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Challenge: I work with one of the leading B2B clients that holds multiple physical, virtual and partner events every year. Although my client is using Eloqua for over a year now, the platform is not used to it's maximum capabilities and the campaigns are not fully automated. Particularly for event campaigns, we were using simple campaigns to send out emails one at a time and using third party platforms to capture registrations and attendees which were never uploaded to Eloqua. This resulted in increase in man hours, campaign cost, delay in campaign deployments, data gaps, managing multiple platforms & vendors and of course reporting. Although this may look like a very basic problem, we have noticed that B2B companies using Marketing Automation face these challenges more frequently than we thought.

 

Goal: Since we had a lot of work to do to automate this entire process and bring every activity into Eloqua, we prioritized the tasks.

1. Create registration page and form in Eloqua to capture the registrations

2. Use blind form in the email to capture declines to the event (Not Interested)

3. Setup a multi step campaign canvas to manage all the email deployments (invitations, reminder, post event)

4. Send automatic notifications to sales to followup with their customers who have not registered to the event

5. Send reminder SMS to the registrations

6. Capture attendees and send post event emails

 

Current process:

1. First, the current process of managing event campaigns was documented: sending invitation emails using several simple canvases, capturing registrations, sending reminder emails & capturing attendees using third party vendors. We also took an average of the cost involved in the last few events separated by physical vs. virtual

2. As a second step, we identified the gaps and what is missing in the current process: lack of automation, end to end event journey, data gaps, reporting

3. As a final step, we documented what is required to be done as a part of new process

 

Initiative:

Registration Form in Eloqua: Since we already use Eloqua to send out invitation emails, we first created the registration form and page in Eloqua. This means, we are able to capture all registrations that come from email, web and social into Eloqua. The form is also setup to trigger confirmation email automatically after the form submission. The confirmation email includes a link to ICS to save the date in their calendar. We also used Custom Data Objects in the form to save Custom information like Dietary requirements, Key Business challenges (description), Additional Comments, etc.

Reg form.png

 

Blind Form: One of the major concerns from the stakeholders was, How do we manage declines? Our invitation emails should include an option where the contacts can click to decline to the event so that they wouldn't receive any further emails related to this event. Since it is a decline CTA, we used a blind form that captures all declines with a single click and the customers do not have to physically fill a form.

 

Multi step Campaign Canvas: We then mapped out the entire journey of the contacts from sending invitations to thank you/sorry emails. This journey was replicated in Eloqua with the help of a multi step campaign canvas.

Automated+event+campaign.jpg

Automatic Notification to Sales using Form Submit Cloud App: The segment not only includes contacts that are filtered based on certain criteria, but also the customers nominated by sales team. The sales team wanted to see the list of their customers who received the invitation email but never registered. We were previously sharing these details manually using excel by exporting the send data, registrations data and sorting the registrations vs customers. But with the help of Form submit cloud connector, we are now sending notifications to the sales team notifying them about their customers who have not registered, so that they can be followed up. If any of these customers show interest to register, the sales team registers these customers manually and with the help of the form processing step, "Add to campaign', these contacts re-enter the campaign to receive the reminder and post event emails. For the contacts to re-enter the campaign, we made sure the campaign settings are updated to "allow contacts to enter the campaign more than once."

 

Form submit cloud connector.png

 

SMS: The next step post-registration is to send SMS reminder one day before the event. We were initially sending the reminder emails from the third party vendor, but we decided to use SMS instead of email. This way these contacts could still continue to receive the emails from other campaigns without being excluded for receiving x number of emails within the last x days (contact exclusion rules and number of touches threshold).

 

Attendees: This campaign is particularly setup for physical events. At the event, we capture the attendees email addresses using an Eloqua page which then sends the attendees list to a CDO. The reason why we use CDO is because we may get some additional information at the event if there was a conversation between our team and the customer. We also made sure the page has non-mandatory fields so that new contact details can still be entered and passed to Eloqua. The attendees are flagged as Attended in the CDO status field. We then use this field comparison in the campaign canvas to send thank you and sorry emails.

