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With another calendar year of Modern Marketing education in the books, the Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy extends kudos and congratulations for the achievements of all Academy students -- especially those earning titles in the 2015 B2B Master and 2015 B2B Luminary programs.


In 2015, the Academy proudly welcomed a total of 48 B2B Luminaries into the elite group of Modern Marketers. This includes the renewed titles of 13 B2B Luminary members and 35 new Modern Marketing thought leaders, representing 25% year over year growth in newly accredited members, compared to 2014.


The B2B Luminary title is our advanced Modern Marketing title and the Academy's highest accreditation. The title is pursued by students interested in achieving thought leadership status and expertise in Oracle Eloqua product knowledge, skill and industry best practice. Those practitioners who work toward the B2B Luminary accreditation participate in nearly 80 hours of instructor-led course time and 10 or more hours of self-paced, web-based training, not to mention study, preparation and additional Luminary activities.


To earn this challenging title, candidates go beyond the 'classroom' to complete the three-part Luminary process after finishing all course requirements. The process followed (after eligibility is confirmed) includes passing the rigorous B2B Luminary exam, completing a Hand-On Practical exercise and publishing a thought leadership blog post that showcases their expertise and business results in action. Click here to read some recent thought leadership posts that helped candidates earn their high achievements.


Want to find out more details about what it takes to earn the valuable B2B Luminary accreditation? Read about the requirements and the process for reaching your goal here. We hope to welcome you and many more B2B Luminaries to this exceptional group in the near future!

Our Challenge

Our challenge was to support the asset download system when the users submit the form to download an asset. The marketing team required information on the user and the asset details – 1) the asset name and 2) to which product it is related to. The challenge of this project was to:

  • Provide the asset download after the user submission form
  • Collect the related information on the asset
  • Create a simple URL for the user

Our Goal

Our goal is to be able to collect critical information about the users accessing our resources. This information is critical for nurture campaigns and other processes in that it is the minimum requirement for these purposes. In addition, this asset download system in effect performs the function of tracking asset access where it is not normally able to be tracked as those are not web pages.


  • Create a user friendly and simplified registration process
  • Collect valuable data to meet the marketing team’s requirements



  We decided to use the query string, Custom Objects and Data Lookups to meet all requirements.

  • Query String: A query string is a set of characters used to pass information. In this class, we discuss query strings that are appended to URLs. This information can be captured and used for future segmentation and targeting.
  • Custom Objects: Custom Objects complement standard Contact Records by allowing marketers to store additional data in a more scalable manner for the purpose of segmentation.
  • Data Lookups: Eloqua has an amazingly feature called Data Lookups. This feature allows us to access data from our Eloqua database using javascript. Once we have the data on the asset, we can use javascript to manipulate the form accordingly.

     1. Create the Custom Object for the Asset Information: Created the Custom Object and Custom Object Record for the asset


          1) Doc ID (Unique Code): This is used for the data lookup.

          2) Doc URL: This is for the actual url for the asset

          3) Asset Name: This is the asset name.

          4) Product Name – This is the related product name for the asset.


     2. Create the form: Include all form fields


          1) User fields

          2) Asset fields as hidden type

     3. Configure the form process step to redirect the page to the desired asset

     After the submission, we redirect it to the asset by using a form hidden field – Redirect URL.   



     4. Create a Data Lookup:  This is to look up the asset data by a query string.

   1) Data Lookup Key

          2) Custom Object – Select the asset download detail custom object

          3) Data field Match – This is for the data look up value


     5. Create a landing page with Data Lookups by Javascript

     The page url includes the query string - The url looks like:


       The landing page includes:
          1) the form

          2) the basic tracking script

          3) the script to get the query strings and data lookup

<script type="text/javascript">

// Include Eloqu basic tracking script
    var _elqQ = _elqQ || [];
    _elqQ.push(['elqSetSiteId', 'site`Id']);

    (function() {
        function async_load() {
            var s = document.createElement('script'); s.type = 'text/javascript';
            s.async = true; s.src = '';
            var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
            x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);
        if (window.addEventListener) window.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', async_load, false);
        else if (window.attachEvent) window.attachEvent('onload', async_load);

<script type="text/javascript">
// Get the unique asset ID and Source from query strings
    var docID = getQueryStringValue('docID');

// Simple fuction to get parameter from query strings
    var Source = getQueryStringValue('Source');

       function getQueryStringValue(variable) {
        var query =;
        var vars = query.split("&");
        for (var i = 0; i < vars.length; i++) {
            var pair = vars[i].split("=");

            if (pair[0] == variable) {
                return decodeURIComponent(pair[1]);
        return "";

// Values for data lookup key and data lookup value
     var DataLookupKey = xxxxx
     var DataLookupValue = '< Doc_ID1>' + docID + '</Doc_ID1>';

// The callback function that is called when the Eloqua servers have responded and sent back the asset info. Set the hidden values with the returned data
     function SetElqContent() {

// The actual command to requests the contact info from the Eloqua servers. This is where you will need to insert the Data Lookup key and value:
     _elqQ.push(['elqDataLookup', escape(DataLookupKey), DataLookupValue]);


By implementing these strategies, and tools provided by Eloqua, we were able to provide our users with an intuitive Asset Download function. More importantly, at the same time, we were able to provide the marketing team statistical and data information which is used for both profiling users as well as guaging the performance of individual assets. By analyzing the higher-performing assets, the knowledge gained can be applied to future campaigns and other marketing efforts.


This project made us plan the next step to provide a one-time form. The benefit of proving a form as part of the asset download system is that by submitting the form, we link the unknown visitor/cookie to a known contact and we ensure that critical contact fields are filled out as a result. This, in turn, enables us to correctly execute nurture campaigns and to send to a CRM through integration.


I took the Luminary courses - about 25 courses. I learned how Eloqua works in Front and Back ends. As well, they were great courses from which I derived the idea of how to implement this project with best practices of Eloqua in mind. Especially, I got the most ideas from the following courses:

  1. Advanced Editing and Form Processing
  2. Effective Marketing with Custom Objects
  3. Database Configuration
  4. Web Profiling

The Challenge

After implementing Salesforce and integrating it with Eloqua, the big question for us quickly became how to integrate the hundreds of forms we were hosting on our homegrown system and the 20 + forms hosted on our CMS with Eloqua. We also needed to decrease the number of fields on forms so that we could increase form conversion.  We realized that we needed to develop a data capture strategy - a way to standardize the data so that regardless of who was creating the form and where they were creating it (homegrown system, CMS, or Eloqua), we have consistency in how forms are built, data is collected and processed. We also needed to improve user experience to drive higher conversion rates across our forms – at the time we were requiring users to submit 8-10 pieces of information on all forms. In the end, we wanted to make sure we’re converting higher number of leads for sales, we're able to score all form activity accurately in Eloqua and push ALL contact activities in SFDC for closed-loop reporting on marketing effectiveness and visibility to Sales.


The Goals

Our goal was to integrate all forms and standardize form build procedures to improve consistency, efficiency, and quality of data in a scalable way. We also wanted to make sure that we get leads faster to Sales, improve user experience and increase form conversion rates.

The Solution

Form integration + DemandBase implementation


We decided on a hybrid solution:

  • We had our web team create a master CMS form template that would use a javascript repost package to submit the form data to Eloqua for all web (CMS) resources.
  • We also modified the homegrown system form pages with a form repost javascript that will submit the form data to Eloqua for all of the forms hosted there.
  • We standardized how we were uploading our external activities in Eloqua.
  • And lastly, we implemented Smart Forms from DemandBase to pre-populate fields on forms across platforms (CMS, homegrown system, and Eloqua), and help us decrease the number of fields we were asking on forms.


We first defined the fields that supported operation, segmentation, and qualification across all forms and created a consistent, standard data set for the repost of data into Eloqua. We also added hidden fields to the repost to show all form information including lead source, SFDC campaign ID and other critical tracking information. Next, we audited all of our existing forms and modified them accordingly to support the new, defined data set.  Then, we created a new form integration to allow for the current forms to be posted to Eloqua. Once we had developed the JS Repost Package, we applied it to all of our existing form layouts (homegrown system and CMS). We created a master form in Eloqua to collect the data repost using tags to identify the different resources.


