Depending on your experience, marketing automation conjures up one or two mental images: For newer marketers, they see it as a bright shiny object with limitless possibilities. And then for experienced marketers, they remember past failures they don’t want to repeat. In reality, the more effective way forward lies somewhere in between these two extremes. To avoid wasting your time in marketing automation, make sure you avoid these common Eloqua mistakes. Up first, failed segmentation.
Failing to Guide Marketing Automation with Segmentation
Segmentation strategies date back to the dawn of direct mail over a century ago. However, many marketing campaigns continue to have failed segmentation.
The Most Basic Segment
Let’s consider a straightforward segmentation: customer vs. prospect. Psychologically, there is a critical difference between a person who has purchased from your company compared to an interested window shopper. And if don’t currently have two segments in your system, it’s an easy win. More importantly, prospect /customer segmentation does not have to create an undue burden on you. You can adapt and reuse offers and content assets for both audiences in many cases.
72% of executives view audience segmentation as the top priority in their data strategy. (Econsultancy in associaton with IBM Watson Marketing)
The problem is that many Eloqua users think building customer and prospect segmentation is out of reach, too complex, or too costly to undertake. Once users start thinking about segmenting by customers, they immediately jump to harder tasks. “Well, if we’re going to segment by customers, we’ll need to store every product they’ve purchased so we can segment by product.”
Don’t Make It Harder Than It Needs To Be
Sometimes our Eloqua customers will say, “Oh, it’s just too hard to get a list of customers into Eloqua.” But when we ask why, it’s often because they’ve conflated their project scope too quickly. As a result, it’s become much larger than is necessary.
For example, do you really the need the following, or can they be skipped?
- Having meetings to define what a customer is
- What if they are really small customers?
- What if they haven’t been active for several years?
- What if they are only a services/support customer?
- Asking Sales Reps to go through and flag all their customers or which contacts at an account should be considered customers?
- Scrubbing the List of Accounts / Contacts?
- Creating a complex ERP integration?
Are These Good Ideas?
Yes, of course associating products with companies and contacts is helpful. What about defining what “customer” means, and integrating all of this with ERP? Probably! But maybe not all at once.
But to get started fast, all of this complexity isn’t necessary. It may be a great vision to pursue over a year or two. But you can probably live by the 80/20 rule and get most of the value of customer segmentation today with a much simpler approach.
A Simpler Approach
What is that approach? Why not simply ask accounting, once a quarter, for a list of customer companies? This list may not be perfect. And it may not identify all the correct people. And it might not even identify ANY people! But you can still relatively easily, flag those companies as customers via an Eloqua upload, and set those contacts as customers. Presto! You are now segmenting by customer. Step one is done and useful within hours.
In our next article, we’ll discuss poor segmentation strategy and its impact on your marketing campaigns.
Can’t wait for the next post in our series, download the entire eBook “How to Avoid Common Marketing Automation Mistakes” today.