At first blush Oracle appears to be doing a fine job of executing the position that it has “more enterprise cloud applications than anyone.” It is the theme for a currently-running TV ad campaign, and when Oracle president Mark Hurd was asked by CNBC Thursday what sets Oracle apart of the competition, Hurd responded that we have “more enterprise cloud applications than anyone.”
Oracle seemly gets high marks for consistency and repetition, which are the most important factors in claiming a position – that mental space in your target audience’s mind that you can own with an idea that has compelling meaning to the target audience.
The question is whether buyers care about Oracle’s claim. I don’t think they do, and there’s strong evidence to support the fact that most buyers only care about who can best solve their pressing business problem. They aren’t looking for ERP or CRM or BI or CPM to find a vendor who offers more cloud applications than anyone. They have a business problem otherwise they would not be in the market for new software.
Inwardly focused positioning doesn’t work
Why does an internally focused position like Oracle’s fail to resonate with buyers? According to the authors of “Neuromarketing,” the decision-making portion of the brain is self-centered and only cares about itself. It has no patience or empathy for anything that does not immediately concern its own well-being and survival.
Therefore, Neuromarketing advocates that one hundred percent of your message should focus on your audience, not your company. This only makes common sense. How fast do you move away from someone at a party who wants to talk about themselves? Buyers must hear what you can do for them before they will pay attention to you. Buyers really don’t care even if you have more enterprise cloud applications than anyone, or that you are No. 1 or the leader or the most innovative. They are in buy mode because they have a problem. Tell them how you solve it!
Oracle TV ad campaign example of the “silo effect”
One explanation for the emphasis Oracle has placed on having more cloud application than anyone is that it is playing catch-up on the cloud. But if that is the case, then cloud application content on Oracle’s website should support the claim. It does not. There is no mention anywhere on the website that Oracle has more cloud applications than anyone.
The Oracle TV campaign looks to me like an example of what I call the “silo effect.” That’s when each marketing collateral piece or campaign seems to be envisioned and created in isolation. There is no continuity and consistency in the message to the market. Every marketing piece is a one-off which is no way to do positioning as I point out in this blog about the “silo effect,” one of the most common problems in B2B software and technology marketing. “More enterprise cloud applications than anyone” is a classic example of the “silo effect.” Learn from Oracle’s mistake!