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The marketing challenge

We were working with a third-party vendor on our lead score model when they were acquired by another company. Due to timing, the acquisition, and current requirements from sales – It was time to seek out new help on a revised lead score model. Leadership tasked the marketing operation team to find a solution to maximize inbound lead impact through prioritization and internal processes and ensure the right responses/prospects are worked by the right sales team depending on the product.

In the beginning
To be successful with this program, we needed to identify the most likely purchasers based on firmographic fit AND engagement when it was applicable. We wanted to be able to:

  • Engage with leads quickly -  quickly identifying the leads with the most potential (customer fit is “good” or “very good”), the sales team can reach much faster.
  • Increase sales efficiency – keep low quality leads out of the funnel
  • Have better marketing campaign performances – Instantly know when marketing campaigns are generating good leads or bad
  • Improve outbound lists/event attendees – Find out which leads were quality leads on lists

After months of demos and meetings of deciding on which third-party to integrate with Eloqua and our CRM for our lead score model, a decision was made. Next steps were for the team and leadership to decide on lead status assignments. These are based on the marketing team (i.e. Paid Digital), the offer (i.e. whitepaper), and the third-party lead score company’s score (i.e. 80-100). For example if a lead came in through paid digital and they downloaded a whitepaper, depending on firmographic information and other information gathered, they would be scored a grade of A, B, C, or D. The team and leadership made decisions that a score from the third-party lead scoring company of an “A” or” B” would be a marketing qualified lead (MQL), a “C” would be considered an inquiry and a “D” would be a suspect lead. 

The marketing operations team quickly started implementing the new lead score model and created a program in Eloqua to support the integration into our CRM so the sales team could get right to work.

The initiative

The first was to figure out the flow of the lead.

 

Webform Submit

This step is when a visitor comes to the website. They could have arrived on a landing page with a form by a link from an Eloqua email, an ad on social media, organic SEO, paid SEO ad, an event or any other campaign a marketing manager set up. On the back end of the web form, the marketing operations team and the marketing technology team set up a few things to track campaign details:

  1. Query strings – the link to the landing page with the form includes a query string on the end. For example, a link that was clicked on through an email would have the query string:

              
               www.test.com/example?CampaignID=
0000A000001ABCD&lsmr=Outbound%20Email

Each query string always has the CRM Campaign ID, the lead source (outbound, paid digital, event, etc.) where it came from, and the type (email, social, direct mail, etc.) of marketing campaign it was.     


  1. The landing page form will be coded in the backend with the CRM campaign ID, any event IDs if it’s a webinar, the offer, lead source and product.


Eloqua Transfer Hub (Eloqua Program)

The Eloqua Transfer Hub is a master program that was set up for lead routing. All leads that come in from forms will run through the transfer hub going through many decision rules based on our business so we can properly route the lead/contact to our CRM.

 

Eloqua Update Team (Eloqua Program Builder)
After the lead has gone through the Transfer Hub Program, we send it to a Program Builder that was created to update the Marketing Team and Campaign Group. This is designed to run a match/deduplication rule against companies, members in all CRM campaigns, get the campaign group for lead scoring and update the campaign group on the lead.

Eloqua Update Product (Program)

Internally we call this Update “Sub Type” – but to keep it simple and relatable for all businesses, I’m referring to it as “Update Product.”

 

This is also a large master program the marketing operations team set up that we look for the product that came in with the lead, send it to an update rule to update the product or “Sub Type” on the contact record.

Eloqua Lead Score (Program)
Once the lead has been through the Update Product Program, we send it to the next Eloqua Program: Lead Score. Most of our products are on the old lead score model, but our main product is on the new lead scoring model.


On the new model, we use a predictive scoring attribute that scores a lead based on how close the lead is to a customer from our ideal customer profile. This is based on engagement, firmographics and other attributes set by our company and the third-party scoring partner. By using the third-party lead scoring company, we’re able to add the following predictive attributes:

  • Customer fit
  • Likelihood to buy
  • Lead grade + score
  • Engagement
  • Contact enrichment
  • Company enrichment
  • Beta fields (i.e. predicted revenue, predicted traffic segment, budget)

 

Depending on the attributes above, the marketing team, and offer – we stamp the lead with a score of A, B, C, or D. This was a lot of building of update rules (19!) based on scores decided upon by the leadership team.

 

 

In the example above, we created a new field on the contact called “Lead Rating”, and if the third-party lead score was set to 50-100, the field would be populated with the value “A” and if the score was 49 or below, the field would be populated with a value of “D.”

 

Update CRM (Program Builder)

Once the lead is given a score, we send the lead to the Update CRM Program Builder. In this program, we clean the leads of any %20 values (blank spaces), check for CRM contact and lead IDs and check for blank last names or companies. Once it has successfully ran through the Update CRM program builder, it is gets pushed into the CRM and the sales rep has full visibility of whether the lead is valuable and they are ready to purchase, needs nurturing or a lead that is disqualified.

