Our business needs have evolved where delivering real-time, one-to-one communications has moved from an aspiration to a necessity. Managing this complexity requires that we combine customer and prospect data from multiple data sources. We have been delivering campaigns through a marketing automation platform for awhile, but our previous provider did not have a way to support custom tables beyond contacts and accounts. We could only support a limited number of campaigns because the only way to manage customer lifecycle data was manually in Excel. We had limited resources to perform this sort of work, so we could not support the full scale lifecycle communications that we knew we needed to introduce.
Our goal was to be able to manage real-time communications and nurture campaigns according to a contact’s phase in the purchase process or customer lifecycle. We also wanted to understand how each asset drove inflection points – either impacting purchase behavior or opting out of communications.
On our previous marketing automation platform, we could manage time-based communication sequences, but had to manually manipulate data daily in order to remove prospects from our purchase nurture after they had converted to a customer. That was as much as we could handle, so we were not able to implement additional nurtures at other critical points (based on purchase activity or possible attrition triggers). We also did not have specific insight into how each touchpoint was impacting the user beyond simple open and click reporting.
Integrating purchase and customer status data into Eloqua’s Custom Objects has allowed us to overcome this data limitation. Even considering multiple data sources and a variety of product add-ons, we are now able to centrally house our customer data and link components together through segmentation in a way that we could have never done previously.
Here’s how it works: once a contact is in a nurture, prior to sending another email in a campaign, we have a decision rule to look at the custom object where we house purchase data. If the contact has made a purchase, they no longer receive emails for the prospect nurture, and they are moved to a list that signifies that they purchased after the first email (as an example). We have built in wait steps directly into the campaign canvas so we can visualize where we have significant engagement or drop off. If we need to drill down further, we have the data recorded on the contact lists, so we can see how trends are changing over time.
Not only are we able to build segments based on product usage on the front end, we can now analyze how different phases of our nurture programs impact purchase behavior. This allows us to quickly see how many people converted after the first, second, third or last email. We conduct the same analysis to monitor unsubscribe rates so we are able to adjust assets which may be hurting engagement.
While we are still working through all of the nurture campaigns that we would like to implement, this new process not only provides more insight into user behaviors, but we don’t have to worry about the capacity limitations of continually manipulating data manually.
- Effective Marketing with Custom Objects
- Fundamentals of the Campaign Canvas