Since Marketo announced a number of exciting new features at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit, we thought we’d have a look at how these features compare to the existing features of Oracle Eloqua, who had their big marketing event, Modern Marketing Experience, a couple of weeks earlier.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive comparison between the two vendors, which would be a much bigger topic. This is specifically about the new features Marketo just announced.
AdBridge – An Overview of Ad Tech Integration
It’s difficult to do a direct feature comparison for the AdBridge feature, as ad tech integration in Eloqua is handled somewhat differently and, since Oracle’s acquisition of BlueKai, has gone in a somewhat different direction from Marketo. So rather than do a direct comparison, we’re going to review the general state of ad tech integration in both systems.
What is AdBridge?
AdBridge is basically an integration platform in Marketo that allows Marketo to send messages through third-party ad networks directly from within Marketo. Currently it integrates with Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Turn, MediaMath, and RocketFuel.
Each integration has a slightly different functionality. For example, the Google integration allows you to track conversion in Google Adwords down to any stage in your Marketo Revenue Cycle Model – a handy feature for those using RCM. The integration with LinkedIn Lead Accelerator allows targeting specific prospects based on their LinkedIn profile data, as well as data you have in Marketo, a powerful combination to be sure.
Comparison to Oracle Eloqua AdFocus Cloud Connector
The most obvious equivalent of Marketo’s AdBridge feature is the AdFocus Cloud Connector, which Eloqua has had since 2012. AdFocus did allow integration with the product, which at the time was called “Bizo for Marketing Automation”, which has now morphed into LinkedIn Lead Accelerator. It allowed targeting of specific prospects as a campaign flow step from within Eloqua, using Bizo’s ad technology.
However, AdFocus only integrated with one provider and didn’t provide the depth of integration available with some of the AdBridge features (e.g. advanced conversion tracking). So while strictly speaking, Eloqua had this sort of ad tech integration years ago, it was not nearly as robust a feature as AdBridge is now.
Comparison to Integration with Oracle BlueKai
Comparing AdBridge to AdFocus, however, is not entirely fair. Since Oracle’s acquisition of BlueKai in February 2014, Eloqua has gone in a very different direction with ad tech integration – rather than integrate with individual providers via Cloud Connectors, Eloqua’s strategy is to integrate deeply with BlueKai and use the data management platform to manage advertising completely.
This is a richer and more robust approach. BlueKai, now called Oracle DMP, provides data and audience management features, as well as providing access to third-party data through its Audience Data Marketplace and distribution in many media platforms through its media partnerships.
Conclusion – Very Different Ad Tech Integration Strategies
Comparing BlueKai with Marketo’s AdBridge feature isn’t really fair either. AdBridge is not attempting or claiming to provide data management features, whereas BlueKai is a full DMP. So the conclusion is that there isn’t really a direct comparison between the two vendors in the area of ad tech integration – rather, the vendors are taking two very different approaches. Marketo’s approach with AdBridge is to integrate the marketing automation platform directly with advertising platforms, whereas Eloqua’s strategy is to integrate deeply with BlueKai for a full DMP solution, allowing the DMP to manage distribution across media channels through its existing partner network.
So which makes sense for your company? That depends a lot on your data strategy – whether you need and are able to integrate with a separate DMP system for data management and enrichment and audience management, or whether you want to integrate directly with your ad providers through your marketing automation platform. You should look at your long-term data strategy, your target market, completeness and accuracy of your in-house data, your need for third-party data, and your overall need for data integration and consolidation in conjunction with your advertising requirements.
Mobile Engagement SDK
Marketo’s new Mobile Engagement software development kit for mobile apps is an innovative and powerful feature for mobile app integration. Basically, you can put this code from Marketo in your mobile app, and it gives you two important capabilities:
- Listening to what your app users are doing inside the app and pulling that usage data back into Marketo so you can segment and target based on it.
- Notifying users of your app using direct push notifications from inside Marketo.
Oracle Eloqua doesn’t really have a comparable capability packaged up as a nice embeddable SDK. Eloqua does have a robust REST API which can be accessed via HTTP requests from within a mobile app, so it would be possible in theory to develop a mobile app integrated with Eloqua with similar capabilities – however, you would have to write the actual integration yourself. This probably wouldn’t be that hard for a good mobile developer, but having the code already written and tested by the vendor saves lots of time and debugging.
