12 Months Later: Oracle Marketing Cloud

Data management platforms, marketing automation, Modern Marketing, form processing, plenty of wait steps, segmentation and custom data objects. 

12 months in with Marketing Cube and these are just a few of the topics that I discuss on a daily basis with my clients, sales partners and co-workers. 

Half of these I was very new to after entering the IT world arriving from a digital marketing background in a completely different industry. However, with numerous meetings sitting with a blank look on my face and intense research involving reading, watching youtube how-to videos, blogging and most importantly listening and note taking, I am now confident to not only discuss but provide an opinion on the subject.

So here we go, these are just of my takes on all things marketing automation and then following this blog I will provide one on my social year in a glance. These include best practice, common mistakes and where to from here.

 Oracle Marketing Cloud Eloqua 

Understanding marketing automation was one thing, learning how to use one of the top Enterprise platforms was another.

The power of Eloqua is amazing, from HTML responsive design, back-end form processing, complex campaign building and deep Insight reporting.

Challenges faced included learning all the jargon and names associated with all assets and then understanding how integration with 3rd party applications are worked into Eloqua. Once you get your head around how it all operates though, you really can start to appreciate how Oracle have made it as easy as possible to run all your marketing campaigns from a single location

The latest user interface has made the platform easier to use. Eloqua appears sleeker, modernised and displays your home dashboard in an easy to use and creative way. For example, one of the new features from the home dashboard is to easily see what campaigns you have that are active, whats scheduled and what has just been completed.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 2.25.56 PM

Forms & Segments

Besides the actual campaign canvas, forms and segments in my opinion is where someone learning Eloqua should spend most of their time.

Why? Form processing steps can control your event submissions, send contacts to multiple campaigns, be it another event or a lead nurturing campaign, as well as control your subscription base.

Forms aren’t restricted to appearing on a simple landing page. One single form can be listed and tracked throughout your website, you can host a survey or competition (we recently created a custom form that allows for images to be uploaded directly through the form) and forms can be used for social leads.

Smarter Segmenting is key to using Eloqua. Too often I notice clients who have uploaded contacts and batch and blast their campaigns. This is commonly referred to internally as buying a car that has the power of a Ferrari but operating it as you would an old school Golf.

The greatest results we notice is sending less emails but to those who have been targeted through the use of filters. For instance, you can integrate your Oracle Sales Cloud or Salesforce to a segment through a custom data object, and then dig deeper. Maybe find everyone labelled a prospect and who have engaged with you by visiting your website over the last 6 months.

Tip: use lead score as filter. Communicate with those from A1 – B4 specifically so you can target highly engaged users.  

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 1.37.33 PM (1)

Email Design 

I have a background in Kitchen Design using CAD software so this area of Eloqua was easily the most natural. HTML is not a strength yet, potentially I might try take a course this year, however I will just discuss the drag and drop interface.

Building an email is simple enough using drag and drop, selecting images and using the tools section to move your objects around. However, not everything is told to you in the help guides. As most users would know, the drag and drop interface is not responsive yet so building out emails needs to be thought out in a way where they will best appear on multiple email clients.

This means uploading the images at the size you need and not resizing them once dragged into the email. A tip here is when uploading images that at the end of the description you always include the size so you can view the alt text before selecting it into the email e.g. BANNER Marketing Cube 600x150pxl

There are two common mistakes I see. Firstly, not using padding around text, so at times the text disappears out of the box. The other is not using aligning text boxes and images in a grid format.

Eloqua drag and drop design emails are built on a horizontal grid format. This means that if you don’t line up text and images in a perfectly horizontal placement then they can appear different on email clients such as Outlook and Gmail. See screenshots below for example.

Text Boxes and Images Perfectly Aligned
Text Boxes and Images Perfectly Aligned
Text Boxes and Images out of alignment by 1pxl
Text Boxes and Images out of alignment by 1pxl

Where can one improve?

So your company has purchased Eloqua or maybe even another SaaS platform and this is the first time you’ve used this technology before.

A comment I sometimes here from clients is “We’ve implemented this system to make things easier, yet I feel I’m still doing the same amount of work.”  The answer we usually provide here is that yes, you’ve implemented the software but you aren’t using Eloqua’s capabilities to its potential.

For example, the clients still design every email from scratch, build from blank campaigns, build from blank forms and populate new segments. All these things take time and one strong suggestion to remedy this is to build templates!

I strongly encourage every user to take a step back for a minute, scope their marketing plan, determine which emails and campaigns will follow a similar structure and then design a template that can be used every time you build one of these campaigns.

Example, our Meetups, user groups, webinars, newsletters all have template forms, landing pages and emails where we can go in and swap out information for each piece. This frees up time to focus on building our content, develop our marketing strategy and of course spend more time with our clients face-to-face.

Summary:

Yes, Eloqua can appear a handful at first however, with practice and patience it won’t take long to feel comfortable in the marketing automation environment.

I did have added benefits learning from two of the best in the business being Derek Bell and Adrian Jones however even they encouraged me to discover what I could on my own.

Most importantly, this is why I’m a consultant, so if you need a hand or some advice on your next campaign, I’m only a call or email away.