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It's always an exciting thing to see your team members doing amazing things and taking marketing communications to the next level.  While I am no longer working with Penton and the Natural Products Expo West team, I have to share this great implementation of ADC on emails AND landing pages that I heard about last night at happy hour and provide some props for my fellow modern marketers keeping the dream alive at Penton.


Before I left, we had just implemented static web content for each of our six attendee personas so that we could use vanity URLs connecting each persona version of our print attendee brochure with the appropriate web content for that persona.  This maintained personalized targeted messaging and pricing to each persona across print/digital communications.  The static content provided reasons for attending (recommended education, exhibitors, etc) related to their specific business needs, registration link, and other targeted information about the event.


Introducing ADC.  We had been using ADC to version some content and every CTA on our emails as the registration fees varied by persona (qualified business type.)  The next level step that Andrew Coate applied was to use ADC on eloqua landing pages in addition to the static standard web CMS pages to provide even a more consistent and targeted user experience.  These new ADC landing pages will keep messaging consistent from the email through LP through to event registration.  Very exciting use of ADC to increase registration through relevant, consistent messaging.


How does this impact an event?  Last year with our basic implementation of targeted messaging (very little ADC and no custom LPs/ADC LPs) we had a 13% increase in registration and on-site verification for our primary persona.  Overall, the event had a 75% on-site verification rate, which completely destroys the industry average.  As an outsider now, I can't wait to see the results of the NHNM Expo West team continuing to enhance and improve implementation of Eloqua and content marketing best practices. 


Props to Eytan Abrahams, Jeff Cowles, Matt Calnan and Andrew Coate for this great idea.

It's always fun to create ideas on tools to use with Eloqua.  These are some ideas I have.  What are yours?


MindJet – I would love to see a MindJet app or connector for Eloqua.  Combining mind mapping and project management is a cool and easy way to design and implement marketing campaigns.  MindJet’s approach is simple and elegant and visual.  For marketers like me simple is a great thing! I like how the MindJet doesn’t require classical Gantt chart knowledge or technical PM certifications.

For fast-moving marketing teams, MindJet easily integrates with Microsoft Office apps, including SharePoint, making it easy to use for marketing teams and campaign contributors. The team collaboration approach is very powerful and can reach across agencies, teams and departments.   Combining this with Eloqua would give marketers a natural way to plan, build, and implement campaigns.  That’s a very interesting idea to me.

Badgeville – This is a natural fit to build an Eloqua App or CloudConnector. Gamification is a technology category with lots of B2B marketing potential.  Humans have played games throughout history for entertainment and building skills.  Gamification platforms like Badgeville provide new ways to engage customers with entertaining and educational simulations. This is the perfect way to get out of a boring rut of white papers and webinars!

One of the most innovative implementations of B2B gamification is Plantville from Siemens.  With Plantville access is granted by invitation-only for specific segments and personas.  Plantville users go through scenarios to improve efficiency and productivity in their own plants.  Scores are based on KPI’s and users can compete against other plant managers at different levels.  Based on the areas of focus, Siemens can make recommendations for plant management solutions.

Scenarios like this are perfect for Eloqua and Badgeville to build innovative engagement scenarios.  This is a very cool technology that makes a marketing geek like me drool.  Sales reps could have much more interesting conversations than talking about a white paper or basic product demo.  This could give a new meaning to lead scores!

Here's to hoping that "if you build it, they will come" wasn't merely Hollywood magic - or Iowa cornfield magic, for that matter. And while I'm not trying to plow a cornfield into a baseball diamond, I am trying to rebuild our current subscription processes into something that will attract the right kind of attention (visitors lining up "as far as the (web) eye can see" would satisfy).


What does my cornfield look like now? I have a subscription preference page. Several, actually.