 

Impact on business:

  • This is a big leap for a company that was using traditional methods to manage event campaigns vs full automated event campaigns in Eloqua
  • We were able to reduce the total cost by almost 46%
  • It certainly helped us to plan and finalize the event ahead, estimate the cost of the campaign, efficient project management, planned & approved timelines
  • Because we are using one campaign for the entire event, we started to associate the hot leads generated from this campaign to the campaign in CRM (Using Associate Lead to Campaign)
  • The business was able to report back to the executive team on how the event performed, budgeted vs actual cost, tag the opportunities generated from this event to the campaign for closed loop reporting
  • We were able to analyze the campaign performance using Insight reporting: Email Analysis Overview, Email Click Through Link Breakdown, Campaign Analysis Overview, Form submission data report and also setup automated reports to the stakeholders for the Form submission data to monitor the registrations

 

Helpful courses: Different courses helped us to achieve this milestone but the key courses that should be called out are:

B2B: Blind Form Submits

Eloqua 10: CRM Integrations (WBT)

B2B: Engage and Enrich

B2B: Engagement (onDemand)

B2B: Best Practices courses

B2B: Analysis

Introduction

Our challenge was to design a simple, lean and robust process to globally integrate Sage's Facebook Lead Ads and LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms with Eloqua. The solution was to use Zapier, an online automation tool that captures, process and re-posts the lead gen form responses to our Eloqua forms. As we have global "generic" Eloqua forms (one form for each score: no, low, medium and high score) with standard fields that receive form posts from any type of campaign, we've found this solution easier and faster to set-up in comparison with the built-in AppCloud Facebook Lead Ads Feeder and LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms apps as, through this method, we don't need to create a campaign canvas with a custom 'Form Submit' step for each one of our lead gen ads.

 

What Lead Gen Ads Are and How They Work

  1. Lead gen ads make forms simple for people. Once they click in the ad CTA, instead of being redirected to a landing page they are presented with a seamless in-app form that’s pre-filled with accurate personal or professional information from their Facebook or LinkedIn profile. The selection of form fields can be defined by us, advertisers, and are designed for the least amount of typing possible.
  2. With a single click on the submission button—and without having to type anything by hand—people can instantly send us their info to your company. So, it's quicker and easier for customers to reach you – and gives you accurate, actionable info to create leads for your company and to follow up with when required.
  3. As soon as people submit a lead gen form, they automatically see a “thank you” message that connects them to your website or any other destination of your choice.
  4. At that stage, the submitted information remains stored inside the lead gen form in Facebook and LinkedIn and that's when the integration should take place to transfer the form submission data to Eloqua.
  5. You can also set up Eloqua to instantly send a thank you email after receiving the form submission, delivering an eBook or any other piece of content that was offered in the ad.

lp-lead-gen-banner-gifv02.gif

 

Getting your Social Accounts Prepared for the Integration

  1. Setting-up Global Connector Accounts
    Regardless of the integration method that you use (Eloqua AppCloud apps or Zapier), you'll need a Facebook/LinkedIn account with the proper permissions to be able to pull the form submissions from the lead gen forms. As we're a global company with multiple company pages in Facebook (one per country) and multiple Ad Accounts, we've created a unique email address (e.g. social.connector@yourdomain.com) to be used as a global connector account, shared between specific employees. We've then created new Facebook and LinkedIn user accounts using this email address.
  2. Obtaining the Right Permissions
    After having your global connector accounts, share their usernames, emails and profile URLs with your social team or agency and ask them to grant you with the following permissions:

    • Facebook: you'll need 'Admin Access' to every Facebook Page where Lead Ads have been set up. Before they are able to grant you that permission, you'll first need to like each Facebook Pages that you want to become 'Admin'.

    • LinkedIn: you'll need to be an 'Account Manager' or 'Campaign Manager' of all Ad Accounts that are managing Lead Gen Forms. Before they are able to grant you that permission, they will first need to connect with you on LinkedIn so make sure to monitor your Invitation requests closely.

 

Setting-up your Zapier Account

  1. Having a Zapier 'For Teams' account, that grant access to the Premium Apps, log-in, navigate to 'Connected Accounts' and 'Connect a new account', searching for 'Facebook Lead Ads' and 'LinkedIn lead Gen Forms'.
  2. Connect the Facebook and LinkedIn accounts that you have created using your global connector account details.
  3. Change the account sharing settings from 'Private' to 'Shared', so everyone in your Zapier team will be able to create lead gen form integrations.

