Best-in-Class Marketing Automation with Oracle Eloqua

marketing automation oracle eloqua

Oracle Eloqua is a market-leading marketing automation platform that helps companies generate leads that convert. Named a leader in the 2021 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Marketing Automation Platforms, it enables your team to craft and send personalized emails, integrate seamlessly with other systems, track customer activity, and plan future campaigns—all within a robust but easy-to-understand visual interface. Eloqua integrates with leading customer relationship management systems, including Oracle Sales, Microsoft Dynamics, and Salesforce. Most importantly, Eloqua makes it easy to create and manage email campaigns that generate revenue. 

But Eloqua’s capabilities don’t stop there. Marketing automation experts know that sending too many emails or emails that don’t match customer interests runs the risk of being marked as spam and never seen by the customer. Fortunately, Eloqua users have an easy solution.

Avoid These 3 Common Email Campaign & Marketing Automation Pitfalls

Customers delete corporate marketing emails or mark them as spam for a variety of reasons, but three stand out as the worst offenders: 1) they receive way too many emails, 2) the emails come too often, and 3) the flood of emails don’t contain relevant information. Oracle Eloqua can help you address each of these problems.

The first two problems can be addressed with Eloqua’s email scheduling system. This allows you to space out the emails so the customer won’t feel overwhelmed. Follow-up or reminder emails can also be scheduled with enough time in between to avoid harassing the customer. This way, your contact doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the volume of emails they receive.

So now you know your customers won’t get a dozen identical emails from you every day. From here, you can address the third problem: lack of relevant information. With Eloqua’s activity tracking and segmentation functions, you can send each contact information relevant specifically to them and their interests. You can also avoid sending information they don’t want to receive.

Tips for Creating Effective Email Campaigns with Oracle Eloqua

With Eloqua’s built-in functions, running an email campaign from start to finish has never been easier. Here are some critical components of running effective campaigns to keep in mind:

  1. Customer segmentation: Segment your customers and prospects based on past interactions and user preferences. Form a clear picture of what your customer wants.
  2. Collect customer activity data: Observe how your customers respond to each marketing campaign and use the information to target communication based on interests.
  3. Create personalized, dynamic emails: Eloqua allows you to create dynamic content, so your communication includes timely and relevant data, not just a generic, general-purpose email. Your customers deserve emails tailored to their interests.
  4. Maintain professional standards in your email design: Emails should help customers instantly recognize your brand and appear uncluttered and professional.
  5. Tell a story with lead nurturing: Based on customer interest, tell a story through a series of customized emails that go to the right person at an appropriate time.
  6. Review generated data reports: Review data collected to create detailed, customizable reports highlighting the information you need to make informed decisions.
  7. Long-term lead management and quality assurance: With each campaign you run, Eloqua collects data to help you improve future campaigns. Better customer interactions can increase brand awareness, consumer engagement, and sales figures.

Oracle Eloqua Gives Email Marketers an Advantage

Eloqua’s extensive capabilities make email marketing easier than ever. Whether you’re trying to decrease customer unsubscribes, increase your profits, or both, Eloqua has you covered. You can be sure that your promotional emails will actually make it to your subscribers’ inboxes.

Want to see what else Eloqua can do? Get in touch with our team of marketing automation experts today to find out.

Cybernews Interview with 4Thought Marketing CEO Mark LeVell

4thought marketing cybernews interview

Keeping up with all in-house goals and tasks as well as failures and vulnerabilities has never been an easy task. But with some professional help, they can usually be effortlessly maintained.

Whether it’s maintaining a cohesive marketing strategy or dealing with employee turnover, all of that can be automated. This move eliminates repetitive tasks and allows enterprises to run marketing campaigns more efficiently.

Today’s interviewee, Mark LeVell, CEO of 4Thought Marketing, offers valuable advice on how to ensure companies’ compliance, and choose the best marketing tools and cybersecurity measures, apart from using strong passwords or installing VPNs.

Tell us about your journey throughout the years. How did the idea of 4Thought Marketing originate?