  1. The original process was built three(ish) years ago and met the needs of the business at the time. It leverages Eloqua's API and is accessed via our website, email footers and our customer care site.
  2. After I started at Deltek, we had a "need-it-yesterday" need for another process - for a recently acquired business - and I stood it up with Eloqua's native subscription functionality intending to integrate it ASAP. That was two(ish) years ago.
  3. There's another loner form on a landing page out there on another one of our sites.
  4. And most recently, our EMEA country marketing managers have requested subscription pages for their newsletters.
  5. Oh yeah - and one of the BUs has requested that all subscription preferences be imported and displayed in SFDC.


A consultant's dream - and I admit, I'm geeking out on the challenge - so what do I do first? Write a Topliners blog post, of course.


Well, maybe not totally first. I have put together a straw man diagram and a not-quite-complete list of requirements. Standard stuff. But again, I'm looking for more than a plowed up cornfield in Iowa here. I want the whole "field of dreams." I want to build the subscription preference center that draws people in because they are looking for more but not quite sure what more is yet - not because they want to walk away from the ball diamond entirely.


And what about the "ease their pain"message? I'm struggling a bit right now on how much to lose versus keep - all the pages are being integrated into a single preference center, obviously - but besides that...

  • I'm not feeling the love on the API usage right now. We receive emails from subscribers that say they can't access their preferences due a a page error that essentially says there are too many "attempts" at the same time (?). And while I like the flexibility of the API, my team doesn't have an API resource which means I have to rely on IT (not MY preference). I'm liking web data lookups to replace the API.
  • We also have the standard "buckets" of subscription preferences - which need a makeover - and our customers automatically see options based on the products they own. My two cents? It's a bit dated in that I already KNOW they have these products. Where's the value in listing them as one-off subscription options?
  • We also need to allow for net new contacts to subscribe via the site (my pain is currently manually supporting this process).


So then we roll into "going the distance." I'm not exactly sure what this looks like yet. What drives someone to visit a preference center, beyond looking to unsubscribe? This is where I'd REALLY like your feedback, fellow Topliners - slide-headfirst-into-home-to-take-out-the-catcher kind of feedback. Take-me-out-the-ballgame-and-buy-me-a-beer kind of feedback. Grand-slam-home-run kind of feedback. Let's go the distance.





By the way, this entire project aligns to a previous post of mine - The "That's MY Contact!" Conundrum (a.k.a, Marketing Contact Management - Part 1) - and with our most recent corporate reorganization , the Part 2 "See It" reveal is coming soon.

A primary reason for licensing Eloqua was to improve account management. I work for a company that manufactures vehicles and other machines and sells them through a large 900+ independent dealer network. Corporate sends various communications that they believe the dealerships consume. It is the responsibility of an account manager to make sure dealers take action, but it is difficult for account managers to see what messages dealers consume and what dealers ignore. There is no transparency which makes it difficult for an account manager to respond to what is happening. Instead, account managers are proactive and automatically re-communicate any message sent from corporate creating more noise without adding value.


Eloqua's ability to send mass emails with dynamic content that also generate data seemed like a good solution to our problem, but out of the box, Eloqua does not work for account management. Eloqua gives a stream of activity data, but does not authorize the end user to alter the way the Eloqua formats the data. It would take an account managers too much time to understand what each account is consuming.


Eloqua did their best to solve the problem, but eventually hooked us up with a third party developer who could adjust the data to display activity by email. An account manager would not have to sort through the continuous activity stream, but observe the activities by email sent. The problem is that the third-party integration was not in real time. Eloqua does not send over enough information in their API, so a workaround was necessary. That workaround could only send over information once a day.


To make Eloqua work as an account management tool, we reached out to Salesforce developers. We found one that can rearrange the activity data in Salesforce once Eloqua passes data through the standard integration API.


The trick is that each "link" activity has to be associated with the email ID. This will require extra work designing the email, but save hundreds of man hours for the account managers who will not spend time understanding what messages dealers consumed and what dealers ignored.

