Managing change with Marketing Automation

Managing change can be a nightmare, however some people thrive on change. Others may work in a conservative organisation that almost forces a laggard approach which potentially drags out the change and prolongs the pain for much longer than is necessary.

How does this impact Marketers?

It’s my experience as we bring new customers onboard as Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud customers, one of the biggest hurdles is the paradigm shift needed from a “batch and send” email marketer to a “Modern Marketer” who engages based on a person’s digital body language, with both their implied and expressed preferences.

An email marketer generally works from a list, typically a static list. They email this list time and time again with a message or offer. The challenge with this approach is what can quickly become “channel fatigue”.

You probably experience this yourself, each morning you hit your inbox on your smart phone and scan through your emails. You will delete a large number of emails, but you won’t unsubscribe. Why? More about that later.

Lifting Skills and becoming Modern Marketers.

I’ve seen customers take various approaches to this challenge. One customer, from the construction industry, has brought in an external consultant to help their team develop their digital marketing skills to learn how to take advantage of the functional aspects of a Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud.

Another client, from the publishing industry, has specifically taken a slow and methodical approach to their campaign development. Three months after “Go Live” with Eloqua they’re essentially sending a single email to a single segment, versus using a multi-step campaign approach.

You could argue this is Outlook on steroids. Their approach is to build a digital body language repository eventually enabling them take a more Modern Marketing approach, or in other words, take advantage of the digital body language gathered over time and engage with contacts based on their implied areas of interest.

This “slow and methodical” approach does have merit for new Marketing Automation customers. While the goal is to use digital body language to drive the build of your target segments, you need to have data in place in order to segment by it.

This takes time, you need to have people open emails or submit a form in order for the Eloqua cookies to be loaded onto their PC/Mac. Only then, can you start to collect their digital body language.

Getting data right eases the change management pain.

One customer recently launched a new CRM and at the same time they launched Eloqua. You could call this a “change management perfect storm”. One of the key issues they faced was knowing exactly what they were segmenting by in Eloqua.

For other customers who have been using their CRM for some time, segmentation in Eloqua is easy because they know what the fields are, what the data means and how to get the best possible segment of people based on that data.

When you launch two new platforms at the same time, the marketing team has to become familiar with two systems. To add to the complexity, if field names are not labelled the same in both systems, stress is easily induced.

Key lesson here – carefully manage field names between both platforms to ensure continuity between both.

Why don’t we unsubscribe?

I’ve thought long and hard about this, as perhaps you have too. I’ve asked a few marketers this question about their own behaviour with emails in their inbox. One of the key reasons is the fear of “missing out”.

Something of real value may appear and you’ll miss it if you unsubscribe. It only takes a moment to glance at the email, gauge it’s content and value and then it’s a simple task to delete it. What about your subscribers? What are they doing?

How do you engage this less active audience?

I think the question is better stated “Should you engage this audience?”. The other criteria is to first identify this audience. You can see in the Eloqua Segmentation screen shot below how we’ve built a segment to try and identify our less active contacts and the operators we’ve used to do that.

We begin with identifying our Prospect contacts, we want to include Prospects who have been sent at least three emails and have not been flagged as a soft bounce-back i.e. no out of office messages or full in boxes.

Then, we’re looking at Prospects who have received an email, but not clicked through on a link in the email, not visited any landing pages/micro-sites or submitted any forms.

Basic Segmentation

What are we going to do with this less active segment?

We have a few ideas. One is to produce a direct mail campaign i.e. snail mail and incorporate the Eloqua PURL (Personalised URL) feature to encourage these people to specifically subscribe to email groups.

In our case, that will probably be our Events and Newsletter email groups/subscriptions. I’ll share the results with you in a future blog post, at this stage it will be a few months away.

Top 5 Considerations

  1. When bringing data into Eloqua ask yourself “how will this data help me segment and personalise my communications with prospects and customers?”
  2. Start with a “safe” campaign, with a “safe” audience. An internal campaign to staff is a great place to start.
  3. Carefully think through data sources. Which systems, beyond the CRM, could add value for marketers in their efforts to personalise communications.
  4. Broaden your thinking to include campaigns to educate and support prospects, customers, business partners and internal staff.
  5. Any list of considerations around digital marketing/marketing automation has to include Social. Work Social into your strategy, don’t let it be a standalone part of your digital marketing.
Oracle OpenWorld 2014