We have used the Eloqua platform for almost two years now, and we do not have a preference centre set up. We run many events through a  bespoke system and do not use email address as the unique identifier, which presents many challenges. Our event cycles last a year, and our events run many conferences during the event. Our biggest challenge was to move from a batch-and-blast way of sending email, to a more intelligent way where we base our communications on customers’ needs at the time they need them. As we do not have a preference centre, I was presented with the challenge to implement an initiative we can use for the event in the interim where we can capture what our customers would like to opt in for (or out of) and tailoring their journey accordingly.


The goals:


We had some very clear goals in terms of what we wanted to achieve, how to achieve it and how to measure our success. Implementing blind form submits as a temporary preference set-up, our main goals included:

  • Increasing engagement on conference campaigns as customers added to these journeys would be here because they signed up to receiving these emails
  • Decreasing the unsubscribe rate and measuring this year-on-year based on the last event cycle Giving us a great case study around presenting relevant communications to our audiences, based on preferences selected
  • Overall campaign performance as moving away from batch-and-blast, and tailoring communications around best practice customer journeys with a focus on preferences selected. We would need to focus on measuring the following elements within the campaign:
    • Campaign performance as we move into nurturing existing customers and adding them into a nurture campaign to convert as opposed to blasting email messages
    • Benchmarking unsubscribe and Bounceback rates against the last event cycle
    • Completing the customer journey once signed up and value add around return – specifically measuring engagement around the tailored campaigns through blind form submit preferences


Benchmarking our current state:


Initially, we evaluated the current state of email sends. Therefore, we extracted email reports sent for the last show cycle, broke that down by segment and analysed the data based on the following:

  • Email frequency by month report (you will need an Analyser’s licence for this)
  • Customer Journey based on content and emails received
  • Contact overlap in shared list reports
  • Engagement (clicks & opens) on emails (Email Analysis Overview Report and Campaign Analysis Overview Report)

What we noticed:

  • Due to the lack of a preference centre, our interaction with our audiences was sub-optimal and we were sending far too much information to everyone rather than tailoring their experience. The reason for this was that we needed to promote the overall event, and then segment based on the conferences and sent them separate emails to sign up for these too
  • It was very clear that the customer journey was not planned with the customer in mind, but instead our products – no matter where you were in the buying cycle, you would receive the same communications from the start of the campaign to finish
  • A key driver was our unsubscribe rate was increasing, and customers not having a tailored experience based on their preferences about receiving communications on the show had a direct effect on these metrics


The implementation:


Firstly, we needed to make sure that we identify what the ideal journey would look like for our customers. We based this on the data we had available, show cycles, and content plans we needed to implement in order to keep them engaged all year round. We implemented the customer journey as well as a campaign schedule to support this journey. Therefore, with this in place, we needed to focus on our customers and our data and providing them with preferences so that they can define their journey pre-event. This experience is just as important to us, if not more, leading up to the event as well as ensuring that they have a great experience on site. Here is what we set up step-by-step:


Step 1: Further campaign segmentation based on campaign goals

We identified the following main segments for the upcoming campaign – with a focus on nurturing prospects within our database to become visitors:

  1. One newsletter segment in a monthly nurture campaign
  2. One recruitment segment for visitor recruitment campaign (to promote the event)


We then needed separate segments for the four conferences running, but did not want to spam customers by adding them into these campaigns as well. Therefore, we created blind form submits which will trigger off the Newsletter and Recruitment campaigns. Customers will be able to select which conferences they are interested in – and will flow into that campaign and will receive emails based on the conference when it activates a few weeks out from the event.


Step 2: Create a landing page inside Eloqua

landing page.png


  • For this specific blind form submit, we do not redirect the landing page as we have added redirect links to the processing step of the form based on rules
  • We gave our landing page a name and microsite to reflect our goal with using this in the campaign


Step 3: Create a form inside Eloqua with fields to collect your data

Form: Designer ModeForm: Processing Steps


  • We gave our form the same name as our landing page to keep up with Best Practices around naming conventions, and then used the ‘custom fields’ option to add the fields for the data we will need when people sign up to the various conferences
  • As we don’t use email as the unique identifier, we added our unique identifier instead of the email address into the form field as well as the key mapping fields in the processing steps
  • We then amended the form processing step with the following (how to set up form processing):
    • We added a redirect link, and added the landing page we created to the form
    • We also added shared list per conference to capture our customer’s preferences
    • We then added campaigns set up to send these records to so that they can start receiving targeted messaging around this
  • We added in a notification email to make sure we track preferences and to monitor activity for the sales and marketing team


Step 4: Create query strings for the conference options

We used the following link provided by Eloqua Topliners to set up all our query strings for the various conferences we have on offer:

http://s[siteID].t.eloqua.com/e/f2?elqFormName=[FormName]&elqSiteID=[siteID}&emailAddress=<span class=eloquaemail>UniqueID1</span>&[TrackedField]=[StaticValue]


Here is an example of what the email would look like:



Step 5: How will people unsubscribe from conference emails?

Our conference campaigns will be running separately, and records will be added to the campaign once they have clicked the blind form submit link. In order to manage the data, and unsubscribes, we have implemented the following:

  • Created separate Email Groups and Email Footers for conference campaigns
  • Records that unsubscribe from the conference emails will be added to a filter (these records will still be able to receive event emails, unless they unsubscribe from them as well)
  • The unsubscribe filter has been added into the conference campaigns to remove records prior to email sends (this is a safety net for us as we would like to add them to the shared list – the Eloqua email won’t be sent to them should they pass through to the email step if they have unsubscribed. Unsubscribed records will be held back on the email step)
  • These records will be added to shared lists for review and database clean-up exercises
  • The unsubscribe rate, and metrics will then be benchmarked against what we have for these campaigns in the last year and will then be used for a case study on this campaign


Example of an email send in the conference campaign:




  • We can see the data that we have tested flowing in from the form
  • We have added the form and landing page for reporting purposes
  • We have added the decision step around unsubscription, and moved these records into a Master Unsubscribe List for this conference


Which marketing cloud courses have directly influenced this campaign?



Oracle Eloqua (B2B) - B2B Conversion course focusing on Blind Form Submits


The business impact:


This is live and underway so we are yet to have metrics to share. We will test and benchmark against campaign performance, Unsubscribe and Bounceback rates as we trial it on the event. We will aim to roll out across events once we have tested this, and forecast a vast improvement on further segmentation within campaigns, a more personalised customer journey, increased engagement and a decrease in our unsubscribe rate which are the main drivers for this initiative.