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Would you like to know more about building Eloqua Cloud Connectors?


At 4Thought Marketing, we've published a new Whitepaper that can help you do just that.


It's intended for companies who are thinking about developing Cloud Connectors for the Eloqua App Cloud, and would like a quick overview of how to avoid the most common mistakes.


As an overview in this White Paper you'll learn:


  • How your "business needs" should influence your design
  • What technical considerations should take priority
  • Why you should design your cloud connector to fail
  • And much more...


If you want access to great guide you can click here

You ncloud-connector.jpgeed a cloud connector, and eventually you may need several. You have bright people in the computer room – they’re pretty good – so you ask yourself, why can’t they put something together? Or maybe you have an existing partner who is more than willing to custom program a cloud connector for you.


After all, do you really need to spend all that money on a professionally built Cloud Connector?


Here are a few reasons you may not have thought of:


Turnover: Managing home-built cloud connectors requires a trained and skilled programmer and preferably the very one that programmed it. Of course, turnover occurs in all companies. Two years is average! When your Cloud Connector needs to be updated, where will your programmer be? Keep in mind that 4Thought Marketing’s business is Cloud Connectors. We have multiple folks capable of addressing and fixing any Cloud Connector issues at any point in time.


Speed to Deployment: When you buy an existing customer-proven cloud connector, you’ll have a minimal deployment time and most importantly, there’s no testing and re-programming time. 4Thought Marketing Cloud Connectors work right the first time because they’ve been used and tested by multiple customers.


Features: It’s unlikely that your internal IT department will build the robust features that have been suggested and incorporated by various 4Thought Marketing clients over years of usage. Also, it is frequently the case with pre-built cloud connectors that additional valuable features will be made available to you as time goes on. Quite simply, there’s power in the numbers of the multiple customers behind 4Thought Marketing Cloud Connectors.


Reliability: A flow of leads is only as reliable as its weakest link. Cloud connectors are typically considered of minor importance to an internal IT department and frequently they’re either deployed on a server stuck in the corner, or relegated to sharing a server with more important applications.


Do you want one small link in your pipeline – a simple cloud connector – to delay the movement of your data? Data that is the cornerstone of the lead flow of all marketing and sales?


4Thought Marketing’s professional Cloud Connectors are running on multiple redundant servers on opposite sides of the United States, with automated failover, all monitored by a 24x7 Cloud Connector Monitoring Portal.


Maintenance: We fix even small bugs in our Cloud Connectors free of charge. Not by the hour as a partner would, or as a secondary priority like an IT department might. And don’t kid yourself: bugs will show up weeks, months, even years after deployment. A connector that has been debugged by multiple customers, and funded by multiple customers, is fixed faster, more reliably and less expensively than trying to reinvent the wheel in-house.


Hardware: An internally-deployed Cloud Connector will typically require a server, a Windows Server Operating system, and Microsoft IIS, along with security software, network configuration, and other infrastructure components that can all be more easily handled “in the cloud.”


These need to be patched, upgraded, maintained and even fixed at times. When you buy cloud connectors from 4Thought Marketing, we share these costs among hundreds of running Cloud Connectors. Does it make sense for you to do it for one? Or will you just slap it alongside other running applications and hope for the best?


Experience: The Eloqua API is pretty good, but we’ve build all sort of exception and compensation mechanisms to compensate for various gaps and limitations in it. Your IT team won’t have that experience on day one. We’ve earned it by building almost 100 cloud connectors and living through 5 years and dozens of customers’ worth of experience. How much will it cost you and your IT team both in IT man-hours to gain that type of experience? More importantly, how much will inefficiencies in sales and marketing while the problems and solutions are uncovered?


API Changes: Our continued success demands that we maintain our Cloud Connectors. In October of 2013 Eloqua changed their API substantially and we had to reprogram our system before that change launched, just to keep our customer’s systems running properly. This means we keep on top of all API update bulletins coming from our vendors, and anticipate the required updates before they throw errors into your pipeline. Is your team or partner prepared to do that for one Custom Cloud Connector? Will they make those updates free of charge? Are they as motivated to do that as a company dedicated to Eloqua Cloud Connectors?



Is building Eloqua Cloud Connectors and working with the Eloqua API your company’s best use of resources? Is it your core competency? It IS ours!


It just makes sense to allow 4Thought Marketing to provide your Cloud Connectors – it’s faster, safer, and less expensive. It is a good business decision.

I had the opportunity to co-chair a Power Hour this month on Success Planning and some topics emerged that I think are worth repeating.  First of all, very special thanks to erin.cox  from Deloitte and Patrice Greene of DemandGen for joining and discussing this topic with gregory_huckabee1 and me!

