Your ability to target an audience or segment with a key message is a fundamental attribute of a modern marketer.

The days of spraying your message across TV, billboards, banner ads, magazines and perhaps your entire email database are so over, it’s not funny. But why do some treat their email database as like this?

Your email database needs to be treated with respect & increasing regulatory changes across multiple countries is making this an even greater pressing business need.

After all, your contact database is made up of people, people who at some point have expressed interest in your organisation and perhaps even purchased products or services from you, or perhaps donated to your cause.

Most marketers will have their database divided into segments. There can be any range of data points you use to create these segments. Customers v’s prospects. Those who have purchased one product over another. You may break your segment down by gender, although that’s perhaps a little antiquated. 

What is a market segment?

“A market segment is a group of people who share one or more common characteristics, lumped together for marketing purposes. Each market segment is unique, and marketers use various criteria to create a target market for their product or service. Marketing professionals approach each segment differently, after fully understanding the needs, lifestyles, demographics, and personality of the target consumer.”

SOURCE: Investopedia

Geography may be another i.e. why push a “Spring Sale” to a global database when half of the planet is in Autumn/Fall. You just look like you have no idea or worse, you don’t care. Personally I wish Abercrombie & Fitch and many clothing labels would somehow let me tell them I’m not interested in women’s clothes. I’m very comfortable telling them I’m male or if that’s perhaps too much information, they could let me tell them which parts of their range I’m interested in.

That’s got more to do with Preference Management, you can read more about that in my previous blog post “Give people a chance to share their preferences, make it simple.

Back to segment marketing….

All of the above is essentially driven by explicit data or what you might call profile data. It’s explicit in the sense that it’s obvious or even clear-cut. The person is either a customer or they’re not. They live in Australia or they don’t. They purchased product X or they did not. They’re either a millennial or they’re not. 

Creating segments based on the above is fairly one dimensional, static or still. However we all know that humans are rarely these things, their preferences change, their situation changes. Years ago I read an article where Facebook was able to predict the change in a persons relationship status by the sentiment of language used in their posts and then with the addition of the “relationship status” profile update, people freely disclosed their most intimate of details.

Oracle Eloqua marketers can segment on more than just profile data 

The extent to which you can build segments based on profile data will be driven by the quality of your first-party data. Eloqua can take that a step further allowing you the ability to segment based on both profile data and what we call Digital Body Language™. 

Creating Eloqua Segments with Digital Body Language

Making the shift from static lists to dynamic segments that include Digital Body Language can be a paradigm shift for many marketers. 

Add to this, pressure from the business to “email the entire database”, any change you make to your audience make up can bring some business challenges.

If the business doesn’t have the head space to appreciate that improved segment marketing will improve overall engagement, I’d suggest you start by altering your Eloqua campaign canvas, using observed Digital Body Language on the canvas v’s changing your audience.

Essentially your Segments remain the same, however, you can use the canvas to alter the experience, see the better example below. 

As far as the business is concerned, the segment size remains the same in both examples.

Gain advantage from understanding Digital Body Language

Reading and responding to your prospects’ digital buying behaviour

How does Eloqua track behaviour?

When you visit a website with the Oracle Eloqua asynchronous tracking scripts deployed, cookies are placed in your browser. 

Cookies help identify you as a website visitor according to your specific browser and computer combination in the event that you return to this domain.

As visitors browse your website, Eloqua uses cookies and the visitor’s IP address to build a visitor record. 

Eloqua cookies remain in the browser until the visitor deletes them or for 13 months.

These cookies also help Eloqua understand your email engagement, opens and click-through behaviour.

What does Eloqua’s Campaign Canvas or Multi-Step Campaign look like with Digital Body Language in place?

The two examples below show a better and poor example of a marketer using Eloqua’s campaign canvas or multi-step campaign to alter the customer experience (CX). 

If you’re an Eloqua customer and the poor example is as far as you’ve managed to get with Eloqua, there’s do much available to help you. 

A fairly basic example of a Campaign using Digital Body Language to adjust the CX.

This is an example of what could really be the most basic of campaigns you might run using Eloqua. It’s sends an email to two groups (segments) of people. We use an app, the Contact Washing Machine, to scrub the first name field to ensure it’s proper-case. 

The mail is then sent, we wait for a period of time and then we observe behaviour, or the lack of behaviour and send a second email to those people who did not open the first email. 

This is Marketing Automation at its most basic.

A poor example of an Eloqua Campaign. This is a wasted opportunity.

If this is how you’re using Eloqua, you have to reach out for some help. You can do the above with Outlook or even MailChimp.

In my experience, the above use of the Campaign Canvas indicates that there is a disconnect between what the business purchased from Oracle and what the marketers have been briefed on.

There’s so much lost opportunity here. I spend my days at work, Marketing Cube, helping Oracle Eloqua clients build engaging, dynamic campaigns. 

Three different ways to improve your overall campaign performance while using Digital Body Language

These suggestions are made based on experience and are directed to those marketing to people that involves a high-value purchase decision. 

I prefer to not label this as B2B or B2C, it’s not that simple. I think it’s more about the buyer’s journey. 

That journey is either “won & done” or it’s a protracted, lengthy experience.