I was a leader and innovator in the CRM space and was doing my best to ride the wave. But I knew I could do more. When I learned about the relatively new (at the time) field of marketing automation, I saw the potential for delivering data-driven, personalized offers, and increasing revenue. It was the industry’s latest big trend.

Then in 2008, several strong contenders established themselves in the marketing automation scene. So, I had a choice. Did I want to start from scratch and try competing with these well-established companies? Or did I want to get on board with whichever turned out to be the long-term market leader?

I eventually decided to take the less risky decision and join up with the one that seemed the most promising: Eloqua. My business partner Tom and I established 4Thought Marketing in 2009 as an Eloqua Partner Company. It’s been a very rewarding experience for us.

Can you tell us a little about what you do? What are the main challenges you help navigate?

We help companies navigate several challenges we’ve observed over the years: using marketing automation software to its full potential, maintaining a cohesive marketing strategy, and dealing with employee turnover within their marketing operations teams.

I’ve always believed that regardless of how good the market leader (in this case Eloqua) is, there are always opportunities for huge improvements. In this case, those improvements come in the form of add-ons that boost strategy and best practices. We saw an opportunity to partner with Eloqua while also making the product substantially better than it already was. Building these enhancements (like cloud apps) largely led us to where we are today.

Another huge part of successful marketing is a coherent plan that is flexible enough to evolve as needed and stable enough that its overall structure stays in place over time. Software gets updated. Companies hire new team members. We help our clients develop long-term marketing strategies that adapt to changes without collapsing.

Finally, employee turnover. The average CMO leaves their job after two years and often takes several fellow marketing employees with them. Their newly hired replacements have entirely different goals for the company, and that can disrupt the marketing strategy. We strive to give organizations an institutional memory, so to speak, to remind them why they made certain choices and how they worked.

We help the newcomers understand the logic behind the original employees’ choices and help them pick what they want to keep or update. Finally, we come alongside the team until they’re able to handle everything on their own, and then we pass the baton back.

What risks can customers be exposed to if a company they trust struggles to ensure compliance?

Any number of things can result from poor privacy compliance. I could tell you stories of people having their identities stolen, losing their jobs over leaked information, getting stalked or harassed, or worse. Even seemingly anonymous data can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Unfortunately, companies tend to overlook customer privacy too often. Customers that are acutely aware of their privacy risks view these companies with suspicion, and rightly so. And in a world where customers are more aware than ever of the sheer amount of data they share, this poor company behavior leads to a loss of customer trust. But companies don’t always pick up on this. Customers tend to provide feedback when they encounter a problem, like an unreasonably priced product or a feature that wasn’t provided. But when customers leave over privacy concerns, they tend to ghost companies. Marketing’s leads just go dark. Why? Because customers have lost trust in the company and prefer to just drop off the map than to go through the hassle of contacting them about privacy concerns.

Trust used to be the default setting. But in recent years, corporations and organizations have had to fight to earn people’s trust. We believe that you must be upfront about your trustworthiness and privacy compliance from the very beginning. You must display it prominently on your website and in your regular communications. Ultimately, if you can’t earn a customer’s trust right off the bat, chances are you never will.

How have recent global events affected your field of work?

As we all know, COVID-19 forced many aspects of the business to go remote. This of course led to a drastic increase in using technology to communicate for work purposes, like emails and Zoom meetings. Marketers needed to be able to communicate and generate effective campaigns more than ever.

When the pandemic started, we at 4Thought Marketing were concerned that it would dramatically impact our revenue and business. But just the opposite happened. With all the events and trade shows canceled and everything moving online, clients suddenly needed our privacy compliance software more than ever.

Data exchange skyrocketed, as did customer awareness of how much data is collected and where it goes. It became critical to display privacy compliance as prominently as possible. We’ve observed this beginning to taper off more recently, but I don’t think business will ever return to the pre-2020 status quo.

What are some of the most common issues new online business owners face nowadays?

