Plan Your Eloqua SFDC Integration App Migration

sfdc integration

Planning For Your Eloqua SFDC Integration App Migration

Now that support for the Oracle Eloqua SFDC native integration has ended, you should start considering how and when to migrate to the new SFDC Integration App.

Why is Oracle Making this Change?

The new SFDC Integration App offers several improvements over the now unsupported native integration.  For complete details of the announcement, please refer to the product notice.  Here are some of the key benefits of using the new app:

  • Uses the Program Canvas, a much faster way to process information
  • The interface is similar to the Campaign Canvas, making it easier to set up and maintain
  • Offers more frequent inbound updates from Salesforce to Eloqua
  • Supports multiple SFDC instances
  • Improved filtering to prevent sending test data
  • And most importantly, only the new Salesforce Integration App will see new enhancements and improvements

It’s Never Too Late to Start Planning

Your existing integration will continue to work after Feb 1, 2021, but Oracle no longer provides support or updates.  You can run both the native and new SFDC Integration App at the same time, making migration and testing much more straightforward.  However, unless you migrate to the new SFDC Integration App, you won’t be able to leverage new features and performance enhancements.  Even if you don’t plan to move right away, you should begin planning now and get prepared.

SFDC Integration App Considerations

  • The feeder to export data from Eloqua to SFDC only runs once per day. If you need more frequent exports, you can add a processing step to each form or add processing to other programs or campaigns, or consider using our Contact Cloud Feeder App, which allows feeds to the Program Canvas as frequently as every 5 minutes.
  • The program canvas does not allow the use of a Match or Deduplication rule.
  • You must use SFDC Object Query Language (SOQL) to filter imports into Eloqua from SFDC
  • Installing App in Eloqua Sandbox require separate production installation and configuration.
  • Form submit marketing activity will not be available until the May 2020 (20B) release

Migration Planning

As you look towards migration, we recommended the following steps.

Learn about the new SFDC Integration App

Review the SFDC Integration App documentation, training courses, FAQs, and community discussions.

Carefully document your current integration

The first step with any migration project is to review your existing data and processes.  Take care to examine your existing inbound auto-syncs your outbound processing, and document all of the steps and processing rules in all current Program Builder programs – Don’t forget Campaign integration, Campaign Responses, and Opportunity processing.  Also, use this opportunity to re-examine your existing integration confirm it’s functioning efficiently for your current business processes.  If it’s been running for more than 12 months, this is an excellent opportunity to check in with all stakeholders to see if modifications are appropriate.

Install and configure the SFDC Integration App

Then the next step is to install and configure the SFDC Integration App.  If required, ensure you complete any required internal application and security testing before installing new applications, and factor this into your schedule.  Start by installing in your Eloqua Sandbox environments if you have one, and connecting to a test SFDC instance.

Test, test and more testing

Carefully test the SFDC Integration App in your sandbox.  Create a test plan that includes data sent from Eloqua and how it should appear in SFDC and visa versa.  Walkthrough each scenario and make sure it’s working as expected.  Examine any discrepancies, and identify the cause, make the necessary corrections and retest.  We can’t stress enough the importance of documenting each test and results, and the proposed changes.  Involve SFDC users who may spot irregularities from their typical workflow.

Go live in production and monitor

Install and configure the SFDC Integration App in your production environment. Disable your auto-syncs and enable the SFDC Integration App.  Monitor daily for two weeks or more.    Setup an escalation plan and outline how teams should report any issues they encounter.

Conclusion

If you use Program Builder to process data, start preparing now, even if you don’t plan to migrate immediately.  The Program Canvas is currently not at parity with Program Builder, so you’ll need to plan for how to address these gaps.  There are many ways to bridge these gaps, including additional cloud apps.  Eventually, Oracle may end support for Program Builder, so the work you do now will help down the road.

At 4Thought Marketing, we’re already helping clients upgrade to the new SFDC Integration App, and migrate from using Program Builder to Program Canvas. We’ve helped many Eloqua customers integrate with their CRM.  Our expertise covers all phases of your migration project, from a simple “as-is” move to the new apps to full optimization to meet all current requirements.

Let us know how we can help.  Contact Us if you would like to speak with our team of experts.


Shared Email Addresses and Eloqua – Top 5 Considerations to Get it Right

Shared Email Addresses Many to One

Shared Email Addresses and Eloqua – Top 5 Considerations

Most Eloqua users probably are aware that each Contact record in Eloqua has a unique email address.  Oracle Eloqua doesn’t allow different individuals to share a common email address or receive their own unique email – at least not with ‘out of the box’ functionality.

Your customers aren’t bound by these rules. There are cases where multiple people may share an email address such as household members, or a single person may wear enough hats to require more than one record in Eloqua.

Sharing Email Addresses

Some examples:

  • Cruise Ships. A family may book their reservation using a single email address, but you need to send itineraries and special event information to each individual in the household
  • Education. Parents of multiple children need information about each of their kids’ school activities
  • Auto dealerships. A vehicle owner needs to be kept informed about services for multiple vehicles
  • Corporations. A large company with multiple business units needs to email business unit-specific information to a shared lead

In these cases, it often is necessary to use Custom Objects (COs or Custom Data Objects) to store the information about each individual.

Check out this video for more Many-to-One Email Address use cases.

