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See It

5 Posts authored by: Kristin Connell

hg-maytheodds.jpegI really enjoy gamification. I really enjoy helping others succeed. And I really enjoy The Hunger Games. So, it seemed a good fit - in the spirit of the concept - to title this post "Happy Hunter Games" and share what I've done (and would like to do more) in enabling my teams to better leverage Topliners to drive success. This post is focused on what I did in support of our E10 upgrade, but it could easily be modified to fit new user training/adoption as well as an interesting session for, say, lunch and learns, quarterly team meetings, etc... Here's a bit of context as to the creation of our Hunter Games...


We were in the final countdown to our Eloqua 10 upgrade. One of the final action items in our overall upgrade project plan was "live-in-our-new-install" training. I had scheduled a three day onsite "Day in the Life" workshop for our power users. In its planning, we had identified five key break-out session topics based on their standard campaign management responsibilities. In no particular order, these were webinars, premium content downloads, newsletters, tradeshows and our live events. After further review, we also prioritized several "add-on" components that would be somehow impacted in terms of process in the upgrade. Again, in no particular order, these were ICS files, blind form submits, email personalization and dynamic content.


A couple weeks out from our workshop, the idea of a Topliners "scavenger hunt" was first brought up in a Topliners discussion by Leigh.Burke-Oracle. I loved the idea and tried to determine how to be best implement it in our upcoming workshop. All of our powers users had been introduced to Topliners several months before during the mandatory modular training. During the upgrade project, I'd continuously referred our power users to Topliners, so it wasn't a blind introduction as we headed into our workshop.


I decided to dive right in and kick off the workshop - after a brief "is everyone in the right meeting" introduction - with our Hunter Games. My thought process was two-fold - I wanted our power users to feel confident in using Topliners to locate and/or create key content as well as to hook'em into the gamification aspect. (I could go further and say I didn't want them to feel alone in the hunt. Or that I wanted to give them a fighting chance by arming them with the right tools to succeed. Or that I didn't want anyone to "die" before/during/after our training. But I won't - how cheesy would that make me? )


  1. I started by walking the workshop attendees through the site. Then, the first task was that everyone login, search for all the workshop attendees and follow them.
  2. I also asked them all to follow - at least - the current Top 10 Topliners. Once those two tasks were complete - and everyone had explored the site a bit - we dove in a bit further.
  3. My next ask was to have them search for the "how to create an ICS file in E10" document that I knew existed. The first person who found it was verbally recognized and asked to then share it with all attendees. I then asked everyone to go to the content and bookmark it.
  4. We followed this same path for "how to create a blind form submit in E10," "email personalization best practices" and "how to create dynamic content in emails and landing pages in E10." Attendees were either the first to locate the "best" resource and/or accessed the resource to bookmark it. All were verbally recognized during the hunt.
  5. We then proceeded into our break-out sessions. Each team worked through their assigned topic - leveraging Topliners as needed (lots of "woo-hoo'ing" during these sessions as helpful content was located and shared) and then we reviewed the results of each break-out sessions before moving to the next.


Overall, it was successful in that everyone seemed to have fun while learning and it met my expectations to help us accelerate user adoption post-upgrade. So, what would I have done differently? I would have liked to reward the "winners" of each task with treats - chocolate, jelly beans, etc... I had planned on projecting the "winners" on the ceiling (rather than the losers, i.e. The Hunger Games, but time got away from me).


Ultimately, I would still like to incorporate the concept of the scavenger hunt into more of our everyday use of Eloqua (it's still on my 2013 to-do list). Why? It's essentially a game within a game - it's elevating that "day in the life" workshop. It's bringing that "how-to playbook" to life. It's stacking the deck towards "and may the odds be ever in your favor."

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.

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.

Kristin Connell

Superhero or Sidekick?

Posted by Kristin Connell Nov 28, 2012

So, I was watching Sky High last night with my kids and they started debating on whether or not they'd rather be a superhero or a sidekick. I wish I'd recorded their discussion as it was quite entertaining - as you can imagine between a 10 year old "I'm the biggest, baddest thing on a Razor scooter" boy and a 7 year old "I'm a sparklicious pinkinista who can do anything my brother can do - but better" girl. They had good arguments both for and against each role.


