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Marketing Challenge

The Beginning

Our journey started back in February 2015 when we started using Eloqua to accommodate our marketing needs. Our motive was to use the capabilities of Mass Emailing, Improved Deliverability and Contact Management by creating bi-directional integration of Eloqua with Salesforce CRM.


  1. Mass Emailing
  2. Data Cleansing
  3. Effective Campaigns
  4. Email Deliverability


Business Scenario-

We need to inform our portal as well as our non-portal users about the upcoming events. Also we keep our public posting page and banner-ads updated with such events so that any visitor too can register and attend as most of these events are public events where-in anyone who registers for it can attend it. We relied on banner-ads in industry publications that took the user to our online resources – whitepapers, public posting pages and our event registration pages. When the visitor would arrive at an event, we would not have visibility as to which banner-ad the visitor clicked-on to access resource as well as which level of interaction should result in having the lead sent to SFDC for sales follow up. We need to assign a parameter to our leads for sales process. We also had to manage our deliverability rate by identifying the bounce backs, eliminating mails getting sent to invalid email addresses, hence improving our deliverability rate.

Resolution Applied-

Step 1. Integrate Salesforce with Eloqua to get all the contacts from Salesforce to CRM.

Step 2. Data Cleansing- To clean the existing data which is now available in Eloqua we have started with Country field standardization. A filter was created using Filter Criteria - Compare Contact Fields. Data was exported and more than 2000 records' countries were standardized.

Created a lookup-


Update rule to update records using the lookup field value-


A program was created to run update rule and filter created above is used as a feeder to program. When enabled and run, country values were updated and synced with CRM.

Step 3- We have created a form and landing page in Eloqua which is then being used for event registration, hence following the standardization for field values.

Step 4- A campaign was created to send email to all our portal/non portal users informing about the event along with a link to register, that navigated to form we created. Visitors navigated to this form were created as contact and hence were engrossed in our sales cycle. These contacts were then in sync with salesforce using an outbound data flow from Eloqua to CRM. This is a sample example of one of our campaign for an event.

Campaign 1.jpg

Step 5- With Eloqua’s ability to track digital body language across all our marketing channels, we can easily identify buying signals from those who attended or registered. Further nurturing can ultimately convert them into Marketing Qualified Leads.

Step 6- Deliverability- Another concern was email deliverability. Eloqua logs bouncebacks, unsubscribes for all contact records. We can segmented contact records based on filter criteria. At the time of sending, Eloqua suppresses any emails that are marked to contacts identified as hard bouncebacks or unsubscribes. This would automatically improve our deliverability rate.

Created a segment named as BounceBack and Unsubscribe with filter options selected marked as “Hard Bounceback” OR “Globally Unsubscribed”.


Step 6. These contacts were then deleted from Eloqua but they would exist in Salesforce CRM and will not be synced again in Eloqua. Here’s a blog post I have referred

Step 7. We have introduced Closed Loop Reporting to create a response type of landing page visits to capture traffic for banner ads and report them on Campaign Responses. This will give us the web activities details and also provide a qualified lead. We have used some campaign fields to gather additional information about the source, pages visited.

Step 8- This further helped us in identifying which banner-ads are effective and are sending high quality leads to sales.



As part of this integration, marketing team has started measuring amount of conversions we’re now making on the leads as compared to previous techniques by providing numbers to sales team. We now have conversion rate increased by 25% which we need to increase till 55% in the upcoming year. Using Eloqua to run our campaigns, there is an increase in conversion rate to Marketing Qualified Leads. A better control from the webinar application so we can control the look and brand of every communication associated with the webinar campaign. We can automatically track contacts who have registered and nurture them further after the webinar

What’s next?

We would be enhancing more on Close Loop Reporting and progressive profiler. We would also like to enhance our integration further to capture other custom objects- Application and Contract which would be associated with each contact. Each contact has an application created and upon successful conversion, a contract is being created having this contact as a primary contact. So we could perform a contact management for different contacts like Authorized Signatory, Billing Point of Contact, Notices point of contact, available on Application and Contract object. We would also be leveraging more on various metrics to get the reports on, like Email Metrics, Landing Page Activity Analysis.



  1. E-10: Fundamentals of Campaign Canvas
  2. E-10: Advanced Form processing
  3. E-10: Advanced Segmentation
  4. E-10: Data Cleansing
  5. Eloqua SFDC Integration Guide
  6. Email Deliverability

Also the information I found on Topliners helped me setting up Eloqua at the early stages of project.

The following post demonstrates 3 ways to utilize Eloqua to save time, increase build quality, and enrich data across campaign workflows.

