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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 Marketing Cloud (previously OMC Academy) class Advanced Segmentation!

Thank you Riley La-Oracle for developing these instructions.


In case you haven't figured it out by now, when you set up a blind form link using the basic instructions, clicks on these links do not count towards your click metrics in reporting. And if you try to enable link tracking using the checkbox or elqTrack=true, then your blind form submit breaks.


Lucky for you, there is a solution! Below I'll break down how to make sure that your blind form submit links are tracked. This article assumes that you've already followed the instructions on setting up the basic blind form link: Blind Form Submit Links: Complete and Submit Forms with a Single Click


Now that you have your blind form submit link, you'll need to do a little copy pasting.


1. Take the whole link, just before the email address field merge, and copy that.

     Before:<span                               class=eloquaemail>EmailAddress</span>&TrackedField=StaticValue

     Copied Link After:

     Save for Later: &emailAddress=<span class=eloquaemail>EmailAddress</span>&TrackedField=StaticValue

2. In Eloqua 10, navigate to Setup > Redirect Links and click on New URL in the bottom right hand corner.

3. Copy the link above into the Redirect URL box and hit Save and Close.

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 9.03.09 AM.png

4. Find your newly created link from the list of redirect links. (Hint: go to the end of the list!)

5. Copy the Link Format -- the one that ends with &lid= (this stands for Link ID, by the way).



6. Now copy back in the original field mergers.


     Field Merges: &emailAddress=<span class=eloquaemail>EmailAddress</span>&TrackedField=StaticValue

     Copied Link After:<span class=eloquaemail>EmailAddress</span>&TrackedField=StaticValue

7. Use the newly created link in your emails<span class=eloquaemail>EmailAddress</span>&TrackedField=StaticValue

8. TEST! <-- Don't forget!

     ^Do that!

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*

If you're like most Eloquans your User Security Groups were kind of a set it and forget it thing.  During your enablement someone (consultant, professional services or other) probably explained what the native security groups and what they control, yours might even look something like this:


Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 6.18.43 PM.png

It might be weeks, months or years later and yours still look like that don't they?  Most people don't realize what they can do with these groups or the power contained here.  Just a few ideas to get your wheels spinning:

  1. Asset Security: Ever wanted to keep your Engage templates segregated by sales team or product/solution line?  Or have you wanted to keep your various assets separate based on similar lines?  How about creating groups you can assign based on what people should have access to? Easy enough, check out this thread for more details: Email Template Privacy Settings  Basically, when you click on the gear in an email, landing page, form, etc. you can select the users or groups who should have permissions to your asset:


  1. Reporting: Everyone loves the sales tools but no one has a great way to report on them.  One of the coolest things I've seen emerged as a way for a former client to report on sales tools usage.  Because sales users are only going to be using the Eloqua app via the login embedded in SFDC (at least in my client's instance) we created security groups and reported on App Usage by security group to get an idea of who was/wasn't logging into the applications.  Similarly, we built out reporting groups and pulled email reports for Engage templates based on the groups these users were a part of. 
  2. Program Security: This one is less unique and hopefully people are aware, but similar to the way you can permission assets, you can permission control all of your programs too!  When you open up a program in program builder, you go to the "program" menu and find "Edit Security"

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 6.24.02 PM.png

After you have selected "Edit Security" you will get a window that lets you use User Security Groups to add/remove bulk permissions to the program in question:


Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 6.24.09 PM.png


You can add individuals but the more scalable solution is to set up the right groups and then permission them accordingly.  Want to keep people from messing with your integration program?  Perfect, just restrict the access through the Security Rights menu!


Hope this gets your gears spinning on other ways to leverage the permissions in Eloqua!

What it is, where it lives, and how marketers can use it.

Last year, LookBook became a fully integrated part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud (formerly Eloqua AppCloud), giving marketers and salespeople the ability to package and deliver visual engaging content to your channels, gain insight to their level of engagement, and incorporate this data into your nurturing programs.


LookBook engagement data is a powerful instrument for amplifying your Eloqua machine; moving prospects faster through the funnel based on their Digital Body Language, better qualifying leads, and accelerating the buyer’s journey. That's what we call marketing gold!