It got me to thinking about a question one of my team members asked me yesterday "What does the "day in the life" of a marketing automation manager look like? How is it different - good or bad - than the "day in the life" of a marketing automation specialist?" The question surprised me as I'd thought we'd discussed this before, however, I do tend to have entire conversations in my head and forget that others can't hear me. Before I responded, I asked a few questions of my own to make sure I really understood what they were asking. A core concern - which also surprised me - seemed to be about the Marketing Automation Manager role being "less visible" than the Specialist role, i.e., less direct support of our internal customers and more indirect support in terms of system administration and management, integration development, advanced execution, etc...


It's a very timely question for my organization, as we're currently experiencing significant change management "pain" by transitioning from a decentralized MAP model to a centralized MAP model, with a Specialist within each team and the Marketing Automation Manager within my team. We've also just gone through a round of lay-offs and where we previously had disparate marketing operations teams, we now just have one. I won't go into the details of my response here - suffice it to say that I'm very passionate about the value that Eloqua has played within my career path in addition to team building and role development within my teams. I thought this might make an interesting discussion as we all are getting ready to roll into 2013. (And yes, I will be adding additional change management curriculum to my E10 upgrade and MAP model transition projects.)


Long story short... Marketing Automation Manager or Marketing Automation Specialist... Which one is the superhero and which one is the sidekick? Are they one and the same? Is it even a accurate delineation given today's expectations for both?


Small Print Disclosure: I'm not comparing Sky High to Eloqua University or the descendents of super heroes to today's teams of Eloqua specialists learning from Eloqua Masters... Not in this post, anyway.

According to, "conundrum" can be defined as "a confusing and difficult problem or question." So, I've definitely got that in spades - the problem being "communication rights" to the contacts in our marketing platforms. The question that the field marketing teams have brought to me is "so what are you going to do about it?"


Rock-Paper-Scissors.pngAt first, I have to admit, I was like "Rock, paper, scissors?" I mean, seriously, I'm way deep in E10 upgrade preparation mode, so I'm thinking this "little squabble" can wait until Q1. And then it escalated to my CMO - whom I report to directly. Long story short, I was pulled in about a month ago. I immediately called for a cease-fire on the not-quite-polite-yet-not-quite-rude emails, IM's and phone calls. Then, I recommended a simple three-step plan to first review, then execute and finally, measure - I mean, this isn't rocket science, right? I don't know about y'all, but "plan" is largely a four-letter word within our teams (that's a whole different post), so the feedback has ranged from "awesome" to "ugh." This is the first in my three-part series on Marketing Contact Management - starting with "Review."


So, back to the conundrum at hand... Again, my field marketing teams are in an uproar over who owns "communication rights" to which contacts in our platforms right now. Team C states that they owned a set of "net new" contacts prior to the acquisition of their business by Deltek, so they should own all communication to those contacts. Team A states that Team C's logic is faulty because they've spot-checked the said contact set and have found multiple infractions, i.e., where the supposed "net new" contacts previously existed. Team B is also defending their stake, stating that their industry audiences are more segmented than that of the Team C, even though the roles are sometimes similar, so Team B should trump Team C within those industries. And there was also some question as to source field integrity during the integration and subsequent deduplication of Team C into the mix. And a bit of "my budget is bigger than your budget." Get the picture?


It quickly became evident that none of the teams understood the others targeting and segmentation requirements. I wasn't even fully confident that they understood their own. So, I made a simple ask: "Please compile profiles of your target audiences, including any specific segmentation criteria, and send them to me." I explained that we would review each of the profiles and identify those with no overlaps and then negotiate those with overlaps.


While waiting for the profiles, I've been thinking further about who really owns the "communications rights." My conclusion? The answer is, ultimately, the contact.Y'all know what I mean, right? We can make assertions and assumptions until the cows come home - BUT - what would happen if we decided to play in the big leagues here and optimize digital body language with proactive outbound communications and self-selected communication preferences? No, seriously, do you know? Because we don't yet, but we will soon - fingers crossed.


To that point, after further review of our current state, I've formulated the following plan to compliment the "profile exercise" I've asked each team to complete:


Welcome Program (Note: Question as to messaging for those "net new" via self-directed activity vs. those captured by our teams)

Re-Engagement Program (Note: Leaning towards a 3 strike rule)

Communication Preference Center (Note: Under construction based on consolidating the 5+ silo'ed "list" pages we currently present across the business)


I'm about to start my strawman designs now and I look forward to wrapping this all up in a big beautiful bow to say "Happy New Year!" to the teams (or "Happy Valentine's Day," as I haven't nailed the roll-out timeline yet).


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this three-part series on Marketing Contact Management - "Execution" - ETC TBD. Any feedback on this conundrum of a topic is most welcome!

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