Five things you need to do if you want to market to customers with a shared email addresses in Oracle Eloqua

#1: Consider All Your Data Sources

How you load the data matters.  If you use Oracle Eloqua CO to store individual data (for example product preference, job title, or area of interest) you will need to find a way to create and/or update the CO when you get new information. Data in Oracle Eloqua comes primarily from three places: Form Submissions, List Uploads, and CRM integration.  Each input source has its own set of concerns to consider.  For example, if you are doing a list upload, do you want to create a new CO each time?  What is the unique ID for the CO and can the list upload determine if one already exists? 

If the source of the data is a form submission or CRM integration, you’ll want to answer the same questions.

#2: Pay attention When Integrating with Your CRM

In the same way you need to determine if a CO should be created or updated, you’ll need to understand what records will be created or updated in the CRM. Just like a standard CRM integration, you need to look at the business rules for creating and updating Leads and Contacts in the CRM, and retrieving that data back into Eloqua.  Many-to-One scenarios make these decisions a little more complex because you also have to understand which fields go to the Contact, and which go to the Lead CO.  


For example, First Name and Last Name belong at the Eloqua Contact.  But what about Lead Score – that is probably linked to the Lead, as is Lead Status.  And then you have other fields such as preferences or whether the individual is a customer.  You need to look at the business use of these fields to determine if they are at the Lead or Contact level.

These are just a few of the many situations where your CRM integration will need to be examined even more closely than before.

#3: Revisit How You Manage Subscriptions, Preferences and Opt Outs

When two or more people share an email address and one globally unsubscribes, all individuals linked to that email address will automatically be unsubscribed. 

One way to get around this is to use Preference Management. This way each individual can identify which emails they would like to receive, and which they don’t.  This introduces a new layer of complexity when segmenting data for campaigns.

#4: Revisit Lead Scoring

How you score and how you store these scores needs to be addressed  Just as you’ll want to manage email preferences on an individual basis, you may want to score each individual separately from others who share the same email address.

#5: Be Deliberate with Segmentation and Personalization Merges

When you have multiple COs for a single email address, and want to use data from the CO for field merge purposes – e.g. start the email with “Hi [fname]”, you’ll need a mechanism to perform the following functions:

  • Find all Contacts who meet your campaign segmentation criteria
  • Find the correct CO record from which to pull the data to be used on the field merge
  • Move the data from the CO to the Contact

You’ll then want to cycle through the COs in case there are multiple CO records that meet your campaign criteria.

The Many-to-One Email cloud app from 4Thought Marketing meets all of the segmentation and field merger criteria described here, and more. 

One More Thing…

Finally, you’ll want to take a careful look at your other data flow processes to identify those that would be impacted by sharing email addresses. 

Going down the household email path requires expertise – but it can be done. 

4Thought Marketing has successfully implemented Many-to-One email processes for B2B and B2C clients.  We take a holistic approach to your problem. We’ll  help you clearly define your needs and then determine if Many-to-One is right for you.  Just like you, we don’t want to make your life more complicated than it already is…but if you have complex business needs, we’re there to help simplify where possible.

For more information call us at 1-888-356-7824, or contact us  and we’ll get in touch shortly.


Checklist for Choosing an Eloqua Marketing Agency

choosing an eloqua marketing agency

Imagine this.

You are a marketing operations professional who, along with your colleagues, manages your marketing technology systems’ day-to-day operations. Your responsibilities run from consulting with internal customers on new projects to building out campaigns, measuring performance, and scheduling campaign review meetings.

While your product marketing and creative teams develop the ideas, you make them real with email campaigns, landing pages, lead scoring models, and CRM integrations- to mention just a few things you do every day.  

While your colleagues are at the helm, steering your company down the correct course, you’re ensuring the marketing engine runs at peak performance and delivering leads to sales.

By the end of the day, you’re tired, overworked, and definitely in need of another espresso shot. Are you and your marketing operations teammates tapped out, trying to keep up with increasing demand? Are you spending too much time on tactical execution and not enough on defining your marketing operations strategy?  How do you achieve your marketing goals while not overworking yourself or overburdening your team?

Your first instinct might be to discuss options for hiring another marketing operations expert like yourself. You’ve been down this path before.  Even in the best of times, it takes time to develop a job description, get approval to hire, recruit, interview, extend offers, and onboard a new employee.

Or you could consider engaging a marketing agency that specializes in Eloqua and Marketing operations.   In this article, we’ll explore a list of questions you should consider when choosing an Eloqua marketing agency for either the short- or the long-term.

Checklist for picking an Eloqua marketing agency

To borrow an axiom, make your requirements list and check it twice. Follow along with this checklist when reviewing potential Eloqua marketing agencies to make sure they hit all the marks.  But remember, your company is unique, and what might work for others may not satisfy your needs.  So take the time to consider your requirements carefully.

Skills Inventory and Requirements

Determining where you have gaps with your current resources is probably the most critical step in hiring an Eloqua agency.  There are two distinct steps in this process:

  1. Determining the skills you need and then documenting why you need them
  2. Match the required skills to agencies with expertise in those areas

Start with a list of general needs for your team. It’s essential to articulate the “why” column fully.  No one has unlimited resources, so having the “why” clearly identified will help drive decision-making.  Below is an example of a skills needs analysis.