Here’s a summary of the processing steps we used on the Master Eloqua form:

  • Update Contact form form fields
  • Add to CRM Update Program
  • Global Unsubscribe (Conditional - If receive_email = N, globally unsubscribe contact in Eloqua)
  • Hot Lead Email Notification (Conditional - If Contact Me Now = True, send Email Notification to Sales)
  • Run Integration Rule (Create Lead/Update Lead) (Conditional - If Contact Me Now = True, immediately create or update the lead in SFDC rather than the contact flowing through the CRM Update Program)


Once we had a handle on our form integration, we went ahead and implemented Demandbase real-Time Identification (Smart forms) across all forms (Eloqua, homegrown system, and CMS) to shorten them while not sacrificing on the data that we required for our sales team. Integration and implementation of DemandBase was fairly easy – we leaned heavily on our web team and the DemandBase customer support team.


The Impact


  • By standardizing data capture and integrating all of our forms with Eloqua, we were able to see quick improvements in how accurately we were measuring lead volumes and marketing activities as well as the time it took us to get prospect/customer activities to Sales for a timely follow-up.
  • By standardizing our data collection and implementing a form template across all platforms resulted in faster form build while helping us eliminate errors as well as improvement in data capture consistency - significantly improved our team productivity.
  • By implementing Demandbase, we increased conversion rates by close to 17%, driving more leads to Sales and giving Sales more insight into the prospects they were following up with by providing them with firmographic data.
  • We were also able to shorten our forms by close to half and score all form activity more accurately - improving the quality of lead scoring going forward.
  • By integrating all of our forms through Eloqua, we were finally able to track additional tags such as source queries through to SFDC and enrich our lead data, allowing us for advanced segmentation and insight into a lead’s journey.

Eloqua University Classes:

  • B2B: Advanced Editing & Form Processing
  • B2B: Progressive Profiling
  • B2B: Effective Marketing with Custom Objects
  • B2B: Advanced Segmentation
  • B2B: Data Cleansing
  • Lead Quality

Are you traveling this holiday season? Approx. 5-6% of travel this holiday season will be via air according to the US Department of Transportation. This may seem like a small fraction to us time and tech conscious “frequents”. However, our additional companions will have varying levels of flying experience. Navigating an airport can be daunting—imagine thousands of additional, anxious holiday travelers.


An Airport Grounded


Recently, I had the opportunity to work with an airport on their customer engagement strategy. With customers (primarily airline passengers) continuously moving from one point to the next, the airport wanted to


offer them a better way to navigate airport facilities using mobile devices and beacon technology. Further, in the process of doing so, not only would that mean an enhanced experience in the airport resulting in happier passengers, they also saw this as an opportunity to reach customers “on-the-move” with targeted offers to drive incremental non-aeronautical revenue for the airport and concessionaires alike.


However, the airport faced a major obstacle in taking the next step: they didn’t know who their customers were. In other words, they don’t have any profile information on these millions of people passing through their facility.


Turning Unknown Audiences into Customers


Before orchestrating a 1:1 engagement strategy, the airport needed to first identify and understand their customers. They started by identifying the different sources of customer data that could be used for outreach. In doing so, they uncovered a list of customers who used the airport’s Free Wi-Fi during their passage at the airport.


After analyzing the list, they further found that a large number of customers using the Free Wi-Fi are located regionally. With this knowledge, the airport considered – what if we could reach out to these customers to promote discounted parking this holiday season and drive them to use a mobile app? If the airport can get customers to use their mobile app, they can begin communicating with customers no matter where they are in the airport, and start building customer profiles and segment their audience.


With this new profile information, the airport can begin designing the journey and align the proper messaging at every step to match the targeted persona. A campaign was developed to entice customers to use a mobile app for discounted valet parking services this holiday season. The targeted customers will receive a personalized email that directs them to a landing page. The personalized landing page will promote the benefits of the valet service and encourage downloading the mobile app.

CityAirport OMC Flow.pngBy converting customers into mobile app users, the airport can unlock the opportunity to reach customers wherever they are within the facility and truly transform their journey.

My Virtual Mobile Concierge

The airport has installed beacons throughout the facility. Beacons are signaling devices that enable the airport to detect passenger mobile devices throughout the airport.


The airport can detect the presence of those customers that have downloaded the app as they pass by a beacon. When they do reach one of these, the customers will receive a push notification of a targeted offer, traveler tips and more. The specific message that is pushed at that point in time is determined by the beacon, the passenger profile, and the journey that has been orchestrated.


Now, the airport can leverage the power of marketing and mobile together to reach the customer with the right message, at the right time, at the right location. Beacons enable the airport to become the customer’s virtual concierge, helping them to navigate the airport based on their terms.

cityairport_mobile app.png

Building the Next Generation Passenger Experience with Beacons


There are four main components the airport will implement to enable these experiences.

beacon bullet.png

Marketing Automation – orchestrated campaigns designed based on the customer persona, behavior and interests.
beacon bullet.pngBeacons – devices strategically placed in and around the airport to detect the customer’s presence.
beacon bullet.pngMobile Framework – integrated framework that ties together the various disparate data sources which feed the mobile app.
beacon bullet.pngMobile Application – end user mobile interface to enable two-way dialogue between the customer and the airport.

To Infinity and Beyond


The airport can leverage this same framework and guiding principles as they begin designing an engagement strategy with other types of customers, concessionaires and community partners. Additionally, the airport has the opportunity to help spark economic development by promoting the products and services of small businesses within their community. For instance, upon returning from a business trip, a passenger can opt to have their car returned washed and cleaned. Marketing orchestration serves as the foundation to do this.


So next time you’re in the airport, look around… you might sense the beacons!  They’ll surely sense your presence and send you an enticing offer…


OMC Academy Modules that inspired the initiative:

  • RPM: Targeting & Segmentation
  • Eloqua 10: Advanced Segmentation
  • Eloqua 10: System Integration
  • Oracle Content Marketing: Basic Administration (WBT)
  • Eloqua 10: Personalizing Campaigns
  • Eloqua 10: Program Builder Overview (WBT)
  • Eloqua 10: Effective Marketing with Custom Objects

At some point, all the marketers face the need to create a proper contact e-mail database. Personally, I have read hundreds of different articles on Topliners and elsewhere, as well as I have passed courses at the Eloqua University. Some of the Eloqua University courses were helpful like 'RPM: Targeting and Segmentation' and 'Data Cleansing'. However, I felt that none of them fully addressed my need for standardizing, and I assume that many of you feel this way and my article will also not suffice.

Still, I hope I will give you a gist of how to create your own Standardizing Program on the example of my own ‘Contact Title’ Standardizing Program.


Firstly, one has to understand what you need. Sometimes, this can be a Sisyphean  labor, because in order to automatically transform some field values in proper marketing data, you may require hundreds and hundreds of different rules, and you'll also require a lot of time to understand what does ‘proper marketing data’ mean for you.

So, I started this quest for standardization of my ‘Contact Titles’ by using Google Refine This a great tool by Google created in order to simplify your standardization. There may be other even better tools but everyone chooses their own way.


I simply upload all titles present in my database into Google Refine, choose to cluster everything, and in a second, I receive simplified clusters, according to which I decided how should I segment my ‘Contact Titles’ and which keywords should I choose for the update rules in Eloqua.




Secondly, one has to structure. In two days, I transformed Google Refine data into a proper excel file with segments and keywords. I decided to create usual two standardization fields: Seniority Level and Job Role (two pictures below). All the keywords here are either simple Keywords or wildcard Keywords (more about wildcards here -




One secret to proper automatic standardizing is to create more Rules than you need. It may take more time to implement it and may seem redundant, but additional Rules are there to prevent unstandardized contacts when new and perhaps unexpected ‘Contact Titles’ arrive into your database. For example, *COO* keyword may designate ‘Director of Cooperation’ as ‘Chief Operating Officer’. So, in order to avoid this, I had to create a number of keywords that will omit word ‘Cooperation’ – COO, *COO *, * COO*, */COO*, *COO/*, *(COO)*, *COO,* , *,COO*. Some of these keywords are at the moment useless and don’t work for a single contact in my database, but talking from my short experience, they become very useful with time, when new contacts arrive.