 

Creating an Integration (Zap) in 10 Steps

Each Zap should be unique to each Lead Gen Form, otherwise, leads will be captured and processed twice. To avoid that, I recommend naming each Zap with the lead gen form name or your unique campaign name or ID.

  1. Click 'Make a Zap!', search and select the 'Facebook Leads Ads' or 'LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms' app as your starting app.
  2. Choose the Trigger 'New Lead' and click 'Continue'.
  3. Choose your global connector account and click 'Continue'.
  4. In the first pick-list, choose your Facebook Page or LinkedIn Ads Account.
  5. In the second pick-list, choose your Facebook or LinkedIn Lead Form and click 'Continue' and then 'Load in Samples'. After pulling the sample, you can open it to review all available fields from the Facebook or LinkedIn lead gen form.
    • If you are working with a Facebook form that still has no lead information, you’ll see the value ‘test lead: dummy data for field_name’ on most Facebook fields after testing the Zap.
    • If you are working with a LinkedIn form that still has no lead information, you’ll see the value ‘Example data’ for the ‘First Name’ and ‘Last Name’ LinkedIn fields after testing the Zap. All the other LinkedIn fields will be blank, including ‘Company’, ‘Email Address’, ‘Phone’, etc.
      When you're ready, click 'Continue' to proceed to the Action step.
  6. Search for and choose the 'Webhooks' app.
  7. Choose the action 'POST' and click 'Continue'.
  8. Set up your template according to the table below:
SectionValues
URLhttps://s[Your Eloqua Site ID Numbert].t.eloqua.com/e/f2
(e.g. https://s1234567890.t.eloqua.com/e/f2)
Payload TypeForm
DataIn this section, keep clicking over the '+' in order to add all required form fields and values that need to be posted in Eloqua. The form field HTML names must match the Eloqua form that you're posting to.
elqSiteID[Your Eloqua Site ID Numbert]
(e.g. 1234567890)
elqFormName[Your Eloqua HTML Form Name]
emailAddressClick the 'Insert a Field +' button and select the Email Address field from the Facebook/LinkedIn app in the first step of the Zap.
firstNameClick the 'Insert a Field +' button and select the First Name field from the Facebook/LinkedIn app in the first step of the Zap.
lastNameClick the 'Insert a Field +' button and select the Last Name field from the Facebook/LinkedIn app in the first step of the Zap.
Etc.

Other fields from the Facebook or LinkedIn lead gen form can be added as required.

You may also any additional hidden fields as per your company's best practices or requirements.

 

The other sections 'Wrap Request in Array', 'File', etc. don't need to be touched and can be left blank or with their default values.

Here is an example where you can see that we're mixing hidden fields with pre-defined values and visible fields with dynamic values from the lead gen form submissions (highlighted in green):

  1. After clicking 'Continue', click 'Send Test to Webhooks by Zapier' (on 'Re-test This Step') to post the information to your Eloqua form. In that way, you'll be able to confirm if all field and values are being posted into your Eloqua form.
  2. If everything is fine, you may click 'Finish' and then turn your Zap on. When your Eloqua form is ready, the agency may activate the ad on Facebook/LinkedIn!

 

Working with Templates

I strongly recommend that you save this Zap and you Eloqua form as templates, so you can skip most of the steps above—especially by pre-defining the POST fields and values. With that, you or your team will just need to:

  1. Create a copy of the Zap template;
  2. Select the proper Facebook/LinkedIn lead gen form;
  3. Review the post fields;
  4. Test and activate!

 

Conclusion

This simple and lean process was vital to guarantee the alignment of different teams (campaign managers, social team, social agencies and marketing automation team) and improve our efficiency. We’ve increased our form fill rates and number of generated leads by 50% in comparison with regular ads that pointed to traditional landing pages, while dramatically improved our target users' experience. We can track our campaigns' cost per lead, lead form fill rate, and the number of leads we're getting from specific audience segments. Lead gen ads have taken our customer acquisition efforts on social media to the next level by driving robust volume with satisfying costs.

