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Hi all


Would anyone care to share how they manage demand for their team's time (formal processes)? One of the questions we are being asked as we set our central team is 'how will you decide or prioritise who you will support if resources are limited?'. Do any of you have satisfaction measures in place to check that you are keeping everyone happy? Are there things that you have tried that work well, or not so well. And do you have escalation or appeal processes if you find yourselves having to turn away requests? We plan on operating a combined top down and bottom up approach to our demand centre, but from the outset it is likely to be more bottom up.


That's at least 3 questions in one post, but thought I would get my money's worth .


Thanks in advance



Mike McKinnon

It's All About Velocity

Posted by Mike McKinnon Aug 21, 2014

This post is the first in a three part series I will be doing on velocity.

These days marketers are really good at measuring a lot of things. Most marketers can tell you their CPA or CPL, their MQL conversion rate and a whole host of other metrics. However, very seldom do I hear about velocity.

Velocity can have the biggest direct impact on closed deals considering data reported in 2013 by Yahoo Small Business Advisor showing that contacting a lead within five minutes yields a 78 percent close rate, compared with a 19 percent close rate when the response to a lead is within five to 30 minutes. Further, a pipeline moving 2x as fast can be 1/2 the value of a comparable pipeline. The essence is simple - move deals as fast as you can through the sales pipeline. Time is the enemy of every sale.

While understanding the average sales cycle is an important part of velocity, you cannot impact velocity without also understanding the break points that lead to your average sales cycle. Consider your basic lead flow below.

As you can see there are 5 levers available that will impact velocity. I can tweak anyone of these breakpoints to increase my velocity. Further, by measuring these breakpoints you can also see where your leads are getting hung up. Mapping out a process like the above is an important first step in understanding your organization's velocity. How many breakpoints does your organization have?

In my next post, I will talk about some of the things you can do to increase velocity at each point.

If you’ve had a good SmartStart, it’s very likely that everything is fine with your Eloqua system.  But over time, there are processes that you don’t always look at, and those things might not be responding the way you need them to. 

Systems and processes degrade over time. Data degrades over time. New people may not have gotten adequate training, and sometimes, you just don’t know what you don’t know.


And just like a finely-tuned engine that you haven’t looked at for a while, Eloqua can get out of tune.


That’s why an Eloqua “Health Check” can be so important. A proper “Health Check” can answer so many questions for you, and help put you on the right footing to move forward confidently.


We invite you to watch our video and learn the importance of the ‘Health Check’ for your organization:

For more information visit, or call 1-888-ELOQUA4 (888-356-7824) or email

By now you’ve probably heard the buzz about a relatively new marketing technology called “Predictive Lead Scoring.” Marketers are excited about the prospect of using big data and machine learning to score leads more accurately than the usual rules-based techniques used in Marketing Automation.

This technology is developing fast and has enormous potential to improve efficiency and generate revenue. Right now it is in the early adoption phase, but eventually it will probably become a standard component of the marketing technology stack. Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with the basic idea of this technology, so you can assess whether or not your organization should consider adopting it.


Predictive Lead Scoring is a scientific method of predicting the probability that a particular lead will convert. It takes historical data from your CRM and behavioral data from Marketing Automation systems, and combines that with “big data” attributes gathered from multiple sources. The method uses this data to build a model of what a good lead looks like for your organization, then scores new leads against this model to determine how likely those leads are to close. That way you can correctly prioritize your sales efforts and focus on the leads that will generate the most revenue.

In other words, Predictive Lead Scoring uses data science and machine learning to uncover the hidden signals that predict the behavior of your prospects and customers: a dream come true for marketers.


Predictive modeling has been around for a while. However, using it in a business setting has generally involved hiring a team of data scientists to build a custom modeling system, assembling the required data themselves from whatever sources they can find. What’s changed is that advances in data science, computing power, and data collection have enabled vendors to offer Predictive Lead Scoring as a product you can buy “off the shelf.” Now you don’t need your own team of data scientists. You simply give the vendor access to your data. They build and test the model for you and insert lead scores directly into your CRM or Marketing Automation system with very little effort or expertise required on your part.