The compact, robust integration of LookBook and Oracle-Eloqua ensures that you can use LookBook engagement data across the vast array of tools and functionality available to marketers in Oracle-Eloqua for activities related to targeting and segmentation, lead management, campaign management, and sales enablement.


The slide deck below provides a comprehensive overview of the why, what, and where of LookBook engagement data; plus how you can use it in Eloqua. It's an easy (and hopefully informative) read.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and questions! Please leave a comment below or email me . Also see the LookBook AppCloud listing for more.

A growing number of non-supported CRM solutions now integrate with Eloqua – including Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, NetSuite, Sage, Sugar, SalesLogix, OracleDB, SqlServerDB, Leads360, AWS RDS (MySql), Connectwise, and TrialPay. Do you have one of them?


4Thought Marketing has identified “Five Ways to Integrate Eloqua and CRM”, in a vendor-agnostic white paper that overviews the various ways to make these connections.


Designed for non-technical Eloqua users, this white paper will give you the information you need to understand the decision, and to prepare for conversations with your IT department and executives on the best approach to integrating your systems with Eloqua.


You’ll also learn:

  • How to make sure your integration encourages sales and marketing alignment.
  • How to make sure you’re capable of segmenting on necessary data after an integration.
  • How to make sure your sales force gets the lead details they need.


Do you need to integrate a data source other than the Oracle Sales Cloud or to Eloqua?


Maximize the benefits of your Eloqua-to-CRM integration. Visit “Five Ways to Integrate Eloqua and CRM” and gain immediate access to this valuable white paper.

Eloqua stores dates and times internally in a specific date/time data type in the database. However, when contact lists are uploaded, the dates and times are text, and need to be interpreted by the system.


In E10's Contacts > Contacts > Upload or Contacts > Segments > Upload Contacts wizards, there is no selection for date format (unlike other parts, where there's a DD/MM/YYYY vs MM/DD/YYYY selector). There are many formats that the system will accept, but my personal favourite is:


       YYYY-MM-DD HH:mm:ss (e.g. 2014-10-15 15:21:14)

Unlike the other two common date formats, alphabetical order is automatically chronological order, and this format is much less ambiguous. I hope many of you will join me in the war against ambiguity.


     MM/DD/YYYY hh:mm:ss A/PM (e.g. 10/15/2014 3:15:14 AM)

This format is also acceptable for the purposes of the list upload wizards mentioned above.


It's also worth noting that the system can accept thousandths of a second (three decimal places), but it doesn't look like that extra data is stored.


    "2014-10-15 15:21:14.254" is acceptable. "2014-10-15 15:21:14.2545" will fail.


The following table shows different test text data, and the resulting interpreted/recorded date/time:

Date-Only Formats
Date/Time Text (in CSV)Recorded Date/Time (GMT-5 / 24 hr)Note
10/13/20142014-Oct-13 00:00:00MM/DD/YYYY
10/13/142014-Oct-13 00:00:00MM/DD/YY
01/02/032003-Jan-02 00:00:00MM/DD/YY
2014/10/132014-Oct-13 00:00:00YYYY/MM/DD
2014.10.132014-Oct-13 00:00:00YYYY/MM/DD
2014-10-132014-Oct-13 00:00:00YYYY/MM/DD
14/13/10INVALIDMonth '14' does not exist (MM/DD/YY)
13/10/2014INVALIDMonth '13' does not exist (MM/DD/YYYY)
13/10/14INVALIDMonth '13' does not exist (MM/DD/YY)
2014/13/10INVALIDMonth '13' does not exist (YYYY/MM/DD)
2014-13-10INVALIDMonth '13' does not exist (YYYY/MM/DD)
3015-10-133015-Oct-13 00:00:00Years are saved in DB as four-digits
10/11/30153015-Oct-11 00:00:00Years are saved in DB as four-digits
30105-10-13INVALIDFive-digit years are not supported
10/13/30105INVALIDFive-digit years are not supported
Oct 18INVALIDMonths must be numeric
18 OctINVALIDMonths must be numeric
OctINVALIDMonths must be numeric
13/10INVALIDCannot have only YY/MM
2014/10INVALIDCannot have only YYYY/MM
10/13INVALIDCannot have only MM/YY
10/2014INVALIDCannot have only MM/YYYY
01/02INVALIDCannot have only MM/DD (or DD/MM)
10.11.122012-Oct-11 00:00:00. is used as a date separator (MM/DD/YY)
10:11:121900-Jan-01 10:11:12: is used as a time separator (HH/mm/ss)
Date/Time Formats
Date/Time Text (in CSV)Recorded Date/Time (GMT-5 / 24 hr)Note
10/13/2014 14:30:15.2522014-Oct-13 14:30:15MM/DD/YYYY HH:mm:ss.fff
2014/10/13 2:30:15.5642014-Oct-13 02:30:15YYYY/MM/DD H:mm:ss.fff
2014/10/13 2:30:15.564 PM2014-Oct-13 14:30:15YYYY/MM/DD H:mm:ss.fff xM
2014.10.13 14.30INVALIDTime separator should be : (except for fractions of a second)
2014/10/13 2:30:15.5642 PMINVALIDFractions of a second cannot have more than three digits
10/13/2014 14:30:15.252 AMINVALIDCannot specify AM when HH > 12
10/12/2014 2:00PINVALIDCannot use A or P (AM or PM must be used)
2014/10/13 2:30:15.564 AINVALIDCannot use A or P (AM or PM must be used)
2014/10/13 2:30:15.564 PINVALIDCannot use A or P (AM or PM must be used)
2014-10-13 separator should be : (except for fractions of a second)
10-11-12 2-5-14INVALIDTime separator should be : (except for fractions of a second)
10-11-12 2.5.14INVALIDTime separator should be : (except for fractions of a second)
10/13/2014 14 PM2014-Oct-13 14:00:00Minutes/Seconds not required when AM/PM is specified
10/13/2014 14 AMINVALIDCannot specify AM when HH > 12
10/13/2014 2 PM2014-Oct-13 14:00:00Minutes/Seconds not required when AM/PM is specified
10/13/2014 14INVALIDTime requires either Minutes or AM/PM
10/12/2014 2:00PM2014-Oct-12 14:00:00Space is not required between ss and AM/PM
2014/10/12 2:00PM2014-Oct-12 14:00:00Space is not required between ss and AM/PM
10/12/2014-2:00PMINVALIDMust use a space between the date and the time
2014/10 2:00 PMINVALIDCannot have only 2 of 3 date components
10/13 2:00INVALIDCannot have only 2 of 3 date components
13/10 2:00INVALIDCannot have only 2 of 3 date components
2014 2:00 PM2014-Jan-01 14:00:00Year only + time is okay
Time-Only Formats
Date/Time Text (in CSV)Recorded Date/Time (GMT-5 / 24 hr)Note
2:45:10 AM1900-Jan-01 02:45:10Date defaults to 1900-Jan-01 when only time is specified
14:12:251900-Jan-01 14:12:25Date defaults to 1900-Jan-01 when only time is specified
14:001900-Jan-01 14:00:00Date defaults to 1900-Jan-01 when only time is specified
2 PM1900-Jan-01 14:00:00Minutes/Seconds not required when AM/PM is specified
2 PINVALIDCannot use A or P (AM or PM must be used)
14INVALIDTime requires either Minutes or AM/PM
10.11.122012-Oct-11 00:00:00. (period) is used as a date separator (MM/DD/YY)
10:11:121900-Jan-01 10:11:12: (colon) is used as a time separator (HH/mm/ss)
24.15.14INVALIDMM cannot be > 12
24:15:14INVALIDHH cannot be > 23
10 11 12INVALID<space> cannot be used as a separator within a date or time (it must be used between the date and the time)
10 11INVALID<space> cannot be used as a separator within a date or time (it must be used between the date and the time)
10/12/2014-2:00PMINVALIDMust use a space between the date and the time



For details on the effects of time zones, see Time Zones Across Eloqua



Attached is a spreadsheet of different date/time tests performed, and how they were interpreted by the system (source data for above table).