If you have a mobile app that’s a key component of your marketing strategy and you want it deeply integrated with your marketing automation platform, the Marketo mobile SDK makes a pretty compelling starting point for building that. However, if you have development resources available, it is probably possible to achieve the same thing using Eloqua with a bit more work.
This is a mobile app which allows you to access some limited data and functionality of Marketo from your mobile device. It lets you run some reports, preview emails, and even cancel or reschedule an email.
There really isn’t a comparison for this feature. Oracle Eloqua doesn’t have a mobile app, so this feature puts Marketo definitively ahead in terms of direct mobile access to their platform.
Sales Insight Mobile
This isn’t really a new feature in itself per se – Marketo is simply announcing that its Sales Insight sales enablement tool for Salesforce is now mobile compatible, allowing you to view Marketo data directly within Salesforce 1, the Salesforce mobile platform.
Oracle Eloqua has an equivalent sales enablement tool called Eloqua Profiler, and it has been mobile-compatible for some time, since Eloqua switched the tool to HTML from Flash back in 2013. Prospect Profiler is generally more robust than Marketo Sales Insight – it displays more data and has a richer interface with more options. For example, it shows nice charts and graphs in addition to lists of relevant data.
Marketo is playing catch-up with this feature, and still has a ways to go, but making it mobile-friendly is certainly a step in the right direction.
This isn’t really a new feature either – it’s an update to the Marketo Marketing Calendar feature, optimized to work on HD display so you can show it on a big monitor. It also adds goals, a nice feature.
Oracle Eloqua also has a marketing calendar feature which displays similar information about upcoming campaigns – it integrates with Oracle Content Marketing (formerly Compendium) and is probably most useful in conjunction with that product.
The Eloqua calendar is not HD-optimized, so this feature puts Marketo slightly ahead for now in the area of marketing schedule display.
Marketo Stealth Feature – Custom Objects
Another feature was quietly announced during Summit: support for self-serve custom objects. Though this didn’t receive much fanfare, it is actually a huge deal, as explained here by David Raab.
I guess Marketo thought the audience wasn’t geeky enough to get excited about this feature, but it’s actually a huge step toward achieving parity with Oracle Eloqua in terms of customizability and scalability, particularly in the Enterprise space.
Let me explain a bit of background, as Marketo users may not be completely familiar with the situation. For years, Eloqua has had the ability, similar to Salesforce, to define custom data objects. These objects are stored separately from the normal contact record, although they can be linked to it. This lets Eloqua users define their own custom database objects to store anything – survey responses, event registrations, purchase information, whatever data you have that needs to be associated with your contacts but is too complex to store directly in custom fields on the contact record.
Most Eloqua users probably don’t use this feature much, but it is the key to enterprise scalability and flexibility, as it allows developers to build custom data management systems within the marketing automation platform. This can be crucial for integrating with complex internal data platforms, just as one example. So maybe most users don’t need this feature, but for those who do, it’s a big deal.
Until just now, Marketo was badly behind in this area, and it was limiting its ability to operate in complex integration environments. Marketo did have some limited custom object capability, but it was only accessible via the API and required help from Marketo support to set up. Now Marketo has fully self-serve custom objects you can create yourself, along with features to access this data for segmentation and targeting. Though this is not yet quite as robust as Eloqua’s custom data objects, it provides most of the same functionality and flexibility.
This is a huge step forward for Marketo in terms of competing among Enterprise and more tech-savvy users.
Overall, the announcement of these new features by Marketo leaves the two vendors in about the same relative position they were in before – with generally similar levels of functionality, where one or the other vendor may be seen as slightly ahead in some areas.
The mobile SDK is probably the most innovative of the newly-announced features, with no direct Eloqua equivalent, but the most significant feature in terms of achieving parity between the two platforms was the introduction of self-serve custom objects. From a deep technical perspective, this does much more to bridge the fundamental functionality gap than any of the other new features.
Are you evaluating marketing automation platforms at your company and looking at your various options? Have a question about Marketo, Eloqua, or one of the numerous other options out there? Reach out! We’d love to chat with you!