Skills Areas

Skill Area Description Level Required Why?
Strategic Guidance Customer Journey Mapping, Buyer Personas, MA Plans, Goal alignment, Funnel Definition,   MUCH more. None – we’ve got this covered Have primary and multiple backup resources
Eloqua –Technical Capabilities Adv Lead Scoring, Nurturing, Admin, Custom Objects, Contact Level Security, Basic Integrations Low – not likely to need help Primary  and backup resource
Project Management Wrangle team members, budgets, metrics, reporting. Medium—need all the time One resource only
Email Creation    
  Email Design The ability to layout appealing emails, landing pages and create beautiful graphics for them.  High—a big gap that must fill UX designer promoted, no current expertise
  Responsive Design Creation of Emails/Landing pages that visually lays out as designed for Laptops, Phones, Pads, all at once. None – we’ve got this covered Primary and backup resource
  Campaign Execution Someone to create campaigns does import Low – not likely to need help Primary  and backup resource
Special Skills      
Software Development Custom development using APIs, Javascript, creating Cloud Apps, developing advanced Integrations Medium—need all the time One resource, no backup
Legal and Privacy Compliance Knowing how to implement GDPR, CASL, CCPA, + other pertinent laws High—a big gap that must fill No current expertise
       

Remember, nobody is equally good at everything.  Which is is also true of am Eloqua agencies.  The more an agency is aligned with your platform and specializes in the skills you need, the better off you’ll be.

Skill Definitions

But what do each of the above-listed skills mean, broken out at a deeper level? Let’s go through them one by one!

Strategic Guidance:

Having a well-defined campaign strategy and mapping it to your operational objectives is imperative.  You may find yourself needing help building a cohesive strategy or taking your current approach and using it to guide your marketing technology purchases and implementation.

Interfacing with the CMO and aligning marketing operations with your marketing strategy requires a unique skill set.  Choose a marketing agency with competencies that range from strategic consulting at an executive level down to tactical integration to connect your systems and data to achieve your strategic goals.

Examples of the areas and projects a Strategic Specialist would lead.

Eloqua Technical Capabilities

Deep Eloqua abilities are a must as this software is the backbone of your marketing automation. Your preferred marketing agency must be able to use Eloqua effectively to execute your marketing campaigns and deliver marketing-qualified leads to sales.

Project management

Almost everyone can manage a project. But, if many projects are going on at once or if the project has complex requirements, putting someone with exceptional Project Management (PM) skills leading the work can dramatically improve on-time performance.

PM is a unique skill best handled by someone who is first very personable, backed by a strong PM skillset. It requires excellent leadership, communication, negotiating, and critical thinking abilities.

Email Design

Design is a deep-rooted aspect of every marketing campaign. If your emails or graphics look sloppy, have not aged well, or are low-quality, it reflects poorly on your company and makes for a less-effective campaign.

If you are already partnered with a digital agency or have internal resources that can design emails, graphics, and landing pages for you, that is fantastic. But if not, you should look for this skill in your next marketing agency.

Responsive Design

It’s not uncommon for someone to scan an email on a mobile device and then make a note to review later on their desktop or laptop.  If an email arrives on mobile that is difficult to read, you’re just a simple swipe away from dropping into the trash.  Responsive design ensures your message is easily read on any device.

Campaign Execution

Consistently and reliably cranking out large numbers of campaigns is a skill in and of itself.  If getting quantities of work out the door is a critical part of your need, specifically put this proven ability on your checklist.  Verify that each of your agency options does this for other companies routinely.  You don’t want to be the one they learn on!

Software Development

As with all automation processes, there is always a technical side that requires understanding, configuration, and programming. Experience with the Eloqua API and building cloud apps is a must. While Oracle Eloqua is a fantastic platform, you should think outside the box to meet new requirements.  Some ideas may result in needing to extend Eloqua with custom add-ons.  An agency that can help you achieve your objectives with custom apps tells you they are serious about marketing operations and satisfying your requirements.

Increasingly, marketing operations work very closely with the privacy office to satisfy current and emerging privacy compliance regulations.  You need to ensure your campaign and lead capture processes work within the law, or there could be severe financial consequences.  In today’s experience-driven economy, you need an agency with experience working with Legal teams and ensuring you are privacy compliant.

Agency Characteristics

Local and Remote Options

The recent shift to remote workers isn’t likely to go away.  However, sometimes may want an agency located nearby or in the same time-zone for face-to-face meetings. Being situated in similar (or the same) time zones puts the icing on the cake (i.e., it makes everything better).

If local access isn’t your top priority, be sure your marketing agency excels at working remotely with you.

Schedule Compatibility

Different companies keep different schedules. 

  • Is your company a hard-driving 24×7, “email me at any hour” type of organization? 
    Or does your management focus more on work-life balance? 
  • Do you have offices around the globe that need Eloqua help during a variety of work-hours?
  • Do you often have last-minute campaigns that need over-night processing?

Know in advance what you need from a schedule perspective.  Build your expectations into the Statement of Work (SOW) so that you KNOW you’ll get.  Be careful, though; it’s tempting to ask for the moon when you don’t need it.  Only ask for the schedule that you regularly and routinely will need.

Agency Size

Look for a marketing automation agency with an adequately sized team for your needs. If you get several high-priority rush jobs simultaneously, can they respond quickly without sacrificing quality? Opting for 2-3 person shops is appealing, and maybe that’s what you need.  But they may not have the capacity when multiple or larger projects hit at the same time.

What’s going to happen when their responsive email developer goes on vacation?  How will they handle it if the person with project management skills leaves the company?   

One of the reasons you’re hiring an agency instead of a single person is that THEY will deal with personnel issues.  Verify they have the essential skills you need double-covered (at a minimum) so that they won’t let you down when life happens.