 

Results

Since implementing the new lead scoring model, we have seen an increase in new business and have even been over plan. This increase in new business can be attributed to the lead prioritization of the new lead score model. By better prioritizing leads, our sales team was able to put their main focus on higher quality leads that marketing qualified as likely to buy. By focusing on these higher quality leads rather than sifting through bad and good leads, the team was able to convert more leads, therefore increasing new business and revenue. Another interesting metric we observed after putting in place the new lead score model, was an increased eNPS (employee net promoter score), which we believe is partly in due to higher quality leads and more sales.

 

Marketing Cloud Courses influenced – Oracle Eloqua B2B

At Sage, we’re using query strings with HTML and JavaScript in conjunction with Eloqua to solve our challenges. In this article, I'm going to highlight a way in which query strings can be used creatively to change page behaviour. I'll start by first defining query strings. Secondly, I will look at some of the ways query strings can be used. Finally, I will outline a challenge we were facing in Sage and show how creative use of query strings solved that challenge.

 

What are Query Strings?

A query string is any piece of URL data that comes after the main part of the URL. Web addresses are like sign posts to specific locations on a website, but they don’t store any data about the particular user who is visiting. Appending parameters to the end of a URL can let a website know what a user has done before or where they have come from depending on how they are set up. The result of this? Websites can be personalised per user depending on their activity in a session, and tracking between different sites can be accomplished!

 

For example, when building a Facebook ad, you might append the following query string UTM parameters to the url you wish to drive traffic to:

 

URL=https://www.sage.com/en-gb/sage-business-cloud/accounting/

 

UTM_Campaign=FacebookTestCampaign

UTM_Source=Facebook

UTM_Medium=SocialMedia

 

When a user clicks on your Facebook ad which is driving traffic to that URL, the UTM Parameters would be appended, and the link would appear like this:

 

 


https://www.sage.com/en-gb/sage-business-cloud/accounting/?UTM_Campaign=FacebookTestCampaign&UTM_Source=Facebook&UTM_Medium=SocialMedia

 

This link provides data to Marketers to understand where their traffic has originated, allowing attribution to that ad. Understanding the routing of your traffic allows you to design and optimize effective campaigns. If you can measure it, you can improve it!

 

How are Query Strings Used?

Creating segments – Query strings allow Marketing to build segments based on visitor and referring source parameters.

 

Reporting – There are a number of different reports in Eloqua Insight that are based upon query string data (UTM Parameters). UTM Parameters make it possible for marketers to identify the portion of website visitors that come from social media and email as well as identifying the search queries that have brought the visitor to the site.

 

Blind form submits – Blind form submits allow us to remove the gate from an asset and still track the click. At Sage, we use query strings to create blind form submit links, which can be used on many types of assets (email CTA’s, landing page CTA’s). Our blind form submit links are special URLs with query strings that post predefined responses into an Eloqua form.

 

UTM parameters – UTM parameters are specific query strings that are used at the end of a URL to track each link.  If the URL of the page has UTM parameters (all pages at Sage are tagged), we use javascript to grab those UTM parameters for use. The javascript will take the UTM parameters and add them to the users browser cookie. We then use these parameters to populate hidden tracking fields with relevant details.

 

Query Strings to change Page Behavior

Take a look at an example of one way in which we use query strings creatively to solve business challenges. Sometimes, we want to vary page behavior, depending on where a visitor comes from.

 

The Challenge

The marketing team created a Guided Tour for the Sage Financials product. We consider visitors to this page as high value leads, and require a form submission before we grant access.

 

Here it is: https://get.sage.com/ACG_18Q1_NCM_GBIE_DGWW_ER0260_GuidedTour

 

 

You’ll note that after you arrive on the page, you are presented with a required form. It is not possible to enter the Guided Tour without filling in this form. Gating the tour works well for contacts who land directly on the website. But what if a contact lands from another page where the Campaign Manager has requested a form submission so they can track their conversions to the Guided Tour?

 

What would happen in this situation, is:

  1. User arrives on Landing Page 1 (containing CTA to Guided Tour).
  2. User fills out Guided Tour access form on Landing page 1.
  3. User clicks access button.
  4. User lands on Guided Tour (Landing Page 2) page and is presented with a second form.
  5. User doesn’t want to fill in two forms and might leave page.


In this instance, the user experience is not good. We noted a drop in conversions. We needed to find a way to remove the gate for campaigns that brought contacts to the Guided Tour.


The Goal

The ideal user flow was identified as follows:

  1. User arrives on Landing Page 1
  2. User fills out Guided Tour (Landing Page 2) access form on Landing page 1
  3. User clicks access button.
  4. Guided Tour (Landing Page 2) opens - ungated!
  5. Tracking is maintained.