Some of the keywords may overlap e. g. *Product * in ‘Product Development’ segment with *Prod* in ‘Engineering’, but this can be corrected at the implementation stage by using ‘Conditions’.


Thirdly, one has to implement. The only way in Eloqua to standardize is via Program Builder, so that’s the way we roll. Personally, I’ve decided on a two trickle-down Programs (for Job Roles and Seniority Level –pictures below). The trickle-down Program works on the principle of importance of different segments. For example, there is a ‘Contact Title’ ‘COO and VP of Engineering’ and naturally I want the ‘Seniority Level’ Program to designate this ‘Contact Title’ as ‘C-Level’ and not ‘VP-Level’. So, I put the ‘C-Level’ Step below ‘VP-Level’ step, so that all the contacts that might have been designated as ‘VP-Level’ by the associated Step were re-designated to ‘C-Level’. In other words the least important Segments are on the top and are most likely to be re-designated by the latter Steps and the most important are on the bottom and least likely to be re-designated.






If there are overlapping keywords between different Segments (as discussed previously) or keywords designate some improper Segments, one is forced to make conditional Steps. For example, if the ‘Contact Title’ is already designated as ‘Sales and Business Development’ segment, skip the ‘Product Development’ Step because the *Product * keyword will incorrectly re-designate some part of ‘Sales and Business Development’ Segment, despite the fact that in this case ‘Sales and Business Development’ has no ‘product’ keyword.


So, at the end of the road, you have to test, test and test some more. After a month of constant testing I have only one or two hundreds of contacts without a proper standardized title. It may sound a while, but believe me, you will not regret spending some extra time on creating your own customized standardizing program (aka contact washing machine). It is the best thing for your database and your time.

Four Steps to Building Real Nurture Programs in Oracle Eloqua


As marketers, we know how important it is to nurture our clients and prospects, but often struggle with implementation. A lot of the time, we end up with drip campaigns (a good start!) instead of true nurture tracks with on and off ramps. While nurturing prospects and clients may include multiple marketing tactics, this piece will discuss email campaigns as a way to nurture.


Email campaigns are a great way to engage your prospects (and customers), but what’s the best way to build a nurture email campaign that’s effective? One that is a true nurture campaign? By following these four steps, you can build an effective nurture campaign and continue to move prospects through the marketing funnel, and ultimately, help to close deals.


1. Discovery and Requirements


Define key nurture audience and objectives, which includes establishment of on-ramp and off-ramp criteria, cadence, number of touch points, and key messages.

      • Things to consider: Who do you want to exclude (Partners, competitors, current customers, etc.)? Who do you want to include? Your exit criteria will often simply be the inverse of your entry criteria.
      • Note: Entry and exit criteria will vary by organization.


2. Defining Your Audience and Developing Content


      • Nurture tracks: Decide what criteria you’d like to use to nurture.  Examples include buyer personas, verticals, solutions, as well as many others. Persona is likely the best approach to nurture creation, but companies often lack defined personas. In these cases, you can define by vertical, solution, etc.
      • Targeting & segmentation: Build your segments based on what you chose for your nurture tracks. Add in your filter criteria for both included contacts and excluded contacts. Your included contacts filter will include all of your persona/ vertical/ solution data pulled in, and your excluded contacts filter will have criteria that you want to exclude. For example, if you are running multiple nurture campaigns, you will want to exclude contacts who are in other nurture campaigns. Once you have built your segment, share your filters. You’ll need to reference those filters in the campaign.


Eloqua University Class Recommendations:
1. Data Cleansing
2. Advanced Segmentation


      • Create your content roadmap: At this point, you’ll know who you want to target. You may also know what stage of the funnel they’re in. Use this information to create relevant content.


3. Nurture Build


      • Campaign Creation
        • Navigate to campaign canvas: Create a new campaign. Add the segment you created.
        • Add to shared list(s): Add these contacts to a shared list for your record. Call this ‘Entered Nurture.’
        • Send email one: Add a wait step and define it with the most appropriate cadence (consider one to two weeks, depending on the number of emails in the nurture and your organization).
        • Decision step: After the contact has been sent email one and has waited for the required amount of days, send them to a decision step to see if they have met the exit criteria.
          • If yes, add them to a new shared list of members that met the exit criteria. The exit criteria will be another shared filter that contains the inverse of your entry criteria and maybe some additional criteria, based on your organization’s requirements. Then, send them to a new step to remove them from the shared list (Nurture Started).
          • If no, send email two. You will then repeat the process, adding decision rules and emails until you have included all of the emails.
        • Asset creation:
          • Emails: Make your emails as personalized as possible using tools like field merges and dynamic content.
          • Landing pages: You can apply the same personalization to your landing pages.


Eloqua University Class Recommendations:
1. Personalizing Campaigns


          • Forms: Make sure to include processing steps on your form. Form processing steps will vary by organization (Do you wish to integrate with your CRM system? Do you want to send a notification email to interested parties?). You may also choose to implement blind form submissions here, especially if you’re nurturing contacts that you already have a lot of information about. If you have some information, you can also opt to use progressive profiling.


Eloqua University Class Recommendations:
1. Fundamentals of Forms & Landing Pages
2. Advanced Editing & Form Processing
3. Progressive Profiling
4. Blind Form Submits


4. Testing & Implementation


Once you have built your nurture campaign, you’ll need to test it.

      • Emails: Test your emails to make sure they are rendering correctly across multiple browsers, email clients, and devices.
      • Campaign flow: Shorten your wait steps to make sure that contacts flow through the campaign as designed.
      • Test contacts: Test your entry and exit criteria by creating contacts that meet both criteria.


After testing, you’ll be ready for implementation. These nurture programs create a better experience for the client or prospect, and ultimately produce better quality leads. On top of the enhanced experience, you’ll improve the relationship between sales and marketing with the delivery of higher quality, sales-ready leads. Happy nurturing!

Our Challenge


How many times have we all had to answer questions from our sales teams on whether a customer has received an email, whether their customer has opened the email or even viewed a new product release web page? COUNTLESS! Consider how many man-hours have been wasted not only your own time but also the time of the sales manager sending an email request through to you to ask the questions. Both your time and theirs could have been spent working on revenue generation activities instead. The Sales Tools for us as an organisation were the perfect solution to fix this ongoing battle for more information.


When I first saw the Sales Tools I immediately recognized that this is the ideal tool to help the sales team doing their job efficiently – by giving them the information they need at a click on a button, enabling them to identify prospects, track the prospects/customers activities and engage with them using the Engage Templates.


Our Challenge was to find a way to stop the high volume of emails generated globally to the marketing systems team to answer simple user engagement questions. I also needed to work with the sales teams to optimize the associated tools like data normalization, lead scoring models (which were up and running but not very effective) and synchronization of the lead flow process both in Eloqua and



Our Goals

Our goals were to set-up all the Sales Tools, Discover, Profiler and Engage in our instance in one go. Next was to set-up training sessions with our global sales team which is a time consuming task as they all put their customers meetings first and are never available at the same time. Finally set-up a structured training course to ensure we trained the sales teams on all the products features, functions and demonstrate it in the live environment. Because the training course had to be repeated a number of times to cover the globe, the structured course was a requirement to ensure we didn’t miss anything.


Because the sales team had never used any tools like these before, there was no supporting data to benchmark against. But we wanted to basically eliminate any future emails to the marketing systems team on asking questions regarding email activity, which we have nearly managed to achieve, 2 months on from implementation.



The Steps to Success

1. The first step was to set-up the sales tools in Salesforce and we used the Oracle Eloqua Help Center instructions on how to do this for each of the tools:


  1. Installing and configuring Discover for Salesforce

  2. Configuring Profiler Stream for Salesforce

  3. Embedding Engage as a tab or button in Salesforce


2. Assign the Licenses in both Eloqua and Salesforce

    1. Salesforce – Setup | Build | Installed Packages | Eloqua Discover

    2. Eloqua – Settings | Setup | Users |Select each individual user you want to assign the licenses to and tick the ‘Eloqua Engage; Eloqua Profiler tick boxes in the Licensing section of the user set-up.

