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While the concept of the Contact Washing Machine has been out for a while, I wanted to provide a simplified post for those looking to get started in data cleansing. It's not a surprise that the cleaner your data, the more effective your segmentation and lead qualification strategies will be. If you can't make sense of the data that you have, you are leaving opportunities to your competitors that are able to reach those people. You can also check out this excellent post on Hexaware's Data Washing Machine by Amit Varshneya from Hexaware.


We'll start with the concept of normalizing titles. If you're looking through your database and you have hundreds to thousands of job titles that you want to group into buckets, this post will help you create a process to clean your existing data by grouping your database into job title buckets. While some recommend forcing the user on webforms to select their job role, sales people prefer knowing the specific job title and when data is added to the database, it's difficult to ensure that people are assigning the correct job title. It's time to put Eloqua to work to make this easier for you.


This post assumes that you are familiar with Eloqua. You may need to do some research in the Knowledgebase on some of the specifics of the features mentioned. In addition as it uses Program Builder, I would check out the video on Program Builder in Eloqua University or the courses that are available.


To begin this process you need to have analyzed the title field in your database and created normalized "title buckets" that will be used to group the contacts in your database. Examples may include: COO, Manager Level, Sales Professional. These are based on how you currently do your segmentation (or how you want to do your segmentation). One tip worth experimenting with is using a free tool called "Google Refine" to help examine your data and look for trends.



Step by step instructions:


  • Create a new contact field in Eloqua called:"Title Normalized" or "Segmentation Title" (or whatever you feel is appropriate). This field will be the field that you will use for creating your segments and for scoring off of.
  • Create a new Update Rule Set called: "SYSTEM - Data Normalization - Title (Contacts)". Select the entity as Contacts when you create it.
  • Now you're going to create a bunch of update rules so that all of your contacts that have different titles will be updated with a normalized title. For example, if you want all contacts that have a title of "Chief Operating Officer" to have a normalized title of "COO", you would do the following:
  • Add an Update Rule to the Update Rule Set
  • Select the new field "Title Normalized" you created as the field you want to update
  • Select "Set to Value" as the update Action
  • For Value, enter the "title bucket" that you want. In this example, it's COO
  • Check off "Make this rule Conditional"
  • Choose the Title contact field
  • Change it to "Equal to"
  • Enter in the value that the program should look for to normalize. In this example, enter in: Chief Operating Officer


Here is what it looks like:

  • Since this is a washing machine, you now have to rinse and repeat. Save this Update Rule you created and create as many rules that are needed so that you can normalize all of your records into consistent title buckets. Keep in mind that you many not get all of them at the first go and that this is an iterative process.

    An added feature with Update Rules is that you can use the wild card character: *. This makes it easier to identify records and update them. For example, if you are looking to create a normalized title bucket of COO, you can enter a value such as Chief Op*. In this case, the wild card looks for any contact with a title of "Chief Op". Therefore, Chief Operating Officer would be picked up as well just "Chief Operator". You need to be careful on how you apply the wild card character.

When you're done, you'll have a list that looks like this:


Something to consider: Order the evaluation criteria (the Update Rules) of your Update Rule Set to ensure the highest quality matches. You may need to test some data to perfect this which we'll do once we build a Program in Program Builder in the next step.


  • Now you can create a Washing Machine Program and run your contacts through the program using Program Builder. Go to Program Builder and create a new program. This is a very simple program. In the Program Details, make sure the Default Member type is Contacts. This will be a very simple program.
  • Once you've created the program, add an Action step as the first step in the program but don't add any actions to it.
  • Now, add a new Action step to the first step. Select the "Update Contact/Prospect/Company Data" action and choose the Update Rule Set you created:

  • Add a final step that will remove contacts from the program. Your Program should look like this:


  • Test your Update rules by running some sample contacts through the program and make changes if needed to ensure that the majority of titles are accounted for and are normalized. You may want to disable the final step in the program and review the data for the first few weeks. Once you are confident that all is OK, let the contacts flow freely through the program.
  • You can now add in feeders to the program and add it to your overall data flow:
  • You can also pass the data to your CRM integration program using the "Move to Another Program" program action. Change the last step of the program to this action as per below:



Good luck on cleansing your data!