The Solution

To make this a reality, the Marketing Automation team used a JavaScript snippet to add a query string which bypasses the gate from the Guided Tour form. It looks like this: ?o=y We can now send a contact through to the Guided Tour from a referring Campaign Landing Page with only one form submission.

 

Example link: https://get.sage.com/ACG_18Q1_NCM_GBIE_DGWW_ER0260_GuidedTour?o=y



 

The results

An example of a nurture journey that utilised the non gated Guided Tour was the Sage Financials BOFU journey. The Sage Financials team wanted to remove the form when a contact clicked through to the Guided Tour directly from nurture. By using query strings it was now possible to do this. As a result, the user experience was improved. The contact no longer needed to fill in two forms in order to view the Guided Tour. This approach also helped the team assess the effectiveness of other campaigns feeding traffic into the Guided Tour page. It was now possible to assign attribution to the nurture campaign rather than have all Guided Tour form fills attributed to one campaign.  The Sage Financials team were able to analyse the campaign and identify 36 new MQL's that accessed the Guided Tour through this nurture and the team concluded that the conversion rate had increased by removing the gate on the form.

 

The impact on the business was that higher conversion rates were achieved by being able to remove the form on the Guided Tour. The impact on the business for the future is that the marketing team can now remove gates for high value content in order to accelerate conversion.

 

Oracle University courses that were relevant to this campaign

  1. Develop and design
  2. Relevance and retention
  3. Profile and target
  4. Prioritize and proces

Introduction to the Marketing Challenge:

 

One of the main challenges for companies that start to use the digital marketing products is that they don’t know how to do a proper segmentation for their campaigns, which is impacting the efficiency of the campaign processing cycle. Although the development of the Eloqua campaign is right from the configuration side through all its elements (Form, Landing Page, etc...) , the outcome from the business perspective is not up to expectation. In this case, there will be a lot of question marks about the campaigns developers and the marketing application itself, and that’s exactly what I faced with one of my customers who were new Eloqua users. Their feedback was  that they did everything by book, but there was a problem in the response rate and the campaigns were not matching the success criteria. They requested our support in order to check the bottlenecks and drawbacks in their campaigns, how to solve these issues and at the end to provide hands-on sessions for the company configurators.

 

Goals for Solving the Marketing Challenge:

 

The main objective of my team is to let our customers operate with speed, simplicity and trust, based on a predefined key objective. So, when we started to check this customer’s marketing campaign configuration, we followed a strategy which started by gathering all the information related to the current operational campaigns including their high-level design, as well as the detailed design and configuration. We then extracted all the reports and analysis for these campaigns to validate the customer feedback.

 

Project Approach:

 

Our customer faced an issue in the campaign's efficiency and the low response rate. His initial requirements are to check all his current operational campaigns, to support him by increasing the response rate initially by 15% and to teach his digital marketing department how to configure campaigns and segments properly. First, we started to find common design and configuration issues in most of the developed campaigns by putting duplicate audiencse within different segments, based on a detailed document provided to the customer. So, he found out that our findings and recommendations matched his initial requirements, so he agreed to proceed with our plan. Then, we started to work, enhance and apply our best practices on one of the campaigns as a prototype to check if the desired output and response rate would be optimized  as per the customer request. We used the Oracle Eloqua segmentation features (Merge, Intersect, Trim) and we used especially the Interest feature to ensure that the target audience is unique, using filters. Finally, we found that the customer is using only static resources for managing contacts, so we proposed to use the active sources. Besides, we found some wrong configuration regarding the criteria, so we created the filter including multiple criteria using filter comparators. In a later phase, we gave sessions for the customer’s Digital Marketing configurators on how to use the segment templates to get the benefit of using prebuilt segments, instead of creating blank segments until they have the knowledge and experience for creating segments from scratch. At the end of our interaction, the prototype campaign testing provided results better by 35%.

 

                                                                                                              Dynamic Segmentation Sample

Influential Courses:

 

 

“Eloqua Luminary: Analysis” was one of the most important courses that we used to define where the problem is with the help of the reporting side by checking the throughput and response rate for the campaign which was the last verification step to test the effectiveness of our enhancements.

Also, we used the “B2B: Profile & Target” course in order to be able to track the campaign visitors actions & behaviors. We used the “B2B: Convert with Custom Objects” to empower the customer with the most customized features to add more relevant fields to his industry and how to use the segmentation based on these custom objects.