On April 11th 2014, LinkedIn introduced changes to their API. Something that used to be optional will start being required.

To read more about it, see this post by LinkedIn.


Who this affects:
If you are actively using the LinkedIn Social Sign on app AND you have created your own "custom app" (instructions here), you might need to make a change to the configuration in order for the app to continue functioning.


Who is not affected:

This does not affect clients who are using other LinkedIn apps (such as sharing), clients who are using other social sign on apps (such as facebook and twitter) or clients who are using the LinkedIn social sign on with the standard, Eloqua app.


To validate IF you are affected, navigate to the LinkedIn social signon app via this link:

You will see a list of ALL instances of the app.

Click the "pencil" arrow beside the app to edit it

Under "LinkedIn App to Use", if you have selected "Define a Custom Linkedin App", this will potentially affect you:


Make a note of the value in the field "LinkedIn API key". You might need it later.


To Update LinkedIn:

To correct the issue, login to the LinkedIn developer portal:


If you see several apps, find the app that contains the same "LinkedIn API key" that you noted earlier. To find the key, click on the title of the app. Scroll halfway down to the section named "OAuth Keys" and look at the value int the field "API Key".


If there are no apps that have that API Key, most likely the Social Sign On app was created by someone else. In that case, please follow these instructions to create a new LinkedIn app. You will need to update each instance of the Eloqua Component with the new App Key and Secret.


Once you have found the correct app, copy the following value into your clipboard:

*NOTE* - This is case sensitive. Make sure you input it EXACTLY as it is above


Paste that value into the field "OAuth 2.0 Redirect URLs":


Click save.


It is recommended that you validate the Social Sign On app to ensure it's working correctly.

Some people think that SEO and Content Marketing are two different approaches to online marketing, but what they don't know is that you can't have SEO without content. That is why it is so important to create engaging content for your customers. The point isn't just to write stuff on a blog every day. The point is to actually give your customers good information and show them how to work with your product or service. But how do you create engaging content?


A keyword frenzie


First of all, your content has to get found before people can engage with it. That means you need to figure out what keywords people are searching and which keywords are best for your site, according to Search Engine Journal. When you are trying to think of good keywords, stop thinking in terms of what the most important words in the article and start thinking in terms of what people are actually searching on the internet. In the last few years, with voice search on smartphones becoming so popular, the keyword mentality has had to change. People are searching whole sentences and questions instead of just a word or two. It is important that you consider this kind of change when creating a list of keywords and incorporating those into your content.


Topics of the century


You obviously don't just want to write about anything. It needs to be something people are talking about that is narrowed onto your company's product or service. To get popular topics, you can search Twitter trends or even just look at top stories in Google News. It's the fastest way to figure out what people are actually looking at and talking about, and it will help you find the best topics. Just make sure you aren't writing about Britney Spears if you work in the food industry, unless of course it is about a new sponsorship she is doing for McDonald's.


Encourage engagement


The more people share and talk about your articles, the more popular they will become. And the more people who are stopping by the page to check it out, the more your SEO will increase. Make it easy for people to share your content by having "share" buttons on your articles. And allow for Facebook comments instead of requiring people to create an account on your site. Your customers are more likely to engage if it is easy.


Just wait for calls


Or you could leave all this hard work up to bloggers who you only pay when they send you a quality lead. If you do that, all you have to do is sitn back and wait for the phone to ring!


Marketing News brought to you by



Now that you have made the decision to implement a marketing automation solution where do you go and how do you ensure success as you move forward?  It may seem simple enough to say flip the switch and scream “It’s Alive” but it’s not.  Just having the technology is not enough to achieve the right results, process, people and an eye towards long term results will ensure you have the correct elements to succeed with your new investment.  Here are five things we find crucial to succeeding with your new tools:


1. Process: Whether it is understanding how data is governed among your various systems, how a lead is managed from “suspect” to “closed-won” or how sales and marketing are helping each other and handing data back and forth process is the number one thing you have to nail down for an effective implementation of a marketing automation solution.  Process will help you define how you should implement your system, it will help you define goals and KPIs for reporting and will also be crucial when you decide to integrate your marketing automation platform (MAP) with your CRM.


