Oracle Eloqua, part of Oracle Marketing Cloud, is the top-ranked business to business (B2B) marketing automation platform, leading its competitors in the current offering, strategy and market presence categories, according to the latest Forrester Wave research.

The report also named Marketo and Salesforce as leaders, and Act-On Software, SAP, and bpm’online as strong performers.

Oracle Eloqua received the highest scores across all three categories in the Forrester Wave B2B Marketing Automation Platforms, Q4 2018 report, which cited the company’s substantial investment in “data as a differentiator”. The report noted, “Oracle aims to help its customers create consistent, compelling and connected experiences for customers and believes a data-first approach is the best way to deliver on that vision.”

marketing automation wave research forrester
According to Forrester, the marketing automation platform market is growing by double digits because B2B marketers increasingly depend on technology to collect data, generate insights, target audiences, deliver relevant interactions, and measure results to improve the customer engagement process. The report states vendors that “provide analytics and AI-powered capabilities to optimise engagement – from attraction to advocacy – with both leads and accounts, position themselves to deliver solutions that support modern B2B marketing successfully.”

The report evaluated six B2B marketing automation vendors across 36 criteria. Oracle received the highest possible score for twenty-seven of the criteria, including data management, planning and program management, segmentation and list building, outbound campaigns, channel optimisation, lead nurturing, vision, go-to-market, product roadmap, innovation agenda, support for global deployments and market impact.

The Forrester research said Oracle Eloqua’s program and campaign canvases make it easy to plan and execute the multistage contextual interactions to support complex B2B buying cycles and may suit marketers “who need to bring large, complex go-to-market strategies to life”.

Oracle Marketing Cloud SVP, Shashi Seth, said marketing automation is growing at unprecedented rates as CMOs are asked to drive sales and strengthen brand and customer loyalty, adding Oracle intends to help their customers leverage technology to meet increasing demands and maximise the return on marketing spend.

Here comes Adobe

While the result is a strong one for Oracle, it’s time in the sun may be short-lived – or at least subject to serious challenge.

Marketo which is currently in the process of being acquired by Adobe was also named a leader in this Forrester Wave marketing automation report based on the vendor’s strong ability to help B2B marketers drive contextual omnichannel engagement at scale.

And once inside the Adobe stable (and cloud) Maketo will start to benefit from scale advantages that have eluded it in the past.

Forrester said Marketo focuses on the core engagement platform, and through its open architecture relies on a network of 600 partners for specific channel and tactic automation. Forrester states Marketo is a good choice for companies that need to optimise a complex high-touch engagement strategy.

And finally, rounding out the top three vendors in Forrester’s marketing automation report is Salesforce Pardot, which Forrester said excels when sales and marketing alignment are paramount. Pardot delivers the basics well for B2B marketers who are not operating advanced practices, and require quick time-to-value but only if they are running on or plan to run Salesforce CRM as Pardot only supports integration with Salesforce CRM products, the report said.

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