Eloqua Common Mistakes Series: Segmentation Strategy

Having a segmentation strategy has always been a marketing basic.  Long before Eloqua, or even the internet, identifying your top, key audiences and what messages you should convey to them has been core to marketing.  And of course, many still do this today, and even take it farther with “Buyer Persona’s” and additional levels of segmentation.

However, despite its long and common history, many today have become so enamored with technology, that they have forgotten to invest time in this basic requirement.

Can you, off the top of your head,

  • List your top 3-6 audience segments or Buyer Personas?
  • State the primary messages and goals for each?
  • Know exactly and easily how to pull them out of Eloqua?
  • Have a rough idea of the quantities in each?

If you haven’t covered this basic, but are working on other things more advanced; Stop.  Get this right.  Then resume your next fancy technical initiative.

Other Segments to Consider:

  • Industry. You can use standard definitions of industries like the North American Industry Classification System or create your categories (e.g., venture-backed enterprise software startup companies funded in the last 24 months).
  • Geography. The most popular options for geographic segmentation are country, state/province, city, and postal code.
  • Job Level. Choose prospects with Manager or VP in their titles (e.g., sales manager, sales VP).
  • Job Role. Choose prospects in Sales or Marketing (e.g. marketing VP, Sr Director of Sales).
  • Activity. Choose segments based on their engagement with your marketing (e.g., prospects who have attended a webinar).

 Use An External Tool

If you are working with large marketing lists with more than 10,000 contacts, then manual segmentation may be challenging. To help marketers discover new marketing segments, we developed 4Segments. It allows you to visually review your segmentation options, so you can visualize your segments and how they interact with each other.  In addition, 4Thought Marketing offers Job Title Beautification and Normalization apps for Eloqua that cleanup the job title field so you can easily segment by job level and job role.


Marketing automation systems and tools are powerful technologies that can help drive desired outcomes.  However, don’t get distracted by shiny new tools or grow hesitant from past mistakes.  As discussed here, start with good segmentation grounded in a well-crafted segmentation strategy.


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