3. Review the Salesforce Page Layouts for Leads and Contacts to include the ‘Eloqua Discover’ element which can be found in the ‘Visualforce Pages’ section on the page layout edit area.

4. Test the view as an Admin and a Sales User to ensure they could access the tool and see their customer’s activities.  To test as a sales user go to Setup | Administer | Manage Users | Users – select the user you want to login as and click on login next to their name. Please do not forget to logout as that user after testing.

5. We then ran the training sessions, 6 sessions in total and also held some additional 1to1 sessions when users had further questions and needed some extra assistance.

6. After the training sessions we could then optimise the lead scoring models with feedback from the sales teams during the training sessions.

7. Ongoing step – to create Engage Templates in Eloqua for the sales teams to utilise, also to create various language versions of the standard templates.

8. What also became apparent was we had lots of images in our Eloqua instance which made it impossible for the sales teams to find the right image for their use. So we cleaned this up and ensured the sales teams could only access appropriate sized images to attach to their Engage emails.


Impact to the Business


We only started two months ago to use the Sales Tools and the feedback from the sales team is very positive. We have trained all the sales teams and the relationship between the marketing teams and the sales teams has been improving and growing with the knowledge that we are empowering them with. The ‘Sales Email’ reports help us to understand who of the sales teams is actively using the templates and which templates are used frequently.

The goal for the future is to get the sales team more engaged with the tools and encourage them to attend repeat training sessions and suggest additional templates for Engage.



Eloqua University Courses

Eloqua: Sales Tools

Best Practices: Leadership Metrics

Database Security

Lead Scoring

Data Cleansing

When I joined my current company in late June of 2015, I was amazed at how many batch and blast campaigns were being sent to customers and potential customers.  Only 5% of our marketing team were using nurture campaigns to escalate the movement of leads through the buying cycle.


Having used Marketing Automation (MA) for almost 7 years, it didn’t occur to me that there were any companies left that were not harnessing the power of MA.  It became my mission to get all of our Market Developers (MDs) excited about using Eloqua to its fullest potential.


I used the same technique that marketers use to get sales onboard with using tools like Profiler and Engage.  I found a few MDs who were more progressive and willing to try new things.  I sat down with each of them individually to figure out their needs and pain points.  Using a very basic campaign flow diagram (see Image) to explain how a nurture campaign works, I was able to help them develop their first nurture campaigns.


Visio-Sample Service Campaign.jpg

In one of the first pilots, the campaign started with an initial email with four calls to action. Depending on which offer was clicked, the contact was routed down one of three paths. The initial email generated a 40% Unique Open Rate (UOR) and 1.5% Unique Clickthrough Rate (UCR). The benchmarks for the company are 16% UOR and a .6% UCR.


The best response was from the remaining 2-3 emails in each of the paths.  While the number of people interacting with the campaign dropped significantly, the average UOR climbed to 64% and the average UCR to 18%.  That’s a 294% increase in UOR and a 2900% increase in UCR!


Encouraging MDs to share the power of these results both to their colleagues and to their stakeholders has resulted in a major increase in adoption. To date the increase in MD participation in MA nurture campaigns is 24%, a 380% increase in participation.  Given oursix month to two year sales cycle it is too early to see any impact on revenue from this work, but we’ve implemented the tracking mechanisms to report on this in the coming year.


I know as a MA specialist it can be frustrating when the whole organization has not bought into the process, but taking a step back and taking the time to gradually bring people on board can be very effective.  I have meetings scheduled in the New Year with several other Market Developers to help them figure out their nurture campaigns and a goal to have 100% MD participation by the end of 2016.


Several of the Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy courses helped influence this project, but the most important were the RPM classes, especially the Effective Nurturing course.  Understanding that all the work we do as marketers should be focused on driving revenue for our company and keeping that top of mind for every project we plan and execute is critical. I remind myself of this every day by having the RPM Action/Analysis image in my cube!



Our Challenge

When I first joined my current company, one of the first problems that I identified was that all product warranty registrations were not being submitted into Eloqua.  This was a major problem, as not only were we losing valuable customer data, our customers were also not receiving confirmation that their products were covered for the additional 1 year’s warranty.  It was also apparent that the service and support teams were repairing products under warranty without actually having visibility of whether that product was still under its warranty period.  Because of the way the company has grown through acquisition, we had 15 brand websites that needed to be updated, so I also needed to get the buy in from various departments to get the updates made to the websites.


Our Goals

Our main goal was to work on the brands that generated the most income for the company -- Sachler, Anton/Bauer and Litepanels -- and to automate the distribution of a thank you email. Additional goals included 1) to get as many of those customers to accept our T&C’s, so that we could then re-market to them with other products and 2) to make registrations visible to the service teams.  I would then tackle the rest of the brands at a later date.



Because there was no single location within the organisation to collate all warranty registrations, we were starting with a clean slate.  We have been capturing warranty registrations in Eloqua now for nearly a year, for the 3 brands and have over 15K entries in our Salesforce account. Over the coming year, we can now start to work on increasing these numbers by improving the visibility to our customer base of the additional 1 year's warranty available if they register their products and try and increase entries by brand each year by 25%.


The Steps to Success

  1. Creation of a Master Eloqua Form to be used across the 15 brand websites to capture the registrations. This included some hidden fields which the web team could program in to learn which brand website the entries came from (so that we could create processing steps by brand if necessary).
    • Processing steps to send data to a Custom Object; program to send confirmation emails; program to add entries into the create SFDC Warranty Registration External Call; update email group subscriptions.

Image 1.png

2.     Ask the web team to update the 3 brand websites to include the Eloqua Form HTML and test the submissions.

Image 2.png

3.     Create a Custom Object to collate all registrations together in one location and map to Eloqua contacts.

    • Create a Custom Object Record Services to send the data across to SFDC with every new entry.

Image 3.png

4.     Build the new Custom Object for ‘Warranty Registrations’ in our SFDC Instance and then update the ‘CRM System Fields,’ ensuring the new Entity was available for Eloqua to access.

Image 4.png

5.     Create an External Call to create the Warranty Registration entry ensuring I included the SFDC Contact ID and SFDC Account ID when available, so that we could link the warranties to account and contacts to gain an overview of all the warranties for each account.

Image 5.pngImage 6.png

6.     Creation of an Eloqua Program to send out the Confirmation Emails.

Image 7.png

7.     To test the end-to-end customer journey to ensure the entries came into Eloqua; received the confirmation email; entry created in the Custom Object; and Mapped to the correct contact. The registration was also created in SFDC and was visible to the service and support teams.



This process flow, shown below, might help to explain how the process works moving from one object to another through Eloqua and then into Salesforce.


Image 8.png

The Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy Courses which helped us along the way:

  • B2B Fundamentals of Forms and Landing Pages
  • B2B Advanced Editing and Form Processing
  • B2B Effective Marketing with Custom Objects
  • B2B System Integration
  • Eloqua 10 Program Builder Overview


From all of these courses, I have taken away knowledge that I have applied to this set-up among many other automated processes within our Eloqua instance.


Impact to the Business

  • For the 3 brands mentioned, it has enabled our Service and Support Teams to charge for warranty repairs for products that fall outside of the warranty period, and also to relate cases to warranty registrations so that we can track whether one particular product keeps having the same issues.
  • It has enabled us to increase our database of actual customer data and not just prospects. We are also able to segment our database with actual customer data on customers who purchased particular product models.
  • We can now plan re-marketing campaigns to try and increase sales in other products that work well with the initial purchase. For example, a Sachtler Tripod, we could try and sell a Sachtler Bag for the customers to safely transport the product (this is a target for 2016 to generate a number of re-marketing campaigns) .
  • We have grown from zero registrations in our main core systems to over 15,000 within the first year, with only 3 brands.  My aim next year is to try and get the remaining 12 brands all working and automated so that the service and support teams have visibility across all product ranges.
  • This process has helped us towards the goal of achieving a single view of the customer.
  • Higher visibility to the sales teams on what their customers have actually purchased and registered.