Being heard. Our world is noisier than it’s ever been. You can follow 20 different people on Twitter in 20 minutes and just have a fire hose of information in your feed constantly. New businesses without an established brand have to fight to be heard over all the noise.

Trust also plays into this. As I said earlier, one big issue facing corporations today is a lack of customer trust. New businesses feel this in a different way. Most customers will start from the assumption that you’re a scammer or, at best, exaggerating what you have to offer. Breaking through the noise and rising above to establish a trustworthy brand can take you far.

Out of all company processes, which areas do you think would greatly improve by implementing automation?

I’m not sure that that’s the right question. While making automation as universal as possible might have been helpful 20-30 years ago, I think today’s world is very different.

I think a better question to ask is, which area of your business can and should be improved next? Automation can certainly help, but it isn’t a magic bullet. Case in point: improving AirBnB or Uber is very different from improving an online store.

I think every company should examine its processes and see which ones can realistically be automated. Which ones have the biggest impact on customer behavior? Which ones consume the most employee time? It deserves to be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Besides keeping up with compliance and other privacy requirements, what other marketing tools do you believe can greatly enhance one’s operations?

While it again depends on the organization, most individuals today communicate through email. Marketing automation systems that leverage email provide a huge advantage. Not only does it allow you to run nurture campaigns and guide customers down the sales funnel, but it also allows you to save time by keeping as much of the process automatic as possible.

Talking about cybersecurity, what would you consider to be the best practices organizations should follow nowadays?

Preemptive measures. Companies should regularly check in with the cybersecurity marketplace and see what the most prominent current threat is: phishing software, a certain type of server being hacked, or what have you.

Next, they should improve security on their systems to block attacks. Finally, the employees need thorough training on all of this and the company should pursue a philosophy of continuous improvement. Keep learning the best practices from the industry experts.

What is next for 4Thought Marketing?

Right now, the issue of trust is huge in the marketplace. We believe complying with privacy laws is just the bare minimum of what needs to happen. Beyond simple legal compliance, companies need to build customer trust. And that goal needs to be built into your processes, legal documents, marketing campaigns, and everything else. You need to prove your trustworthiness on an ongoing basis, and you can’t just talk about a good game. Broken trust is hard to repair.

So, 4Thought Marketing is going to continue helping clients build trust with their customers, and to maintain a standard of looking forward to the future. This goal is reflected in our company name: “forethought”. We believe that by helping companies run marketing campaigns with attention to the future, we can help them build trust and improve their business. That’s where we’re going.

This article originally appeared on

Manipulating Data in Oracle Eloqua Custom Objects

oracle eloqua custom objects

Marketers know that Oracle Eloqua Custom Objects (COs) can do quite a bit when used correctly. As an Oracle Partner company, we get a lot of questions about what you can do with the data stored in COs. And we have good news! Eloqua’s Program Canvas, introduced in 2016, gives you plenty more options than previous out-of-the-box functionality.

In the Eloqua Program Canvas, you can add Custom Object records to a program and choose from a list of decisions or actions to impose on the data. For instance, you can compare the value in a single field to create a decision tree. You could perform a few basic updates. You can even completely delete a record when it’s no longer needed. But why stop there?

Using Oracle Eloqua Custom Objects in the Program Canvas

Eloqua users are very creative. In our own observations of clients that take advantage of Eloqua systems, we’ve seen marketers:

  • Perform calculations on fields within or across records
  • Compare the value of two different fields within or across records
  • Update fields on linked Contact records from data in a CO record
  • Update fields in a CO record from linked Contact records
  • Look up data in a Custom Object and match it to Contact record data to determine which sales rep is best for a particular job
  • Append values from different fields within or across records
  • Perform a wide variety of data filters and manipulations, including but not limited to:
    • Find all records with a renewal before a certain date
    • Find all records created in the past (insert number here) weeks
    • Add a specific amount of time to a date field

And that’s not even a complete list! Our clients have managed to pull off some amazing feats with Oracle Eloqua Custom Objects.