 

Finally, all Oracle Eloqua courses in general were very supportive as they gave us the essentials for managing Eloqua Instances. But based on a lot of trial and error mechanism, we got the authentic experience which helped us to find what is suitable for an industry or a customer. Although it may not fit in another industry or another customer, you need to implement the plan based on the real situation and act based on it, using a pre-defined methodology.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

After working for three months with this customer going through revising all his current campaigns and segments by applying the best practices for configuration, his campaigns response rate increased by approximately 20%. So, he considered that this is a good start for revamping his campaigns and segments’ design. Also, during this period we supported his digital marketing campaign designers by showing them how to develop and configure an operational and successful campaign targeting its actual audience.

Challenge

We wanted to increase the reach of our marketing communications and recognised that there was a lot of missed opportunities within our existing contact database. Our website was already capturing consent correctly but this was not the only potential source of consent capture.

 

Sales were having great conversations with interested leads, but these leads were often were not opted in to receive marketing communications. We were frequently receiving requests via sales from these leads asking to receive marketing communications but any such request needed to be documented and stored as proof. We needed a less manual way of accurately capturing and recording these opt ins.

 

Allowing sales to directly edit a person’s consent was not going to be an option. We needed the person to update their own consent status.

 

Goals

  • Increase the number of market contactable records
  • Efficiently fulfil opt in requests
  • Record the contact’s consent status

 

The solution

Consent data was already being reflected in Salesforce and accurately maintained through Eloqua external calls and a Program Builder specifically for this purpose.

We created a new field to host our ‘Send Opt in Email’ button.

We used the value of the consent field to conditionally show or hide the ‘Send Opt in Email’ button.

  • If the person was not opted in, the button would be visible – as they have potential to be opted in through this process

FG contact not opted in.PNG

  • If the person was opted in, the button would be hidden – as they do not need to opt in again

FG contact opted in.PNG

The ‘Send Opt in Email’ button contains a blind form submission link (http://s[SiteID].t.en25.com/e/f2?elqFormName=[FormHTMLName]&elqSiteID=[SiteID]&EmailAddress=[lead/contact’semailaddress]) and is clicked by sales when their contact requests to receive marketing communications.

 

This begins the process.

Luminary - SFDC opt in process.PNG

 

The Eloqua form captures the email address and shows the sales submitter a thank you page, confirming that their contact has entered the process.

The form also adds the contact to a campaign, which sends them the opt-in-request email.

The email contains a CTA button that is a blind form submission link which, when clicked by the contact to opt in, shows them a confirmation page, updates their record to be opted in and adds them to the Program Builder used to update Salesforce with their new consent status. Now that the contact is opted in, salesforce hides the ‘Send Opt in Email’ button from the page layout.

After a contact is sent the opt-in-request email, they enter a ‘Compare Contact Fields’ step that assesses if they have opted in – this step evaluates for 6 months. As well as giving the contact time to respond to the email, this step prevents sales from sending the same contact through the process too frequently. We could have disabled contact re-entry into the campaign but it was possible that contacts might need to change their consent status more than once over a long period of time.

 

Outcomes

In this way, the contact updates their own consent status, Eloqua stores their new status and we in marketing gain more contactable records for our email communications!

We've experienced a 5% increase in our contactable audience - which is a large volume considering the size of our database.

The speed and ease of the process was commended by the team.

 

The main benefit of this process is that we're now able to effectively communicate to interested prospects, increasing the number of people within our marketing campaigns and improving the results of those campaigns as well.

 

Moving forward we may add alternative opt-in-request emails and confirmation pages to the campaign to cater for the other languages we use in our marketing communications.

 

 

Courses -

B2B: Fundamentals Series (2-day LVC training or onDemand video)

B2B: Insight for Analyzers – Analysis

What are External Activities?

As a Marketing Automation Platform, Oracle Eloqua is able to facilitate multi-channel marketing and record activities tracked by Eloqua.  As the platform expands, many other activities occur outside of Eloqua, both online and offline.  External Activities are records that can store simple data points on these activities.  More details can be found here: https://docs.oracle.com/cloud/latest/marketingcs_gs/OMCAA/Help/ExternalAssets/ExternalAssets.htm

 

What's so good about External Activities?The External Activity app created by the Oracle Applications Labs is able to programmatically create these activities instead of, say, manual file uploads or building a custom integration to/from other platforms.

 

Some of the benefits of using the app:

- reduces lead time of getting these activities recorded in Eloqua, allowing marketers to leverage these data points in a prompt manner in their campaign workflows.

- reduces chances of errors during data entry or data transfer process from other platforms.

- reduces cost to build out other integrations or time to gather and upload the data from other sources.

- can be easily set up by marketing users without IT intervention.

 

How do I use the app?

1. Install the External Activity Creator app at https://docs.oracle.com/cloud/latest/marketingcs_gs/OMCAA/Help/Apps/ExternalActivity/Tasks/InstallingExternalActivity.ht… .

2. In the sample campaign below, we're creating external activity records for ON24 webinar registration.  As the app currently does not provide feedback into Eloqua (i.e. registered status for that contact for a particular event), we'll add an External Activity step after the ON24: Register Attendee step to record that activity.

