Oracle scored points in its ongoing battle with Salesforce.com for primacy in the CRM world. Personally, I am not sure it matters much because the two companies’ approaches to CRM are so different. Coke or Pepsi? Harley-Davidson or Honda? Who knows? At the end of the day, it’s about helping a customer realize a vision of customer outreach. Today for Sony-Ericsson the answer was Siebel.
What’s interesting about the selection is that it plays so well to Siebel’s strengths. Over the last five years and under the wing of Anthony Lye, Oracle has carefully managed a customer base of some of the world’s largest companies as they grapple with what to do in the face of increasing complexity brought on by cloud computing and social media.
They’ve done a lot, not simply upgrading Siebel and incorporating new technologies but they’ve gone a step further and analyzed how Siebel customers would interact with their customers in the years ahead. The answers were surprising and inspiring. One big take away from Siebel’s thinking is the importance of conventional B2C marketing.
The result has been a sophisticated product and a business process they call clienteleing (not sure about that spelling). With it, a vendor representative uses analytics and customer history to make intelligent recommendations. The result is marketing in action or customer experience management and it matters to companies that have hundreds of thousands or even millions of customers.
The product works well on conventional computing devices as well as mobile and gives a vendor selling consumer devices an edge, especially in an age of product line extension. Simply put, there are so many choices and options today that a vendor can use the automation help.
Marketing has made huge strides in the greater marketplace during the CRM era but one knock against it is that marketing products are largely still separate, third party add-ons. The integrated solutions have done great service and are very useful. But tight integration between advanced marketing products and the rest of a customer record — an Oracle specialty — might have pushed the deal over the line for Oracle. I expect we’ll hear more from Oracle as it potentially builds out a niche in this kind of marketing automation.