Traditional lead scoring can be a very effective way to increase conversion rates and make your sales operation more efficient. However, it has some drawbacks:

  • Guesswork - The rules used to score leads are determined manually by the guess-and-check method. Though we can make highly educated guesses as to what factors are likely to influence conversion and iterate to check against results, this process is slow and difficult in practice and not always satisfying. Predictive Lead Scoring automates the creation of model parameters, using statistical methods to give a rigorous, scientific result. This makes the building and testing of scoring models easier, quicker and more effective.
  • Incomplete Data - Traditional scoring only looks at the data you already have in your Marketing Automation and CRM systems, and usually only a tiny subset of that data is actually used in the model. Predictive Lead Scoring brings in thousands of data attributes to get a complete picture of the prospect: attributes such as financial data, social media presence, job postings, website technology use and sophistication, demographic and firmographic data and much more.

By replacing guesswork and incomplete data with scientific accuracy and big data, Predictive Lead Scoring can deliver better scores resulting in greater efficiency and more revenue.


There are several factors to consider when evaluating whether and when you should set up Predictive Lead Scoring...


Hello all,


I manage a global instance of Eloqua and am investigating whether or not to use Strict Mode to comply with the EU privacy laws regarding online tracking. I'm having trouble finding enough detail about Strict Mode on Topliners so perhaps someone here has implemented it and knows first hand.


I'm confused if email tracking falls under the privacy laws and if Strict Mode affects only web tracking or email tracking.


Also, is anyone using double opt-in on form submits? For instance, after someone submits a form and asks to receive additional emails, do you send them to a second form for the double opt-in?


Any learnings that could be shared would be greatly appreciated. Or, if you have experience with Strict Mode and would be willing to chat, I'd appreciate that as well.



By now, everyone knows they need to invest in content. It’s not a matter of if, now, but when and how. Marketers are transitioning from selling the concept internally in attempts to secure budgets to figuring out how to execute on their plans.


This is proving, for most, to be somewhat challenging. A lot of marketers are struggling to find a place to start and ways to make content engaging and relevant while also scalable. Content is such a big topic, that it is hard to focus on a simple, practical way to make content work for both the business and the customer. Most marketers, then, default to telling their brand stories from their perspective because they can control the output and more easily promote the business across all channels.


The problem is, customers just don’t care about your brand. You might not be as interesting as you think.


“If I want a long boring story with no point to it, I have my life.”
Jerry Seinfeld


Customers are people (shocking!) and, like you and me, react to what is interesting to them in the moment. And, regardless of whether they are working for a business, buying from a business, or acting on their own behalf as a consumer, they generally act as their emotions lead them.


Whether you recognize it or not, you are in the process of buying something…right now. It could be something complex like software, or simple like a new pair of running shoes, but you are already in the process of buying.*


Not interested in those shoes right now? I bet a review on Facebook could pique your interest. Have you heard about all of those Social Relationship Management tools on the market but don’t know which one is the best? Chances are that infographic on LinkedIn will get you to at least visit a provider’s website. There is always something that you see that shapes a decision to buy.


So, that’s great…here’s another post telling you to consider the buying journey. How does the buyer journey translate into content that doesn’t look like everyone else’s?


Nope! This is much more FUN than that.


Content + the buyer’s journey = FUN!


FUN & FUNny Content

In the EARLY Stages of the buyer journey, you are simply looking to engage with a customer and start to build a relationship. Getting people to emotionally connect, is a matter of getting them to laugh and providing them with something interesting to attract their attention. The funnier, the better. Some examples:

Colorful infographics and comic strips? Bring it!

               Short and sweet? I gotta show my friends / co-workers.

A Video??? Where’s the SHARE button?


A datasheet or product page? YAWN. It’s the dating equivalent of someone showing you family pictures from grandmas scrap books on the first date. Eventually she’ll / he’ll be interested. But now? The only thing we’re flirting with is a creepy reputation.


FUNdamental Content

In the MIDDLE Stages of the buyer journey, you can start to focus on what you do. At some point, the rubber has to meet the road and you need to differentiate your message from others in your industry. This is about explaining the fundamentals of your solutions and industry as well as, fundamentally, how you’re different. If your buyer is to this point, they’re probably more likely to want information that takes it to the next level and lets you prove your worth (value).

                White Papers? I’m gonna know stuff my boss doesn’t know.

