Mark Hurd: Oracle is unleashing marketing as a service

Oracle co-president Mark Hurd told FiRe-goers this morning that the company is adding a new product to its cloud suite: Marketing as a service.

When Hurd took to the stage Thursday morning, his company was just 50 cents behind IBM’s market cap. Still, he urged FiRe chair and interviewer Mark Anderson not to talk about it too much, telling him he was going to jinx it.

As in past years at FiRe, Hurd emphasized the importance of social media as a critical disruptor of the customer service industry. “I believe that this method of communicating and talking is going to change everything we do.”

When he was in business school, he said, he was taught that 95 percent customer satisfaction was perfect: Anything beyond that was not supposed to be worth the effort put into it.

These days, he’s seeing things differently: If 5 percent of your customer base is unhappy and talking about it on social media? It becomes very bad for your company.  “This dearth of data is going to turn into a real challenge for all of us.”

In this atmosphere, companies will need to focus on doing due diligence on their customers and establishing deeper, longer-term relationships with them. And quickly: Hurd told the FiRe audience that Oracle’s inbound leads convert in the 1 percent range — and that leads lose interest just two hours after the last touch. “The best process,” he said, “is to automate that [sales pipeline] up front.”

Enter Oracle’s new marketing as a service offering, which Hurd told FiRe audience members allows companies to stay coordinated and innovative without having to break the bank modifying apps.

“You’re lowering costs and increasing innovation, both hopefully at the same time.”

Superior security is a must. The Chinese-government backed hackers accused of IP theft, he says, are far from the only perpetrators. “This is going on every single day. We all know it’s happening.” Oracle though is taking a slightly different tack. “A lot of people are trying to secure the perimeter. We’re trying to secure the data.”

So far, that’s working. “To my knowledge,” he said, “no Oracle database has ever been penetrated. There’s been many attempts.”

So how does he keep his own team on task? “The biggest job is leadership,” Hurd said. “We’ve got 130,000 people, not all of whom execute perfectly. But we’re trying to keep them going north.”