Expand Oracle Eloqua’s Capabilities with Cloud Apps

As impressive as that list is, there’s likely plenty of other functions that you want that you didn’t see. That’s where Cloud Actions, Cloud Decisions, Cloud Apps, and Cloud Connectors enter the picture. Using Oracle Eloqua’s development platforms and API capabilities, sharp developers can create apps to expand the Program Canvas’s functionality even further and allow for even more creative choices.

Here at 4Thought Marketing, we have several favorite Oracle Eloqua cloud apps. And we’re proud to say we’ve made quite a few ourselves! (Check out our list of in-house created cloud apps here.) If you feel that you have tried everything Oracle Eloqua has to offer in its current state, but still can’t meet your business goals, get in touch with us. We haven’t yet found a CO problem that we can’t solve.

Contact us today to see which of our cloud apps is best suited to help you take full advantage of Oracle Eloqua Custom Objects.

Go Beyond Email Marketing with Oracle Eloqua

Oracle Eloqua email marketing

Email marketing: all marketers use it. Eloqua’s functionality is built around it. But if you’re only leveraging Eloqua’s email system, you’re missing out. You can get even more from your Oracle Eloqua instance when you include all your marketing channels – and when you take the time to properly integrate, automate, and measure them. Let’s look at three marketing channels you can start using right now.

3 Powerful Non-Email Marketing Channels to Integrate, Automate & Measure with Oracle Eloqua

marketing channels

1. Social Media & Paid Ads

You know how important your presence on the web is. Apart from getting eyes on your content, what’s most important is to track those interactions in Oracle Eloqua.


Capture the content your audience is reading. It is easier said than done, but the effort is worth it. These Oracle Eloqua tools may help you capture specific interactions:

Once you are able to associate social media and paid ads engagement to contacts and track their interactions in Oracle Eloqua, you can better understand and influence your customers’ journey.


Configure your Eloqua setup to take advantage of the data flowing in from social media and paid ads. Use this input to adjust Lead Scoring and nurture campaigns. Additionally, consider how to get these contacts commenting, sharing, and liking more of your content. Once you have that working without manual intervention, all you need to do is measure the effectiveness.

Keep in mind that your social media outreach should include more than your new leads. Existing customers are a great source of shared content, comments, and likes. Balance your campaigns to provide both current and potential customers with plenty of high-quality content to interact with.


Not enough companies give measurement the attention it deserves. Social media and paid ads kick-start a customer’s journey. If you aren’t measuring the results, how can you know what works and what doesn’t? This is too important to be left to guesswork.

If a contact interacts with a social media post, and then completes a contact form a week later, do you attribute that social media campaign with the lead? Or at least consider the social media post’s influence? You’re in luck – it is indeed possible to track this user’s journey to see how they found you! Watch this short video for details.

marketing channels

2. Video Marketing

In a Google-dominated world, using video to get your brand, product, or services out to the world is key. Here’s how to approach working with videos in Oracle Eloqua:


Tools like Vidyard allow you to see how viewers interact with your video content. You can then store the collected data (such as the video title, watch time, and where the viewer is located) in a Custom Object for later segmentation. This feedback will also tell you if customers tended to click away from your videos and they need an upgrade.

We also recommend including interactions throughout the video. Use opportune moments to encourage viewers to click through for a demo, more details, or other important information. You can configure the responses to these prompts to go straight to Eloqua. These points of interaction will not only help harvest new leads, but they can also prompt you to score and target those leads with the right follow-up message.


Making a good video takes time and effort. As tempting as it is to pat yourself on the back after your video gets lots of attention, don’t wait! The sooner you follow up, the better.

Use the information flowing in from your video interactions to automate your next actions. For example, if a person watches past a point where the video discusses an important product or service-related feature, configure Eloqua to send them follow-up communication. If they watched to the end or watched multiple times, assign them to a segment to follow up with other relevant content. If they watched the video and are located in an area where you are having an event in the near future, let them know right away. You can then follow this personalized announcement with a general bulletin in the next scheduled email.