                          Testimonials? Does anyone believe in this stuff?

                Product briefs? Is this solution right for me?


Break out that scrap book big guy…that picture of you taking a bath as a baby is gonna be SOOOO cute.


FUNctional Content

In the LATE Stages of the buyers journey, content that sells is critical. Anticipating and giving sales the information they need to close the deal is as important as any other kinds of content. Marketing is as involved in the revenue process as sales is and should take responsibility for their role as much as their counterparts.

                ROI Calculators? You CAN afford this!

                          Case Studies? How have others done this?


Engagement rings and wedding bells!


So, remember, the buyer’s journey dictates that type of content you create. You just have to know how to add the right FUN.

What are some examples of FUN content you’ve created?



*The point is, everyone is buying. All the time. Understanding the buyers journey is always going to be step one to figuring out what content you need to create.


For the sake of your attention span as well as the words in this posts, let’s assume all of those complex buyer journeys you can imagine can be boiled down to three stages; Early, Middle, and Late.


And we quickly define the Buyer Stages as:

EARLY: Customer doesn’t know they have a need, are not yet interested in solutions or are peripherally checking “stuff” out during their free time.

MIDDLE: Customer is aware of their need, knows of solutions, and is trying to figure out what is the right solution for them.

LATE: Customer is working on finalizing a purchase decision or, in more complex instances, working with a sales team to progress to and through the contract process.

Fair warning here, I'm going to shill a little bit. Partly because I've been doing some work with these guys and partly because they're amazing. If you don't like my perspective, feel free to sneer at me, but I think this is a pretty important idea and I wanted to make sure people are hearing about where segmentation and targeted modern marketing is headed.


Over the last year, I've worked with the guys at to help develop their product further and approach the Eloqua market. I'm working with them as an official adviser, but I actually started out as a customer for the early version of the product. rozlemieux is the CEO of this company, and comes from the world of Politics and Strategic Consulting. She's a dynamite person and a good friend. Additionally, I think we all know David York and the amazing products that SureShot releases all the time. I've been a fan of his work for years, and I'm really excited by the fact that I get to work with him on this project. The two of them have paired up to bring the product to the Eloqua App Social Behavior SparkPlug takes those silly Social Listening tools you've been using to the next level. Yeah, they do some interesting things and have their uses especially for brand management and monitoring the competition, as well as having a one to one conversation with your customers in the social spaces. That's essentially where they stop and where picks up the ball and runs with it. allows you to do this kind of listening directly for your INDIVIDUAL CONTACTS stored in Eloqua. From there you can pass this information into Eloqua and use their social behavior as part of your entire marketing automation program. Can you imagine building segmented lists based on customers discussion on Twitter or Facebook? What about A/B splits using their specific sports teams as a possible subject line? Or perhaps using this information to add another layer to your lead scoring models based on their level of social activity?


The end result is this, listening to your customers is great but becoming true modern marketers requires us to take things to the next level and find faster and more eloquent (pun intended) ways to engage in one on one conversations with our clients. We all know how difficult this is and how hard we work to come up with interesting and compelling content for our customers to consume. By using you don't have to guess about what your customers might be interested in and can actually send them the content they've already shown interest in receiving. You can cut down on unsubscribe rates by improving the engagement and relevance for your email marketing.


Do yourself a favor and go check out the app on the App Cloud. Social Behavior SparkPlug


Yours in marketing. -- Dave

Hi everyone,


There are typically two primary ways to auto-populate a form in Eloqua.  (1) Using the form population cloud component.  This works great if you want to pre-populate data from the Eloqua record, or from query strings.  (2) Using web-data-lookups, this works for custom-coded pages, and allows you to pre-populate the form from information from the Eloqua record.  It does require, however, a pretty deep understanding of JavaScript to make it function correctly.


However, what if all you really want is to not require a registrant to have to keep providing their information repeatedly across your forms?  Where the forms would simply pre-populate with the information they've entered previously on any of your other forms. That way they don't have to keep re-populating the form and you don't have to go through the more cumbersome approach of using the form population cloud component or web data lookups to pre-populate from the Eloqua record.  For this use case, I highly recommend using the jQuery plugin StickyForms to achieve this.


