Oracle announced on Monday a new system that it says will use artificial intelligence to automate key parts of digital marketing campaigns.
Once primarily known for its database software, Oracle is competing against firms like Adobe and Salesforce.com to sell cloud-based software used for marketing business-to-business products that typically cost thousands of dollars or more.
The goal is to produce what marketers call a "qualified lead" - that is, a person whom a salesperson can call to start a conversation that eventually turns into a sale. Low quality leads cost money because they waste salespeople's time.
Oracle's Fusion Marketing system, as the product announced Monday is called, uses artificial intelligence to automatically assemble marketing campaigns and determine whether the people who interact with emails or advertisements might eventually buy a product, sending their contact information to sales teams.
To do it, the system sucks in data from a variety of sources. Some of the data, like email contact lists, will come from the Oracle customers who use the system. And some of the data will come from massive marketplaces of third-party data that Oracle has acquired in recent years to grow its digital advertising business.
"A lot of it is much more measurable than it has been in the past," Rob Tarkoff, executive vice president or Oracle's advertising and customer experience cloud, said of digital marketing campaigns. "We just said, 'this is a big computer science problem, and we're going to go solve it.'"
"It is time for our industry to think differently about marketing and sales automation so that we can transform CRM into a system that actually works for both the marketer and the salesperson," Tarkoff said.
"This is not about forecasts and rollups or a reporting tool to see how the sales force is performing, but instead about turning CRM into a system that helps sellers sell. A huge part of that change is bringing marketing and sales teams together and eliminating the low-value, time-consuming tasks that distract from building customer relationships and closing deals. That's why we have invested so much time engineering a system that will help marketers fully automate lead generation and qualification and get highly qualified leads to the sales team faster."
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Stephen Coates)