An Eloqua marketing campaign checklist is a great way to ensure successful campaign execution. In today’s post, let’s explore a typical challenge: an under-performing campaign and how following a checklist during planning can significantly improve your chances for success.
Setting the Stage
You have an event next week, and the sign-ups are below expectations. Yikes! What do you do? You might fall into the trap of thinking, “just one more email blast will save me.” Before you know it, your campaign falls flat. Even worse, you might start to get complaints from your prospects and customers. At this point, you should probably consider this marketing campaign a failure and turn your focus on understanding why and avoid making similar mistakes. Let’s take this step by step, starting with one of the fundamental components of marketing: defining a compelling goal.
Define Your Campaign Goals
First, let’s spend some time refining your campaign goals.
Clarify Your Initial Campaign Goal
Your marketing campaign goal should follow the SMART framework. It sounds basic, but many marketers are tempted to skip this step. In our example, you wanted to drive event registration and attendance. If you’re unsure how to set ambitious but realistic goals, consider using results from past campaigns to guide your planning.
Assess Your Campaign Resources
The resources available for your campaign significantly impact your ability to reach your goals. For our purposes, we’ll consider three kinds of resources: data, tools, and skills.
- You need a certain level of data quality and quantity for a campaign to work. Generally speaking, aim for a list of 400-1000 contacts as the minimum threshold to run a test. If you have a smaller contact list, consider moving to a highly personalized account-based marketing approach.
- What marketing automation, email marketing, and related tools do you have available to run your campaign? If your available tools are limited, the more difficult it may be to run a demanding campaign.
- Ask yourself about your own experience and training in running similar campaigns. For example, if you are about to run a campaign to drive attendance at an event and you’ve never done that before, you may need to adjust your expectations. Likewise, if you are proficient with marketing automation but have weaker skills in copy, this skill mix will impact what kind of campaigns you can run. Consider partnering with another person who has the marketing skills you lack. Or seek help from an outside agency. 4Thought Marketing offers services to help clients build and launch successful campaigns.
Identify Barriers to Campaign Success
Now, after identifying your available resources, it’s time to look more closely at potential barriers. Risks are inevitable, and identifying potential obstacles upfront can help you identify, understand, and manage them to achieve your goals. For example:
- Alignment with Sales. Without alignment with sales, they may perceive your campaign as a waste of time. To overcome this barrier, we suggest exploring our blog post, “Are You Making These Sales and Marketing Alignment Mistakes?”
- Market Sophistication. If your offering is a “me-too” entry in a crowded marketplace, your campaign will face difficulties. However, if your copy and messaging help distinguish your solution vs. the alternatives, that will play a significant role in overcoming this challenge.
Perform a Sanity Check
The next step is to evaluate your initial goal with the barriers and resources you have identified. Does the campaign goal still make sense, is it achievable? If not, adjust the scope or timeline accordingly. Don’t forget to check back with your stakeholders and get their input.
Preparing Data for Your Marketing Campaign
The next steps are all about the data, tracking, and testing.
Remove Duplicates and Errors From Your Marketing Data
Bad data hurts marketing results in two ways. First, low-quality data means fewer appropriate prospects will see your message. Second, you will find it difficult to measure your results accurately and determine ROI.
To improve your marketing data, use the following techniques:
- Clean your data. For Eloqua users, we recommend using the Contact Washing Machine. It’s a free tool included with Eloqua that helps ensure data coming into your system is as clean as possible
- Assess the Age of your marketing data. The accuracy of business contact data gradually declines over time as people move to new roles. If you are targeting businesses, keep in mind that average employee tenure is 4-5 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Manually review. Yes, we are suggesting that you manually look at your campaign data set. Pick a few dozen contacts from your list and review them manually.
You might also consider using the Friendly CSV tool to clean your email list. It can help you remove “LLC” and similar data from company names and make other simple changes.