We talk a lot about “success, crawl-walk-run, it’s a marathon and not a sprint” and all of this sounds great, but how do those epithets actually break down into tangible snippets of what to do next?  Well Patrice gave us the answer: whiteboard it out.  Yes, that’s right.  Physically draw or map out what dashboards and metrics you feel are important.  Why is this the right approach, you ask? Because you need to tell a story and the data are the building blocks you need to tell that story.  It will also help you uncover the data you need that may be missing.

If you missed the Power Hour, it’s worth a replay to hear how Erin Cox, Digital Marketer at Deloitte, helped to transition her marketing team’s metrics measurement from batch and blast to engagements and conversions.  She reminds us that we need to think of creative ways to tell the data story so management understands the themes you are trying to get across.  Erin cites the example of a management member not understanding that the conversion rate of MQLs was more important than the number of MQLs created. 

Her comment reminded me about my time running Marketing Automation and building dashboards for my boss, the VP of Marketing.  We were good at it. Damn good at it and went overboard.  We measured everything in every possible manner:  bar graph, pie chart, plot graph and any other you could think of.  We continually patted ourselves on the back for the amazing and awesome job we were doing.  High five! Unfortunately, Sales and the rest of the company didn’t agree with us.  They were totally confused by all the charts we were showing, they constantly told us that they didn’t “get” what we were trying to prove.  Did we have an MQL problem? What should our conversion rate be? Where will we be in 5 months if we continue with this trend? We were focusing so much on the raw data and the metrics that we lost the value and the “story” we were trying to bring to the business.  We had gone off the deep end with data overload and needed to re-assess.

From my experience it turns out that we are not alone as it’s a problem I’ve witnessed with many other marketers.  Avanish Kaushik explains why on his blog Occam’s Razor:

“there is one crucial part we often don't invest in sufficiently. The last mile. Data presentation! The actual output that is almost singularly responsible for driving the change we want in our organizations. The thing that is the difference between an organization that data pukes and the one that influences actions based on understandable insights.”

This is hard for us to do because we are in the weeds with our campaigns and we think EVERYTHING is important.  As marketers the metrics and data we produce can sometimes be our proudest moment and we want to shout it from the rooftops!  Alas, Avanish gives examples as to why this isn’t the best approach.  Take a look at the before and after examples he provides, the differences are pointed not only in aesthetic quality but also the intended action he wants the viewer to take.   

Perhaps then we can argue, as a marketer, you’re only as good as the story you can tell with your data. Happy Whiteboarding



Entry Level Position

Posted by OhKyleL May 19, 2014

The Human Capital Institute (HCI) is seeking to hire a Sales and Marketing Automation Coordinator. This position will report to the Sr. Director of Customer Intelligence, and will work along-side the sales and marketing teams who are continuously developing reports and tools for the HCI sales team to help them support revenue goals.

What You Will Be Doing
As a Marketing and Sales Automation Coordinator at HCI, you will be responsible for sending out email blasts on behalf of our Inside Sales team through Eloqua; updating leads and contacts in along with other data cleansing duties using various tools and methods.; assisting the inside sales team with reports; and supporting various other projects to help support success of HCI.



Responsibilities include:


  • Create and send email campaigns:
  • Develop and pull lists from and Eloqua:
  • Assist in maintaining database integrity
  • Sales and Marketing automation
  • Work with Sales and Marketing Departments to add value


I have too much on my plate and keep getting more added to it. I am looking to fill the entry level position mentioned to help me keep our database up to date and to create email campaigns on behalf of our sales team. Ideally this position will be based out of our Cincinnati OTR office. If you know of anyone who is looking to get started in the exciting world of Sales and Marketing Automation. Have them check out the the job posting on LinkedIn

Nope, those aren't the lyrics to a new Kanye/Daft Punk song, these are advanced segmentation techniques to dial your segmentation up to 11! Here's a quick run-down:


Merge: With a merge of two lists you can combine the data from both lists and Eloqua will account for any de-duplication.

Let’s say we’ve got two lists:

  • List 1 contains a man named Mike Brady, his three boys (Greg, Peter, and Bobby), and their housekeeper, Alice:

Mike and sons.png

  • List 2 contains a lovely lady named Carol Martin, her very lovely girls (Marcia, Jan, and Cindy), and the same housekeeper, Alice:

Carol and daughters.png

If we do a Merge of these two lists (by selecting both and then right-clicking), Eloqua will combine all of the contacts in the group, de-duplicating Alice’s contact record:


Intersect: An Intersect of two lists will reveal any overlapping contacts, so if we did an Intersect of the same two lists we would see a list only containing Alice, the one contact present in both original lists:


Trim: A trim will remove any overlapping contacts, so when trimming from Mike’s list, we’d see just Mike and his three boys:

trim 1.png

While when trimming from Carol’s list, we’d see just Carol and her lovely girls:


For more advanced segmentation techniques check out the Oracle University - CX Marketing Education class Advanced Segmentation!

