Oracle Marketing Cloud Honcho Kevin Akeroyd Leaves For CEO Gig At ‘Earned Media’ Firm Cision

AkeroydKevin Akeroyd, SVP and GM for the Oracle Marketing Cloud, has moved on.

Akeroyd was named CEO of Cision, a media intelligence firm serving the PR sector.

The company’s somewhat dubious claim to fame is a database jam-packed with journalists’ email addresses, but it’s also pushing into areas such as job services and content marketing.

In less than two years, the company completed five acquisitions – including content marketing vendor Viralheat, PR Newswire and Gorkana Group – and grew revenue from $130 million to $630 million.

That M&A growth strategy will be familiar to Akeroyd.

On his watch, Oracle Marketing Cloud also grew up via acquisition – consummating nine deals totaling more than $6 billion. It went from having almost no skin in the paid media game to being the belle of the enterprise ball.

Now he’s turning to “earned.”

Akeroyd spoke with AdExchanger about his shift to Cision to build an Oracle-like stack for earned media.

 AdExchanger: Burning question: Why’d you leave Oracle for Cision?

KEVIN AKEROYD: What the company has done over the last couple of years to bring together Cision, Vocus, Viralheat, Visible Technologies, Gorkana and very recently PR Newswire, they pretty rapidly transformed this thing into a leading global media intelligence and communications technology provider. When the opportunity arose to come lead an organization that put this set of assets together and to begin to integrate them into a leading platform very similar to what we did at Oracle, the decision was easy. 

Is Oracle’s Marketing Cloud complete?

 Do I think the job done there was fantastic? Absolutely. Do I think it’s anywhere near finished? No way. Not to put words in Oracle’s mouth, but I’m sure anyone over there would agree that they don’t think they’re done acquiring or integrating either. That whole Adobe, IBM, Salesforce, Oracle Marketing Cloud focus on commerce, paid and owned media – that game is now in its third or fourth inning. There’s still more than half the ballgame to play. I didn’t leave because the game was over. I left because the same challenges and opportunities exist in this [marketing communications] category, which is more in the first inning.

How so?

Earned media hasn’t gotten the same focus, so the opportunity to grow and innovate the entire category was exciting for me. There are a lot of point solutions out here in the PR, social media, content marketing and media intelligence space. We want to integrate those assets into a platform where life cycle, channels, solutions, data and analytics come together.

Do you consider Cision to be a publisher, a PR enabler or something else?

Although PR is very important, the earliest originators of content marketing were communications professionals. And quite frankly, content marketing belongs in this category rather than as a fragmented, standalone SaaS point solution the way we see it today.

How do you define content marketing?

With my Oracle hat on, content marketing was content management with the focus on [delivery] whether mobile push notifications or sending email out in a campaign as part of the workflow process. In this world, where content is the business – be it traditional communications, multimedia or video – the distribution of that content has so much impact. If we can bring that forward as a much stronger part of the platform, it’ll be a huge part of the business.

Do you expect more consolidation in the content tech and PR space as more platforms pursue SaaS models?

There are way too many point solutions and way too many vendors focused on narrow slices of a customer’s overall problem. There will be consolidation, some of it by acquisition and a lot of which will simply be by companies going out of business because the days of free venture capital and hypervaluations are over too. What happened in the paid media world – the same is going to happen in earned. Customers will say they’re done with having [disparate tools to manage] data, analytics and distribution. They need to do way more with way less tools in their professional life.

Interview edited for clarity and length.


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