StickyForms is one of the jQuery plugins I've developed and contributed to the jQuery community specifically designed not to lookup data, but simply remember it.  It'll automatically re-populate any form on your website with data the visitor previously entered on any other form on your website, and it's incredibly simple to add to any landing page hosted in Eloqua (or any other hosting environment).


The full documentation of the StickyForms plugin and information about my other jQuery plugins can be accessed via the link below, but I also have a short-cut summary of the simple 3-step process to add StickyForms to your Eloqua landing page.


Full documentation and access to other plugins: RWSApps | StickyForms - Documentation


3-Step Process to adding jQuery StickyForms to your Eloqua Hosted Landing Page


Step 1:

Copy the elqFormName from your Eloqua form.


Step 2:

Open your landing page, and copy the following code into the JS Editor of the Landing page.  You can find the JS Editor by opening the Tools section of your landing page, clicking the far-right Page Snippet Tools tab, and then clicking the "Open JS Editor..." button at the bottom.


<script src="//" type="text/javascript"></script><script src="" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">

$(function() {

  // Where rs-sticky-forms is the elqFormName






Step 3:


Replace the "elq-form-name" snippet in the code with the elqFormName copied in Step 1.




That's it!

Save the landing page and load the form.  Once you've submitted any form that uses StickyForms on the same sub-domain, the values will be automatically populated on any other form on the same sub-domain that uses StickyForms.  For a full demo of the plugin in an Eloqua landing page, check out the example below.


Functioning demo: Eloqua StickyForms Example




Last week, I joined 1000+ fellow B2B marketers from all over the world at BMA14, the Business Marketing Association’s (BMA) annual conference in Chicago, to explore “where B2B’s going.” Seventy nine speakers and three days of great (non-stop!) content later, here's my 5 top takeaways:

#1. B2B needs to be human to human [tweet this]

The call to “humanize” B2B marketing—to go to market in ways that create more emotional, human connections with buyers—was a strong theme throughout the conference. So how can B2B brands create emotional connections? “Tell great stories” (urged Jonah Sachs, author of Winning the Story Wars) that “inform, inspire and entertain” (added Google’s Mike Miller). And remember, your brand or product is not the hero. Your customer is. Intuit’s Small Business, Big Game campaign, Grainger’s Everyday Heroes campaign and this Go Google video were cited as examples of this advice in action.


Here’s a few memorable moments on this topic:

  • “Remember, you’re not the hero. Your audience is.” @jonahsachs
  • “You can’t sell anything, if you can’t tell anything.” @bethcomstock
  • “Forget Unique Selling Proposition. B2B brands need to understand and articulate their Unique Buying Proposition.” @RHsays
  • “Connecting via emotion is 2x more impactful than connecting via business values.” @Google’s Mike Miller
  • “Emotional connections are key to great customer relationships. Human to Human.” @HeatherT_HBC

#2. B2B needs more insight (not more data)
[tweet this]

Big data has been a hot theme for several years. So, not surprisingly, there was tons of talk about it (so much, in fact, that one attendee proposed a drinking game!) Clearly, there are sound arguments and good reasons for marketers to leverage data, embrace accountability, show measured results and elevate the profession’s reputation so it achieves equal credibility to finance and sales among CEOs. Yet, we couldn’t escape the feeling that amidst the dozens of references to big data—and particularly the new term ‘data lake’—marketers are actually drowning in too much data.

Marketers don’t need more data. What they need is more insight—specifically, actionable insights so they can engage customers in relevant and emotionally resonant ways. Data (especially quantitative data) is not insight. On its own, data doesn’t tell you what you need to know. Savvy marketers collect both qualitative and quantitative data. They talk to their customers in order to develop insights into what really motivates them, use quantitative data to assess relative importance and distribution of those insights, and then build marketing messages, content, experiences and stories based on a deep understanding of which insights are truly transformative.