 

Many marketing cloud courses have directly influenced the design of this solution. Here are a few examples of how you can use them to learn more:

Marketing challenge: A healthy Eloqua database

 

Eloqua is a tool that includes customers' personal information, lead processing capabilities, and sales enablement. Keeping instances healthy is a critical component for ensuring compliance, uptime and global stakeholder ability. The most important thing for everyone is the need to adopt standards for marketing automation to run business needs and stay legally compliant.

 

Over time, clutter gets created in the database which results in negative aspects such as:

 

  • Performance issues in the instance.
  • Excessive usage of CDO (Custom Objects).
  • Deliverability issues with high Spam content or very low open rate.
  • Numerous fields created over time, which causes confusion

 

Goal:

To maintain healthy, clutter-free database by formulating a standard protocol and practices.

 

Strategies which should be implemented:

 

  1. Standards and protocols need to be established internally. 

 

E.g.: Numerous number of field merges are created every day. When a user creates a form, they are confused as to which field merge would give the correct first name. An example of numerous first name fields which are created from custom objects/ contacts fields are shown below:

 

1.png

 

Here below, we show an example where all these field merges are then pulled out from REST API, cleaned up, merged where necessary, and then given a proper name. The field merges which have 0 dependencies are then removed by REST API.

 

    2. Mandate nomenclature throughout the team. Make sure all the teams globally use the proper naming convention in campaigns and emails. At a given time, if the proper nomenclature is followed, then if any issues arise within the system, it can be linked to various assets and a trace path can be detected.

 

Eg: <ProgramCode>_ <Custom Object Title>_< Custom Object Field Title>

Like: SN3_DynamicContent_PromoHeadline

b.png

     3. E.g.: Run a REST API call for CDO to check which, if at all there are any un-mapped data cards, and if there are large number of unmapped data cards, then we can export them out and delete it.

 

Use the REST API endpoint for retrieving a list of custom objects to pull the data. The JSON output in the response body can then be reformatted into a file: List-of-Custom-Objects-with-Record-Count.xlsx. Data from this file should be transplanted into a table as below into the first 4 columns.

 

The last 2 columns require your calculation and analysis. Once the below table is updated with data and you find the highest number of the unmapped data card, it can be checked against the dependency and the client can then take a call to delete it altogether.

 

Custom object
Datacardset id
Total No of datacards
No of unmapped datacards
%of unmapped datacards
Comments

 

      4. Fine tuning segmentation.  

 

In segmentation, always exclude contacts which are "hard bounced and unsubscribed." As data deteriorate over time, people change jobs, domains expire, leaving us with invalid email addresses including these invalid email addresses in our campaign segment results in hard bounce-backs. This can not only make campaigns less effective but also give our account a spammer status. Same way, if the contact is unsubscribed, it is agreed that we do not have permission to send emails to that contact. Global unsubscribes are contacts who do not want to receive any email communications from the company (not just one group of email communications e.g. Events, forums, etc.).

 

In the above scenarios, we should always fine tune the segments to get the required results

 

    

     5. Proper asset retention policies need to be established at the global level so anyone who uses these functionalities is well aware intricacies of instances.

 

Eg: CDO asset retention can be a 12 month period. If there are no new records added within the 12 month period, then the CDO should be deleted with all its records.

These policies are critical when the organization has its global presence where thousands of users are logged into Eloqua each day which would result in a lot of clutter which would ultimately increase performance issues.

Eloqua objects are critical for system functionality and user experience. Thus, these strategies can be implemented at any given time. The earlier the better. 

 

Results:

 

Advanced segmentation, data cleansing, fundamentals of segmentation are some courses which helped me to establish these strategies with the client. It is clear that standardization is key, when implemented to thoroughly improve not only the users who are working in the database, but also but also the engineers who are troubleshooting a critical problem. I was able to properly plan and execute the strategies which I have learned through this entire course. 

Challenge

Using contact fields in order to personalize emails was simply not a scalable approach.

 

Project Overlap/delays - With 9 contact fields shared among 5 teammates there were too many instances where our deployment schedules were delayed due to the open status of other projects. If Rep A had to personalize emails with field merges in the body of the email or use a signature rule and Rep's B and C required the use of the 9 contact fields for these field merges, Rep A would have to wait until their emails deployed. This became even more of a challenge when multi-touch campaigns were required. Plain and simple, this was not an efficient approach.