Next Steps

  • Refine the design and data included on the confirmation emails.
  • Set-up the remaining 12 brands with the same process.
  • Obtain historical registrations from the back-end of the websites and load directly into SFDC and create a second Custom Object in Eloqua to collate all historical records.
  • Creation of campaigns to sell supporting products

When I think of Eloqua, I think of marketing automation. More specifically, I think of the ability to automate complex e-mail nurturing campaigns.  For my thought leadership post as part of the Luminary pathway, I want to share my experience using Eloqua for something that the average person doesn’t associate with Eloqua – landing pages.


At Pearson VUE, I help our IT clients market and sell their certification products.  I was recently challenged to help a client increase the number of certifications coming from high school and college students. 

We designed a campaign to influence students by communicating our message through parents of high school students and guidance counselors. Our goal was to raise awareness of the ability to receive college credit for completing specific IT certifications.  We would evaluate the success of the campaign based on several factors, including the number of academic exams delivered, number of visitors to the student landing page, and the engagement level of visitors to the web site. 

We selected a media partner to promote the global campaign online and utilized a programmatic advertising platform to perform advanced targeting through machine learning.  To enable the advertising tracking and remarketing, we needed to integrate several technologies into our landing pages.

Working with our internal development team, Eloqua was not the immediate solution brought to the table.  There were other landing page tools our team had more experience with. However, the 80+ hours of Eloqua training I consumed during the last year led me to recommend Eloqua.


Eloqua offered a few key advantages.  First of all, the ability to create landing pages on-the-fly was available with Eloqua at no additional charge.   The other tools we looked at charged additional fees based on landing page traffic.  Eloqua also offered the only all-in-one solution.  Not only could we use Eloqua for two critical landing pages, but we could also use Eloqua to automate and route the form responses we received from our campaign.  We were also able to leverage Eloqua’s reporting and analytics capabilities.


Eloqua allowed us to focus on the design and content of the landing pages as we didn’t have to write a bunch of custom code.  For example, one of the landing pages we created included a form for guidance counselors to request a packet of materials for their classroom.  We used the standard features of Eloqua forms to make all of the form fields required, saving us from having to write or implement Javascript code.  Once the form was submitted, one e-mail was sent to our internal team to notify us of a new submission and another was sent to the requester of the information.  A personalized e-mail was automatically sent informing them that they would be receiving a package in the mail shortly.  We also displayed a thank-you page after they submitted the form.  The thank-you page would redirect to a new page with additional certification resources after one minute.  The redirect was simple to setup in Eloqua.

To track the effectiveness of our marketing efforts and allow us to remarket to landing page visitors, we implemented cookies, pixel tracking, analytics code and onclick event handlers.  Although this didn’t directly require anything specific from Eloqua, it was great to know that Eloqua’s hosting capabilities were able to accommodate custom HTML code.


It’s hard to specify the specific Eloqua courses that provided me with the knowledge to strategize this type of campaign in Eloqua.  It was really the combination of the 25+ classes I attended during the last year that provided the background I needed.  If I was to name a few key courses, I’d have to mention Fundamentals of Forms and Landing Pages, Advanced Editing and Form Processing and Fundamentals of Emails. 

I was reminded of the importance of backing up your files during this campaign.  At one point, we needed to utilize the Recovery Checkpoint capability of Eloqua. If you’re not familiar with this feature, Eloqua saves local copies on your computer that are called Recovery Checkpoints.  Any changes to a landing page, including title, images, text boxes, formatting, etc. qualifies for a new checkpoint to be created.  You can restore to a checkpoint by clicking on the action menu (gear icon) in your landing page and then selecting Recovery Checkpoints. Eloqua will save the last twelve checkpoints.  However, you need to be aware of some caveats.  This feature is dependent on the use of the Firefox browser and only works on the same computer.  Keep in mind that Eloqua automatically recreates a recovery checkpoint every 10 minutes.  That means that if you’re working on a file for over 2 hours, you will only have the last two hours’ worth of checkpoints to which you can return (ie. 12 maximum check points x a back every 10 minutes = 120 minutes of backup).


This campaign has benefited our business by providing our teams with greater insight into what Eloqua has to offer.  Eloqua helped consolidate the number of different tools and technologies needed to implement our marketing campaign.  Although it is too early to show the revenue impact this campaign is driving, we are already seeing tangible results!



A Template By Any Other Name

Posted by shanelab Dec 11, 2015

A template isn’t a template if it isn’t used more than once. Without concrete examples and processes to point to, how can our internal requestors be expected to follow something repeatable? Without proper documentation and buy-in, it is a “new day” every time someone requests field event support.


Field events create an opportunity to use many of the concepts and how-tos I learned as part of the Eloqua University classes, including landing pages, forms and emails. Automation without a strategy in place around how to reuse templates, automation, and business rules limits the ability to take advantage of the full power of the platform.


The Challenges

My team took on a strategic initiative to examine our field event process and recommend/develop automation, email/landing page templates and ongoing documentation. We had three primary goals:

  • Create repeatable standards
  • Find efficiency where possible
  • Design and implement responsive landing pages


We also believed providing more detailed guidelines and examples to stakeholders would improve efficiency and reduce confusion for the intake process, increase alignment, create a more consistent process, and, overall, enhance the brand experience.


We began the project by defining the number of touches and cadence for the field event process. The redefined, standardized process now includes an initial invite, a second chance invite, reminder for those that have registered, and thank you or missed you email based on attendance. As part of our discovery, we found opportunities to send emails that include not only a registration as a call to action, but also allow us to exploit the opportunities to include informational/top of the funnel content.  It also provided opportunities to explore whether we should send a notification per registration or a scheduled report with the form data to the event organizer.


We created a single slide to illustrate the basic automation and moving parts for the process, and now use it as part of stakeholder education. We’ve found it helps both our stakeholders and writers understand how many emails, landing pages, thank you copy, etc. are needed to support this type of request.


Landing Page Development

Landing page templates and forms created another opportunity for us to find efficiencies and improve brand/communications consistency as well.

Developing responsive landing pages required the use of the html editor instead of the drag and drop functionality.  However, html edits for forms in the landing pages proved to be overly time-consuming for our small group.


We created a form and landing page template that includes the form code in the landing page template. This reduces html complexity, allowing us to create a form and only few lines of code when implementing (form name and number). Any other changes to the form, including notifications and thank you page redirect, are handled in the processing steps and do not require any html. It also reduces complexity related to the JavaScript validations, as they just remain the same. We asked the designer we worked with to include a number of styles that aren’t used each time, but are available when needed (examples include bullets, superscript, agenda small and large formats).


Implementation Guide Development

We developed an implementation guide for the landing page and form templates with step-by-step instructions and illustrative screen shots. The comprehensive documentation allowed us to review and refine steps needed, and highlighted QA items that should be completed as part of the implementation. Now complete, the guide allows us to easily share information with new team members and other people implementing landing pages.


The standardization of Field events enables our team to implement deliverables in about half the time as before the project started. In our next round of improvements, we plan to standardize the email and landing page copy based on key initiatives and assets. This will allow us to speed-up the writing portion of the process, requiring changes only to event-specific information such as time, date, and location, as well as minimizing the number of stakeholder reviews.


We are also working to reinforce the single city event approach to our stakeholders, as we continue to receive many requests that don’t align with the new process. By documenting the front-end stakeholder view, writing requirements, and technical implementation, we have something concrete to reference and refine. In 2016, we plan to extend other templates and pre-packaged solutions to our stakeholders.


What areas have you created repeatable automation and how have you communicated to stakeholders?

During my Luminary experience, I was exposed to a number of new and different ways to look at direct marketing within my industry. Advanced Segmentation taught me that our various forms of interaction with our existing clients can be leveraged more effectively. Revenue Performance Management allowed me to see that our sales to revenue pipeline could be better managed by revamping our lead management system to be more in line with Eloqua’s RPM Journey. System Integration, however, showed me that that we could do a much better job of integrating our CRM and Eloqua instances to manage an opt-in program for our competitor’s clients, and eventually convert them.


In Salesforce, we enabled a checkbox within a prospect’s record that allowed our sales team to hand-pick contacts that were using a competitor's software for their HCM solution. The decision to opt-in contacts allowed sales to determine which of their respective contacts might benefit the most from receiving the emails. After the sales team opted-in their contacts, we created a segment within Eloqua to capture and further filter those contacts.