Remember to score leads accordingly. Video viewing data is just as important as email clicks and landing page visits, if not more.


Once you’ve integrated and automated, find out what impact video marketing had on your ROI. Depending on the product or service, it can take many interactions with an individual to convert them into a lead or an opportunity. Has your video created enough leads to justify the cost of creating it? If so, fantastic! Stick with what works. If not, consider how to improve next time.

Once again, measurement is critical here. Relying on guesswork can torpedo your marketing campaign and, in the long term, your general ROI.

marketing channels

3. SMS Communication

With texting as prevalent as it is today, why not try promoting your business with SMS messages? Here’s how to get started with SMS promotions in Eloqua.


For text message marketing, we recommend starting with automation instead of integration. The best SMS tool in the world won’t help without a properly formatted, working phone number. Start by implementing progressive profiling on your forms so you don’t immediately ask for their mobile number. When you eventually do ask, make sure to also request consent to receive texts from you. Automatically send a text to re-affirm their consent (and include unsubscribe information if they change their minds later).

Remember: text message marketing requires consent as much as email marketing does. Take the time to develop a sustainable plan for capturing consent and keeping your messages legal.

To make sure the telephone numbers you collect are formatted correctly, we recommend setting up a data normalization program in Eloqua. You’ll need to use the phone number and country fields to obtain the country code and phone number format to ensure your text messages go through. A phone formatting app may help simplify this process.

Be careful when segmenting here. Only target contacts with SMS for specific types of communication, such as:

  • Form submission follow-ups – if you know they used a mobile device, send an SMS to thank them or send them additional information.
  • Form abandonment follow-ups – a text message may get a faster response and motivate the user to finish the form.
  • Registration confirmation/event reminders – make sure your events get added to your contact’s calendar.


Integration for SMS marketing is relatively straightforward. Find an SMS tool that integrates smoothly with Oracle Eloqua. You’ll want to capture important data like the title of the message you sent, the date it was sent, and any responses you received.

But don’t just monitor customer activity. Keep track of how many SMS communications you send and when they go out. This information can tell you if you are under- or over-communicating with your clients.


With the integrated and automated data above, you can start tracking the success of your SMS campaigns. Tracking these results will look somewhat different from tracking video interactions or social media likes, but it is still very possible with the right tools.

Go Beyond Email Marketing

Oracle Eloqua has far more potential than just email marketing. Maybe you have the same problem we’ve observed in other companies – marketing channels like SMS or video marketing are ignored or tracked separately, while Eloqua functions only as an email marketing platform. Don’t make this mistake! Tying your marketing channels together allows you to create a unified look at your ROI and to use Oracle Eloqua to its fullest potential. Good news: it’s never too late to get started! Contact us today and let us help you take your marketing channels to the next level.

Take Control of Your Data Uploads with the Eloqua Upload Wizard

eloqua upload wizard

Uploading data into marketing automation systems like Oracle Eloqua can quickly become complicated. As marketers know, there’s far more to the process than just clicking a button. Some data might be in the wrong format and need to be converted. Other data might overwrite important information when uploaded and requires creating additional columns for processing. Any and all uploaded data must meet your pre-established standards.

Manually reviewing the data can catch most of these errors. Unfortunately, this is not always a practical solution. Manual review is a time-consuming and error-prone process and requires the attention of a pre-trained professional. Only they can correctly manage pre-validations and pre-processing requirements. If you’re required to import several different files, from different vendors, in different formats and the problem grows exponentially.

You need a solution that automates all of the manual pre-processing and allows people minimal training to successfully upload the data. Fortunately, we have a solution: the Eloqua Upload Wizard.

The Upload Wizard from 4Thought Marketing is my new best friend. It reduced the time required to process new leads from days to minutes and to get them into the hands of sales much faster.

Brinette Holdren, Sr. Marketing Specialist – Operations & Campaign Management, Catalent

What is the Eloqua Upload Wizard? 

