China Martens. While there are many players in the marketing automation arena, showing there's a viable audience for the software, such vendors "still have to do a lot of evangelism" about its value to customers, she said.

And the wealth of companies in the market causes confusion for customers, she added: "Who do you choose and who's going to be around?"

Meanwhile, Market2Lead was not among the leaders in the marketing automation space, and rumors had swirled about its future, Martens said.

Rival CRM vendor Salesforce.com may buy a company similar to Market2Lead now that Oracle has made its move, but it shares the problem of potentially alienating its marketing automation partners, Martens added.

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