Evaluate Need to Enrich Your Data
Does your marketing data only contain a name and email address? If so, you likely need this step. If not, you can skip this step. Two data points per contact are not much to build a campaign. You need to look at ways to enrich that data. Here are some options to consider:
- Use a third-party data provider for lead enrichment. For B2B leads, you might find better data using solutions like builtwith.com for technology insights. You might also consider enriching your data by using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The paid LinkedIn tool gives you unlimited access to the LinkedIn database to search for lead information. Extracting data from LinkedIn in volume requires using good judgment. And it may be better suited to smaller campaigns.
- Build your own data enrichment tools. Besides paid services, you can also build solutions using the data you already have. For example, if you collect job title on every form, create a program to evaluate and split into Job Function and Level using data lookups and lookup tables. Or use Eloqua Cloud Apps from 4Thought Marketing to populate Job Level and Job Role.
- Adjust your campaign goal to get more insights. Instead of a direct sales call to action, make a content offer to your prospects. For example, you might offer a webinar aimed at an executive audience (e.g., What CFOs Need To Know About Presenting To The Board). Based on who responds to the offer, you will have a higher degree of confidence about which of your contacts fits an executive profile. The registration data will also help enrich your contact data.
Check Privacy and Compliance Requirements
Businesses must consider how to address privacy and compliance regulations. Depending on where you do business, you may be subject to GDPR. And in the United States, new regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) become law in 2020. Any campaign should ensure you comply with the appropriate privacy and data regulations.
Tip: Identifying EU residents may be difficult, depending on what data you have collected. You can reference the IP address of the contact when they subscribed or engaged with your content. Also, for additional guidance on the discipline of making offers, please read our post: “Reinventing the art of offers after GDPR.”
Verify Your Campaign Tracking
Without tracking, you cannot tell if your marketing campaign succeeded. Ideally, you will want to track multiple metrics so you can come up with relevant changes. In an email marketing campaign, you could track open rates, clicks, and replies. In a direct response style campaign, you may focus on the number of orders.
To verify your campaign tracking is correctly configured, send out messages to an internal company email list. We recommend sending it to at least two different email accounts.
Start With A Small Marketing Test
Some marketing campaigns – such as running an annual event – do not lend themselves to smaller tests. For online marketing campaigns, we recommend you use the 10% rule. If you plan to engage 1,000 prospects, first send a test campaign to 100 contacts. In this test campaign, verify all the technology works properly and gauge market response to a degree. You might even want to start with a smaller campaign experiment.
Develop Multiple Subject Line Variations for Testing
Earlier steps of the process focused on your campaign from a data and tools perspective. At a certain point, no further optimization is feasible in those areas. The next area to focus on is developing multiple subject lines to test. In an email campaign, you should test at least two subject lines. You may find that one variation yields significantly improved open rates. Likewise, you should consider testing multiple variations for a webinar landing page. And don’t forget using subject line testing tools like SubjectLine.com.
Launch Your Campaign
After you’ve carefully considered the items above, you should be ready to launch your marketing campaign! After completion, refer back to the first few steps of the checklist. Ask yourself how you performed against your goals – what went smoothly and where did you encounter problems. The insights you gain from this analysis will help you to plan your next campaign more effectively.
Keep Improving Your Checklist
A checklist shouldn’t remain static. After each campaign, examine what went well and how to improve future campaigns. Make a point of asking how to update your checklist to drive better results based on your most recent experience.
An Eloqua marketing campaign checklist helps improve performance. While your checklist will be unique, it likely shares some common elements, including goal setting, resource analysis, risk assessment, and sanity checks. As you prepare your data, don’t forget to remove duplicates, enrich your data, confirm privacy and compliance, and campaign tracking. Don’t forget performing small marketing tests, including subject line testing. And keep improving your checklist after each completed campaign.
About 4Thought Marketing
4Thought Marketing is a product innovator specializing in the Oracle Marketing Cloud. We help customers translate business objectives into strategies that produce results. Our services include Marketing Automation and Compliance Consulting, Marketing Technology Best Practices, Oracle Eloqua Cloud Apps and Add-ons, Integrations, Campaign Services, Staff Augmentation, Data Management, and Eloqua Implementations.
Contact Us if you would need help improving your campaign planning, execution, and performance.