But Oracle certainly had reasons for buying the company apart from taking a shot at Salesforce.com, according to Pombriant. That's because marketing products are varied and "vastly different," he said.
Some provide the ability to run email marketing campaigns. Newer ones focus on social media. Some center on "inbound marketing," the notion of drawing customers to a company website through search engine optimization, blogs and other means. Still others manage "outbound marketing," such as television and radio ads.
"There's a real gauntlet of obstacles when you consider what you need for your marketing programs," Pombriant said.
Eloqua offers a long list of specialized marketing capabilities, including marketing measurement, email marketing, lead nurturing and customer targeting and segmentation.
All told, the purchase will give Oracle "the ability to track, capture and analyze a potential buyer's Digital Body Language including their preferences, behavior and decision-making processes," according to its announcement.
The big picture: "The statement Oracle is making to the market is that customer engagement technologies are really important and where companies need to be spending their time," Berridge said. "They're not out there buying some old ERP vendor right now. In this case, they bought a company that has cutting-edge technology."
The move also speaks to the fact that sales and marketing professionals are having more influence on IT purchasing. "Many organizations have been spending so much capital on back-office ERP projects that they're figuring out how the way to drive value is to look at your customer acquisition, customer service and customer retention [processes]," he said.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com