The Challenges

Non-standardized build procedures across multiple teams and instances may result in inconsistent and inefficient campaign builds. Major areas that have been identified are:

  • Rented List Management

While rented lists are not the first choice, they still exist and can be effective when done right for certain strategies. Due to the nature of being rented data, it is often a manual process to keep track what is owned, rented, expired by a specified date, or expired by the number of emails sent. Exacerbated by other data sources, it can be a nightmare to manage your Eloqua database while staying compliant with data policies and provider terms.

  • UTM Tracking

Out-of-the-box ‘Lead Source - Original’ and ‘Lead Source - Most Recent’ fields are a good start, but often do not provide a useful data set for other insights, such as content scoring, traffic channelling, and a lead’s content journey. Attributing performance to conversion points become difficult without a fragmented approach. For example, using a single form (or progressive profiling) to gate multiple assets across different stages and/or campaigns makes the ‘Submitted Form?’ decision step on the campaign canvas ineffective unless timing between campaigns is carefully considered.

  • Form Design and Processing Steps

While form builds are not as common as landing pages or emails, they are fundamental for data capture. Therefore, forms should be built correctly and consistently; being in a data-driven age, we want to ensure we are enriching our data set effectively. Different requirements based on several factors such as the strategy, campaign, or even Eloqua instance can cause havoc in trying to have teams across multiple locations build forms and data processing with a baseline consistency.

The Goal

Globally standardize Eloqua build procedures to improve consistency, efficiency, and quality of campaign builds across multiple instances.

The ‘Then’ Current State

The following metrics were identified and benchmarked:

  • Average time spent managing rented lists
  • Average build time of forms
  • Average errors found in quality check stages
  • Form conversion tracking and lead source data sets

The Initiatives

The approach consisted of three build procedures that were globally standardized and operationalized across multiple Eloqua instances and teams:

  • Rent Control

A list management program allowed near complete automation of managing rented lists to comply with data policies and provider terms. Contacts were: i) excluded from marketing campaigns if they expired, or ii) became ‘owned’ contacts if they had opted-in by submitting a form. The only manual process is deleting contacts that have expired which only needs to be done occasionally; this is preferred as it allows validation before deleting contacts.

  • Crack the Code

A UTM tracking program along with JS captured UTM parameter values for each form submission which was especially invaluable for inbound sources. Using the ‘String Concatenation’ cloud connector, these values were combined to form more detailed ‘Lead Source - Original' and ‘Lead Source - Most Recent’ data. Furthermore, a Custom Data Object (CDO) was utilized to capture all form submissions that included the related asset it was gating along with UTM parameter values; providing insight of a lead’s entire content journey.

  • Comply or Die

A form template was used to form a baseline build which included pre-configured hidden fields and processing steps. This put everything together in a standardized format and workflow for improved consistency and quality while decreasing build times and potential errors.

The Eloqua U Classes

Eloqua 9:

  • Program Builder

Eloqua 10:

  • Advanced Editing and Form Processing
  • Advanced Segmentation
  • Data Cleansing
  • Database Configuration
  • Effective Marketing with Custom Objects

Revenue Performance Management (RPM):

  • Lead Quality


The Impact

  • Automating the management of rented list resulted in several hours saved every month as well as improved compliance and adherence to data policies and provider terms. Not only time is saved due to the complexity of managing multiple lists across several databases and campaigns, but also significant cost savings by keeping the databases within the contact band limits.
  • Tracking additional values such as UTM tags resulted in enriched lead data, allowing for content scoring, advanced segmentation, and insight into a lead’s content journey. Using a CDO to capture form submission data allowed for a single form used across multiple campaigns simultaneously without impeding limitations on a decision step of a campaign flow. This reduced the number of forms required as well as streamlined campaign workflows.
  • Utilizing a form template across all instances resulted in faster form build times by over 100% while near-eliminating errors discovered during quality check stages. Standardizing form fields improved inter-departmental workflows (i.e. web development team) and provided consistent data capture.

Ultimately, standardization of these procedures enabled better collaboration across teams, increased resource capacity, and allowed for greater production throughput.

Our goal in January was to create an automated nurture campaign for each of our top five product types to support the efforts of our field teams and pass more vetted, qualified leads over to sales. We have done various nurture programs in the past (in E9) but nothing as strategic and robust as what we were planning for 2015.

Since we didn’t have a large team working on this, the idea was to find processes and techniques that were scalable and easily replicated so we could churn out a campaign in a reasonable amount of time, and have the agility and flexibility to be able to refresh the assets or content when needed without any significant disruption to the campaign flow.

