Consolidation In A Data-Driven Age

First-party data? Marketers know it's important to integrate first-party data through the customer's lifecycle to improve ad targeting. I received an email pitch from a PR company offering me an interview with the CEO of one of their clients. The person pointed to Oracle's intent to acquire BlueKai, and asked if I would like to talk with the CEO about the company's lack of first-party data. Huh?

"BlueKai supports third-party data, but the real power lies in first-party data," the person wrote, matter-of-factly suggesting it's something Oracle lacks. Everyone makes mistakes. I won't hold it against him. I find it difficult to believe that with all the data flowing through Oracle enterprise platforms supporting hundreds of companies worldwide like AT&T, that it wouldn't have access to first-party data.

Bob Evans, Oracle chief communications officer, said the company has 400,000 customers. In January 2013, he wrote an article in Forbes stating that Oracle helped 10,000 customers move to the cloud, and supports 25 million cloud users around the world.



While Oracle has acquired quite a few companies to accomplish the task, one of the most influential, Sun Micrososystems, acquired in 2010, gave it Java, the foundation for nearly every networked application. It built or acquired the systems and infrastructure running data through global enterprise systems, relationship management platforms, business intelligence, performance management, lifecycle management, cloud management, and more.

Think of Oracle as an advertising holding company like WPP or Interpublic Group, each business supporting the others. Now remember in July 2012, when BlueKai said it would drive data into CRM, email, and other enterprise applications? At the time I suggested the move would turn the data management platform company into the middleware provider of the advertising industry, and companies would connect their enterprise applications like CRM, inventory and manufacturing auto-replenishment systems with advertising servers to detect when product goes out of stock. The product sells out and the ad automatically gets yanked from the ad exchange. Simple idea, but not simple to do.  

Throughout the past several years, I have spoken with advertising industry execs about this model, from Andy Monfried, Lotame's founder, to Arvind Singh, Utopia CEO. Brands willing to integrate their enterprise systems with ad-serving platforms, and share their first-party data to integrate with Oracle's third-party data from its DMP, BlueKai, will create a programmatic masterpiece and own the Internet.

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