The question came up in today's Power Hour... where can I get more information on best practices for Salesforce and Eloqua? If you search Topliners for "Salesforce" or "CRM" you will find lots of articles, but I vowed to give a starter's kit to help distill some information for you.


Where to Begin?

I will start with a short list for how to think about approaching the CRM + Eloqua relationship. It is a big topic, so if you are just starting the dive, here's the top 3 things to think about;

  1. Know how your integration works. There are some simple tips below. If you want to learn more, there is a Power Hour on this topic on June 17, 2011 ( If you need additional help, contact Eloqua Support.
  2. Check to see that everything is working as it should. From time to time, check the errors reports and do some manual tests. You can also check out the Eloqua/SFDC integration program and scan for issues.
  3. Do a data refresh from your CRM to Eloqua once a year. You can contact Eloqua Support to assist with this.


"But How?" You Say....

Here is a short list of resources that you may find very helpful as you explore how to get the most out of your CRM Integration with Eloqua. This is the tip of the iceberg and I encourage any readers to share their favorite factoids, blog posts, articles, etc. in the comments!


  • Where can I read about the true basics so I understand the foundations of CRM Integration? Open up your install of Eloqua, navigate to the Knowledgebase and search for CRM. There is a helpful CRM FAQs that explains what the integration actually achieves (i.e. two way synchronization of data, basic navigation and more).
  • What does my integration look like? Go into your Eloqua Install and take a look at your CRM Integration within Program Builder. First question to ask yourself, do I understand what this Program is currently doing? Second question to ask yourself, should I change or tweak some of the flow of information?
  • What information is being passed? To gain more insight, pull a report to see the Field Mappings passed between your CRM and Eloqua. Instructions for pulling this report are available on the Knowledgebase, simply search for "field mappings from CRM" to access the step-by-step instructions.


If you are currently thinking, "Yes! I have a clear vision for how my integration is currently running and I want to tweak this integration..." here are a some additional resources:


Now it is your turn... what is your favorite resource when it comes to taking the dive into CRM Integration?


Another Layer of Security

Posted by sweeney May 27, 2011

As news of the numerous data breaches affecting Email Service Providers (ESPs) and other data processors circulates throughout the online marketing industry, an increasing amount of attention is being paid to data security. Data breaches are at “best” frustrating, at worst reputation killers. A common misconception is that the company storing the data is always at the heart of the breach and is therefore the only one required to take preventative action. This is often not the case. Many breaches are caused not by the employees / systems of the data processor, but rather users of the systems that access the data.


Think about it for a moment: after carefully selecting a vendor with state of the art security features, competent internal data management practices, thorough training and employee / contractor audits, you entrust that service provider with your data. All of that goes out the window if your own username and password to that system is compromised (commonly via phishing attack) and used by a malicious party to access your account.


Controls exist to help cut down on potentially malicious attempts to access your system. For example, did you know that Eloqua provides an IP address restriction function that can restrict access to your system by IPs defined by you? Even if your username and password were compromised, this tool could prevent the attacker from being able to access the system. It works by allowing you to specify the IP – not just account – permitted to access the system. Simply contact Eloqua Support with your corporate IP range (and any other legitimate IPs you and your users access the system with) and they will do the rest. This is a quick and easy way to add an extra layer of security to your data and remember – security is everyone’s responsibility!

First things first:


A- represents the number of contacts in that segment

Why is it grey in colour? Because contacts have flown out of that step and into the next one


B- represents the number of contacts who did not get sent the email

Why is it green in colour? Because contacts were not sent the email and are still in that step

Why were they not sent the email? Double click to find out.




When you export this report, the status is displayed in terms of exclusion codes, like so:


Following is an intepretation of all the Status Codes:



Now, you know.

I love using Signature Layouts in my emails to personalize the sender information. The layout is essentially just a collection of field merges pulling information from the Eloqua Agent's Signature Fields.*


When you build a layout you may wonder, "Hmmmm, I wonder if the Sales Users that are loaded into Eloqua** have information for all of the fields I have selected..."  For example, maybe you want to have the signature layout pull the sales user's first and last name, job title, a personal message, a mobile phone number and a land line.  Hopefully, each sales user has the first three, but do they have the personal message? Do they have a mobile and land line listed? It's easy to see this information.


