Oracle Buys Compendium, A Content Marketing Startup, To Build Up Its Arsenal Against Salesforce

On the heels of Oracle‘s $871 million acquisition of Eloqua in December 2012, today the CRM giant is sailing into another acquisition in the cloud-based marketing space. It has bought Compendium, a six-year-old startup that, out of Indianapolis and largely bootstrapped, has managed to build up a business with a number of large clients including CVENT, Gymboree and Trane. The acquisition puts Oracle into closer competition against Salesforce, with a little twist: Compendium was co-founded by Chris Baggott, the same entrepreneur that co-founded ExactTarget, bought by Salesforce earlier this year for $2.5 billion.

The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed by Oracle but we are still trying to find out.

Prior to this, Compendium had raised some $2.8 million in equity funding and $1 million in debt.

Oracle says Compendium will sit alongside Eloqua. Specifically, Compendium is a platform for businesses to distribute their marketing across the web, including social media platforms, blogs and more. Much like previous acquisitions like Vitrue, this is about Oracle getting deeper into services that are still loosely in the arena of CRM, but are more about helping enterprises better target platforms that potential customers are more likely to use, to complement what they may or may not already be doing with advertising. One estimate pegs this as a $4 billion opportunity annually in the U.S. alone.

“As customers increasingly access information through online and mobile channels, the buying process is shifting from sales-driven to marketing-driven. Now, more than ever, marketers are challenged to deliver relevant and engaging content across multiple channels and throughout the customer lifecycle,” said Thomas Kurian, Executive Vice President, Oracle Development, in a statement. “By adding Compendium’s content marketing platform to Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud, customers will be able to capture more prospects, improve the customer experience and drive top line revenue.”

In Compendium’s case, this includes what looks like a WordPress-style blogging platform for both businesses and potentially even their customers to create and post information; as well as the kind of dashboard that you typically see in other social media marketing platforms, letting the business formulate and schedule content, for example for platforms like Twitter.

More strategically, Oracle’s acquisition of Compendium will help it compete better against the likes of Salesforce, which has also been acquiring and moving aggressively into this space. The bigger picture is that Oracle wants to have as complete an offering as possible in its vision to be a one-stop shop for all cloud-based customer-relationship and sales services. This is the pic from the company’s presentation on the deal:

oracle cloud

Salesforce’s ExactTarget acquisition for $2.5 billion earlier this year now forms the basis of the company’s marketing cloud services.

And here’s a funny detail, on top of the fact that both ExacTarget and Compendium share the same co-founder. Until just a couple of minutes ago, ExactTarget was also listed here as a Compendium customer — now it’s gone.

Presumably before Oracle came along, and in Compendium’s early days, given the common founder, there would have been an easy connection between the two, and maybe ExactTarget was an early customer of Compendium’s. (A commenter below  notes that the two are also office park neighbors.) But even with Salesforce and Oracle these days playing nice, perhaps cooperation has its limits.

Update: Oracle tells me that “ExactTarget wasn’t removed from the page you linked to (they were not on that page). That Clients page features three customer stories. They’re still featured on the homepage at like they were yesterday. The only web tweak made has been the announcement bar at the top.”

Oracle, in a presentation to shareholders, says the acquisition has already closed.