A quick browse through YouTube will show you that production quality for marketing videos is all across the board. Some marketers will insist that video content needs to be nearly Hollywood-quality to get attention, and others will tell you that all you need is a smart phone and a topic that is incredibly relevant to their audience. In fact, when funds are short, the latter strategy usually wins every time. But is it really the right strategy or just the convenient one?


For this week’s Chart of the Week, I teamed up with the good folks at Vidyard to find the answer. Vidyard is a great app designed specifically for B2B marketers to help measure video views, engagement, and ultimately drive better results with video content. Since they have a wealth of data, I asked them to run some engagement metrics by content type, and the results were very telling.

COW Vol 90 2013-01-18.png


Most companies source holiday videos out to agencies to produce some very high quality and entertaining content, so it’s no surprise those videos perform well on the engagement scale. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the video demos that are usually put together by a product manager in his or her spare time see a noticeable drop-off in a short period of time.


Most startling is how uninteresting customer testimonials really are, but if you consider most suffer in quality and tend to drag on, perhaps they aren’t as interesting as we always thought. But based on the data overall, it would seem that production quality impacts engagement far more than relevance. But that could be misleading.


In reality, both production quality and relevance have influence in overall video engagement. After all, you could be watching an incredibly relevant video, but if the sound quality or presentation is terrible, you likely won’t suffer through it for long. Conversely, the production quality could be spectacular, but if it’s not of interest it still won’t hold your attention for long (remember Waterworks?).


What’s really at play is that your bottom-of-the-funnel messages are typically only relevant for a small portion of your audience, whereas top-of-funnel videos need to really focus on production quality to get maximum engagement. Which is great, because you typically don’t need a high volume of videos at the top of the funnel, just some good productions to draw an audience in. But those in the late stages of buying need critical relevant information, and don’t care as much about how flashy or pretty the presentation is.


Many marketers really struggle trying to justify the potentially high cost of video versus some other marketing channels. But if you just stop and think about the funnel and the two key engagement factors, you can save a lot of time and effort applying budget and resources where they will get the maximum impact.

Sign Up now for Chart of the Week to get a sales and marketing performance snapshot in your inbox every week!

I'll admit it. For most of my career I've been an enterprise marketer.

That means big-ass companies, outside reps, large named accounts, moderate margins, high ASP (avg selling price) and lengthy buying cycles.

That changed about a year ago when I decided I wanted a new challenge.


But not just any software. High growth, high EBITDA margin software with a low ASP. This is a completely different selling model, called the high velocity selling model. Here are the basic tenants of a high-velocity business model, and how marketing automation drives the aggressive growth in this model.

The Internet is the Center of you Demand Generation

I remember giving my notice at my old employer. I told the VP of marketing why I was leaving and what I'd be doing. Her response: "But that's just online. What about traditional marketing?".

Exactly the point. A typical marketing budget is 5%-15% of revenue (I've heard rumors of 20%, never seen it but I'll take it if offered). If you want to maintain high-margin, you have to think about all your touches. Each has a cost, so the more effective the touches are, the fewer touches you have to make.

In software, top efficiency is the touchless model. A user goes to your site, trials your software (or signs up) and then buys. This is used in both traditional software and SaaS models.

Inbound marketing becomes essential at this point. And more than ever, content is the currency in the online world.  You can trade it for network reach (think bloggers, though this is morphing), you can use it to attract and nurture audiences (better than traditional SEO). You can build a reputation on it and out-earn the attention of your audiences. But it has to connect to revenue (see Joe Chernov's great post about this:

Now you may not think of Marketing Automation as an inbound tool, but I say there's no better way to measure the effectiveness of your content and how it ties to revenue. All the behavioral insight and closed-loop reporting is essential to optimizing high-velocity and squeezing every bit of effectiveness of it. Let marketing automation guide the effectiveness of your content, from subject matter to format.

Use only inside sales teams

If you have a really low ASP and a touchless model, you might not even need a sales team. But most of us do. Again, you are limiting touches and maximizing the touches you do make so they are efficient and effective.