Some of our favorite quotes from the stage and floor:

  • “Get up from behind your desk and meet your customer. If you don’t, you’ll never get beyond data to insight.” @jaybaer
  • “Effective marketing insights lead to choosing you over the competition. Ask: what is ownable for your brand?” @brentadamson
  • “Thinking “big data” needs to be re-branded…it’s about insight & decisions, not data.” @Bill_Morrison
  • “You need to have actionable insights to be able to effectively differentiate. Onsite = Insight.” @tonymohr

#3. B2B is about employee engagement too
[tweet this]

At first glance, it might seem surprising to see not just one, but at least three, presentations explicitly focused on the importance of engaging employees, but with one factoid in-hand, the rationale for this amount of emphasis becomes immediately obvious. Betsy Henning, CEO and Founder of AHA!, shared research proving companies can improve their business results by as much as 240% by engaging their employees. That same research showed engaged employees are 14x more likely to consider their jobs significant and meaningful. And, when they do, they’re much more effective in creating exceptional experiences for customers.

That’s why B2B is about employee engagement too. Your organization’s ability to deliver on its brand promises—to deliver exceptional, brand-building customer experiences—depends on the effectiveness of your marketing, operations, IT, HR, sales, finance and executive teams. Great companies engage their employees and their customers.

To get to engagement—as we wrote in a recent article, What’s the #1 Factor in Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences?—marketers need to develop empathy. How do you achieve empathy? See #2 above (insight!).

Powerful quotes from the conference:

  • “Marketers need to be great listeners to both employees AND customers.” @betsy_henning
  • “Brand is no longer just what you tell and message to customers. It’s also the experience & values you provide/reinforce with employees.” @tonymohr
  • “A 1% increase in employee engagement drives a 0.6% increase in sales on average.” @PhilClement84

#4. B2B shouldn’t be boring
[tweet this]

In fact, boring is dangerous. Why? Because business customers are consumers too. And they’ve upgraded their expectations of B2B brands based on their experiences with consumer brands. They want to be inspired and entertained (see takeaway #1), just like B2C marketing. Tim Washer (a seasoned comedian, social media expert and all round nice guy) argued there’s room for comedy in any B2B brand. To prove it, check out “The Perfect Gift for Valentine’s Day,” a video Tim and his team created to launch a product that’s far from funny: the Cisco ASR 9000 router.


Here’s what others had to say:

  • “Business marketing does not mean boring-to-boring.” @bethcomstock
  • “73% of people who read corporate blogs are people!” @timwasher
  • Content that’s only about your products and services isn’t Youtility, it’s a brochure.” @jaybaer

#5. B2B should market like it’s 2014
[tweet this]

“Most business are not doing business as if it’s 2014,” said keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk. It’s true. Most B2B marketers still over-rely on traditional techniques and tactics. Approaches that may have worked in the past do not today. The way buyers buy has fundamentally changed, and with information at their fingertips, they’re now in control. In fact, B2B buyers now complete 57% of the buying process on their own before first connecting with sales. The bottom line is, the role of marketing—the jobs that organizations now require marketing to do—has changed, but many marketers have not. It’s time to embrace change. This means social. This means mobile. This means marketing automation. This means jumping in.

Here’s a few of our favorite tweetable moments on this topic:

  • “Change or feel the wrath of innovation. It doesn’t care about you.” @GaryVee
  • “Your buyers have access to all the information in the world… in their pants!” @JayBaer
  • “Technology is changing the way customers interact and make decisions. As marketers we must adapt, or risk becoming irrelevant.” LinkedIn’s @NickBesbeas
  • “Salespeople are being replaced by search engines and social networks. Buyers are having learning parties without you!” @jill_rowley
  • “Social media is a contact sport, and you won’t learn how to play the game if you’re sitting on the sidelines.” @MargaretMolloy
  • “Only 20% of CEOs feel B2B marketers are stepping up when it comes to marketing automation.” @Tom_Stein


BMA14 was an exciting event to be a part of. It affirmed what an exciting time it is to be in B2B marketing. A time when the clock-speed of change requires us to be more nimble than ever before. A time when product differentiation alone is not enough. A time when deep customer insight can be a transformative brand advantage. If you recognize that status quo is no longer an option for your B2B brand, we’re ready to help.


So, where do you think B2B marketing is going?

Does Eloqua script supported in Safari Browser?

