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How Fiber Networks can trigger the use of query strings, field merges, hidden fields and picklists..

Fiber Networks are the future and therefore deserve a major focus in marketing. This is the case at the B2B digital marketing department of the telco company I work at. But how are our fiber networks connected to custom object records, query strings, field merges, hidden fields and picklists in Eloqua? You’ll find out in this blog post.

A bit of context

Since the beginning of 2017, our company has been rolling out its fiber network in Belgium. And we are adding (both residential and) company sites to the new fiber network almost daily. I will elaborate on company sites only, because we are the B2B department and therefore only know the detailed situation for this part of the project.

Having ‘technical access’ to the new network does not mean you are connected yet, though. Companies should actually choose to make use of the network by opting for a fiber subscription. It is only then that the fiberglass laying in the streets is pulled inside the company building. At B2B marketing, one of our jobs is to activate organizations to subscribe to fiber, and we do so by sending emails with, of course, Eloqua. Every two weeks, we send out an activation email to a new wave of customers. Logically, we do not target all our customers: only the companies for which fiber has become available on their address in the past two weeks, or companies for which fiber has been available for a longer time but have not yet subscribed to the fiber network.

The customer journey

When customers receive the activation mailing, their journey goes as follows:

  1. When the customer is interested, they can click the button in the email, with call-to-action “Ask Your Price”.
  2. They arrive on an Eloqua landing page that contains a form.
  3. The form on the landing Page is already pre-filled with the following data: Salutation, First Name, Last Name, Phone Country Code, Phone Number, Email Address. We also leave some space for comments or questions. Almost all form fields are visible, so they can adapt the data if needed. Email Address, however, is a hidden form field: we have sent the email to this Email Address so nothing should change (and we want to keep the amount of form fields as low as possible…). There is a second Hidden Form Field, which I will tell you about in a minute!*
  4. Once the customer submits the form, an automated Eloqua mailing will be sent to one of our so-called ‘Fiber Teams’. They will pick up the customer to do the follow-up.

But that’s where the problem comes in…

We have 6 Fiber Teams in our company, operating each in another part of the country (we call them ‘fiber zones’). Each Fiber Team uses a separate email address for follow-up. With each submission, we want the customer to be matched to the right Fiber Team email address automatically, based on their physical site address. In other words, a confirmation email needs to be sent to the right Fiber Team email address. When we tried to make this conditional in the processing steps of the form, the confirmation email was either sent to only one of the email addresses, or to all 6. So, we needed another option to fix this.

Here’s what we did:

With knowledge acquired during the Eloqua Luminary courses, we set up a workaround for the issue that I just mentioned. I will give a step-by-step explanation:

1. The first step in this workaround was to upload new records (coming from Excel) in the CDO, having 2 columns:

  • The email address of the customers we want to send an email to.
  • The number that corresponds to their fiber zone (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6)

2. Second, we created two Field Merges:

  • 1. Name: “FiberZone”; Merge From: Query String; fiberzone
  • 2. Name: “FiberCode”; Merge From: Custom Object Field; fibercode


3. In the email, behind the CTA button, we composed the link as follows: <URL of landing page>?fiberzone=<Field Merge “fibercode”>

4. By doing this, when the customer clicked the button, he was redirected to the landing page, but the URL had the addition of “?fiberzone=” + a number from 1 to 6 (the corresponding fibercode). And here’s when the second Hidden Field* comes in!

5. In our form, we put a hidden field named “Fiber Zone Hidden Field”. Setting of this field were:

  • HTML Name: fiberzone
  • Prepopulate field data: Field Merge “fibercode”


In other words, because of these settings this field was automatically filled out based on the number in the URL (corresponding fibercode).

6. In the form processing steps, we added the step “Send Notification Email”. In this step, our settings were as follows: “Use a picklist to select the email address.” + Fiber Zone Hidden Field + the right picklist. Of course, this means we also created a picklist that matched the numbers 1 to 6 to the exact email address of the corresponding Fiber Team. Two of the reasons why we used numbers instead of the email addresses in the first place, are:

  • Our URL would have gotten longer.
  • Email addresses would have been visible in the URL, which is never desired.

7. When the customer submits the form, the above-mentioned processing step makes sure that a notification email address is sent to the right Fiber Team email address, based on the picklist (of numbers 1 to 6 and matched email addresses) we created.

Conclusion: From now on, each customer is sent to the right Fiber Team email address! Quicker follow-up is guaranteed!

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