Once sales had determined that they wanted to add their contact to the nurture track, they would pull up their contact profile in Salesforce and check the box to Opt them into the program.


Building the segment within Eloqua only required pulling contact field data from Salesforce using the notion that if a contact was selected as opted-in, they would then have a value equal to 1 for that contact field. We also added filters to ensure that none of our current customers were going to receive the emails in the track.


We had run a similar campaign previously, but targeted only a single competitor’s contacts. We did not place any restrictions on using another vendor’s contacts within the campaign, but our sales team was focused on this specific competitor at the time, and the net result was an opt-in size of approximately 400 contacts. We sent a series of 3 plain text emails with short questions for subject lines that highlighted the pain points of the competing vendor with no accompanying graphics or multimedia of any kind. The program had an average open rate of 14.5%, a click rate of 3.8%, and no form submissions.


With the new campaign, we vowed to learn our lesson and both broaden the segment to include all of our competitor contacts, as well as to include multimedia at each touch point that highlighted our unique advantages versus their current HCM suite. The number of contacts entering the track was raised from 400 in the prior campaign to 2,500 for our second attempt. Our broader, but more targeted, approach quickly began paying dividends: the new campaign ended with an open rate of 23.5%, a click rate of 9.9%, and 13 form submissions. We very nearly tripled our click rate in only a single iteration, and our conversion from open to click (42%) for this campaign was a 61% improvement over our initial (26%)!


My time in the Luminary program has really helped me with putting this campaign together, and to making it a success. I have learned more than I could have imagined about Eloqua, and how it transforms our CRM into an efficient, effective marketing tool. The classes really shaped my understanding of what we were doing wrong and how to fix it. We had a 61% improvement with this campaign, and I already have ideas on how to make the next one even more effective.

Reducing the Number of Unsubscribes for a Daily Email Campaign


Our company has an annual, end of the year holiday campaign where we send one email every day for 12 days, offering a different free gift with purchase in each email. While this campaign has been very successful from a revenue standpoint, it creates a very large number of global unsubscribes.


We realize sending our customers an email every day is excessive and surmised this was the reason for the unusually high global unsubscribes we experienced each year during this campaign. I was tasked with finding a solution that would reduce the number of unsubscribes while maintaining or improving our engagement rates.


It would have been easy to reduce the number of our global unsubscribes by sending the emails less frequently, but doing so would lower the number of contacts who engaged in this promotion, and because this campaign was a high revenue producer, this was not an option.




I needed to come up with a plan that would (1) decrease our number of global unsubscribes, (2) increase our open rate, and (3) increase our click through rate. This campaign was to be built in the Eloqua 10 platform, using the campaign canvas to create a drip campaign. I came up with a three pronged approach that I thought would work.




Smarter Segmentation – Historically we sent this promotion to our entire database. Our approach this year, was to target only recently engaged contacts who have opened an email, submitted a form, or visited our website in the last 9 months. By engaging our entire database, we were not targeting contacts who had been showing an interest in our emails and the contacts who were not engaging were likely going to be annoyed enough with daily emails to globally unsubscribe.


Enhanced Campaign Canvas Logic – We wanted to keep the interested contacts engaged, while giving uninterested contacts enough opportunities to become engaged but not bother them so much that they got annoyed and unsubscribed. I felt the best way to approach this would be to send non-responders no more than three emails to reduce the likelihood they would unsubscribe. The first two emails were sent to all contacts in the segment. This gave everyone an opportunity to get information on the promotion. The third and fourth emails were sent only to the engaged contacts, giving non-responders a two day break. We then sent the fifth email to the entire segment, giving non-responders their last opportunity to respond before being removed from the campaign. The last seven emails were sent to only those who were engaged.

  1. Sent emails 1 and 2 to all contacts in segment.
  2. Sent emails 3 and 4 only to contacts who opened one of the first two emails.
  3. Sent email 5 to all in segment as last chance.
  4. Sent emails 6-12 only to contacts who opened at least one email in the campaign.


Subscription Management – Again, the goal here was to reduce global unsubscribes. We created a campaign specific email group and offered contacts two options in the footer to opt-out. One being to opt out of the campaign, without accessing our subscription page. The other was a link to our subscription management page. Our hope was that by having two unsubscribe links in the footer with equal emphasis, our contacts would choose to only unsubscribe from this specific campaign allowing us to continue our marketing efforts with them in the future.




2014 Performance Metrics

Open rate


Click to open rate


Global unsubscribes





2015 Performance Metrics

Open rate for all in segment


Open rate for engaged contacts


Click to open rate


Global unsubscribes


Promo email group unsubscribes



As you can see from the benchmark metrics and results, I accomplished all three of my goals. Our open rate increased 271%, CTO rate increased 72%, and unsubscribes decreased 56%. Based on our performance metrics, it appears this promotion will be successful. We will have final revenue results in early 2016.


I’ve seen great strategies marketing professionals have come up with using Eloqua, to accomplish amazing results. And while I did not do anything out of the box to achieve my results, I feel this campaign is a great example of how easy it can be to increase metrics by incorporating the learning's from the Luminary courses. I learned the mechanics of building a campaign in the E10: Fundamentals of Campaign Canvas course, how to segment and target your audience for the best results in the E10: Advanced Segmentation course, and analyzing the results and building cool reports in the E10: Insight for Analyzer. Not only did I learn the mechanics of Eloqua, I learned many best practices for marketing professionals.


Following is a list of some of the courses that were instrumental for me in creating and improving our annual holiday campaign.

E10: Custom Subscription Management
E10: Fundamentals of Campaign Canvas
E10: Advanced Segmentation
E10: Insight for Analyzer (WBT)

The marketing challenge we had was to generate highly qualified leads. The target was to bring in 15% more qualified marketing leads for 2015. Of course we had our marketing leads, but how good were those actually? Were they already known to our business? Were they engaged in our communication? Did they visit our website and were they aware of the needs they had?


We had some information about our customers and prospects. We knew exactly which product our customers had bought, we had their contact data and we knew who the responsible accountant was. Our prospect data was quite summarily. Most of the prospect data only had a last name and an e-mail address.


Conclusion? There were many things we did not know about our customers and prospects. If we wanted to target them with the right information, at the right time and convince them to purchase one of our products or services, then we needed to know who they were. We had to adjust our subscription process to gather this missing data.


It All Started With Our Forms

Even though our company was working with Eloqua for quite a while, it wasn’t used to its full potential. We had a Ferrari in our hands and used it like it was a go-kart. The first thing we had to do was find out what Eloqua could do for us to gather more relevant information about our target group. This started by optimizing our forms.


Before optimizing the forms, they were used in a very basic way. We made a form in Eloqua without any processing steps, used the HTML in our CMS and placed it this way on our website.


Here is an example of how we did this:



This way of using forms only gave us the basic information about our target group and we didn’t use the form as an entry for campaigns or newsletters. In order to do this, we needed to change the forms. Therefore, we expanded the forms with new fields, e.g. job role, amount of employees, revenue and a possibility to subscribe to our newsletters*. 


When people wanted to subscribe to our newsletters, they were sent to the preference center we created. This preference center had various options.


In this preference center, there was a summary of all our newsletters which a person could subscribe to, but there was also a possibility to give an opt-in for relevant product information. Every newsletter option in the preference center had the processing step, “Sent notification e-mail” and “Email Group” behind it. When someone subscribed to our health newsletter, the responsible person within our company received a notification of this and the subscriber was directly placed in the email group connected to that newsletter. Subscribers could update their preferences anytime they wanted. The processing step “Add to campaign” was placed behind the option for opt-in for relevant product information. Subscribers were sent to a touch point in one of our campaigns depending on the choice of product information they made. Further in this post, you could read how we created these campaigns.


* Helpful Eloqua University class: Eloqua 10 Advanced Editing & Form Processing 


Knowledge is Key!

You will never understand the needs or interests of your target group without correct data/knowledge. After implementing our new forms, we received a larger knowledge of our prospects and customers. We had their general data along with their product preferences and their click behavior on our website. With this new information, we created buyer personas.