If you’ve ever attended one of our events, you know that in addition to our team sharing their knowledge and product expertise, we LOVE to have our customers share their awesome success stories and marketing best practices.  We just wrapped up our third stop on the 2014 Modern Marketing Tour and are excited to be able to share a fresh batch of success stories with you. Visit the Modern Marketing Tour group here on Topliners to see all of the presentations from our first three tour stops including these inspiring customer stories:


Transformation Journey to Modern Marketing at ACGO Corporation - Peter Garza, AGCO Corporation

The Growing Power of Customer Advocacy: Building mutually beneficial customer relationships - Liz Richardson, Bomgar

Blind Forms, Conditions and Custom Data Objects…Oh My! - Cullen Ruffner, good2grow and bubba brands

Hero or Helper: Which role is your org playing? - keithjennings, Jackson Healthcare

Optimizing ROI in B2B Lead Generation - Paul Price, Reed Construction Data



The MYTH of Lead Scoring…Who is marketing to define a qualified lead? - Alex Ballering, NXP Semiconductors

Zamir Telecom Case Study - Abdul Hamid Ebrahim, Zamir Telecom Ltd.

Taking Advantage of the Hidden Sales Cycle with Sales & Marketing Alignment - mark.emmett, Trustpilot



Finding and Retaining Eloqua Talent - Eytan Abrahams, Return Path

Redefining Marketing Automation at Intel Security - Sterling Bailey-Oracle, Intel Security

Use of Progressive Forms at CSC - Jenifer Metz, CSC

An Integrated, Long Term Approach to Lead Nurturing - Byron O'Dell, IHS

Journey into the Art and Science of Healthcare Marketing - Vincent Rainsford, Covidien (note: cannot be shared for privacy reasons)


What’s next? You can catch success stories from these Modern Marketers at our next few stops on #MMT14:


Austin: Sal Abramo, Thomson Reuters; Hayden Mugford, Dell; chris pearson, Hibu; Kurt Stoll, HP; Rachel Truair, PetRelocation

Boston: Domenic Armano &, Avid; David Kruh, Analog Devices; Steve Rotter, Brightcove; Anthony Slavinsky, Nuance Communications

Berlin: Tobias Ackermann, Erni GmbH; Rene Rink, Telefonica Germany; Jochen Schafberger, Evidanza AG

Join us on the Modern Marketing Tour! See a list of our upcoming events and register now.


Interested in sharing YOUR success story? Here's how you can toot your own horn:

There's so much focus on using Eloqua externally I was curious to see if anyone has had any experience using it internally, if so what type of campaigns, segments etc ...?

This week I attended the Alliance14 Conference. The conference was held in Las Vegas. I’m not a gambler, but I do enjoy watching high stakes gambling.  As I walked through the MGM Grand I stopped by to watch a game of roulette. The man playing placed a $1,000 bet. And he lost.

Amazing isn’t it?  The idea of betting a $1,000 on the spin of a wheel?  It did get me thinking about the number of higher ed institutions who are willing to make a similar gamble with their student, alumni, and donor communications.  Communications have changed dramatically, yet many organizations are hesitant about adjusting their communication strategies.

Here’s how I selected a college in 1998. I looked at a big book of schools. I browsed pamphlets touting their diversity, and I sorted through hundreds of pieces of mail.  I weighed the pros and cons of each school.  I filled out paper applications, printed off my essays, gathered my transcripts and mailed in everything along with a check.

Then I received it! My acceptance letter!  I then received a series of letters about orientation, a note regarding my dorm assignment, and a phone call from my resident advisor.   And that was sufficient, back then.  But let’s take a look at how university engagement has evolved over time.

College discovery included resources like books, letters, and brochures.  Now prospective students consult websites and social media as well.  Campus tours were always in person, as opposed to the virtual tour options that exist today.  Selection was influenced by immediate family and close friends.  Today the sphere of influence now includes a vast extended social network. College applications have shifted from paper to electronic. Student engagement is no longer limited to chalking on the sidewalk and bulletin boards.  Students now rely on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

And universities aren’t just facing a change in communication channels. The pressure to demonstrate results is on the rise.  You need to capture and analyze metrics that matter.  You need to better understand engagement programs, events, and tour data.  And need you need to make smarter business decisions based on this information. With tools like marketing automation you can capture this information.  You can capture the digital body language and the in-person engagement. You can demonstrate results, identify areas of opportunity, and better engage your audience.  An audience that is growing in complexity.