But you need to respond quickly to leads. Most companies don't, wasting 71% of marketing leads. (

Increase that efficiency with marketing automation. We use our automation to quickly get the right leads to sales at the right time and get the close rate up on opportunities.

Nurture Prospects

Not every prospect's buying cycle is going to sync up with your selling cycle. Nurture Prospects. Leverage that deep content you've developed to keep solutions to your buyers challenges top of mind (and your brand).

Let prospects self-select when they'd like to initiate the buy process.

And manage this all with the goodness in marketing automation. By last count we have over 25 automated campaigns in play.

Develop Strong Metrics

High velocity moves faster than traditional models. Sales cycles are typically in the 30-45 day range and the number of new deals is far greater. You need to have a strong grasp of newly acquired leads, the number of leads in each stage, and you need to be able to quickly identify any variances in your projected numbers.

Manual calculations won't cut it - your window will pass before you even compile the data. Marketing automation to the rescue again. We're never an automated report away from knowing what our demand generation is doing and if we need to make any corrections.

Make Your Sofware/SaaS Easily Accessible

In high-velocity software one of the most powerful assets is the freemium. Easy access to products trials is essential and you need optimize the process. There is also an emerging trend to PQL - product qualified lead. The idea is that if a person uses certain features or progresses through a certain stage of a demo, the chances of becoming a customer increases.

Marketing Automation again helps you automate this intelligence and optimize these critical conversion points.

Looking Ahead

In the near term, I see more social selling happening in the high-velocity model. The challenge will be creating high-value, low-cost touches with the buying audience. I see solutions like Eloqua's Social Suite as a critical piece in helping automate and drive value in this space.

While marketing automation has applications across many business models, it is crucial in a high velocity model and makes my team accountable and successful.

I'm trying to evaluate the effectiveness and conversion rate of our thank you pages. I can pull our thank you page analytics but can't figure out how to analyze conversion from those pages. suggestions?

We recently concluded an awareness campaign for our sales organization.  We created an internal facing form that was used by our sales team.  The Eloqua form guided the sales person through a series of questions, with a script based on the responses.  The data was captured against the contact which allowed for better persona data and personalized follow up emails.  We also built into the form questions about the dimensional mailer that accompanied the campaign.  For the first time we could digitally track the impact of our A/B dimensional testing.  The form was also built into an automated hand lead_managementoff process.  Based on agreed upon metrics amongst the sales organization, when the form generated a designated series of responses, the form submission would create a lead for the inside sales rep, or funnel them into a folder for a nurture campaign.

I've been working with Eloqua for 2 years now, started from the the bottomless pit of freelancing as a web developer and somehow got involved in marketing automation. I admit, it has not been such long time, but considering my age and my visions at the time I didn't even dream to reach this level of workflow. At first when I saw the platform I considered clunky and slow, with lots of terms and functions I had no idea were needed.

Slowly I've grown and learned more than I would of been able to do by myself and conventional methods of running a simple campaign. The inbound marketing world is at that exact same point where they realised how much can a tool like this increase their results. And they are very surprised, rustling reactions everywhere it's introduced, but most of all, making companies realize the bargain they are going to get by simply buying an account and training a few people.


It's easy to outsource Eloqua work, training courses are easy to understand and practically everyone with a bit of technical background can be initiated in the dark arts of email marketing. New job offers are popping up everywhere, the employment market is catching up with new CRM/Specialist/Consultant/Developer/Manager jobs, remote or otherwise. What does this mean ?


As we all know, Oracle has certainly been moved by the reaction it started, so much so that they decided to buy the company. All of this is good news nonetheless, but should it be considered great news for the back-end of consumerism ?


I think so.