Whenever I get email examples that spark ideas, I feel the need to share them with my fellow Topliner-ers - and today that happened!


A little background, yesterday I became an Aunt! Yipee for me! My youngest sister had the first baby of the family. Not surprisingly, I was all over Facebook commenting on family photos, posting my own, reposting hers, etc. Important note: I personally did not have a kid. Nor do I have any kids. Nor am I pregnant! (At least I hope, unless this predictive marketing thing is getting too good -- yikes!)


Today I woke up and saw this email from Shutterfly:


[Insert blank stare here]


My first reaction was disbelief. Then I was totally creeped out. This card calls me out as being a new parent, congratulating my on my non-existent baby. Perhaps this was some accidental coincidence that Shutterfly sent this out to me today, the day after a new baby entered the family. But at the end of the day, I'm still left having to wonder! And not in a good way.


That brings me to my best practice recommendation: don't over-personalize! To be clear, I'm speaking to non-user supplied information. If someone filled out a form on your site and told you they just had a baby yesterday, I think the email above is awesome. It's easy to get data from third party sources, but as soon as you dip into more personal information (think kids, kids names, number of kids, known address, travel plans, recent trips, etc.) I caution you to be careful when using this in your email marketing. Will the user remember giving you this information? Will the user have a better experience if you use this information in your marketing efforts?


There was quite a huge backlash when re-targeting/re-marketing was first introduced, because most people didn't (and perhaps still don't) understand why they were seeing the shoes they were just looking at on are now showing up in their Facebook feed. But even that is not really using personal information. And, it's not in your email inbox! To me, online ads are quite a bit different than something sitting in your inbox. It feels more personal; it feels more like they've tapped into something they shouldn't have as opposed to cookied me on a website.


As a consumer, I'm now sitting here racking my brain for where the heck they would have gotten this information - and the only places I can think of are Instagram and Facebook. I didn't sign up for any baby newsletters, I didn't send any flowers, I didn't check in at a hospital, I didn't buy any baby things yesterday - I did nothing that I can think of online that would let this vendor know that I (or anyone in my family) had a baby recently!


The more streamlined that big data becomes, the more important it will be for us as marketers to tread lightly, and protect that data. At the end of the day, we want our customers and prospects to have a good, useful experience, and to feel safe. I'm all for personalization where it makes sense, and I think it makes for an awesome user experience, but I definitely think that there's a line that needs to be drawn. At least for now. Perhaps ask me again in a year or two when this kind of thing is much more mainstream, and I might sing a different tune


What do you think? Have you ever had any creepy encounters in your inbox?

UPDATE: I'm starting to hear that more and more people also got this email, which makes me think it was a strange coincidence. However, that brings me to my next point...triple check your send lists before launching a campaign;) But you all knew that one, right?

UPDATE (5/15/14): It turns out that this was a total coincidence in my case, and that thousands of people got this email. It blew up almost immediately on social media, including on their own Facebook page, given the sensitive topic, and was covered on numerous news sites. Many others had similar feelings to mine "Are you stalking me?" "Is this because I just uploaded my baby's pictures to your site?" And others, sadly, were in sad situations where they had recently miscarried, they are unable to get pregnant, or had just lost a child.

At 9:40pm PT last night I received the below apology email. In my opinion timing is very important with something like this, and I would have liked to see this go out a) much sooner (20 hours seems excessive) and b) during normal hours. Not many people, including myself, are checking their personal email at 9:40pm (work email is another story ).


While my initial tune has changed from "don't stalk me", my key takeaway (which at this point I'm hoping is glaringly clear) is to protect your database data like it's your own. Had the topic of this email been about Halloween cards, I'm sure that the reaction from everyone would have been much different. Double, triple, and quadruple check your send lists. Especially when you're sending out such a sensitive email, have multiple people take a look at your data and send list. I'd even recommend running a send like this one by someone from a completely different department, go call up your friend on the web dev team, who is not familiar with the list and won't just 'gaze' over it, and have them take a look.

Also, pay attention to the details of an even more important email, such as an apology, and don't end your apology email with a footer that says 'This offer is exclusively for the account of' *Face palm*

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