The Digital Marketing vendor landscape is extremely vibrant right now. It consists mostly of small-ish -- but very fast-growing and innovative -- companies with point solutions for marketing automation, social media monitoring and intelligence, campaigns and so forth.
In terms of buzzwords, digital marketing technology lies at the intersection of Cloud and Big Data and because of that, bigger infrastructure vendors are slowly building capabilities in this area. IBM's digital marketing portfolio is dominated by acquisitions of Unica, Coremetrics and others.
More recently, Oracle and Salesforce have been actively building capabilities. First Salesforce acquired Radian6 a while back and followed it up with the acquisition of Buddy Media. Oracle, on the other hand, has been building what it calls its "Social Relationship" platform by acquiring Vitrue and now Collective Intellect.
Collective Intellect (CI) is a social media and text analytics company founded in 2006 and is based in Boulder, Colorado. The company’s SaaS based solutions are based on what is known as Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) – a kind of a natural language processing technique that works on the basis of relationships between words and their context. What this means is that Collective Intellect can get you results based on themes and relationships between concepts you are trying to monitor.
However, what CI lacks is the capability to "close the loop." In other words, CI doesn't offer much in terms of engaging with participants in the conversations that you monitor. So I suspect Oracle will make more acquisitions in this space and then package these multiple acquisitions as a platform -- just like IBM does with Unica and Coremetrics.
We take a deeper look at Collective Intellect as well as its key competitors like Radian6, Sysomos, Attensity, Visible Intelligence, and others in our forthcoming Digital Marketing report.
Meanwhile, remember that CI is a comparatively small operation working out of a single location, and that will not change much in the short term even after this acquisition. If you're evaluating CI, make sure you understand the product roadmap well and how Oracle plans to integrate it with its broader offerings.