3. Configure the External Activity step as needed:

4. Save the campaign and voila!

 

The External Activity records created can be viewed on the Contact record under the Activity Log tab.  For the most up-to-date details on the app, visit https://docs.oracle.com/cloud/latest/marketingcs_gs/OMCAA/Help/Apps/ExternalActivity/ExternalActivityApp.htm .

 

Helpful OMC Academy Courses:

B2B: Technology

Processing steps for Eloqua forms are some of the most powerful tools to fully utilize the Eloqua Marketing Automation system. One under-utilized processing step can amplify Eloqua’s connectivity to other systems that might not be natively integrated into that Eloqua instance. The POST DATA TO SERVER processing step can deliver your form submissions in real time to a secondary CRM, partners and other outside third-parties.

 

The Challenge and Solution:

 

While Eloqua can natively connect to many CRMs at once, Eloqua can only natively integrate with ONE instance of that CRM (i.e. one instance of Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.) at a time. Our team had a secondary instance of Salesforce (SFDC) to which we wanted to deliver form submissions in real time. We did not have the resources to develop another custom integration for this SFDC instance. Our team used POST DATA TO SERVER processing step to deliver leads to that secondary CRM in near real time. The processing step built a real-time, dynamic HTTP Post with query string values and posted it out the designated location. The leads flowed to the secondary SFDC instance and were addressed by Sales in a timely fashion.

 

The Set Up Steps:

 

Review and determine the data that need to be delivered to your secondary CRM.

 

While delivering general contact data is the focus of this process, be sure to determine what values are important as well as consistent with your secondary CRM. For instance, in our review, we identified three mandatory fields which our secondary SFDC instance required that our integrated instance did not. We created Eloqua contact fields to capture those values.

 

Further, during this review, we reviewed if the data standards currently in place were the same for the secondary instance. We identified those standards that needed additional contacts fields, if that field could be populated directly or if an update rule or lookup table were needed.

 

Set Up the HTTP Post Delivery Location

 

Once that review and the appropriate additions are complete, the next step is set up the location where the HTTP Post will be delivered. Often, this is a third-party URL found in that CRM. For instance, in our secondary SFDC instance, it was the URL of the unique “Web to Lead” form set up in SFDC for this purpose.

 

This URL will deliver the data via query string. The third party set up must have the fields set to capture the data being passed via the Eloqua HTTP Post and query string.

 

Set Up the Eloqua Form

 

Once you have your third-party URL for the POST DATA TO SERVER step, the Eloqua form can be set up. The Eloqua form should include all the data that is standard for your Eloqua instance as well as any data to pass to the third-party. 

 

Set Up Your Processing Step

2018-08-06_13-40-27.jpg

  1. Once your Eloqua form is set up, add the POST DATA TO SERVER processing step.
  2. Add the third-party URL in the processing step field as ”Constant Value”. This can also be set to be a “Form Field” value if a variable URL is needed.
    1. 2018-08-06_13-40-45.jpg
  3. Align the Eloqua form fields to the correct query string field names in the TARGET FIELDS area. These values create the query string field names in the HTTP POST that post the appropriate information to the third-party system.
      1. The query string field names must match the third party field names when the data passes to that third-party location. The HTML fields name in the Eloqua form does not have to match but they will need to be paired appropriately the sample processing step above
      2. To learn more about query strings, consider attending the Oracle University Marketing Cloud Education class: B2B: Profile and Target.

 

Test the Set Up

 

Test your submission to assure all the data is going through to the third-party site.

 

That is it! The form submission has been delivered to a third-party site in real time.

 

Troubleshooting

 

If it did not work, here are some troubleshooting ideas:

 

  • Is the third-party URL correct?
  • Are any third-party required fields and/or values missing from query string?
  • Do query string field names exactly match, including case, the third-party HTML field names?
  • Are the query string field values being passed valid values for the third-party database?
  • Are there additional permissions needed within the third-party system to receive the HTTP POST from Eloqua?

 

If none of the above work, try building the HTTP POST field by field, outside of Eloqua, enter into a browser and submit. While tedious, it will eventually identify which troubleshooting element above need to be corrected.

 

Summary

 

POST DATA TO SERVER processing steps are critical in delivering data to non-integrated systems in real time. In addition to this secondary SFDC system, we replicated the same process for other CRMs, passing form submissions to partners and third-party vendor for campaigns such as events. Using this tool, our team was able to deliver leads to our non-integrated systems in real time saving us money and ensuring our leads were addressed from Sales without delay.

There is a four-letter word that has been plaguing Marketers across Europe (and even beyond) for some time now. As May 2018 came and went, the frequency with which this four-letter word was yelled in frustration throughout the departments of companies large and small, became increasingly commonplace.