After you build your layout, return to the signature layouts list (Communicate > Email Marketing > Email tab > Get started bar – Signatures drop down > Manage Signature Layouts). Locate your signature layout and click on the drop down arrow next to it. Choose Testing Options. There are two.


manage signature layouts.png

The top option shows you how the fields in your signature layout match up against all users loaded in Eloqua. If you choose the top option, you might see that Tom is missing a mobile phone number and Sue is missing a Personal Message. If Tom and Sue are the only two listed in this report, you know every other user in the system has information in the fields selected for this particular signature layout. Woo hoo! If you see that all of your users are missing a field, like Personal Message you may want to do a user upload for that field.


If you select the second testing option you will see how the signature fields match up against a particular Signature Rule. If Tom is included in the Signature Rule, then he would still show up in the report. If both Tom and Sure are not included in the Signature Rule you select then neither would show up on this second report.


This is an easy to use functionality, but one that I just learned about and I am excited to share. Go forth and test thee your signature layouts!


*Footnote Numero Uno: Want to check your own signature fields? Go to Setup > My Settings > Edit Agent Settings, scroll down and click on the General Info header.


**Footnote Numero Dos: Want to learn more about how to upload Sales folks into Eloqua without giving them access to change all of your beautiful assets?  Go to Setup > Management > User Management > Get started bar - Users drop down > Choose Upload users.  From this upload screen you can actually download a template for placing User information in a format that Eloqua can easily map. Make sure to leave the column called SecurityGroup blank so that the Sales Users have very limited access inside of Eloqua and they do not count against your user allowance.

As most companies involved in online marketing are now aware, the European Union adopted new changes to the EU Directive at the end of December 2009 to make consent required for placing a tracking device or technology onto someone’s computer such as a cookie. Member States must enact this change by May 25 2011, and it is still unknown how most of the 28 Member States will choose to enact their own laws. Some may allow browser settings to suffice as affirmative consent while others may choose to enact the strictest version of the regulation requiring affirmative consent for each site visited, regardless of browser settings.

What does this mean for you?

Depending on if / where you do business in Europe, and what those countries decide to enact on or after May 25th you could be required to advise your web visitors that you perform web tracking via cookies, and seek their opt-in consent such as clicking a checkbox or link to consent to tracking BEFORE a cookie is dropped. At Eloqua, we have developed technology that is already available which will allow our users to accomplish this easily.

At a minimum, even for those Member States who take a more lenient approach (such as allowing browser settings as consent), you should review your current disclosures including Privacy Policy and ensure that you are clearly explaining that tracking is taking place, how it is taking place, and what options exist to opt out of such tracking. Even if you are already disclosing the use of cookies in your current policy, it may be prudent to review and update the language so that it is easy to understand. As more information emerges, Eloqua will provide updates.


Eloqua's own Chief Security and Privacy Officer, Dennis Dayman explains in more detail and provides insight via this article.


The UK Information Commissioner's Office has released their *updated* guidance on the subject here.


A listing of the EU countries that have implemented laws can be found here. This list will be updated as countries add their laws.


The full text of the amended EU Directive can be found on page 34, Recital 66 here.

Online Referrals


Referrers allow you to track your web marketing activities such as Blog posts, search engines, banner ads, Social Media, partner sites etc. Examples of how you might want to use this feature is to track visitors to your online blog posts or a general catch-all monitoring for a popular social media page e.g. your company's Facebook or Twitter page.

[Note: The following instructions apply to Eloqua9]


To access the Referrers area:
  1. From the Eloqua Today (home) page, select Automate > Web Profiling > Referrers
  2. Click the Referrers tab.
  3. Click one of the sub tabs on the left to access tools for a particular type of referrer, in this case we're using Online Media


Screen shot 2011-05-04 at 17.07.39.png


Creation of a Referrer, e.g. Online Media


  1. On the menu next to Online Media, select New Marketing Campaign from the drop-down menu.

Screen shot 2011-05-04 at 17.20.02.png

     2. Enter in Campaign Name, Start date, End date


Screen shot 2011-05-04 at 17.31.17.png


The referrer screen currently has the text "Optional" after both the Referring URL and Landing Page URL.  However you do need to use at least one of them to track detail correctly.