Industry Expertise

Look for an agency with experience working with clients of your size, and hopefully, within your industry. The best Eloqua marketing agencies are well-equipped to handle any size company’s needs, whether yours is a small B2C or large B2B business.

Engagement model

A marketing automation agency’s engagement model is just as critical as their skills.  It sets the tone for how you and the agency will communicate and do business together. A clearly defined engagement model establishes milestones and checkpoints to ensure that everyone is ready to move forward.

Project experience alignment

What types of projects does your company need? How many of these projects has your chosen agency done recently? Can they provide references, samples, or testimonials that showcase their past projects and experience?

Sometimes the agency we want to pick is not the one we should choose. If their project experience does not match what you are looking for, it is best to go with the agency with a track record for completing projects similar to yours.

Security

Ask to see the agency’s security policies upfront before starting any project or signing a contract. Your agency should publish in-depth, detailed security policies online that you can review before even beginning to talk to a salesperson.  Nothing is worse than getting a few weeks into vendor business discussions to find out later that they cannot meet your security requirements. 

Suppose your company’s security checklist is too large to send early in the selection process. In that case, you can use the 30 Areas of Security that 4Thought Marketing covers as a checklist starting point for your pre-purchase security review.

Executive connection

Are they willing to establish an Executive connection early on in your communications?  Good agencies make sure that:

  • Executives on both sides have had a one-on-one conversation long before the project starts
  • Direct phone numbers and emails exchanged
  • Executive cadence calls scheduled so that opportunities for high-level discussions are built-in to the process. 

These calls may sometimes be VERY quick. “No problems here.” “Yea, we’re all good here; see you next month.”

But when problems arise, having this pre-existing relationship can help get a project over hurdles that otherwise can be VERY challenging.

Conclusion

Picking the best Eloqua marketing agency for your organization can be challenging.  Your company’s requirements are unique, and you’re best served by someone with the experience, depth, and available resources to satisfy your needs.  We invite you to learn more about 4Thought Marketing. We’d be excited to see if we are a good match for each other and would be happy to share our extensive history of successful partnerships to back it up.

Contact Us if you would like to learn more about how 4Thought Marketing can help you reach your goals using Oracle Eloqua as the foundation for your marketing operations activities.

 


The Email Related Contact Cloud App: An Overview

email related contact cloud app

Email Related Contact Cloud App

The Email Related Contact Cloud App solves an age-old challenge every Eloqua marketer has heard from Sales at least once, especially after launching a new email campaign.

“Next time, could you please include me when you send an email to my accounts? It will help me prepare to answer any follow-up questions I might receive.” 

Score One for Marketing! This is precisely the behavior you want: an email that results in an account calling to their salesperson, and moving them one step further down the funnel.  However, Oracle Eloqua does not offer a solution.  At 4Thought Marketing, we hear this request all the time, and so we created an Eloqua Cloud App that provides a quick, convenient solution to send a carbon copy email.

Introducing the Email Related Contact Cloud App

The Email Related Contact Cloud App is an Action that works on either the campaign or contact program canvas.  It retrieves the account owner or other related contact’s email address and sends it to the related contact feeder running on the same canvas.  When your campaign runs, the Salesperson will also receive a copy of the email*. Other uses include subscribing related contacts to a group or adding them to a shared list. 

Watch a 2-minute demo

Want to see even more, watch our 2-minute demo:

Using the Email Related Contact Cloud App on the campaign canvas

Let’s take a look at an example using the campaign canvas.  Here are the steps:

  • Select your Segment
  • Add both the Export Related Contacts and Import Related Contacts actions to your campaign canvas, as shown below:

Next, configure the Email Related Contact app:

  • Select the field containing the related contact’s email address
  • Select the Feeder Step for import related contacts

Now when you activate this campaign, the account owner will also receive one copy of the email for each included account.*

Subscribing Related Contacts using contact program

Another use case is subscribing account owners to Eloqua Groups used for newsletters or similar communication. You can automate this using a contact program:

  • Select your segment
  • Add the Export Related Contacts and Import Related Contact actions to your canvas, as shown below:

Next, configure the Related Contacts to Campaign Cloud App:

  • Select the field containing the related contact’s email address
  • Select the Feeder Step for import related contacts

These are just two examples of how the Email Related Contact Cloud App works.

Contact Us if you would like to learn more or purchase the Email Related Contact Cloud App. 

Need help with your campaigns, experiencing staffing, or bandwidth issues?  Let our campaign services team help you.


Building a Delete Contact Program for Oracle Eloqua

building a delete contact program in oracle eloqua

Building a Delete Contact Program for Oracle Eloqua

Let’s face it; there are contacts in your Eloqua system that don’t belong there.  They take up valuable real estate, living in the dark alleys between “reachable” and “engaged” contacts.  They may think they are living rent-free, but they are not.  Even after building the “contact washing machine to rule them all,” these pesky goblins somehow find their way into your system.  Still, others are long-time residents, who like cockroaches, seem to be indestructible.  Even with routine contact maintenance and manual deletion, some just refuse to leave.  And for a few of you, despite your best efforts, management wants to keep contacts around, forever, “just in case.” 

Deleting contacts is also time-consuming.  If your system is small, it may be an easy task performed monthly.  However, if your Eloqua system holds hundreds of thousands or millions of contacts, you need some type of automation to help.

The good news is that there are simple solutions to help keep your database clean and tidy without breaking a sweat.

