Oracle, Salesforce.com trade moves in marketing software battle

Oracle syncs up with Box, while Salesforce.com releases Journey Builder for Apps

It seems that a week doesn't go by these days without major software vendors announcing updates to their marketing software portfolios, and the past few days were no exception as rivals Oracle and Salesforce.com both made some news.

While perhaps incremental advancements taken one by one, the announcements speak to the heightening competition in the software segment as Oracle, Salesforce.com and other vendors move to build out full-blown "customer engagement" suites and directly target chief marketing officers.

On Thursday, Oracle said it has created a "first of its kind" integration between its Marketing Cloud and Box, the cloud-based file storage and sharing vendor.

Customers will be able to hold and manage content for marketing campaigns within Box, as well as create such materials with widely used tools such as Microsoft Office and then convert them into HTML5 documents, Oracle said.

In addition, Box folders can be set up to sync with the document store on Oracle's marketing platform for use in campaigns, according to the announcement. Availability is scheduled for the first half of next year.

Oracle will likely provide additional updates related to its Marketing Cloud next week, during its annual OpenWorld conference.

The Box integration news followed Salesforce.com's announcement of new features for its Journey Builder tool, which marketers use to create multichannel marketing campaigns.

Along with email, social media and other marketing channels, Journey Builder can now be used in conjunction with mobile applications.

Applications have become "the dashboard to our lives," said Gordon Evans, vice president of product marketing, in an interview. "We bank through an app, we heat our home through an app, we connect with loved ones through apps."

The new capabilities, which are called Journey Builder for Apps, could be used to create a campaign that uses emails and social networking messages to drive more downloads of a particular app.

In addition, apps can be configured to send customers messages based on automated triggers, Salesforce.com said. For example, a customer might view a garment in a company's online store app a number of times without buying it. Journey Builder can now be set up to automatically send such customers discount offers in hopes of sealing a deal, according to Salesforce.com.

It's also possible to use location data from sources such as a beacon near a retail store. As a customer walks nearby, the beacon could detect them, prompting an offer to be sent through an application on their mobile device.

Journey Builder for Apps is available now, with subscription pricing starting at US$12,500 per year.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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