They’re also facing an evolution in audience segmentation.  It’s not just “Students and Prospective Students”.   Segmentation now looks something like this:  Current students (both individually and student groups), alumni, faculty and staff, donors with a connection, donors without a connection, sports fans, people interested in research, prospective undergraduate students, prospective graduate students, prospective faculty members and news media to name a few.  Marketing automation can capture this segmentation and reduce the complexity of communications.

Universities must develop loyalty.  It’s what drives new student interest, current student engagement which drives increased academic performance and graduation rates, and increased contributions from alumni. This loyalty can be driven by a 1:1 relationship to effectively engage with these segments.  And beyond that, communications need to deepen segmentation and focus on the individual.

By using marketing automation you can deliver that personalized content to that individual, understand and manage their preferences, and define metrics that will guide your institution’s discussion around loyalty.

Student recruitment and alumni fundraising campaigns need to reach the individual.  They need to contain sentiment and that’s challenging to do with a batch and blast mentality.  Campaigns, and content creation, need be relevant, promote the university brand, and be automated.


Let’s look at 2 case studies.

Indiana University engages its students in content creation.  Everyday students upload proposed blogs to the University content management system, Compendium.  The content director simply logs into the system, reviews and edits blogs for branding, grammar, etc and then publishes the blogs.  IU generates hundreds of posts, in the voice of the student, every year, and with little work.

When I spoke with a student at St. Joe's she explained that their content is driven both by students and faculty.

“At St Joe's I would say it goes 60% faculty, 40% students, but the student generated content is by far more effective.”

College recruitment is gradually going paperless; In the 4 year leading up to college selection, a student receives hundreds (maybe thousands) of college emails. This presents a challenge to recruiting universities because they only have a subject line to grab a student’s attention. Some schools still rely on obscure subject lines ("ABC college is the best"), and some are downright creepy ("Marilyn, ABC College needs you") but somewhere in between those lies a creative opportunity for an attention-getting subject line.  The goal of these recruitment emails should also shift from the hard sell “Apply Now” to a more nurture-centric message. It should encourage prospective students to visit the website, or engage with a social account.  And the digital body language of an individual should determine which communications they receive.  Marketing automation can capture this digital body language, and automate nurturing, recruiting, and fundraising communications.  

Colleges now encourage prospective and current students to follow their twitter pages.  St Joseph's asked recently accepted students (class of 2018) to tweet a picture of them with their acceptance letters, and they retweeted all of the pictures to associate an extremely positive affect with getting accepted.

Twitter also has easily accessible "insider" resources when looking at schools.

“@SJUProbs, @SJUBetch. These twitter accounts give you the inside scoop on what you can really expect when you go to a particular school, so I knew exactly how bad the cafeteria food would be before I even tried it. Finding resources like these were probably my most valuable digital tool when I was making my ultimate decision. Also, every semester for one day, the SJU twitter account is "taken over" by current students who answer any questions prospective undergrads would have regarding the school.”

At some schools, if you tweet the dining hall about wanting a certain dish or certain ice cream they'll have it the next day!

Social media tools can capture social engagement and enter a student, parent, alumni, or donor into an appropriate communication channel delivering relevant content and information.

Many universities posts pictures of pretty spots on campus, exciting school events, and admissions open houses.

“SJU benefited HUGELY because as a part of their summer freshman orientation program, there is a surprisingly "cool" black light dance with glow paint and an amazing DJ. A lot of the incoming freshmen took these insane photos and videos during the black light dance and so all of their high school friends saw the posts and even went so far as to comment that St. Joes looks like a lot of fun. This is great advertising for SJU because they aren't even the ones posting these videos; the students do it all themselves.”

Video is huge and continues to grow.  Video is a great way to demonstrate student life, and thanks to marketing automation, now more than ever it’s easier to track engagement with video and deliver relevant communications based on this engagement.

A lot of universities use social media as a platform to facilitate community development and engagement.  This is a great medium for people to ask questions about moving in, getting class schedules, etc, and some people even meet their roommates through the group.

“Our University of Maryland Baltimore County freshman class had a Facebook group so during summer we communicated with each other, we talked about books, what classes people were taking, professors, we even had older students give us advice about UMBC.”

But as with all digital channels, they’re only as good as the content delivered. 

