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The Challenge:  Data and User Experience Consistency in Forms

Where does all the data in the marketing database come from?


From user-facing forms, to the CRM system, to the customer support portal, we found 15 different sources of data. Each of the 15 sources collected different information, in different formats.  This created inconsistencies in both data collection and end-user experience that needed to be addressed.


The multiple user forms systems that gated our online content were prime candidates for consolidation and standardization.  Together, they gated 1,000 unique pieces of content that were accessed in fiscal 2014, resulting in 60,000 form submissions.



A scalable and adaptable solution was needed to bring consistency to how we collected data.


Project Goals:

  • Improved data quality
  • Faster lead transfer to the sales team
  • Higher form conversion rates
  • Consistent user experience


Benchmarking and The Start of the Journey


A journey of a thousand changes starts with a single benchmark: 15 inconsistent data sources. Before we set out to overhaul our forms, we also benchmarked our data quality by creating dashboards to track the number of contacts for which we had sufficient data to effectively segment.  Our lead transfer time and form conversion rates were also analyzed.

The marketing database isn’t the final resting place for marketing registration form data. Some form submissions will create new contacts, some of which will become leads and get passed to sales: all stakeholders and their use-cases must be considered. With careful consideration to our segmentation strategy and these concerns, we developed a form that aligned with our business needs.


With the form fields and values in place, I set off on a quixotic mission: to deploy the form in a consistent and scalable manner that integrates with Eloqua and all of our content-hosting systems.

The Project:


So, how do you gate content hosted on 3 different platforms with a standardized form in the most scalable way possible? Here are some tools I've used to evolve our forms to the next level:



Hidden fields


Good forms are like icebergs: most of them aren't visible on the surface.


With one form gating all online content, I used hidden fields to track which piece of content is being accessed with which each form submission. I also use it to track valuable reporting data, like:

  • Which promotion led the user to the form?
  • Which strategic initiative does the content and/or promotion relate to?
  • If the user comes to the form from our website, what was the referring page?


Hidden form fields are also used to tell Eloqua where to re-direct the user once the form is submitted.



Advanced Form processing


Eloqua’s form processing capabilities enable us to make the most of all the data (both shown and hidden) that comes in from our forms. I used form processing capabilities to:


  • Update contact records
  • Create CDO entries to track the individual form submissions
  • Add contacts to a data cleaning program
  • Mark email opt-ins for CASL compliance


The Eloqua university course on Advanced Editing and Form Processing offers a great explanation of all the form processing capabilities Eloqua has to offer.


Processing Steps.JPG


The campaign canvas, cloud connectors and program builder


Once the form submission occurs, a series of events in the campaign canvas and program builder can occur, based off of conditional logic:

  • Sending contacts to the CRM update program
  • Registering contacts for webinars through a cloud connector
  • Sending registration confirmation emails with form submission information field merged into the copy


In the screenshot below, the campaign canvas is used to send approved contacts to webex using a cloud connector in our webinar campaign template. Mechanisms were created to reject contacts from certain companies and geographies, and to manually review registrations for new logos and personal-domain contacts.


Webinar Approvals Process.JPG


The Content Management System


To make our Eloqua form the marketing standard, we needed to branch out beyond the scope of email campaigns and Eloqua landing pages. Luckily, Eloqua forms can be dropped right onto pages in your CMS: just go the the gear icon, get the source code, copy, and paste.


By hosting Eloqua forms on our CMS, we were able to open up new doors to optimize our landing pages for search engines. It also allowed us to create forms within content approval hierarchies, and let marketing users set values for hidden form fields using simple drop-downs (pictured below).


Hidden Fields.JPG


Measure, Analyze and Improve


While it’s too early to see how much the new forms will move the needle on data quality, some improvements were quicker to realize: for content using the new forms, the data is making it to the sales team in minutes, not days. The new look of the forms provides great consistency to the end-users, and the hidden form field data has enhanced our ability to report on KPIs.


With that said, there’s always room to improve: we’re looking to continue improving our forms to better align with how our customers think about themselves. Only time (and data) can tell where things will go from there.

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