Salesforce.com wants you to believe that it provides end-to-end sales and marketing services.
Many of the vendor's marketing services came via acquisitions. Salesforce.com acquired Radian6 for social media monitoring in early 2011. It also acquired Buddy Media for social media marketing in 2012. Both these are part of an offering Salesforce calls Marketing Cloud. After adding on a few other offerings, Salesforce now proclaims itself the... "#1 APP FOR SALES, SERVICE, AND MARKETING."
Now, when you register for a demo of this marketing cloud, the demo request gets handled by marketing automation vendor Eloqua.
Eloqua is now owned by competitor Oracle.
Of course, there is nothing new in vendors not eating their own dog food. In a dynamic marketplace, frequent mergers and acquisitions are common. Salesforce.com signed up with Eloqua before the latter got acquired.
However, it does reinforce a couple of relevant points for you the customer:
- Salesforce.com has a gap in their marketing cloud in the key area of Marketing Automation (MA). In general this is not a bad thing, since they integrate with several other MA vendors instead.
- Perhaps more importantly, this episode reminds us that once you have selected a vendor, it's not trivial to change horses even if you have enough technical bandwidth at your disposal. Many people believe cloud based services are highly portable among suppliers. That may be the case for some basic implementations, but it's certainly not the case for a more complex, enterprise use cases. A lack of standards also hinders data migration from one service to another.
In general, many cloud-based applications, including file sharing and digital marketing services, allow you to provision an account yourself and get started right away. This approach may work very well initially, but over time, complexity increases. You can encounter a broad set of security, performance, and integration challenges.