Deleting Contacts with Oracle Eloqua

Eloqua offers two built-in methods for deleting contacts: 1) searching and removing them one-by-one, or 2) importing a list of contacts for deletion.  There is also a clever Eloqua hack using deduplication rules to trick Eloqua into exposing delete contact functionality that you can build yourself. And here at 4Thought Marketing, we offer a Contact Deleter with Archive Cloud App that you simply drop into your program or campaign canvas.  Plus, it can also archive data before deletion, something not possible to automate with Eloqua alone.

But contacts aren’t the only thing you’ll have to delete. Any Custom Object records mapped to a deleted contact may still be there, taking up space and making your database confusing. Fortunately, 4Thought has another app for that. Use our Contact CO Deleter Cloud App to clean out these unused Custom Objects with just a few clicks.

Note: be mindful of what happens if contacts return.  Oracle details what contact data Oracle Eloqua retains and restores when deleting contacts.

The Usual Suspects

At the top of our list of least-wanted contacts are those from known spam domains.  These temporary, or in some cases, semi-permanent addresses are often easy to spot.  Many of these are also temporary or throw-away email domains.   While there are legitimate reasons for using this type of address, too often, bad actors exploit these systems, and they should be part of your spam domain list. 

Test Data

Virtually everyone performs testing in their live production systems, either to validate that all your hard work in sandbox environments works correctly or to monitor if systems continue to function through routine checks.  And it’s not always ideal to use real company email accounts for testing.  Here, a temporary email address service may be the correct choice.  In our experience, we prefer using email accounts that expire within a specific time, enabling testing but get removed after they expire.

Hard Bouncebacks

Removing hard bouncebacks should be a simple choice for most organizations.  Until they return through new form submission or data integration, Eloqua excludes hard bounceback contacts from communication.  Keeping them around isn’t a good idea.  While you could remove them immediately, some of our clients established short waiting periods for external metrics gathering and archiving.  You should carefully consider if you should delete immediately or briefly pause.

Because It’s the Law

New privacy regulations are the law, and keeping personal information around when it’s unlawful can get expensive fast.  In certain jurisdictions, if you don’t have consent, or cannot demonstrate you’ve got permission to process data, or keep a record longer than permitted by law, you could be in violation.  Also, for many, people’s rights include having their personal information removed from your systems.  If you have not already done so, or you are unhappy with your current privacy solution, 4Thought Marketing offers 4Comply, a complete full privacy compliance solution for Oracle Eloqua.

Other Considerations

Don’t forget to update your integrations, so your CRM or other systems doesn’t re-create deleted contacts.  If you have one, consult your Eloqua data dictionary on integration fields and rules.

Conclusion

Keeping unreachable, unresponsive, or test accounts in your Oracle Eloqua system is problematic, could cost you money, may impact reporting, and may cause privacy issues.  While Eloqua includes some tools to help, they are not ideal for every customer.  4Thought Marketing makes it easier with the Contact Deleter with Archive Cloud App that marketers can drop into the program or campaign canvas.  It also provides peace of mind with the option to archive contacts before removal.

Contact Us if you would like to learn more about the Contact Deleter with Archive Cloud App.  We can also help install, configure, and build your delete contact programs.


Event Integration Best Practices for Oracle Eloqua

Event integration best practices

Event Integration Best Practices for Oracle Eloqua

With the dramatic increase in online and virtual events in 2020, it’s more important than ever to have a well-designed integration between your event management platform(s) and Oracle Eloqua.  Many meeting, webinar, and virtual event platforms offer native integrations to Oracle Eloqua.  But that is typically where the hard work begins.

In today’s article, we’ll discuss some key questions and best practices we’ve used with our customers to ensure we meet all their requirements.

Making the Connection

When exploring an event management platform, a key consideration should be if they offer an out of the box (OOTB) Oracle Eloqua integration. Start by checking the vendors’ site for integrations, or try searching the Oracle Cloud Marketplace. The Marketplace may also include listings for 3rd party integrations.  And if a third-party solution isn’t available in the Oracle marketplace, integration platforms like Zapier are also available. Integration platforms may require a bit more planning and configuration. Also, they may not support every data element you hoped for, but it may be sufficient for what you need.

Depending on your integration, your solution may offer built-in data mapping tools.  These tools are similar to field mapping tools in Eloqua for list uploads.  But not all integrations are customer-configurable.  For some, you must provide a list of fields and data types to the vendor, and they set up the configuration for you.

Data and Process Mapping

Once you’ve decided how to connect your systems, the next step is to explore the data available through the integration and how it maps to Eloqua.  Before we go further, it’s critical to consider the big picture.  While Eloqua may be the tool that connects and receives event data, very often, it’s not the only destination.  Eloqua may store the data as is, or it may perform operations and transform the data, and then pass it to your CRM or other systems.  Take time to understand the data, how it maps to Eloqua and other systems. If you have one, refer to your Data Dictionary, it should contain details on fields, formats, usage, and history.

Required and Optional Data Elements

Event data drives segmentation, lead nurturing, and other sales and marketing processes. Many integrations offer an extensive list of data elements available from the event platform.  However, it’s essential to evaluate each data point and determine if it’s necessary or is merely informative.  Required elements may include but are not limited to contact and company details, consent, event details such as event name, event id, campaign id, area of interest, and if they registered or attended.   