2. Consensus: Diplomacy and bridge-building will be instrumental in reaching the end goals with your implementation.  Many different parties are involved in a successful implementation, from IT to Marketing to Sales and the C-Suite.  You will need to establish shared goals and a plan to execute that brings all parties to the table to end up with a system everyone respects and values.


3. Content: Just because you have the technology to send emails and drive web traffic does not mean you have the content.  Don’t forget the adage that Content is King, while it is oft overused it is still true. Without quality content you aren’t magically going to be generating leads so take stock of your content, map it to your personas and the buyers journey and then deploy it appropriately.  Don’t be afraid to weed out old and under-performing content in favor of developing shiny new assets.


4. Data: If you think of your MAP and CRM as the engines that drive your business goals then data is the fuel.  You wouldn’t fill a fancy new car with crappy fuel, you would put in the premium good stuff, so don’t try to run you campaigns off of badly segmented, poor data.  Make sure your database is quality and that you are segmenting accordingly.


5. Community: Remember, you are not alone in this.  Whether you are using Eloqua, Marketo or something else entirely there are great communities associated with your tools where users are constantly sharing success stories, challenges and solutions.  Engage in the communities and don’t be afraid to reach out to partners, the eco-systems that support these tools are rich with people who have built out complicated (and simple) solutions to almost any problem you can dream up.


Have I forgotten anything?  What was crucial for your company to succeed with its tools?

As Gmail turns 10 this month, I wanted to share some of my experience with deliverability recently. In our expansions to new markets we have been finding some clients coming on board with a majority of their database consisting of Gmail recipients. And with the continuous development of the Gmail filtering system it is becoming more and more difficult to get your email to the Inbox. They have new features such as Inbox tabs/category labels and priority inbox.


We are running into scenarios where emails are going straight to the SPAM folder even though email best practices were applied. Like other ISPs, Google’s email platform is for the recipients, not senders and they are therefore challenging marketers to actually build relevant content, use valid address collection methods, and constantly manage their lists. Gmail launched in 2004 and in 2012 it claimed to have over 425 million users globally. I would imagine this number has increased over the past couple of years. ( The days of batching and blasting emails is long over, and getting to the Inbox in Gmail is a constant reminder of this.


Now more than ever Marketers need build campaigns based on behavioral data and consent. Here is a list of items that will help you improve your Gmail deliverability. But before I list the items it is important to remember that the filtering logic is self-learning and constantly evolving. These suggestions will help improve the deliverability but at the end of the day we do not know the exact reason Gmail placed your email to the SPAM folder, outside of the canned ‘Why is this message in SPAM’ heading above filtered messages.


