Marketing Cloud Thickens, Oracle Acquires BlueKai

One of the biggest players in the so-called “marketing cloud” is changing its atmospheric conditions. Oracle announced a deal to acquire data management platform BlueKai in a deal reportedly worth about $400 million. The deal comes about a year after Neustar acquired BlueKai rival Aggregate Knowledge, and signals that a rush may be on for DMPs, which have emerged as a critical component of the shift to “audience-buying” from conventional media-buying, and as marketers and agencies develop more scientific ways of targeting consumers.

The deal is another win in Oracle’s marketing cloud tool chest, and gives it some momentum vs. the other big players -- including Adobe,, Neustar and others -- that are in a race to become the marketing world’s one-stop solution.

BlueKai, in fact, had tried to reposition itself over the past few years as more of an overall “marketing stack” solution, but its integration with the rest of Oracle’s services could significantly alter the playing field of cloud-based marketing services.

“This is another key transaction, and part of an increasingly common trend for advertising and marketing services this year, namely the blurring lines between enterprise software, marketing/agency services, ad tech and online advertising,” writes Wall Street analyst Brian Wieser in a note sent this morning to investors.

“For and Adobe, we see another shot across the bow at CRM's and Adobe's efforts bridging enterprise software and marketing technology,” continues Pivotal Resarch Group’s Wieser, adding: “But equally important, Oracle's efforts will help grow the overall market each is pursuing.”

Describing that market as “massive (trillions of dollars in annual spending),” Wieser nonetheless says little of it has been impacted by new technologies to date.

That said, Wieser noted that the rapid buildup of these marketing cloud firms represents potential disruption for big agencies that provide traditional marketing services to brands.

“On balance, brands that constitute the bulk of agency revenues and profits are unlikely to abandon use of agencies, although B2B marketers or those not dependent on subjective marketing measures are relatively more likely to go without traditional agencies, if any are,” opines Wieser, who was a former top executive at Interpublic’s Magna unit before returning to Wall Street.
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