Other elements may be useful, but you need to evaluate each based on how and who uses it.  For example, you might consider data available for the total event duration; time watched, Q&A questions asked, and their answers as useful but informative.  In this case, and your sales team wants this information added to a lead, you could combine them into a single text field and store it as a note in your CRM.  If a savvy salesperson reads the note, they’ll learn their customer or prospect attended the widget webinar and during the Q&A asked if widgets work with sprockets.  That information may be a great reason to follow-up and sell them more sprockets. Bring this topic up in your next meeting with sales, train them on the data they should look for, and where to find it in the CRM.

Campaign Association and External Activities

Many platforms offer fields to enable campaign attribution for events.  You simply need to configure it once, and all records should include a value for campaign id.  If you create external activities for your events, the data is available for automated lead scoring.  Someone who registers and attends or watches a replay could receive a higher score than someone who just registered.  Some platforms offer an attendee score, which may be useful in your lead scoring model.  It’s another data point to consider.

4Thought marketing offers the Campaign Membership Cloud App, which streamlines the process of creating campaign associations and external activities automatically.

Importance of Nurture Campaigns

While your goal when hosting events is to generate new sales leads, not everyone who registers and attends qualifies as a lead.  A critical part of your event strategy should be a nurture foundation and topic-specific nurturing campaigns. While your event may provide almost everything the lead wanted, it may not be sufficient for them to MQL.  Nurtures continue the conversation automatically, providing additional details to help the customer as they evaluate your product.

Conclusion

Companies are increasingly marketing and promoting their products and services through virtual events and meetings, which demands quality integration between your event platform and Oracle Eloqua.  Many of these platforms directly support Oracle Eloqua. At the same time, some are available through 3rd party integration or via general-purpose integration platforms.  Connecting systems is just the start.  Mapping the data to your existing internal processes and data formats is vital.  And don’t forget to leverage campaign associations to track effectiveness.  And finally, support your virtual events and meetings with nurtures that further qualify leads until they MQL.

Contact Us if you need help with your event integration. We’ve helped countless customers build robust event integration solutions that drive results.


Case Study: Global Distributor Improves Leads using Upload Wizard

global distributor improves leads using upload wizard

Global Distributor Improves Leads using Upload Wizard

4Thought Marketing recently improved its Upload Wizard Cloud App to meet the unique requirements of a long-time customer, a global distributor. As part of their Marketing Technology Stack, they use Oracle Eloqua as its marketing automation platform and Salesforce for customer relationship management (CRM). 

Business Challenge

Every day, the distributor processes orders from around the world.  These leads need to quickly and accurately enter their systems and get assigned to the correct sales team. When they receive orders for new accounts, their first step is to connect with them and determine how to best work together.  It’s the first step towards their objective to drive more business. 

The distributor initially contacted 4Thought Marketing when they needed to optimize their business processes and enable growth.  4Thought Marketing helped connect their CRM and Oracle Eloqua systems.  But their requirements could not be met using the out-of-the-box Salesforce integration.  After careful review with the distributor, they purchased the Upload Wizard Cloud App. They now affectionately refer to the Upload Wizard Cloud App as the Lead Engine, and it’s central to keeping the entire sales operation running smoothly.”

Solution

The Upload Wizard Cloud App helps Eloqua marketers improve data quality by eliminating bad data at the source. It automatically identifies low-quality data. Another benefit is that non-Eloqua users can easily import data without risking the overall data quality. The Upload Wizard allows more people or processes to perform Eloqua uploads, without compromising data quality.

The distributor receives leads from marketing efforts, from suppliers, and from the manufacturers whose products they sell.  However, the primary lead source is from online orders.  They feed the leads into the Lead Engine, where they are then enriched and scored.  When leads score high enough and become a marketing-qualified lead (MQL), they flow into Salesforce.  From there, teams in North America, Europe, and China contact the accounts.

The 4Thought Marketing Upload Wizard also helps organizations improve data quality and enrich data.  As data flows into the Lead Engine, it normalizes the data, compares data against other tables to enhance the details, or adds data used in other systems. The Lead Engine helps the distributor execute a five-contact approach by setting up tasks in Salesforce and kicking off follow-up by sales automatically.

The Lead Engine also enhances demand generation activities.  When campaigns run, the Lead Engine flags products related to active campaigns as a high priority. Any orders that include a high priority product are “fast-tracked,” sending it immediately into Eloqua and Salesforce.

Results

The Lead Engine powered by the 4Thought Upload Wizard is an integral part of the sales process at the global distributor. It helps the sales team efficiently process the considerable volume of data entering their systems each day.  The Lead Engine checks the data quality, and enriches leads with the latest product information ingested daily. Leads are scored and routed for further qualification.  Select leads are sent immediately to sales if it contains products that are part of a campaign or promotion.

Future

Since deployed five years ago, 4Thought Marketing has implemented dozens of improvements to the Upload Wizard to meet their customer’s unique requirements. The global distributor continues to innovate using the Lead Engine, pushing more and more data into the system.  A project is currently underway to help provide better reporting and accountability for leads generated by their suppliers by pushing them through the Lead Engine. When complete, they can automatically identify and report on lead record quality and help them generate better leads for the distributor to close for their suppliers.  And the Lead Engine, powered by the Eloqua Upload Wizard App from 4Thought Marketing, is at the heart of the system.


Stay Organized with an Eloqua Data Dictionary

What is an Eloqua Data Dictionary?