Together with an external party, we gave our company a clear view of who our customers and prospects were and which content would be interesting for them in a specific phase of the buyer’s journey. Now that we had all this new information about our target group, we started with our personalized lead nurturing campaigns.


Building Personalized Campaigns

We started by determining which products we would build a campaign for. We chose 4 of them. Every (product) campaign was built up in the same order:


  • Email 1: Welcome e-mail
  • Email 2: Animation video
  • Email 3: Info-graphic
  • Email 4: Whitepaper or E-book
  • Email 5: Invitation webinar or seminar
  • Email 6: Testimonial


We developed responsive e-mails according to our brand standards in Eloqua. Our internal copywriter wrote different templates for all e-mails which were in line with each other. As I wrote earlier, we had all new data about our customers and prospects. We used this data to personalize our e-mails and landing pages*. 


We chose to work with dynamic content. For example:

In one of our e-mails we used an info-graphic. This info-graphic had multiple versions of it (for every line of business we made one). With the data we had of our e-mail recipients, we could tell which line of business they worked in. So, person A would receive a different info-graphic than person B. Besides this dynamic content, we used personalized subject lines referring to the line of business the receiver worked in.


Every e-mail had a call to action to the content as well as an additional call to action to a different step in the campaign. So, the info-graphic e-mail had an option in the right side of the e-mail to go to the whitepaper or E-book. In this way, the campaign member could create its own e-mail experience.



* Helpful Eloqua University class: Eloqua 10: Fundamentals of Emails

* Helpful Eloqua University class: Eloqua 10: Personalizing Campaigns


For all 4 (product) campaigns, 2 different campaigns were made. One for prospects and one for customers. So, every product had 2 different campaign canvases in it. The goal of the customer campaign was cross/up-selling and thought leadership. The goal for the prospect campaign was brand awareness and turning them into a customer. Both campaigns had different communication and different assets in it. We had to keep in mind that our customers knew who we were while the prospects didn’t. So we made the communication interesting and very accessible for unknown prospects.


The lead time for all campaigns was equal to the buying cycle of our products of 1.5 months. The decisions in the campaigns were based on 2 things. Did the receiver clicked the e-mail and was there a form submitted. If only the e-mail was clicked but no form was submitted, the reminder e-mail was sent. Between every e-mail there was a wait step from 5 or 7 days. If no action was taken by the campaign member, they would exit the campaign and entered to a shared list. The campaign members on this shared list would be included in the next (product) campaign.


The Importance of a Correct Scoring Model

Besides the creation of the campaign canvases, we had scoring models developed for every (product) campaign. We needed these models to determine whether our campaign members fit the profile and engagement rules. The models per product differ very much from each other.


For example:

Profile fit for product A was focusing on Functional Role and we gave this 60% of the profile fit. While product B was focusing on the Employee Total, so that was scored the highest there. We had the business rule that only contacts who scored A1 to B1 were sent to our sales department.


We found out the hard way that the scoring model we had in place was not correct. It didn’t provide us the right information about the profile and engagement fit of the campaign members. The campaign members weren’t scored correctly on certain rules. Therefore, we only had D’s for profile fit and 3s or 4s on engagement.

This problem had multiple causes.


The first (but most important) cause was the mapping of the (scored) fields between Eloqua and Salesforce. It turned out that there was a difference in the naming convention between Salesforce and Eloqua.

For example:

We scored on Functional Role. The job functions in Eloqua weren’t the same as in Salesforce. Person A had a Functional Role that was named CEO in Eloqua, but was named as Chief Operations Officer in Salesforce. Therefore, person A could never score high on Functional Role. We fixed this problem by changing the pick-list that was behind the forms and copied it one-on-one from Salesforce.


The second cause of the problem was the time-frame in the scoring model. For the engagement rules, we set up this time-frame:

  • At least 1 time within the last 3 days 100%
  • At least 1 time within the last 7 days 50%
  • At least 1 time within the last 14 days 25%

This time-frame was too small in comparison to our wait steps in the campaign canvas. It wasn’t reachable for campaign members to take action within this time-frame. Therefore, no one scored any points on this. We changed the time-frame into:

  • At least 1 time within the last 7 days 100%
  • At least 1 time within the last 14 days 50%
  • At least 1 time within the last 21 days 25%

After this change, the results spoke for themselves. From 3s and 4s on engagement score, we went to 1s and 2s.


Without a correct scoring model, no contact will be scored as a hot lead. That is why it is very important to revise the model on a weekly base and tweak it there where it is necessary.



  • Four (product) campaigns generated approximately 17.5% more marketing leads than the year before.
  • Our forms had several hundred form submissions that helped us enrich the database.
  • We gathered a larger knowledge of our target group.
  • We now use more options of Eloqua and have a better understanding of the possibilities it could bring to our organization.

Conclusion? We went from zero to hero!


Lessons Learned

Test, test, test… and test it again.

We were too eager to launch our campaigns without correctly testing. This resulted in:

  • Some broken links in our e-mails while the campaign was live.
  • Some of the prefilled forms didn’t show the right data.
  • The scoring model did not score correctly.
  • Etc.

These were all start-up mistakes. So testing and testing it again is key! We are still learning and optimizing!

The challenge: Increase registrations for our thought leadership webinars.

I teamed up with the marketing manager in charge of all of our webinars and we agreed that A/B testing would be the best course of action to get sustainable results. First things first, we needed to know where we were at and what the current state of the webinar program was. I pulled reports on all thought leadership campaigns from 2014 to set up a benchmark of performance, and focused on open/click thru rates, and registration rate as our metrics to improve.


The Eloqua course “Events in the cloud” helped us to set up our campaigns and connect them to our webinar platform, and “Testing Campaigns and Assets” showed us how to set up all of our A/B tests correctly.

We then began a rigorous A/B testing plan that focused on open rate optimization. Our average open rate in 2014 was 11%, we thought we could do better. The subject line testing results below are what we found to work for our company, always do your own testing to ensure the changes you are making are in fact best for your market and audience.


We found that including “Please Join Us” before the name of the webinar got the most clicks for the first email, and that “On Thursday” before the name of the webinar got the most clicks for our last chance email. We still continue to test subject lines as we come up with new ones.


Additionally, we were curious if sending the email from an individual would get better open rates than from or company in general. So we tested it and we found that sending from an individual consistently performed better.


As I’m sure you noticed none of these tests are even close to beating the 2014 open rate of 11%. We had other email deliverability issues that ended up killing our open rates. They went from an average of 11% down to 5% at the beginning of the year. We are still working on getting our email deliverability back to where it was, so while our open rates are not as good as last year we worked with what we had and still saw good improvement.


Then we started testing click thru rates, which was much more challenging.  Nothing we did seemed to move the needle significantly, and the increases were not enough to really call a clear winner.



It’s important to remember you need to have statistically significant results which means you need to have a proper segment size. There are many calculators on the internet to help you determine if your test was statistically significant and determine the size of the segment you will need in order to get good results.


Through A/B testing we were able to increase average registrations by 46% in 2015 even though our open rates actually went down due to the email deliverability issue. Overall this was a huge win for us, we have plans to continue testing our webinars and I expect we will only get better next year. Remember to ABT – “Always Be Testing.”

In the Beginning

We had Eloqua. And it was good.

But not quite good enough.

So, as resident Eloqua non expert, I embarked on the somewhat-long, not-so-treacherous journey through Eloqua Master and into Modern Marketing Luminary. In the past year, I have soaked up more knowledge from the wonderful Eloqua trainers than I even know what to do with. But learning in itself is not enough; it's time to start applying some of that knowledge.

The Problem


My company is in the financial services industry. Our clients are registered representatives whose broker/dealer has an agreement with our company. We have a finite universe of reps who we can try to convince to sell our product over another.

Which means, our contacts are precious. Even more precious than in an open B2C market where the universe is the ... well ... universe.

Our need to constantly communicate regulatory things such as rate changes and product updates greatly interferes with our desire to provide "right time, right message" marketing to reps. And an email unsubscribe means an additional rep to mail, which translates to added cost.

