Oracle is using Ai to automate its digital marketing lead generation

Oracle Corp has announced a new system that it says will use artificial intelligence to automate key parts of its digital marketing campaign orchestration.

Once primarily known for its database software, Oracle is competing against firms like Adobe and to sell cloud-based software used for marketing business-to-business products that typically cost thousands of dollars or more.

Unlike marketing campaigns aimed at consumers where the goal might be to raise brand awareness, the goal of those B2B campaigns is to produce what marketing people call a MQL or “Marketing Qualified Lead”. Most of us would assume that to be a person whom a salesperson can call to start a conversation that eventually turns into a sale. Low quality leads cost money and cause conflict between marketing and sales teams because they can ‘waste salespeople’s time’.

Oracle’s Fusion Marketing system uses artificial intelligence to automatically assemble marketing campaigns and determine whether the people who interact with emails or advertisements might eventually buy a product, sending their contact information to sales teams.

Hello, this is an automated call from Oracle.

Press 1 if you want to buy something from us

For all other requirements, please hang up.

To do it, the system sucks in data from a variety of sources. Some of the data, like email contact lists, will come from the Oracle customers who use the system. And some of the data will come from massive marketplaces of third-party data that Oracle has acquired in recent years to grow its digital advertising business.

“A lot of it is much more measurable than it has been in the past,” Rob Tarkoff, executive vice president or Oracle’s advertising and customer experience cloud, said of digital marketing campaigns. “We just said, ‘this is a big computer science problem, and we’re going to go solve it.'”

I’ve said for many years that Marketing is as much science as it is art, and marketing automation has certainly proved that science can deliver improved results measurement. But, I can’t help thinking that using AI to determine the who, what and when of marketing campaigns could lead us backwards. In recent years we have seen a rise in creative and brand lead design influencing all aspects of marketing communication. Excellent results come from campaigns that rise above the basics of connecting a prospect to a message – or simply ‘showing the product’ in an advert. Will all of this creativity be lost with a dry, fact based approach to lead generation? If sales only want to talk to people that want to buy, they will inevitably alienate those prospects that need to be nurtured.

This AI approach to marketing feels like a green screen approach to a blue sky problem. Does Oracle really need this sledge hammer / number crunching behemoth to help it streamline sales opportunities? I strongly suspect that Oracle will quickly become more faceless, less human and less likely to win over its prospects.

In the meantime, if you want a more human, approachable and simplified digital marketing campaign, please give me a call.

Credit to Stephen Nellis at Reuters for the initial concept for this article.