 

That four-letter word is, of course, GDPR and it has struck fear into many a Marketer and continues to do so as the repercussions of the law coming into force have yet to fully be understood.

 

Ultimately, all companies in the EU, or who market to the EU, have had to face this head-on and put in place a data and communication strategy robust enough to withstand the scrutiny of the Supervisory Authorities and avoid heavy penalties. Having the right tools available to be able to manage and adapt your strategy is key – this is where Eloqua and the Oracle Marketing Cloud comes in!

 

The following five functions are included out-of-the-box for all Standard and Enterprise trims:

 

 

1. Form Functionality

Whilst there are still grey areas around the definitions of what constitutes explicit engagement, and the timeframes in which it is acceptable to continue marketing based on previous engagements, it is best-practice to have a standardised approach to asking explicitly for consent to communicate. In the world of Eloqua and nurturing leads as part of a Marketing strategy, this presents itself most commonly in form submissions.

 

Eloqua’s form building tool allows you to offer a checkbox on all campaign forms to gain explicit consent upon submission. The checkbox is normally mapped to a contact or Custom Object record field and allows for filtering in the database. With the built-in Progressive Profiling functionality, it can be set that the box only displays for contacts whose explicit consent has not yet been gained:



Eloqua’s in-depth form processing options allow users to automate the opt-in and opt-out process at the point of submission, meaning that people who submit the form in different ways can be treated differently called Conditional processing steps. These are decision rules that run once a form is submitted, and determine what actions should be taken either based on what information the submitter has provided, or based on implicit information such as the source from which they reached the form:

 

 

2. Subscription Management

A recent report*, indicated that, “customers feel they have been subjected to too many emails, too many irrelevant emails, and too many emails from companies they don’t recognise." In the same report, its states, “The proportion of consumers who say they find more than half of messages ‘interesting or relevant’ has declined to 16%.”

 

So what is clear from this research is that, companies who provide their prospects and customers the opportunity to tailor how they are communicated to, are more likely to build their engagement levels and develop a stronger connection.

 

From a GDPR perspective, this means that, the chance that your database, likely to have been curated over a long period, is less likely to dwindle significantly over time. So how does this work in Eloqua? Well, Eloqua uses ‘Email Groups’ to identify different types of communication such as Event invites and Newsletters, and is the driver behind the Subscription Centre structure:

When building out Email Groups, you can define the characteristics of the emails that sit within those groups. This includes the default header and footer text, to make sure that the correct disclaimers are included for the types of communication, the subscription / unsubscriptions confirmation pages that get displayed when contacts or prospects opt in or out, and whether these groups are available for Sales to use as part of the Engage Sales Tool.

 

You can also choose whether or not these groups should be made available for contacts and prospects to select as part of their subscription management options

 

 

3. Program Canvas

Released at the end of 2016, the Program Canvas operates alongside the existing Program Builder, allowing the automation of large or repetitive data management tasks in a simple, Campaign Canvas style format. Using the Program Canvas, tasks such a rented data expiry management and inactive contact re-engagement can be automated.

 

As well as new Listener step, which is a data source step and a point of entry for contacts or custom data objects into the program, the Program Canvas allows for components such as Segments, Shared Filters & Lists and Update Rules to be incorporated to leverage functionality available across the Eloqua platform.

 

In the below example, you can see there are two segments based on the source of the data. Contacts will be filtered into the Program on an hourly basis based on their levels of inactivity.



Using Shared filters contacts will be either moved into targeted, content-driven Re-engagement campaigns if they are inactive. If they do engage, however, they will have the relevant data in their contact record or related custom data object updated accordingly.

Take the B2B:Program Canvas course on the Oracle Academy to get a better idea of how the Program Canvas can be used to automate the compliance management process.

 

 

4. Update Rules

Eloqua’s Data Tools have long been part of the core platform, pre-dating the Eloqua 10 update, and represent the foundations for Eloqua’s data management structure. Among powerful tools such as Lookup tables (containing useful data for automatically updating records with other data), deduplication rules (for the automation of contact data deduplication), but the most versatile and largely underused Data Tools are the Update Rules.

 


Update rules can be used on their own or in conjunction with other Data Tools to automating the process of updating contacts based on pre-built conditions and criteria. For GDPR, they are a valuable aid to help maintain the status of all contacts in your instance, based on their preferences and engagement. They can be used across the Program Canvas, as well as the Program Builder and even on the Campaign Canvas:

 

5. Campaign Approvals

Campaign Approvals facilitate the verification of content (emails, landing pages etc) before activating a campaign. They are customisable to suit an organisation’s approval processes and can have multiple stages and multiple approvers. Once the campaign is built and all the elements are on the canvas, they would go to the Campaign Approvals section and request Approvals:

 

 

Following the request for Approvals, the campaign is no longer available to activate, instead replacing the button with an Approvals button. Clicking the Approvals button gives the marketer a progress report on the status of each step so they can see where any delays may be:

 

 

Once a campaign is built and ready to activate, each approver receives an email notification requesting approval. They are also accessible on the My Eloqua page.

