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The Battle of Britain took place in blue skies and in the clouds over London in 1940. Today however the battle for the cloud is a different one, a competitive race between software companies as big legacy software firms continue to goggle up smaller ones they need to compete with other recent, smaller and usually more nimble cloud competitors who have come to the forefront.
So today Larry Ellison’s Oracle announced yet another small company acquisition, this time of Seattle based BlueKai, a cloud based consumer data aggregator. As California based Oracle puts it, it is extending the world’s largest marketing cloud (i.e. theirs) by adding a leading data platform that can offer personalized marketing programs and customer experience.
No terms are reported for the transaction but reports indicate it is likely to have been in the region of US$400 million, and most of that in cash too.
Oracle is buying a company that aims to enable companies to personalize online, offline and mobile marketing campaigns with better information about targeting their audiences.
Basically what they do is offer marketers a way to figure out who people are as they surf the web on their PCs. Then the marketers can in principle select who to target their ads and offers to. BlueKai is well established in this game, with what is known somewhat prosaically as a “data management platform.”
BlueKai is also working on how to do exactly the same thing with smartphones, and then to link it to the PC data as well. The goal is to allow marketers to determine that when someone who goes to a website with his iPhone may actually be the same person who was there earlier with a Mac or PC. That is difficult to do, but heaven for advertisers when it is accomplished.
To show you just how powerful potentially this can be, this writer once visited the website of a luxury watch manufacturer on his PC and looked at several of their products there, as an experiment. Ever since, and for months on end, advertisements for the same, and also other, watch manufacturers as well, have been showing up on my iPhone on a regular basis. For their sake I hope they give up soon as I certainly don’t expect to buy one – I already have more watches than I need.
BlueKai’s software solution includes a Data Management Platform, which centrally organizes their client company’s customer and audience data in the cloud to help implement such personalized marketing campaigns across all channels.
BlueKai may be a small company but, as it happens, within its own specific niche BlueKai is not so small at all as it runs the world’s largest third party data marketplace to augment a company’s proprietary customer data, with information on more than 700 million personal profiles.
The combining of Bluekai with Oracle’s existing cloud services is now expected to help both Oracle’s B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) customers build effective personalized cross-channel campaigns and customer interactions across e-mail, web, social, mobile, advertising and syndicated content channels.
In confirming the acquisition Steve Miranda, Executive Vice President, Applications Development, for Oracle said, “Modern marketers require new ways of acquiring, centralizing, interpreting, and activating customer data across marketing channels so that they can enhance the customer experience and maximize the return on their marketing spend, ” adding “The addition of BlueKai to the Oracle Marketing Cloud enables marketers to act on data across both known customers and new audiences and precisely target customers with a personalized message across all channels.”
Omar Tawakol, CEO, BlueKai said, “We are thrilled to join Oracle and extend Oracle’s Customer Experience portfolio to include the industry’s most effective big data cloud platform for marketers.”
“As a leader in marketing data management, BlueKai’s innovative products convert fragmented and disparate marketing data into high-performance results for companies, ” Tawakol added.
Since starting up in 2008 BlueKai has previously raised more than US$40 million in venture money from venture capital firms, including Redpoint Ventures, Battery Ventures and GGV Capital.