Salesforce.com which once positioned itself as a customer-relationship management (CRM) provider, and the pioneer of software-as-a-service (SaaS), now it bills itself as "The enterprise cloud computing company," and has completed its acquisition of Buddy Media, which it in turn bills as "The world's leading social media marketing platform."
The positioning goes on. With the combination of Salesforce, Radian6 (the social media monitoring provider that Salesforce.com also acquired) and Buddy Media, Salesforce.com now offers Salesforce Marketing Cloud, "The platform of choice for brands to listen, engage, gain insight, publish, advertise and measure social marketing programs," and "The only [italics ours] end-to-end solution to turn insights into actions to create customers for life."
It gets thicker. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff who in his early days at the company identified with Che Guevara and prided himself upon disrupting Oracle user group events, is couching the new enterprise in that same revolutionary language. Among the statements: "Social media has caused the biggest transformation in marketing since the Mad Men era, causing CMOs to completely re-think their strategies," said Marcel LeBrun, SVP of Salesforce Radian6. Further, "Buddy Media's mission is to eliminate the current state of anarchy in social marketing," said Michael Lazerow, co-founder and CEO, Buddy Media.
So we’ve got Mad Men, Cuban revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries, all presenting quite a contrast to stuffy old Oracle, which Salesforce.com identifies as its chief competitor. Oracle made its chops as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) provider and, to be fair, gave Benioff his early career and fortune. For that matter, Benioff counts Oracle’s Larry Ellison among his mentors, and Ellison invested personally in Salesforce.com.
Oracle in July snapped up Involver, which provides a social media development platform for creating customized marketing applications for social media sites and web campaigns. And Involver knows its stuff: Its trademarked Social Markup Language (SML) technology supports more than one million fan pages, and its customers include leading brands and agencies like Brown-Forman, Razorfish, Best Buy, MTV and USA TODAY.
Still there is weight behind Salesforce’s lofty claims as well. Buddy Media counts among its client brands and advertisers Ford, Hewlett Packard, and L'Oreal, and has helped those brands connect with more than a billion customers on such social networks as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. And Salesforce.com has always been customer focused, thus has a stronger claim upon a social pedigree than does Oracle.
But rival ERP provider SAP has never managed to knock down Oracle. The short of it is, Salesforce.com is a more exciting story today than is Oracle, but, the week is not over yet.