Approvals can be made from here with comments on each approval and rejections can be sent with amends in the comments section. The Campaign Approvals functionality can be used to ensure that all communications are signed by the relevant approval teams before going live.

 

 

Key Things to Consider

  • Eloqua forms allow for submitters to be treated as per their opt-in preferences Add a few bullet points here
  • Subscription Management allows an organisation to capture a contact’s legitimate interest
  • The Program canvas can be used to automate the compliance management process
  • Data Tools, and specifically, Update rules can be used to ensure that data is being  handled and updated correctly and accurately
  • When signing off campaigns, the Campaign Approvals functionality allows organisations to implement a GDPR-compliant approval process

 

I like big canvasses and I cannot lie.

 

What I don’t like is the upfront effort that big canvasses often require. Between creation, reviews and approvals, let’s face it: more than often, a bigger, more complex canvas means (and needs) more eyes. But all that extra upfront effort often results in equally big payoffs - and not just for the person responsible for maintaining it.

 

The challenge

When I joined our small-but-mighty automation team, I came armed with big ideas—and most of them included bigger canvasses. Upon surveying the lead nurturing land, I found that there were 80+ ongoing campaigns across five stages of the funnel. Each of these 80+ campaigns contained a few outdated emails with equally outdated engagement metrics—these former top-performers had open and clickthrough rates that were no longer meeting, let alone exceeding, industry or company averages.

 

The greater impetus for change, however, wasn’t the campaign performance but the campaign maintenance—in addition to these 80+ nurtures, there were new campaigns that needed built, and those too would need maintained. Keeping up with them and keeping them relevant was too much for one person in a 40-hour workweek, and I was determined to find a way to make our marketing work harder and smarter.

 

If I’m being honest, part of my reasoning was completely selfish – if I had fewer campaigns to maintain, I’d have more hours back in my day to continue managing my other operations projects and finally complete my Luminary certification. But mostly, I wanted to take on the arduous and often annoying task of auditing the campaigns to make them more impactful for the business, and, ultimately, the company’s bottom line.

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The approach

Over the course of six months, I worked alongside our marketing teams to identify key campaigns, audit the content within and align it to the buyers’ journey, and collapse five funnel stages to two. We did this while also reducing the number of active campaigns by more than 50%. We also leveraged persona-based messaging, personalization, and A/B testing to find even the tiniest of optimizations.

 

The outcome

So what did all this mean for our campaigns and our metrics?

 

Well, the canvasses got bigger, for sure, and that meant more development time upfront. Ultimately, however, these larger canvasses—each of which had more advanced segmentation and decisioning—resulted in a more comprehensive, cohesive and efficient channel for moving prospects through the funnel. It also meant that I had fewer campaigns on which to keep a pulse and thus, fewer campaigns to maintain and continuously update.

 

The other result wasn’t quite as expected.

 

One would anticipate that with fewer campaigns in motion, fewer campaign emails would be sent. For us, it was just the opposite. Our recurring feeders pulled in more awareness-level contacts (hint, hint: use page tags and web visits in these early-stage campaigns), then nurtured them to consideration, and on through decision. We delivered four times as many emails – but that wasn’t the only “four” we saw. Again, it would be easy to assume that by delivering more emails, our open and clickthrough rates would tank, but our engagement metrics increased… by four times! If you ever need it, this is proof, once again, that quality is always preferable over quantity.

 

The lessons learned

While nurturing isn’t a “set it and forget it” activity, it also isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. As much as I prefer a big, connected canvas over several smaller, shorter campaigns, big and complex isn’t always needed, and there’s no legitimate reason to overcomplicate nurturing or your canvas.

 

The best nurture canvas—big or small—takes into account the audience, a targeted message to that audience, and the decisioning needed to qualify (or not) the contacts within the campaign so that we can help deliver prospects who are ready to talk to and be actioned upon by sales teams.

 

What’s your company’s approach to lead nurturing? What optimizations can you be making now that will have long-term positive impacts on your campaign metrics and conversion rates? How big is your canvas?

FinTech Engagement

 

The FinTech sector is brimming with enterprise-grade technology platforms that seek to function as the operating system for investment managers and other financial services companies. These platforms often facilitate the electronic trading of financial securities, as well as data analysis and day-to-day operations. My organization has a vibrant business centered on offering one such technology platform to asset managers, insurers, pension funds, and corporations. What makes us – and our peers – successful is our ability to engage users and make them evangelists for our platform.