Do you have a "plan of attack" when it comes to data? Or is it more like "Well, ummm, we're integrating all of our CRM fields, our website, our social sites and we're building a contact washing machine." I'm not saying that's bad - it's great, actually, and big props for getting started - but that's like step 1 of 3 (more concurrent than consecutive). And where I see most folks stall - including my own teams - as we're so intent on capturing as much data (step 1) as possible, we forget about the next steps. Say, like, reporting (step 2). And then, oh yeah, the beast that is analytics (step 3). If you want to rule the world, you have to step it up and tame the beast. 


So, what is MY plan of attack? Well, I thought I had one - in addition to the above items, we leverage Eloqua CDO's, work in an enterprise data warehouse and own multiple analytics tools. But. I read "Why Marketers Will Rule the World" before the holidays and I'm like, hmmm... Among many other points, the post's author calls out that Avinash Kaushik, Google's digital marketing evangelist, says that "the ideal breakdown for big data resources should be 15% data capture, 20% reporting and 65% analytics." And goes on to say that at the moment, for most of us (including moi), that's flipped, with most resources devoted to capture and very little to analysis and actionable insight. Please tell me that this is ringing bells for you, as the reader, and that I'm not the only one. Seriously - if nothing else - just reply "FYP" (feel your pain) and you'll make my day.


Back to ruling the world... My plan of attack has definitely been stalled. We've been all over step 1, executing (although not fully) in step 2 (which, on a side note, has led us to search for a data services vendor that can actually clean the data). And step 3? We've been wondering who in the heck is responsible for it. I mean, I actually like the "doing" of the data analysis - I'm a self-confessed data geek - but I don't have time to live in the data for days on end. And my team wasn't built to truly support analytics. So my plan now includes building an analytics team - 2 1/2 strong to date - and based on my plan, they're already starting to rock the analytics.


While 2012 was definitely the "year of data capture" for us, 2013 is the "year of data analytics" (reporting blended between the two). It's not enough to know how many unique web visitors - we need to know what content was viewed, for how long and what they did before/after that activity. It's not enough to know how many contacts are in our database and how many emails they receive monthly - we need to know that we have the RIGHT contacts receiving the RIGHT messages at the RIGHT times. Finally, it's not enough to know how many leads converted in the funnel - we need to know why to build on that success and/or learn from unsuccessful programs. 


So, Topliners, here's my question to you... What's your data plan of attack break-out look like today? Is it tipped heavily to analysis and actionable insight? I'll admit - again - that mine is under construction. I'd like to build it to match more closely to the break-out from the post above. That's the plan in 2013. Tame the beast. And then, of course, rule the world.

Texas Holdem' Poker is a beloved Finnish Christmas tradition (ok, not really) so in ID BBN we decided to create an online poker game using Eloqua.


Our goal was to collect information about our Eloqua prospects.

To achieve this, we created a poker game in which you had to answer background questions (bet) about your company. The more questions you answered, the better the prizes.


First we created an email invitation for our clients, partners and best leads to play a little poker and win some prizes (Canon SLR camera, Amazon gift certificates and stevewoods's e-books).


  • In the first step players were shown three of the the dealers five cards, but not their own and asked if they wanted to play. If they did, all they had to do is confirm their email.
  • In the the second step they had already won Steve's Digital Body Language -book. In this step they had a choice to fold and take the book or "bet" their marketing database size. If they answered the question, they participated in the Amazon gift certificate draw and proceeded on the second level.
  • In step two the players had won Digital Body Language and Revenue Engine -books and had participated in the draw for the Amazon Certificate. If they wanted to go all the way and participate in the draw for the camera, they had to bet their CRM system.
  • In the last step they had won the books and participated for both draw's.


As with classic Texas Holdem' in each step you saw more of the dealers hand. In every step some of the other "virtual" players folded. If you went all the way, you saw the dealears hand and the hand of the final remaining player. And of course, the player always won. We also played with the idea of bettering your chances depending on your questions.


The campaign open rate was 36% and clickthroug rate 21%. 98% of the players answered all the questions and we were able to enrich our data and have a little fun before the holidays.


Here are a few screenshots of the campaign.


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