 

Poor Workflow - In addition to the aforementioned challenges, prior to deploying an email using shared contact fields, we would have to leverage a program in program builder to purge the data inside of the fields prior to deployment. This process on average takes approximately two hours, if not more depending on the size of the target audience.

 

Goal

Create a scalable solution to address the aforementioned challenges by leveraging the Custom Data Object. This plan calls for the creation of a Custom Data object for each member of my team. Each CDO will contain 10 custom fields (a starter pack of fields which can be expanded upon based on project requirements). This includes fields for personalization in the body of an email, signature information (for data control purposes we upload this data as opposed to using the signature layout feature) and other custom fields which can be used for at their discretion (Signature Rules, List identifiers, subject lines, etc...)

 

Most importantly, block out the noise and allow for each team member to have autonomous control over their project.

 

Implementation

Create CDO for each team member

CDO.jpg

  • Create unique fields for each team member using a specific naming convention 
    • Email Address = Contacts email address
    • Custom Object fields = Each template follows the same naming convention unique to each Team member
      • Zz_01A_AS_QC_SigRuleID (DM Name used as the key identifier for Signature Rules)
      • Zz_01B_AS_QC_FullName
      • Zz_01C_AS_QC_Title
      • Zz_01D_AS_QC_Phone
      • Zz_01E_AS_QC_Email
      • Zz_01F_AS_QC_LicenseNo
      • Zz_01G_AS_QC_PURL

 

  • Create the field merges

field merge.jpg

  • Final step - leverage the data based on project requirements.

 

 

Result

After implementing this approach and creating a personal CDO for each team member we are now able to deploy emails in a much more efficient manner (15 minutes compared to 2 hours) and do not have to worry about project overlap. In addition, we’ve leveraged our CDO data fields for other initiatives which include, dynamic content, lead routing, persona-based marketing, and storing data from other tools within our tech stack.

 

Business Impact

  • Stakeholders have universally adopted this method and have seen a substantial increase in personalized emails delivered
  • Our Operations team to leverage for pending projects that otherwise could not be completed
  • All team members are now equipped to handle large-scale email deployments at higher volumes while leveraging personalization.

 

Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy courses that influenced the campaign: Engage and Enrich, Profile and Target, Relevance and Retention, Convert with Custom Objects

The Oracle Eloqua (B2B) Education Pass is a complete solution for marketing professionals seeking training on Oracle Eloqua. The education pass offers training courses that cover the fundamentals and advanced concepts of Eloqua, as well as modern marketing best practices and how to apply them.

The B2B education pass lets you choose how you want to learn: take onDemand video courses, 24/7, or take courses in a live virtual classroom in real-time. Choose the training that interests you to build expertise. You can also choose to follow sequential learning paths containing multiple courses to get accredited as a B2B Master and B2B Luminary, at no extra cost. Learn your way, on your schedule to become a modern marketer.

WITH THIS EDUCATION PASS YOU’LL LEARN HOW TO:

  • Get started using Eloqua and become familiar with its capabilities
  • Tactically plan a Campaign and map out the Campaign strategy, determine best practices for Campaign execution, and leverage Campaign automation
  • Build segment components and combine components for precise targeting
  • Create and manage sophisticated, personalized, and trackable emails in Eloqua
  • Create a form that captures and processes data, and create an associated landing page to host that form
  • Execute single and multi-touch email campaigns, build a workflow, and configure assets
  • Set up a Lead Scoring model, segment based on lead scores, and integrate the lead scores with your CRM
  • Create single and multi-session events, merge session details into emails, and set up automated reminders and post event communications
  • Leverage targeted communications to accelerate conversion through the buying stages
  • Use Eloqua to capture and report on visitors to an Eloqua tracked website
  • Extend the Out-of-Box Eloqua subscription management functionality to provide more complex preference management solutions
  • Install and configure various social suite apps and connectors in order to enrich contact data, extend reach beyond the immediate audience, and increase conversion
  • Optimize lead quality and manage the funnel
  • Leverage best practices for email deliverability, gain more knowledge around proper permission practices, and learn strategies to increase engagement

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