So, we have to protect our email contacts. We thought that when presented with the option to opt-out of irrelevant emails, we might be able to retain email contacts for other categories.

The Starting Line

In our basic Eloqua install, every email went out under the same Email Group. Every regulatory notification. Every promotional push. Every auto-responder email. Therefore, every email we sent had the same footer with the same link to the out-of-the-box Subscription Manager with two options: opt out of the only category available or opt out globally. So, needless to say, everyone opted out globally.

The Divide

The challenge we came across first was which categories to include in the new Subscription Center. We wanted to provide enough options to keep as many subscribers as possible without getting too granular. We landed on four groups:

  • Rate Emails (our most frequent and potentially annoying suspect)
  • Value-Add Materials
  • Product Updates
  • News & Events

I also created a group for Transactional emails (auto-responders) to remove the unsubscribe option since CAN-SPAM does not require it. Users cannot opt out of this group, and it won't display on the Subscription Center page.

On a side note, I also added our mailing address to all of the footers to become CAN-SPAM compliant.

The Implementation

I started by creating the following assets:

Landing Page1Generic "thank you for updating your preferences"View Sample
Auto-Responder Email1Generic "preferences updated" confirmation email with link to Subscription ManagerView Sample
Footer5Footer for each email group with company address, link to privacy notice, unsubscribe from email group and Subscription Manager; and transactional group footer with company address and link to privacy notice onlyView Sample
Shared List4Shared List for each group to collect unsubscribed contacts
Form4Opt-out form for each email group (except transactional) with the following processing steps:
  • Email Group Subscribe/Unsubscribe
  • Send Submitter an Email (generic auto-responder)
  • Add to Shared Contact List
  • Redirect to Web Page (generic thank you page)
Landing Page4Opt-out landing page for each email group (except transactional)View Sample
Email Group5Group for each category with appropriate footer and generic thank you pageView Sample

Next, before activating the new groups on the Subscription Manager page, I created test emails for each group and tested the links and unsubscribe buttons.

After everything tested out, I activated the new groups and let it fly!

The Numbers

Our new Subscription Center has been running for just over 45 days. We have already seen a significant decrease in global unsubscribes.

Before Subscription Center (45-day period) Aug 28-Oct 11, 2015:

Total # Email Sends:194,819
Total # Global Unsubscribes:1,193
Unsubscribe Rate:0.61%

During Subscription Center (45-day period) Oct 12-Nov 25, 2015:

Total # Email Sends:257,243
Total # Global Unsubscribes:246
Unsubscribe Rate:0.10%

Email Group Unsubscribes (45-day period) Oct 12-Nov 25, 2015:

Email GroupTotal # Email Sends# UnsubscribesUnsubscribe Rate
Rate Emails25,707320.12%
Value-Add Materials162,750790.05%
Product Updates9788.25%
News & Events67,071270.04%

While 45 days is not statistically relevant, and other factors could contribute to the reduced number of global unsubscribes, I'm excited to see what happens as time goes on.

Next Steps

The next step to our custom Subscription Center will be to build out a custom Subscription Manager landing page using Cloud Connectors to populate and update subscription status. The out-of-the-box Subscription Manager is functional, but it doesn't promote our brand. I have not used Cloud Connectors outside of an EU course, so I'm ready for my next challenge!


Eloqua University Course References:

  • E10: Custom Subscription Management
  • E10: Managing Deliverability and Privacy
  • E10: Insight for Reporters
  • Best Practices: Writing a Great Blog Post



At the beginning of most classes we are asked to introduce ourselves by answering a couple of “get to know you” questions. “Where are you based?”, “What is your job title?”, “How many years of experience have you had using Eloqua?” Some classmates were completely new to Eloqua and training would be their first time ever using the platform. Others like myself, with a few years of prior experience, sought out training for an entirely different reason. Maybe it was to learn how to incorporate social suite applications into marketing campaigns. Or perhaps it was to better understand Eloqua’s progressive profiling feature. Whatever your motivation was, chances are that if you were coming into training as an experienced Eloqua user like me, you didn’t enroll in training to take E10: Fundamentals of Emails…


At the time I was enrolled, Eloqua had been up-and-running at my company for close to four years. A key focus during that time was on the growth and enhancement of our contact database. Prior to my enrollment, my company had what we considered a “healthy” database. Our titles had been standardized, allowing us to develop an effective contact washing machine program to cleanse our data. We had incorporated lead scoring and optimized our lead routing process. We had even begun to implement predicative analytics into our discovery efforts with the help of an external vendor. All of which, we tracked and analyzed through various reports using Eloqua’s Insight functionality.




From a macro perspective, we were well positioned to execute successful email campaigns. Our data was segmented, we were filtering hard-bounces, unsubscribes and we had even built a program step to flag and suppress contacts with “junk titles”. We allocated quarterly budget to invest in contact verification, enhancement and discovery as well as content development for our offerings. We had successfully graduated from batch-and-blast were deploying relevant messaging to a specified audience.


Nonetheless, our numbers told a much different story. Our email performance was deplorable. With metrics like these you would think we were marketing Omaha Steaks to a list of Vegans. Quarter after quarter, our opens, click-throughs, and form conversions had barely amounted to a fraction of our set benchmarks. The issue perplexed us.



My mission: Set out to uncover what was causing our disastrous email campaign performance. Having put years of work into developing and evolving our contact database, my assumption was that if there was solution, it would be a complex one. Maybe the courses in Advanced Segmentation or Insight for Analyzers would have the answer I was after. Unfortunately, there was a long list of prerequisites standing between me and those classes. Little did I know that a solution would be presented to me in one of the first classes I took.




In the process of developing our database my “Eloqua Ego” had caused me to overlook one of the basic best-practices of segmentation. If you’ve been reading carefully you’re probably screaming the answer at your screen. Our suppression filter addressed hard-bounces, unsubscribes, and even junk titles, but we never accounted for “emotional unsubscribes” or inactive contacts. These are the people who have not technically unsubscribed in your preference center but have simply not engaged with a campaign within the course of a sales cycle. With a house list of well over 100K contacts, I figured that these emotional unsubscribes could be quite significant, so addressing the issue became an immediate priority.


Here is how we tackled it.


The first step was coming up with a definition that would constitute an “inactive” contact. Based on our sales cycle, the average number of email campaigns sent during that time, and the average number of touches a contact makes per campaign, we decided that an inactive contact would be someone who “did not click on an email and submit a form within the last 6 months”. For the purpose of comparison, we also decided to measure against a second, more broad definition of inactive, being “someone who did not click on an email within the last 12 months”.


Next we created shared filters using this criteria, so that we could easily apply them to any of our various existing segments. Keep in mind that the filter is intended to capture “Inactive” contacts (someone who did not do ‘blank’). This way when the filter is applied, what is returned or included in the segment are the “Active” contacts.

Finally, the moment of truth. We applied the shared filter to our Master/House segment, sat back and waited for Eloqua to update the count.  When the number first appeared my immediate reaction was that I had made some kind of mistake when building and applying the filter. After three or four more attempts resulting in same count, I knew it was time to accept my fate. Based on what we were taught in training, I predicted the count might consist of around 25-30% of our total database. Needless to say I had greatly underestimated. In fact, 93% of our database had emotionally unsubscribed!


It was a bitter sweet realization. On one hand, we had likely discovered the issue that had been crippling our email campaign performance. At the same time, with just the switch of a button, our robust database had diminished to practically nothing. Rebuilding would be a whole new project all together. The only thing left to do was to find out exactly how big of an impact this had on email performance.




We immediately began applying the inactive filter to our emails, so that on top of our normal title segmentation, the only people who would receive our emails were active contacts, setting aside the inactive segment to be put into a nurture campaign. As a result, our metrics skyrocketed, surpassing our benchmarks by two or three times in areas where previously, we were barely making a dent.

Moral of the story - Never dismiss the fundamentals! Always be open to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Don’t look at the complexity of a problem and assume that the solution will also be complex. And of course, if you haven’t already accounted for emotional unsubscribes in contact database, DO IT NOW!


Courses Referenced 

  1. RPM – Targeting and Segmentation
  2. E10: Data Cleansing
  3. E10: Database Configuration
  4. E10: Advanced Segmentation

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