 

Our system is incredibly complex, and we’ve been challenged to constantly engage our users and ensure they understand how the platform can help them excel in their roles. Prior to this year, all user engagement for deployments, product updates, community events, trainings, etc. were organized by my team (call us “Marketers”) but ultimately communicated to users (i.e., executed) by their Account Managers. This created inefficiencies because my team’s objective is to secure adoption through engagement. Yet, engagement was primarily executed by another team.

 

Scalability Challenge

 

Our Account Managers used emails created and sent from Outlook. They would consume our content, logistics, planning, etc. and communicate that over email. Scalability was a challenge for several reasons:

 

  1. Account Managers might not send our content to target users – we have no way of knowing either way
  2. Users might not bother viewing our content, or they might not find it useful – we have limited ways to gauge this
  3. Every client has a different Account Manager – this leaves room for inconsistent messaging that should otherwise be uniform
  4. Our Account Managers are resourced constrained – the business is growing and they don’t have the ability to keep up with my team’s demands for user engagement

 

Many of these challenges stem from excessive mediation. Therefore one of our goals for 2018 is to disintermediate user engagement by adopting Eloqua, with resulting improvements in adoption, client satisfaction, and scale for our business.

 

Technical Hurdles

 

To state this more clearly: our marketing challenge was excessive mediation and lack of insight into the effectiveness of our direct-to-user engagements.

 

The road to onboarding the Eloqua platform hasn’t been an easy one. Not because of any limitations with the platform – but because this represents a fundamental shift for our business and for our clients. We take our clients’ data privacy very seriously – that’s why I haven’t included any screenshots – and that means we needed to go to each client directly to review our plans before we could begin loading their users into the platform.

 

In addition, each client has their own “website” through which they access our platform. Each website has a distinct sub-domain, which means we’re heavily reliant on dynamic content to render the right hyperlinks based on the client organization we’re contacting. Once we started to clear these barriers – securing consent from dozens of clients, building the right content templates in Eloqua – we began using the platform to automate several use cases that were previously executed manually (using our content) by Account Managers.

 

Our Goals

 

So here was our goal: to successfully retire manual communications for a subset of clients. We applied this goal to 20 clients, accounting for ~2000 sophisticated users of the platform. We would consider ourselves successful if we managed to eliminate Account Manager involvement in a handful of key communications for those 20 clients.

 

Our current state was easy to measure. These 20 clients received product updates and training schedules manually from Account Managers. In total, they account for 2000 users, though only ~200 of them (~10%) actually received these communications prior to automation. Ideally all 2000 users should receive these materials (with dynamic content based on job role, level of sophistication, usage history, etc.). So if we can automate the process for these 20 clients and go from ~10% of addressable market delivered to >90% addressable market delivered, then that would be a great start.

 

Results and Execution

 

We followed several steps to get to those levels. This is an abridged list that focuses on the work we did to change the culture within our business and to make this change palatable to our Account Managers:

 

  1. Start demoing Eloqua to stakeholders across the business to introduce the concept of marketing automation and secure buy-in
  2. Build out our instance with templatized content that can support the unique IT requirements of our client base
  3. Launch outreach for affirmative consent with assistance from our Account Managers, ensuring their involvement in this handoff
  4. Begin cleaning user data with a heavy focus on mapping user job roles, level of sophistication, usage history, etc.
  5. Upload user data and create simple campaigns that will be run on a recurring basis to share product updates and training schedules
  6. Begin incrementally adding clients to these campaigns – at the same time, Account Manager retires their manual process – signature rules ensure the clients get emails from the same recipients they’re accustomed to
  7. Begin monitoring engagement metrics to evaluate (for the first time!) opens, clickthroughs, forwards, etc., start to correlate with feature adoption
  8. Continue to add clients, build out additional use cases, and evangelize Eloqua across the business

 

Response from the business (and users) has been overwhelmingly positive. We did succeed in hitting the entirety of our addressable market for these communications (i.e., >90%). We have eliminated all Account Manager intervention in these communications. And we’ve made significant progress securing client buy-in and building out real processes and workflows around our use of the platform, enabling future growth:

 

 

Credit is due to the Insight for Analyzers series for training us to build reports for measuring user engagement. The Technology Tenet was key in steering us through onboarding and configuration. And the Targeting Tenet influenced how we segment users, and has us thinking ahead as we aim to become more sophisticated and prolific in our use of Eloqua and other marketing tactics.

 

Next Steps

 

We are just scratching the surface of what Eloqua will help us accomplish. But we’ve started to steer the business towards greater automation, deeper analytics, and an increased focus on regularly and consistently engaging our users to ensure they understand the platform and how it helps them with their day-to-day. Our goals may differ in many cases from other organizations – this post is very much framed around successfully onboarding a new technology platform to replace antiquated processes – but every day we’re doing better at making the critical link between engagement and our ultimate goal of adoption and greater stickiness for our technology platform.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and look forward to answering any questions.

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