Well it’s been awhile but Oracle ORCL is at it again, buying another company to boost its marketing muscle versus Salesforce CRM , Adobe Systems ADBE and other competitors.

This time the target is Maxymiser, a New York-based company that offers tools marketers can use to test which version of a marketing campaign gets the best results. Maxymiser competitors include Optimizely, but in the broader marketing automation battle, Oracle faces off against leaders including Adobe Systems and Salesforce, both of which have strung together their own acquisitions to build out marketing software services.

Maxymiser specializes in what is called A/B testing, in which marketing professionals offer a couple of options to prospects to see which gets the best response. In theory, great A/B testing means that customers or would-be customers get pitches that actually interest them, rather than irritate them.

The key with marketing campaigns (what many of us categorize as spam) is to tailor the message and to target people who will care instead of becoming annoyed. Tools like Maxymizer claim to make these aspects of customer relationship management, or CRM, easier. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This is a smart buy for Oracle, said Constellation Research founder and principal analyst Ray Wang said via email.

“Today’s customer experience initiatives span multiple settings and channels, from your car to your desktop to your mobile device. How do you quantify that journey? Maxymiser does this better than everyone else. Adobe has tools to do this but not as integrated as an approach that Maxymiser has across settings and channels. So in deals where you are quantifying the journey and overlaying digital marketing, customers need a way to see what works and doesn’t.

Maxymiser claims clients including Allianz, Lufthansa, and Tommy Hilfiger.

“This deal shows Oracle still doesn’t have all pieces together for CRM, in this case marketing and customer experience, which is the ongoing battleground for CRM buying decisions, ” said Wang’s colleague Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst for Constellation Research. Maxymiser assets, he said, will help Oracle attack these needs.

Marketing automation has been a bit of a free-for-all in the past four years as IT vendors see that marketing managers, including chief marketing officers, have more room in their budgets to spend on technology. That’s why companies from Adobe to SAP have been snapping up smaller companies with expertise in this area. Their goal? To build an amalgamation of allegedly integrated software modules that let marketers build and test their campaigns, implement those campaigns, and then track the results.

 

Oracle leads the world in relational databases and has, under CTO and chairman Larry Ellison, pushed aggressively into applications—human resources, financial services— to broaden its business. Marketing automation has also become a huge focus; in that realm Oracle dropped $871 million on Eloqua in 2012 and since then has acquired BlueKai, Responsys, and other companies in this arena.

It’s not alone: Adobe bought Neolane and Ominture, and Salesforce bought Radian6 and Buddy Media, not to mention ExactTarget two years ago for a whopping $2.5 billion. Meanwhile marketing automation specialists Marketo MKTO and Hubspot HUBS went public on their own.

Deals like this one shows that the land grab in marketing software is not over yet.

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