We developed really highly targeted segmentation, built out a thoughtfully planned nurture canvas, worked to finely tune our email layouts and CTA positioning, and utilized the progressive profiling cloud component for our forms to place on our custom-made html landing pages. All of these things, once built, were then repeatable across all of our product types. After that, it was just a matter of working with our product managers to create some really compelling content for each campaign.

There were several components of our nurture programs that played a role in their overall success, but in this post I will highlight how progressive profiling was used throughout our campaigns to optimize form completion rates, and improve the nurture experience for the contacts who flowed through.

A Short Critique of the Long Form

Often times when engaging with a CTA for a webinar or downloading a content asset, I am hit with an 8-10 field form to fill out. When I see a form that long, two things go through my head immediately:

1.     “Is this asset/webinar really worth it?”

2.     If yes, “am I going to fill this entire thing out accurately, or just type in a few characters in each field so I can get to the end quicker?"

Both questions are dangerous: The first one affects your conversion rates, the second one affects your database cleanliness. To ask for 10 pieces of information from someone, the value of your offer needs to be proportionate in their minds to them giving up 10 pieces of information. By presenting them with a long form, you’re immediately making them decide if your asset is worth the effort or not. If they do decide the asset or webinar is worth it, filling out 10 pieces of information can get tedious (especially if they’ve filled it out before) and you run the risk of collecting inaccurate information. I think we’ve all marveled at how many people’s work phone numbers just happen to be 1111111111.

Enter: Progressive Profiling

The concept of the component is simple, gradually collect bits of information about a contact over time, so that they never experience a long form or fill out the same info twice. For our nurture programs, our overall goals were these two things:

  • Get contacts to engage with our assets.
  • Collect enough contact info to be able to pass them as leads.

We wanted to make it as quick and painless as possible to achieve those two things. Using the progressive profiling cloud component, and some custom html landing page code, we did just that.

The Landing Page

Usually for a traditional white paper download, you click the “Download Now” button in the email and you’re taken to a landing page similar to the one below. Eloqua gives the option to prepopulate form fields, but even so, the form looks a little intimidating.


Instead, we designed an html landing page that doesn’t “feel” like a traditional landing page. Using custom html coding, we created a landing page with consisting of just a background image and lightbox that comes forward when someone lands on the page. Within the lightbox coding, we placed the progressive profiling cloud component, and for the background we have a greyed out image of the asset they’re trying to reach. This creates the illusion that the contact is nearly there, just need a couple pieces of info first to pass through to their destination. Here's what you would see:


This landing page setup not only eliminates the need for additional landing page copy (since you only need the image of the asset) it will also completely bypass the landing page if we already have all the information we need from the contact. More on that below.

Progressive Profiling Cloud Component Setup

To pass a contact to sales, we need to have 10 pieces of contact info from them. For our nurture programs, we only wanted to collect 4 pieces at a time. Here’s how we configured the component:


The component runs through all the rules, and shows only the fields we haven’t collected yet. So for example, if the First Name of a contact doesn’t exist in our database, the component will show it in the form. If we do have their First Name, it skips to the next rule. We specify at the top of the component that we only want 4 rules maximum to show up at a time. (I’ve never understood why it says “show minimum fields”, that is actually asking the maximum number of fields you want to show up.)

So here is the user experience:

1.)   Contact clicks CTA in email

2.)   Redirected to "asset" (just an image of the cover) with lightbox popup form

3.)   Contact gives us maximum 4 pieces of contact info

4.)   Contact manually submits the form

5.)   Passes through to asset

We also specify within the component to that if no rules are met (all contact info already exists in our database) then submit the form automatically:


So if we have all of their contact info already, here’s the user experience:

1.)   Contact clicks CTA in email

2.)   Redirected to landing page for split second, component runs through and identifies that we have all their info already, and submits the form automatically

3.)   Contact is passed through to the asset without even knowing that they were on a landing page

This is an especially positive experience for people that engage with our content on a regular basis, because they can consume as many assets as they want without seeing a single form or landing page from us.

The Results

We have had a huge amount of success with these nurture programs. They were all launched at different times, but with an average run time of about 5 months, here’s where we stand:

  • Reached 186k contacts
  • 9,100+ assets downloaded
  • Created over 2,600 MQLs
  • Conversion rate of 3.25%
  • 85+ opportunities
  • $1.5M in pipeline generated

These programs are virtually free for us to create, so our ROI is pretty massive. I’ve been able to successfully replicate the process of creating these campaigns start to finish, and we are looking forward to our first round of content refreshes in the upcoming month or so. We’re always looking to improve our processes, and I’ll continue to look to the Eloqua training courses for new ideas and insights.

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