You should enter in your Landing Page and Referring URLs based on the following criteria:


  1. Track click-throughs (Visitors) from particular web pages (for example, articles or press releases on other websites) to your website (known as Referring URL).
  2. Track click-throughs (Visitors)  from any web page to a particular Landing Page (for example, to track a particular promotion) on your website (known as Landing Page).
  3. Track  click-throughs (Visitors) from a particular web page (Referring URL) to a particular Landing Page on your website to measure the traffic/success for a particular Campaign.


For example 1 above, you'd enter in the Referring URL. For example 2 above you'd enter in the URL of your Landing Page. For example 3 above you'd enter in both the Referring URL and the Landing Page URL.

The Situation: A salesperson discovers that the primary email address for a lead/contact has changed. He/She changes the email address in the CRM system to reflect the new primary email for that lead/contact. Since Eloqua auto synchs use email address as the unique identifier, the auto-synch will run and try to find a match using the new email address. However, since this change has only been made in the CRM, it will not find a match in Eloqua and therefore create a duplicate record. Needless to say, this is far from ideal!



The Solution: Create an autosynch that references the Lead / Contact's history object in Use the old email address value as the unique identifier to match Eloqua's database and use the new email address value to overwrite it once a match has been made (don't worry.....if your confused, just follow the Play by Play!).



Play by Play:


1. Enable History Tracking on the Email field

Ensure that history tracking is enabled for the email field in This allows all changes made to this field to be recorded and allows us to pull this info into Eloqua. [Note: This change requires that you have Administrator privileges in]


               Your Name > Setup > Customize > Lead >









2. Create an Auto-synch in Eloqua to pull the information from history object

*The Auto-synch instructions below are specific to Leads in Salesforce. The same process can be followed for Contacts by swapping the word "Lead" for the word "Contact" in the following instructions.

** Although the screen captures show the Eloqua9 interfaces, the process is the same for Eloqua10.




Setup > Integration > Inbound > Create Data Sources > Create Data Source with External Call

Creating an external call.png


Give your new Auto-Synch a name and optionally give a description and a save folder. Ensure that the Purpose for upload is set to "Modify Email address" and the checkbox labeled "Can be scheduled for automatic execution" is checked. Click Next.



Select the type of Action to be performed, in this case we are retreiving data so select 'Retrieve', and select the entity in Salesforce from which we are trying to retrieve data from (Lead History). Lead the box labelled "Retrieve 18 character IDs" unchecked. Click Next


Select the fields that you want to pull data from on the Lead History object. Click Next


Since it is possible to track changes on multiple fields in Salesforce, we need to configure the filter so that we are only pulling in changes made on the Email address, as well as only pulling in changes that were made since the last time this Auto-synch ran successfully (see screenshot). Click Next.



Set the field mapping so that Eloqua knows which field coming in from Salesforce contains the old value and which one contains the new value (see screenshot).create_as_5.png


If you would like to receive notifications when this Synch is successful or when it fails, enter a notification email address and select when you would like to be notified. You may also allow this Auto-Synch to run every night at 10PM (default) or manually set the frequency of this call. Once you are complete, click FINISH.



3. Testing


Everything should be set up and ready to go at this point. To test this process, make a change to a Lead / contact's email address (in Salesforce) and then manually run your Auto-Synch. To manually run an Auto-synch, go to....


Setup > Integration > Inbound > Management > Auto-Synchs > (select the auto-synch you just created) > Auto-Synch Options > Run Auto-Synch (you may select ignore date filter to pull in any changes prior to configuration of this process).




Once this completes, and runs successfully, you will be able to view the contact's activity overview and the date and time of the change will be recorded.




Note: these instructions were taylored (haha get it taylor like my last name...not funny? Okay moving along ) for Salesforce however similiar solutions may be available in other CRM systems.


I hope you guys found this Play by Play helpful, I will be putting out additional Play by Play's periodically to help everyone on their Eloqua adventures. Feedback is appreciated as always.



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