Oracle Purchase of Market2Lead Intellectual Property is “Less Than Meets the Eye”

oracleBack in December I advised to be on the watch for digital marketing IPOs and acquisitions.  It’s been two years since Eloqua took funding, ExactTarget seems always to be 90 minutes from an IPO, and Neolane and Marketo just keep on boarding venture capital.

This week, Market2Lead, a niche player in marketing automation, was rolled-up by Oracle.  Market2Lead established itself as a way small business can identify and track anonymous traffic on their websites.

Unlike friends who think this is a good idea, I predict there is less than meets the eye to this acquisition.

  • There’s less in it for Oracle: just look at their absurdly terse announcement.
  • There’s less in it for Oracle’s platform: Oracle bought the IP but not the book of business, because they have different models and very different audiences. So is the IP is all that relevant?
  • There’s surely less in it for Market2Lead’s customers: they have a business relationship with a company that no longer owns its own IP.  The firm’s owners just sold out, so Market2Lead’s customers, real early adopters who also bet on the company, are having a “Market2Nowhere” experience.

There are amazing digital marketing juggernauts to be formed by pairing breakthrough companies in this space. And, as predicted, I expect there are larger high-profile acquisitions and IPOs, assuming continued economic recovery.  I get why Oracle went for this, but now the real work begins.

Google made something huge out of Urchin.  So let’s see what Oracle makes from the IP assets of a shallow-end lead-gen company.  Oracle’s entry validates the space, but will they make the investment and do the learning necessary to move this already fast-growing market?  Watch for actions and a road map  that go beyond acquisition.

5 Responses to "Oracle Purchase of Market2Lead Intellectual Property is “Less Than Meets the Eye”"

  • David Raab

    May 28, 2010

    Dave,
    Market2Lead is/was focused on serving large businesses, primarily through email and targeted Web messages. The anonymous visitor tracking is a very common feature among its class of vendors and was certainly not their major focus. I think this is a way for Oracle to fill a hole in its CRM product line and to enter a fast-growing segment. For more, see my blog comment
    http://customerexperiencematrix.blogspot.com/2010/05/oracle-buys-market2lead.html

  • Erich Flynn

    June 1, 2010

    Dave,
    I couldn’t agree more. I especially appreciated your comment regarding whether Oracle will make the investment and do the learning in this space to be successful. Viewing this move as anything other than assets picked up at a fire sale would be a mistake. If this acquisition were strategic, it would have to have obvious benefits for Oracle. It would have also warranted more than a 4-sentence press release with no press follow-up: http://www.oracle.com/market2lead/index.html. For more on my position see my blog at http://blog.treehousei.com/.

  • Kristin Hambelton

    June 2, 2010

    Hi Dave – Thanks for the mention of Neolane. Just a quick point of clarification – Neolane has been privately funded since its’ founding in 2001, with the exception of a small infusion of venture money (<$10M) that was used primarily as bridge financing to expand our rapidly growing business into the US. Neolane has not sourced any venture funds in more than 3 years; I think most would agree this does not “on boarding venture capital’ make. Furthermore, Neolane broke-even in 2004, continues to be founder-run, and is very proud of our track record of profitability for the past 5 consecutive years (link to: http://bit.ly/aGEFq3 ) that is accompanied by outstanding growth. We believe this success can be attributed to not only great customers, great products, great partners, great strategy, and great employees, but also to very wise and careful fiduciary responsibility and management. Thanks again for the mention and keep in touch. – Kristin Hambelton, Sr. Director of Marketing, Neolane

  • Dave Wieneke

    June 4, 2010

    Hi Kirstin, thanks for the great comment.

    You’re right, Neolane has built an incredibly broad offering w/very little outside investment — but to my mind the fact they’ve had external funding, though limited, is likely a plus.

    When I see new players entering the space who have no plan to take funding, such as SiteCore (a CMS), I look at the development and marketing hill in front of them — and don’t see them competing with well funded competitors because there’s a huge growth curve. Neolane is well up the curve, and the did it with little outside juice.

    Stuff like having CAPTCHA as a standard form field is the kind of “little” feature that helps put Neoloane clients ahead.

    All the best,
    Dave

  • Mark Hilger

    November 1, 2010

    As a customer of Oracle CRM Ondemand I thought I would share with you guys that Marketi2Lead functionality is being released this fall in release 18. I am not sure what this means of course Oracle makes it look sexy as heck on their promotional videos so we will see.

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