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.
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:
- Account Managers might not send our content to target users – we have no way of knowing either way
- Users might not bother viewing our content, or they might not find it useful – we have limited ways to gauge this
- Every client has a different Account Manager – this leaves room for inconsistent messaging that should otherwise be uniform
- 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.
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.
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:
- Start demoing Eloqua to stakeholders across the business to introduce the concept of marketing automation and secure buy-in
- Build out our instance with templatized content that can support the unique IT requirements of our client base
- Launch outreach for affirmative consent with assistance from our Account Managers, ensuring their involvement in this handoff
- Begin cleaning user data with a heavy focus on mapping user job roles, level of sophistication, usage history, etc.
- Upload user data and create simple campaigns that will be run on a recurring basis to share product updates and training schedules
- 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
- Begin monitoring engagement metrics to evaluate (for the first time!) opens, clickthroughs, forwards, etc., start to correlate with feature adoption
- 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.
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.