Whether you are an Eloqua marketing veteran or a novice, just learning the ropes using your marketing automation platform, a Data Dictionary is an indispensable tool to keep your data organized and consistent.  It’s also a great reference as your business requirements and priorities change, making discussions for new fields or changes to data integrations much more manageable.

A Data Dictionary is typically a spreadsheet containing all fields currently configured in Oracle Eloqua and connected systems.  Used as a reference, it should contain fields from all tables used by the systems, including contacts, accounts, campaigns, and custom data objects.  For companies with extensive use of picklists, it’s a good idea to include them as well in your Data Dictionary.

Using spreadsheet tabs is a great way to keep your information better organized.  Your Data Dictionary should include properties for each field, settings, and notes that describe their history and use.  And it should not stop with data in Eloqua. It should also show how data integrates with other systems, for example, CRM, ERP, and Event systems.

Benefits of Using Data Dictionaries

A Data Dictionary helps you standardize data usage across systems.  For most companies, many people work in your sales and marketing systems.  Some may focus on only a portion of the data, for example, form submissions or contact fields used for merges.  Others may own detailed information product purchases.  The more systems connected, the more challenging it can be to keep everything organized and consistent. A Data Dictionary provides a broader context of your data and usage.

They are especially helpful when adding or updating system integrations.  Data Dictionaries help eliminate errors and provide guidance on correct usage for new fields.  When working with new team members or agencies, a Data Dictionary is an excellent resource to answer data questions quickly.

A Data Dictionary can help expedite Security Assessments.  Legal and Privacy teams use them to perform field audits, ensuring compliance, and your company is collecting only the data necessary to satisfy regulations.

Building A Data Dictionary

  1. Evaluate current sales and marketing system data and values
  2. Work with stakeholders to standardized data and display types
  3. Where appropriate, define the values for checked, unchecked and a default value
  4. Specify how updates should work based on conditions (for example: always, if blank, ifNotBlank)
  5. For Picklists, specify the source and format.  For example, a list of values may originate in your CRM or ERP.  The format is equally important: “Country – Full Name” or “Country – 2 Letter ISO.”
  6. Add notes that describe the data source and its use.  It’s also vital to document fields no longer in use and why. If you want to remove a field, your Data Dictionary can help save time and make proper decisions by documenting fields use in the past along with their history.

Note: If you are starting from scratch, you might start with our Data Dictionary template.

Clean and Standardize your Data

As you develop your data dictionary, you may discover inconsistencies that need correction.  For example, you may see Boolean values stored as Yes/No, 1/0, or True/False.  When this happens, it increases the potential for errors in integrations and segmentation.

Cleanse and standardize data in your Eloqua instance using one-time uploads.  And to keep data clean, implement picklists and a contact washing machine.

To keep your data clean and ensure all data standards are applied each time users upload data, we offer the Upload Wizard Cloud App.  It helps Eloqua marketers improve data quality by eliminating bad data at the source. It automatically removes poor-quality data and enforces standards during each list upload.

Ongoing Data Dictionary Maintenance

As you might expect, your Data Dictionary is not static and requires updates as your systems and processes change.  When adding new or modifying existing fields, consult your Data Dictionary on the proper format to maintain consistency.  And update your Data Dictionary to reflect both current and new fields you plan to add.  As your systems and processes change, update the information carefully document and track changes. The golden rule also applies: if you consider the person reading your notes 3 years down the road, imagine how the care you took maintaining your Data Dictionary streamlines their job when changes are required.

Need Help?

Contact Us if you need help building or refining your Data Dictionary.  Our experts are ready to help.


3 Reasons To Delete Custom Objects in Eloqua

Why Would You Ever Delete Eloqua Custom Objects?

Many Eloqua owners don’t actively manage their data until they have problems, especially with Custom Objects (CO). This article describes how to get ahead of the curve with COs and proactively manage your old and unneeded CO data using the CO Deleter Cloud App.

You’re Up Against Eloqua’s Limit – Reason #1 

When Eloqua starts generating errors or stops performing due to reaching system limits, this is the ultimate reason. While the upper limit for COs is very high, it may not necessarily be out of your reach:

  • The system limit on the total number of custom object records is 25 million across all custom objects.
  • A single custom object should have no more than 5 million custom object records.

At first glance, they may seem like more than sufficient records. However, if you have a million contacts, and are a dot com company pulling in eCommerce, or a large B2B company pulling in Data Warehouse data, this space can be used very quickly. We’ve run across a variety of other reasons as well. For example, a medium-size B2B software company with a decade of product download history can burn through these quantities.

Removing old record records by hand can be a completely unrealistic task, and what’s more, its not a task that anyone would want to do every week or month.

Performance – Reason #2

We had a customer who got a huge number of inquiries every day and tracked them via COs to measure multiple inquiries against a single contact. They also defined inquiries very loosely so that many web page visits also became CO records. Combined with their massive number of inquiries received each day, they caused reports and dashboards to slow down after a while.

A quick bit of analysis revealed that certain types of records were not needed for more than 24 hours, and others didn’t need to be kept for more than a month. Feeding these records into our CO Deleter Cloud Connector solved the problem. It regularly removes CO records automatically with no human interaction.

Improved Reporting –Reason #3

Old data may clutter your reports because your useful data gets mixed up with old and obsolete information. If you’re getting suspicious results in your reports caused by old data, this is a great time to clean up your COs. Of course, understanding what you’re reporting on, and how to separate the junk from the gold sometimes takes some thinking, but it can be done.