For example, if you’re looking to buy a four bedroom home most would label you as a consumer/B2C and if you’re shopping for a $49 airfare or a pair of Levis you’re also labelled a consumer/B2C.

I’d suggest the purchase process of the four bedroom home and the $49 airfare/Levis are so different that labelling them collectively as “B2C” is limiting and ignores the nuances of the buyer’s journey. 

One is “won & done” and the other is a complex, protracted journey.

Newsletter subscribers

Newsletters are typically sent on a set schedule of a static group of people, hopefully you’re using Eloqua subscription capability i.e. Email Groups to entice people to subscribe to your newsletter/s.

Try this for a change:

  1. Create a three or six month rotating schedule for the delivery of your newsletter. I’m assuming you send your newsletter once a month.
  2. In month one, all subscribers are sent your email.
  3. In month two, you may do the same.
  4. In month three, seperate out the people who did not open the previous two newsletters. Create two newsletters for that month with one being BAU (business as usual) however the second newsletter is sent to those who did not open the newsletter in month one or two.

    Include past articles in this newsletter, recycle your content. Include a nice big heading, “Here’s what you missed in the past two editions”. Include a CTA (call-to-action) with language like “Update your preferences” or “Have your preferences changed?”. You need to have a Preference Centre in place to make that happen.

  5. In month four and five, go back to sending the same newsletter to all subscribers.
  6. In month six, it’s time for a change. Isolate those people who have not opened anything in the past five months and be very direct with them. “Is what we’re sending you still relevant?”, “Visit our Preference Centre and tell us what you’d like to hear about”. 

Once you’ve completed this cycle you need to make some hard decisions about removing some people from your newsletter subscription. 

If you continue sending emails to a group who don’t open them, you’re really just throwing junk mail in their inbox. It’s of no value to them and of no value to you. 

Lead Nurturing Campaigns

By definition a lead nurturing campaign is designed to support a person through their buying decision process. 

The objective of any lead nurturing campaign is to progress a known prospect from their initial enquiry through to a purchase.

Lead nurturing is not lead generation. Lead generation comes first.

A good lead nurturing campaigns consists of great content designed to answer the questions most commonly asked by a person looking to purchase your products or services.

Another way to look at a lead nurturing campaign is to understand the challenges and objections typically experienced by people buying your products or services and providing solutions to their business problem.

I’m firmly of the opinion that a person or company won’t spend money until they identify they have a problem, and that problem is causing pain or discomfort.

As you take that person through your nurturing campaign watch their engagement and adjust the flow of the campaign based on their engagement. 

For example:

  1. For those that open every email, adjust the velocity of their flow through the campaign and decrease the time between your comms.
  2. For those who are not opening emails, you should consider removing them from the primary campaign and moving them to a different canvas with a slower cadence of communications or even forwarding them to a call centre or the sales team. It may be that email is not the best way to reach this person.

Event Registration

Events, whether they be webinars, small in-person events or large annual conferences are perfect examples of where observing Digital Body Language, at all stages of the journey, can shape the remainder of the journey.

Let’s start at the beginning, who qualifies for an invitation to your event?

  1. The sales team will probably suggest you invite anyone with a heart beat, you need to push back on that.
  2. Trim down the list from the sales team to those who are currently involved in a known buyers journey e.g. current leads they are working with.
  3. You may also have customers with product X and given the event focusses on product Y, there’s a cross-sell opportunity

Have you identified that all of the above have nothing to do with Digital Body Language? It’s all profile based. 

That’s ok, if it’s a high cost in-person event, you need to carefully craft your intended audience/segment.

However, there’s a lost opportunity if you ignore Digital Body Language.

For example, try this to build an additional segment to the one above.

  1. Build a segment that returns all contacts who have looked at specific pages of your website that relate to the topic being covered at the upcoming event. You can then break this group down with further filters e.g. customers v’s prospects.
  2. Build a segment that returns all contacts who have engaged in recent campaigns that relate to the topic being covered at the upcoming event. Focus on those who clicked on key topics and then, if you need a bigger audience, those who opened relevant emails.

That’s one way to include Digital Body Language into the audience/segment building process of your next event.

My top 5 tips for better Oracle Eloqua segments

  1. It’s my experience, having worked with many Eloqua customers over the years, that the above requires a paradigm shift. You need to shift your thinking from campaigns driven by static lists of people based only on profile data and compliment that thinking with the inclusion of Digital Body Language as part of your campaigns. 
  2. There will be many Eloqua campaigns that you deliver that will see a reasonable amount of repetition in the building of your segment/audience. Create Segment Templates to help ensure consistency and accuracy. Templates are a great way to also ensure that exclusions are remembered as part of your segment build process.
  3. Don’t keep doing what you’ve always done and expect a different result. Make time to analyse your audience, their behaviour, track open rates and think about presenting different messages to different segments using Dynamic Content. Remember, you can use Dynamic Content in Email Subject Lines.
  4. Become familiar with the Eloqua Multi-Step Campaign Canvas Elements. You want to understand the Decisions and Actions elements, these two focus on behaviour/Digital Body Language.
  5. As modern marketers our job is have people read our content, our job not to simply send emails. As we get excited about unique open rates of perhaps 30% – 40%, we need to remember that 60% – 70% of people aren’t opening our content, they’re not seeing what we have on offer.