Responsys (NASDAQ: MKTG ) entered into an agreement to be acquired by Oracle (NYSE: ORCL ) for $1.5 billion. Oracle plans to leverage Responsys' powerful cloud-based marketing platform in collaboration with Oracle's pre-existing marketing cloud. Responsys' relationship-based marketing technology allows its clients to communicate with customers at various points in a customer's lifecycle. Oracle's Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of development, stated, "When combined with the full Oracle Customer Experience Cloud, for the first time, companies will be empowered to orchestrate individualized experiences that extend from Marketing, to Commerce, to Sales, to Service, to Support."
Responsys' technology allows clients to scale and orchestrate marketing efforts across several different digital mediums. The technology assists with automation and optimization and improves customer experiences across various marketing channels. The inclusion of the Responsys platform in the Oracle Customer Experience Cloud will offer clients a full suite of tools that should improve relationship-based marketing, customer service, and sales.
Oracle as an investment
Oracle is showing modest growth. The company reported revenue of $9.3 billion in the second quarter of 2014, a 2% increase in revenue compared to the same quarter of 2013. The company also reported a 7% increase in profits to $0.69 earnings per share in the second quarter of 2014.
The number of bookings for Oracle's cloud applications grew 35% in the second quarter of 2014. The company also reported that bookings for engineered systems grew by 34% in the second quarter of 2014. Oracle foresees its database, cloud applications, and engineered systems to be a major source of growth throughout 2014.
Investors should monitor Oracle's acquisition of Responsys and watch how the company incorporates Responsys' technology into Oracle's Customer Experience Cloud. A more feature-rich cloud-based marketing product should help grow the number of subscribers and assist in generating more sales. Investors should keep an eye out for future sales figures to determine whether Responsys' technology has helped Oracle improve subscriptions and revenue for its cloud-based marketing product.
Salesforce's acquisition of ExactTarget
In July 2013, Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM ) acquired ExactTarget for its marketing automation and campaign management technology. The combination of ExactTarget's marketing technology with Salesforce's social marketing tools offers clients a full suite of tools to engage customers. The acquisition expands Salesforce's product offerings to assist clients with sales, service, and marketing.
Salesforce is showing amazing growth. The company recently reported revenue of $1.08 billion in the third quarter of 2014, an increase of 36% year-over-year. Salesforce reported profit of $0.09 earnings per share in the third quarter of 2014.
Salesforce attributes much of its third-quarter success to its social and mobile cloud technologies. Due to its rapid growth, Salesforce has raised its fiscal year 2014 guidance to approximately $4 billion in revenue. The company also expects to generate revenue over $5 billion for fiscal year 2015.
Investors should carefully watch subscription and sales numbers for Salesforce's products to determine whether the company can follow through with the forecasted guidance for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Salesforce continues to invest in new technology to expand its product offerings. Investors should pay attention to how these investments translate into future revenue and profitability.
IBM's cloud-based marketing product
IBM's (NYSE: IBM ) Enterprise Marketing Management product utilizes cloud-based marketing technology from its acquisition of Unica in October 2010. Unica's technology is an important component of IBM's product that helps engage buyers across social and traditional marketing channels. The marketing technology helps clients design, execute, and measure customer-based communication strategies in both online and off-line campaigns.
IBM is currently showing stagnant growth. The company reported revenue of $23.7 billion in the third quarter of 2013, down 4% from the same quarter in 2012. The company reported $3.99 earnings per share in the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 10% over the same quarter last year.
The company stated that the hardware business is underperforming and that it's looking to expand future revenue through investments in growth markets such as cloud, mobile, analytics, and security. IBM's Ginni Rometty, president and CEO, continues to move the company in its new direction and "transform the company to high value."
Investors should monitor how well IBM's Campaign Management Solution tool holds up against related products offered by Oracle and Salesforce. It is also important to monitor how IBM markets to and expands the user base of its cloud-based marketing products. An increase in the user base is necessary for continued profit and revenue growht.
The bottom line
The trend in the cloud-based marketing space continues to involve acquiring new technologies through the acquisition of new companies. This is a quick and dirty way for companies with cloud-based marketing products to add new features and tools to existing products. The company that offers the most feature-rich and comprehensive product lineup is likely to become the leader in the cloud-based marketing space.
Start the new year right
There's a huge difference between a good stock, and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.