When I spoke with a student at McGill University he said “They mostly post about research being conducted at the university and sometimes classroom changes. I don't really engage them with social media.  If they mentioned who was coming to speak every so often I'd be more interested in engaging. For example, the Queen's Canadian emissary came and spoke but no one knew she was coming until after she had spoken, and we all wished we had known”

Institutions like Harvard, DeVry, NIU, Kaplan, Ashworth, and Herzing are using these tactics, combined with marketing automation, to grow enrollment, increase retention and graduation rates, expand fundraising, and promote greater engagement.

It’s important to take a multi-channel marketing approach to your communications strategy.  You need to incorporate all channels (web, social, video, email, and personal communications) into the student journey. Remember to segment and target your communications, crowdsource relevant content, capture digital engagement, and automate the process.

Finally, bring all of those takeaways together to match communications with interests and preferences. This will ultimately enhance the student experience, increase loyalty, drive contributions, and drive enrollment.


Hi Everyone,


I was hoping my Topliner peers could share advice on what kind of templates you use for mobile friendly weekly newsletters. Your input on what you have found works well or recommendations for agencies that have designed your newsletter templates would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks for your help!

Lately, I have read a lot of great posts that got me thinking. Marilyn Cox produces content faster than I can spit up my ideas but I will try to match her speed light writing for once! As Modern Marketers, we talk a lot about how to use digital marketing tactics and CRM to manage customer life cycles. We are no longer talking in terms of B2B, B2C or B2G, we have moved to the H2H (Human to Human) age.


One area of high cost for any organization continues to reside in the employee pool. This segment seems somehow largely untapped. How do you take care of your best assets and retain them while keeping the cost down when possible? Marilyn wrote a great article about it here already: How to Drive Financial Services Recruitment Results. I totally agree with her, if you are already profiling your customers, why not apply similar concepts to manage your employee pool? I will take a slightly different approach here because my background is in the healthcare industry and I will only add a few additional suggestions. There are plenty of creative ways to motivate individuals and teams alike. Take it beyond the newsletter, the on-boarding campaign and the sales enablement strategies. It is certainly easier said than done but opportunities are huge. So here are just a couple of ideas:


1 - We agree here, you should develop an employee profile. You don't need to know much initially, but build along the way on their preferences through simple questions/polls/games. For example: Do you own a bike, a kayak, a tennis racket, a golf club, none of the above? What sport to you like best? What languages do you speak? What are your favorite foods?


2 - Reward programs targeting results are not limited to sales. If your organization offers health insurance, there is a huge push to reduce healthcare costs through better health management. The higher the risk of your employee population, the higher the premium, absenteeism, and stress on team members to only mention a few. Knowing your employees, what gets them moving and what gets them engaged in their own health can not only improve employee satisfaction and retention but can significantly impact your bottom line. Even if you don't offer health insurance. While large corporations have access to 3rd party vendors to handle their health and wellness reward programs, smaller organizations need to be proactive in health management and find ways to handle it on their own. So you can leverage your MA with a wide variety of campaigns such as business units fitness contests, health tips, healthy recipes based on profile preferences etc.


3 - Tie your health and wellness programs with charities you support if any. Most employees feel good about helping others. Your customers will love you for it too. Make it social with recognition of teams/individuals on their achievements. It puts a face behind the brand, it makes your organization more approachable.


4 - Tie it with your CRM/ERM and you have the opportunity to measure the impact on your the employee cost over time. It may be a slow process initially, but the benefits can be huge. You can not only help your employees stay or get healthy, but you foster a culture of support, healthy habits, and competitiveness in a fun way.


5 - A little birthday wish is always nice. Send your employees an eCard! Why not include a reminder or 2 of some key health and wellness yearly checkups? Only if they are due for them though: no need to tell a non-smoker to quit, or send a mammo reminder to a 50 yo male employee. You can do the same with work anniversaries.


6 - Measure everything of course. Analyze and modify. Work with your Finance department, HR, Benefits folks to measure results and communicate ROI. Don't be afraid to ask your health insurance providers for ideas. A lot of times, they have tools and messages you can use to make it easier on you.


Bottom line, if you treat your employees as well as you treat your customers, you build a power machine.

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