  1. Use a dedicated IP address
    • This will allow you to maintain your own sender reputation.
    • It is important to maintain a strong reputation, which can be measured at so that your email at least gets to Gmail.
    • This is a clear indication of to all email providers of your trustworthiness.
  2. Authenticate messages with DKIM, SPF, and DMARC
    • Gmail requires a minimum 1024 bit DKIM key and this is available through our Deliverability Cloud Service packages.
    • They do not authenticate messages with keys lower than 1024 bits.
    • DKIM signs the FROM address domain to allow authentication of the sender domain.
    • SPF records identify which servers are authorized to send mail on behalf of your domain.
    • Emails that don’t have SPF or DKIM go through a higher filtering process than those messages that have authentication in place, and in the case of SPF may result in rejection of the message. 
    • DMARC allows senders to indicate to receivers how they authenticate with SPF/DKIM and what to do with messages that fail those checks
  1. IP Warming is a MUST
    • Gmail does not like new IPs with no reputation. This goes back to the SenderScore in point 1.
    • I would recommend a minimum 4 week IP warming plan be conducted to get good reputation on the IP and within Gmail.
    • The campaign must be based on recent behavioural data. I would even build it out as a separate campaign for Gmail so you can monitor its delivery and address any issues in the process.
    • Start slow. Only a few hundred messages per IP over the first few days.
  2. Get CONSENT and Manage Activity
    • ONLY send email to addresses that have explicitly opted in. Single opt-in will suffice but Confirmed opt-in is recommended. Sending email to Gmail recipients on an opt-out basis will almost guarantee junk filtering.
    • Remove inactive addresses from your lists over time. If certain recipients never open or click through your emails, they are hurting your reputation at Gmail. Remove them, send them a ‘manage subscriptions’ campaign or significantly reduce the amount of mail you send them.
    • They really like if the messages is coming from the same IP and bounceback address. This allows them to more accurately assign reputation to the address/IP pair.
    • Use one specific bounceback address for Gmail recipients. If on the same IP, you can use different Bounceback addresses for each email stream (transactional vs promotional for example).
    • Where possible, segment different email streams by IP.
  4. ‘Mark as SPAM’ button
    • One of the key indicators to Gmail that the recipient doesn’t like your emails. We recommend keeping this complaint rate down below 0.01%. While you won’t get complaint data from Gmail to know which addresses have flagged you as spam, you can use data from other ISPs (via the SPAM Unsubscribe report in Eloqua) to gauge your potential complaint rate at Gmail.
    • This is where you need to build content based on previous behavioural data and explicit customer information.
  5. Ask recipients to add you to their Gmail address book.
    • This is an enormous step to ensure the email always gets delivered to the inbox.
    • Try creating a dedicated email header for Gmail segments that informs the recipient how to add them to the address book and how it will help deliver your important messages.
  6. ‘Not SPAM’ button
    • This is the second most important factor to help messages to arrive into their inbox
    • If users click the ‘Not SPAM’ button after a messages was delivered to their SPAM folder, it is a clear indicator to Gmail that this email is relevant to the recipient and helps their filters adjust categorization of future messages.
  7. Avoid using email URL shorteners
  8. Avoid pushy subject lines or anything that ‘looks’ spammy.
    • For transactional mail, indicate this in the subject line (eg: ‘Invoice’, ‘Order Confirmation’, etc).
  9. MONITOR your affiliates
    • What affiliates do on your behalf can hurt your brand reputation. Ensure they adhere to the same standards as your own marketing team.


I hope you find these guidelines useful and launch successful campaigns to Gmail. Please share your thoughts and experiences with the community so that we can all learn and become even better marketers.


Special thank you to sweeney for helping out with this post!

As someone who has been a consultant for a while I see this pretty much on the regular, you bought some fancy schmancy technology and then boom, you're a modern marketer! Right?  Yea, not so much... You bought the tools, you have the team staffed up (or you’re working with an outside agency who can help) and you’ve sent a few emails, now what? There are five major ways you can and should be using your tools, here’s a quick hit list for you:


1. Web-activity driven nurtures: You have a great website with engaging content but what happens after someone who is known to you visits a few of those pages?  Nothing.  How about setting up a nurture to help keep your company top of mind.  An easy example, let’s say someone visits your customer service page, why not drop them into a nurture with answers to top asked questions, point them to some of your best resources or remind them about your live chat features?


2. Welcome Program: As you gain new contacts in your database send them a series of emails that help them understand what your company is about, how you plan to communicate with them and give them more information on how to change their email preferences or drop into other nurture programs specific to products they show interest in.


3. Re-engagement Program: You have a big fat database but only a small portion of it engages with you regularly, how about a program meant to re-awaken them.  Maybe it’s time to bust out a sweet offer or fabulous asset for these people.  This will be a boon for you if you can re-awaken them and if you can’t be ready to part with them, they aren’t doing you any good just hanging around collecting dust.


4. Data Management Programs: Dirty dirty data, we all have it, how do you deal with it?  Inside of your instance of Eloqua you can build out programs that will validate, standardize and cleanse your database.  Talk about a way to amp up the power of your existing data!


5. Sales Enablement: Why not nurture your sales team?  I know, it sounds crazy so bear with me but here’s your chance to remind your team of the great resources available to them, point them to assets that speak to various points in the buyers journey and help them help your company.


Do you have an innovative program you’re using Eloqua for?  Share, I’d love to see how creative you are!

