My work gives me the chance to meet with some of Australia and New Zealand’s leading marketers, some are CMO’s, some Marketing Directors and others, managers. I have a unique opportunity to support these marketers and their use of Oracle Eloqua.

My observations of these Marketing Automation practitioners & their degrees of success

Those with the greatest degree of success following similar processes. 

  1. They have strong executive support. For the larger clients, that person is the CMO or the National Marketing Director or for smaller clients it’s the Managing Director or General Manager.
  2. They have at least one, some have more, certified Eloqua Administrators. These people are Marketers, not someone in I.T. who may not have an appreciation for the CX objectives of the marketing team.
  3. They have Eloqua integrated with their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, or for higher education, their student management system.
  4. They acknowledge they can’t/don’t know everything about Marketing Automation and they engage the services of an Oracle Certified business partner like Marketing Cube, which is where I work, (Full Disclosure) to help deliver a CX centred solution. 

The value of your CRM data

While applications like Oracle Eloqua, Marketo and others can stand alone, you won’t really maximise their functionality until you integrate them with a CRM of some description.  In most cases, your marketing automation platform is not your ‘source of truth’. That usually belongs to the CRM, perhaps the ERP or additional platforms. 

The key is to source a marketing automation platform that easily connects to various systems, in various ways. Apps are great, they speed your configuration and enhance your ability to connect with various systems. In addition, SFTP is an economical and secure solution to move data from one location to another.

SOURCE-OF-TRUTH: One of the most common tasks, that I see companies struggle with, is creating a single list of all “customers”. It may sound simple, however it’s much harder than you would think for some larger organisations. I’d suggest your source-of-truth should not be the marketing automation platform.

My clients started with various campaigns, here’s a sample…

Most start here 

Initially, the heavy lifting is to take a clients current ‘always-on’ campaigns and replicate them in Eloqua. This is a chance to make improvements to the campaign, specifically to exploit Eloqua’s rich functionality, helping deliver a richer Customer Experience/CX.

Then most head in this direction

During the initial campaign build of the always-on campaigns, most clients move from an intellectually understanding of marketing automation, to a more tangible hands-on knowledge.

For larger marketing teams, there’s usually a divide. Those who “get it” and those who will probably never “get it”. The second group are those who just want to do as they’ve always done and really have no vision of what’s possible once they have access to great technology.

For those who get it, the fun starts as the team begins to see immediate application for more automated campaigns. It usually begins with the following:

  • Lead Nurturing Campaign
    • Nurturing leads is often a key objective for many new Eloqua customers. Automation and nurturing are like two peas in a pod. The key thing you will want to determine is what qualifies a person to enter and also exit the nurturing campaign. It sounds simple enough, but don’t underestimate the data you’ll need to from various sources, to drive the automation.
  • Onboarding Campaigns
    • Most clients start with a focus on new customers and designing an onboarding campaign to suit. They will then often expand to consider partners or even staff for additional onboarding campaigns.
    • Once you have some analytics and insight from the initial customer campaign, it becomes apparent that it’s time to explore creating parallel campaigns to onboard customers for specific product or service 
  • Newsletters
    • This should be amongst the easiest, but is often the hardest and generally has nothing to do with technology or marketing. The brick wall is often the people in the business who “own” the newsletter content, not the marketers being commissioned to build the newsletter campaigns.
    • The “business” believes their content is amazing and everyone in the database should be sent every newsletter. Why continue sending newsletter content to people who don’t open them? It’s no better than the paper based junk mail shoved into our letter boxes at home.

Gain insight with your own analytics

Once you have your marketing automation platform installed and you’re getting campaigns out the door, it would be remiss to take a moment and evaluate your own analytics. There is no shortage of organisations telling you what you should be doing, but why do so many people ignore the data right in front of them.

We used to call this “big data”, it has morphed into many buzzwords since then, however the underlying principle is still on the accurate.

For example, with Eloqua’s deep segmentation capability you can dig into your own “big data” and begin to uncover various audiences behaving in specific ways. You may have a range of website pages that are performing well amongst a specific subset of people.

Try this for a quick win

One common audience that I’ve made numerous clients aware of is what I call “the bottom of the barrel” audience.

This is a group of people, in all databases, that have have not been sent anything in 12+ months, they’ve not visited your website however they’re still subscribed and they have not opted out. They need to be re-engaged.

Two points to be made here:

  1. There’s a commercial cost to having these, unengaged people, sitting in your Eloqua database.
  2. Why on earth aren’t you communicating with them?

One cheeky example of a re-engagement campaign:

I recently received an email from a client, I’m known to them and I’m in their Eloqua database. The email was sent in November, the subject line was “Happy Birthday Derek”. November is not my birthday. The email read:

“We just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday from all the team at [CompanyName]! We hope the team at Bob’s Beverages give you the day off – and your favourite anchovy pizza!

Oh it’s not your birthday? Don’t even work for Bob? And hate Anchovies… well this is awkward.

Um, looks like we got it wrong. But we could get it wrong each time we email you if we don’t have the right information about you, or your business. Maybe this is good time to update your preferences so you’ll only hear about the things you’re interested in.”

My top 5 tips for the CMO

  1. Be clear on your objectives and have clarity around why Marketing Automation is needed at your organisation.
  2. Look for solid answers to questions, not “motherhood” statements that give you a sure knowledge around integration with your exisiting systems. If you current systems are old or dated e.g. not in the cloud, you may need to think broader than just Marketing Automation.
  3. As you begin to automate more, your need for “content” will exponentially increase – you need to start early to ensure your supply of content matches your marketing automation aspirations.
  4. My observation is that traditional “ad agencies” don’t really understand marketing automation and they are rarely across technical specifics unique to each platform whether it be Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot etc. Secure a technical agency to support you, who will work with your ad agency and is a team player.
  5. You need to bring your team along on the journey from basic email campaigns to smarter, more automated and more personalised campaigns. Get them involved in the process early, get them inspired and challenge their way of thinking, their world is about to change.