Bonus Reasons #4, #5, and #6! 

There are other reasons too. Often old project/architectures will leave a trail of CO structures and data that make your Eloqua life more complicated than it should be. Sometimes testing a new system results in a bunch of COs that would be a real pain to delete manually. And sometimes you want a clean ship.  If a CO is no longer required, why leave it around?

Is It Safe?

Whenever you’re deleting something programmatically, you should double or triple your testing efforts to make sure Eloqua is doing what you want. It IS possible to create a filter or a program flow incorrectly. And while the 4Thought Marketing CO Deleter does give you a manual path of recovery, it’s not fun.

Contact Us if you would like to learn more about the CO Deleter with Archive Cloud App, or with any other data quality tasks you need help with.


The Essence of Modern Email Marketing is a Nurture Foundation

Aligning Marketing and Sales Results with Full Funnel Reporting

Leverage Digital Behavior to send the Right Message at the Right Time

Pop Quiz: Sales rejected over 90% of Marketing’s Leads this quarter, what do you do?

We see this a lot.  Typically, the definition of a Lead is someone with a heartbeat.  Meaning that a visitor only did one thing – like downloaded an asset.  Do you personally want to be called by a Sales rep for downloading one document off a website?  We’re pretty sure the answer is no.

Conversion, warming up Leads, Making MQLs, whatever you call it, is what every Marketing department focuses on.

The answer to a high lead rejection problem is a Nurture Foundation.

Our definition of a Nurture Foundation is not a series of email marketing campaigns that you press the ‘send’ button on to a segmented audience.  Not even close.  If you’re continuously hitting the ‘send’ button, you’re missing a key benefit of Eloqua – automation.

The word “Foundation” in an email marketing Nurture Foundation is included because you architect an infrastructure of automated pathways (the foundation) that Customers can go in and out of on their journey with you.

Oracle Email Nurture Campaign

Emails that require manually pressing the send button should be reserved for the date driven Events and Product Announcements; communication that are complementary to foundational pathways.

Get started on your Nurture Foundation

Characteristics of a Nurture Foundation

  1. Addresses the Customer Journey – all stages of the Customer Journey are covered, from the Awareness stage all the way through to the Advocacy stage.

    How to make the most of it: Beyond the classic Awareness, Education, Evaluation stages, don’t forget about New Customer Onboarding with some TLC, and only cross-sell after the TLC.

  2. Relies on Content (Content is King!) – and should be appropriately aligned to all stages of the Customer Journey.

    How to make the most of it: At every stage the customer is asking something different.  Your content should address those questions AND be in a stage appropriate format.  Don’t dump 5 page case studies on them when they’re only ready for a 1 minute video.

  3. Takes Time – since Nurture means to care for and encourage the growth of a customer’s interest in us and our solutions over time, take that time. Tell them Why, How, and What, in that order.  And wait to know they’ve heard it.

    How to make the most of it: Depending on your Sales Cycle, have a few emails at every stage starting with Thought Leadership and really setting up the Problem you can solve, before you talk product features.

  4. Tracks the Content Consumed – since customers go on this Journey at their own pace, track their digital behavior to know where in their journey they are, and fast track them if they consume the right content.

    How to make the most of it: Track which content they consume and the recency of that consumption from one piece to another.  Include ALL the places they can consume it from (tracked links).

  5. Listens for Interest – automatically move them from one solution pathway to another. Listening for THEIR interest takes precedence over what YOU think they should be interested in.

    How to make the most of it: Start by assuming interest based on like Profiles, but use their engagement (or lack thereof) to tell you their true interest.  Carefully design the right balance of pathway movement to avoid jumping from one topic to another.

  6. Uses Automated Pathways – we said it already and we’ll say it again. Long-living, architecturally sound, automated pathways.

    How to make the most of it: Lead sources, segments, feeders, page tag groups, wait steps, decision rules – they’re all needed in this architecture.

As Modern Marketers, we strive to marry traditional marketing strategy like — content is king — with modern technology, knowing where a customer is in their journey, and inferring which products/solutions they are interested in, using digital behavior.

Go Slow to Go Fast
Getting your nurtures right takes time!  It’s not easy to build all of the pathways, with all of the right content – with all the right motivational messaging – for every solution –and for every stage of the journey.  We know; we’ve been helping our customers do this for years.  The trick is to take a phased approach to get there.

Good email marketing nurtures are critical for ongoing success and make it possible for Marketers to:

  1. Rest easier at night knowing all their contacts are getting the Right Message at the Right Time. (Imagine being able to say that with confidence!)
  2. Focus on Event, New Product Announcement and other Channel marketing
  3. Fine-tune and optimize their nurture pathways over time by reviewing the KPI’s that Matter that will tell you what’s working and what to improve.

You’re closer than you think

It’s not about coming up with the next flashy, amazingly worded, award-winning campaign this month or this week.  It’s about designing a customer journey with aligned content — you can reutilize existing content — and then beautifully architecting these different pathways.

Don’t let your Sales team say Marketing Leads suck.  Don’t let them think they should cherry pick and throw the rest away.  Take the time to Nurture your leads, warm them up, and shorten the sales cycle.

This is the essence of Modern Marketing.  This is a Nurture Foundation.

What does your Nurture Foundation look like?  Do you have to come up with a topic you think a specific segment might want to know about on a weekly or monthly basis?  How often do you hit the send button?  If you’re not thrilled with your answers, it’s time for a change – and we’re here to help!