We recently decided that we needed to create a self-service demo of our tag auditing service. We decided that we wanted to use Eloqua to gather leads and send some data into our service's API. In order to successfully create the demo, (which is a mini-audit of a site's tags), we needed to pass a valid URL. But we were finding that the out-of-the-box field validation in Eloqua's form builder weren't able to handle the more complicated field validation we needed on the "URL" field. Getting this value correct is crucial, since any problem with that field would cause a bad audit, and a bad demo for our customers. So we decided to roll our own field validation, and it works great! Here's how we did it:


Since you can insert custom JS on Eloqua landing pages, we wrote some script that uses regular expression matching to pass or fail based on the contents of a field. If the test failed, a dialog pops up with some instructions about how to fix the issue. Here's our code:


<script type="text/javascript">(function() {
    // Load the script
    var script = document.createElement("SCRIPT");
    script.src = '';
    script.type = 'text/javascript';

    // Poll for jQuery to come into existance
    var checkReady = function(callback) {
        if (window.jQuery) {
        else {
            window.setTimeout(function() { checkReady(callback); }, 100);
// Start polling...
    checkReady(function($) {
$(document).ready(function() {
  function checkURL(value) {
    var urlregex = /(((http):\/{2})+(([0-9a-z_-]+\.)+(aero|asia|biz|cat|com|coop|edu|gov|info|int|jobs|mil|mobi|museum|name|net|org|pro|tel|travel|ac|ad|ae|af|ag|ai|al|am|an|ao|aq|ar|as|at|au|aw|ax|az|ba|bb|bd|be|bf|bg|bh|bi|bj|bm|bn|bo|br|bs|bt|bv|bw|by|bz|ca|cc|cd|cf|cg|ch|ci|ck|cl|cm|cn|co|cr|cu|cv|cx|cy|cz|cz|de|dj|dk|dm|do|dz|ec|ee|eg|er|es|et|eu|fi|fj|fk|fm|fo|fr|ga|gb|gd|ge|gf|gg|gh|gi|gl|gm|gn|gp|gq|gr|gs|gt|gu|gw|gy|hk|hm|hn|hr|ht|hu|id|ie|il|im|in|io|iq|ir|is|it|je|jm|jo|jp|ke|kg|kh|ki|km|kn|kp|kr|kw|ky|kz|la|lb|lc|li|lk|lr|ls|lt|lu|lv|ly|ma|mc|md|me|mg|mh|mk|ml|mn|mn|mo|mp|mr|ms|mt|mu|mv|mw|mx|my|mz|na|nc|ne|nf|ng|ni|nl|no|np|nr|nu|nz|nom|pa|pe|pf|pg|ph|pk|pl|pm|pn|pr|ps|pt|pw|py|qa|re|ra|rs|ru|rw|sa|sb|sc|sd|se|sg|sh|si|sj|sj|sk|sl|sm|sn|so|sr|st|su|sv|sy|sz|tc|td|tf|tg|th|tj|tk|tl|tm|tn|to|tp|tr|tt|tv|tw|tz|ua|ug|uk|us|uy|uz|va|vc|ve|vg|vi|vn|vu|wf|ws|ye|yt|yu|za|zm|zw|arpa)(:[0-9]+)?((\/([~0-9a-zA-Z\#\+\%@\.\/_-]+))?(\?[0-9a-zA-Z\+\%@\/&\[\];=_-]+)?)?))\b/i;
    if (urlregex.test(value)) {
        return (true);
    return (false);

$('[name="miniaudit-step1"]').submit(function(event) {
  if (checkURL($('[name="website1"]').val())) {
  return; }
  alert('The URL must include http://. Other protocols are not supported.'); 


As you can see, it checks to see if the "website1" field on the form "miniaudit-step1" starts with http://, has some value, and ends with "." and a valid TLD.


After tweaking the regex a bit, we just paste it in to the JS Editor for the landing page. This can be used to do any type of regex evaluation of any form field when needed.


You can see this in action on this page:


Automated Testing for Your Tags by ObservePoint


To see it work, just put anything that's not a URL into the "website" field.

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