Recommended Eloqua Classes
The following Eloqua Training classes were instrumental in solving the marketing challenge, and should be taken before attempting the same solution outlined below:
- B2B: Fundamental Series
- B2B: Engagement
- B2B: Targeting
- B2B: Conversion
Companies host events because it’s an avenue for promoting their products/services directly to clients and prospects. Some companies host an “event series” (or complex event) which is essentially the same event, but takes places in different locations. Because event series are a large-scale operation, promotion becomes very important. One of the best ways of doing this is through digital marketing (i.e. email and social media).
A lot of work goes into orchestrating these event series, from arranging the speakers to finalizing the locations. It can even be an arduous task on the marketing-side, setting up and executing email campaigns through platforms like Eloqua. The main challenge is figuring out the most optimal campaign flow so that:
- The end-user experience is seamless
- The turn-around time for setting up assets and campaign canvas is not too long/tedious
- Reporting (on email stats, form submissions, etc.) is consistent and easy to manage
- The lead flow is uninterrupted
Original Campaign Performance Benchmarks
We thought the “best” approach to setting up event series in Eloqua was having separate canvases for each location. Below is an example of one event series with four separate canvases
To execute such a process, this involved the marketers to:
- Create separate campaign canvases
- Create email assets (for each campaign)
- Create separate registration and confirmation landing pages (for each campaign)
- Create separate forms (for each campaign)
- Create separate segments (for each campaign)
For this one event series alone, we had built over 40 assets! In the end, we had discovered our “best practice” campaign process was actually inefficient and prone to a lot of human errors. Another discovery (this one a bit more surprising) was that contacts being invited to attend one event location (as we were building our segments to invite contacts to a specific location), were also asking for information or to be registered for the other event locations as well.
Our findings showed that our current state of executing complex event campaigns was not working.
Our goals for revamping this process
Seeing a need to refine our current process, my marketing team had set out to optimize the execution of event series campaigns. Our goals were simple:
- Reduce the number of Eloqua assets needed
- Reduce the turn-around time between setting up canvas and deploying
- Ensure that the data flow was efficient
- Ensure a seamless end-user experience, and allow the flexibility to attend any of our event locations
Custom Data Objects – The Solution
To solve our issue, we turned to Custom Data Objects (CDOs) in Eloqua. They allow us to store data without stretching our contact and account field bandwidths. In addition, we can utilize the data stored in CDOs in other parts of Eloqua such as building field merges, creating logic in dynamic content components, and filter contacts in as segment.
Eloqua Campaign Process Flow (Old vs. New)
By using CDOs, we’ve been able to roll this multi-location event into one campaign. This eliminates the need to build duplicate assets for each individual campaign (under the new model). At a high level overview, below I’ve compared the new campaign process to the old one from the end-user perspective.
Old campaign model
Contact receives email (location specific) > contact opens landing page > contact registers > contact is redirect to thank you page and receives confirmation email (this process is replicated across multiple campaign canvases)
New campaign model (one campaign)
Contact received email > contact opens landing page > contact choose event location and registers > contact is redirect to thank you page and receives confirmation email (location specific)
Eloqua Campaign Set-Up Process
Below is an overview of how this was built out in Eloqua. The complex event campaign seen in the screenshots below had over 11 event locations. With the utilization of CDOs (and other Eloqua tools) we were able to condense this into one campaign.
1. On the form side, build a pick-list with all of the event locations.
Pro tip: For the “Please Select” option, keep the option value blank. This will prevent registrants from using it as an acceptable value.
2. Build your CDO (refer to the relevant B2B: Conversion).
- a. The two required fields in your CDO are Email address and the form field that captures the registrant’s event location
- b. When setting up your CDO, make sure it’s set up so that the records map to an existing contact record, or create a new one
3. In the form processing steps, add the form processing step “Update Custom Data Object – With Form data” Map the email address and event location pick-list to the matching fields in the CDO
4. In the Dynamic content section, use the event location field in your CDO to dynamically populate the event details per location (see B2B Engagement for setting up Dynamic content logic)
5. Create a “design” email, and insert the dynamic content logic into the body of the email. This is your confirmation email. Add a “send to submitter” form processing step, and use the newly created confirmation email
6. Once the end-to-end flow has been set up, you can start testing the end-user experience, and see how the confirmation email populates when selecting a different location on the registration page
At the beginning of this challenge, our goals/benchmarks for success were validating how much we could reduce the amount of assets and time required to execute a multi-location event campaign. As the chart below states, leveraging CDOs allowed us to condense separate attributes for each event location under one campaign canvas. This significantly reduces the amount of time required to build, test, and execute a campaign because assets needed to only be created once. In addition, we also noticed that the time to manage an event series in Eloqua was reduced because we needed to only monitor one campaign canvas versus two or more. Our other concern while setting out to test this new process was the impact on leads created in our salesforce system. We actually got positive feedback from our lead specialists, who found it helpful to have all leads from an event series, grouped under one campaign in salesforce, instead of under four separate ones. Lead specialists were already briefed on the context of the event, and had no problems using Eloqua profiler to check and see which location the lead had registered for.
Overview: Campaign process before and after CDO usage
Old process – separate canvas per location
New process – Eloqua CDO and dynamic logic
2+ canvases required
1 canvas required
Minimum of 22 assets (emails, landing pages, forms, segments) required
Minimum of 12 assets (emails, landing pages, forms, segments) required
Time to execute – at least 2-3 days to set up assets and to test*
Time to step-up and execute – at least 1 day to set up and execute*
Form data – separated across multiple reports
Form data – one singular report
|Lead flow - multiple campaigns in TRUST||Lead flow - one campaign in TRUST|
*- this time estimate is relative to how experienced your team is with Eloqua, and if your assets are standardized/templates1.
Future Application of CDOs - Optimizing Event pending registration Campaigns in Form Processing steps
We are now leveraging the use of CDOs further in the form processing steps by automatically determining the form submission response between automatically being confirmed for an event, and receiving a pending registration notification. In a new event campaign process, we will set up a pending registration if there is limited seating at an event. The challenge is our stakeholders want to automatically confirm anyone from our Eloqua segment, but then put anyone else in a pending registration step in the campaign canvas for review/manual confirmation. Using CDOs, we've managed to build in the logic to do just this! Eloqua will send a segment member that submits a for registration the confirmation email/Landing page based on their status int he CDO. Anyone not originally in the segment, will be updated differently in the CDO (using custom update rules in the form processing step and a hidden field seen in screen shot 1 and 2), and then receive a pending registration landing page after registration, followed by being added into a "wait-step" in the campaign canvas for review by the internal team before confirming registration (see screenshot 3 as an example of the conditional logic which uses CDOs to determine whether a form processing steps fires or not).