The Eloqua Upload Wizard is a custom application that allows any trained user to upload files to Eloqua.  Based on your unique requirements, it can be configured to enforce policies and validations before the data goes to the marketing automation system. We have also seen our customers successfully use the Eloqua Upload Wizard in several different ways, including:  

  • Reposting validated records to an internal system for tracking before uploading
  • Creating templates for future uploads 
  • Enforcing custom upload notifications and error reporting 
  • Automating uploads through the validation rules and processing via SFTP  
  • Allowing internal users to upload data to the marketing automation system without the need for a license for each resource
  • Allowing subcontractors or partners to upload data to the marketing automation system without providing access to the system and the data

Eloqua Upload Wizard Dashboard: Tracking your Uploads for Quantity & Quality 

You’ll want to ensure that all the data you upload to your marketing automation system meets your internal quality standards. The Upload Wizard dashboard allows managers to track this and more, including:

  • The number of records processed in a given time period
  • How many uploads each user has performed
  • The number of records rejected, bounced, or updated
  • The number of newly added records
eloqua upload wizard
eloqua upload wizard

Enforcing Privacy Laws in Uploads 

Privacy-conscious companies can also configure the Eloqua Upload Wizard to enforce requirements based on the country and region of the records to be uploaded. For example, for records from the EU, the Upload Wizard can trigger additional validation to ensure the corresponding consent and permission information is included in the upload. Any records that don’t meet these basic GDPR standards would be rejected. This helps to protect your company from accidentally violating a relevant privacy law and potentially incurring a fine.

Save Yourself Some Time

With the Eloqua Upload Wizard, you and your team can enjoy a streamlined upload process and spend far less time performing manual quality control. Interested in hearing more? Contact us today for more information on our suite of custom-built cloud apps.

10 Best Practices for Creating Eloqua Forms

Businesses naturally want to generate leads. And if a customer is already on your website, an online form is one of the best ways to capture them as a lead. Directing the customer to the form is easy enough. But unfortunately, getting the form in front of your contact doesn’t guarantee that they’ll actually fill it out and submit it.

No “magic button” to guarantee form completion exists. However, Oracle Eloqua users have a powerful form design editor at their disposal to make the whole process easier to complete. Today, we’re looking at design principles and how to decrease form abandonment.

Lead Generation from Online Forms

Obviously, online forms exist to generate leads for your business. But a quality lead is more than just a name and email address. A college student working part-time is not a worthwhile lead for a jet engine manufacturer, for example. Gathering valuable leads means collecting enough information to make it obvious whether this lead is worth pursuing.

Here we run into a problem. Marketing experts will tell you, correctly, that gathering as much information as possible on a lead provides a much-needed boost to nurturing and customized marketing. But collecting that information can be a challenge. Forms that get too long and complicated, or that ask for data not readily available, can add friction and lead to the dreaded form abandonment.

What Causes Form Abandonment?

Simply having a form on your website is not a guarantee of lead generation. Customers may start filling out your form but stop halfway through and never finish. Marketing experts tend to agree that form abandonment usually results from one of these issues:

  • Overly long, complicated forms with too many questions
  • Forms that load slowly and require users to wait
  • Requests for information that is not readily available (i.e., information the customer may have to leave the computer to find)
  • Confusing layout or instructions
  • Questions with an unclear purpose (i.e., the customer doesn’t know how you will use their data and if they agree)
  • Hindered accessibility because of device or poor form programming
  • Lack of privacy controls

Fortunately, these problems are easily treatable with Eloqua’s form design system.

User-Friendly Online Form Design Strategies

Changing how you develop online forms can make a significant difference in your lead generation numbers. As you revamp your form templates in Eloqua, keep these principles in mind:

  1. Optimize your form for the correct device. Poorly formatted forms can lead customers to decide this isn’t worth it.
  2. Test your form ahead of time, repeatedly. Catch any glitches, errors, or loading problems long before a customer ever sees your form.
  3. Short and sweet. The longer a form is, the more likely the potential lead will lose patience. Only request information that is strictly necessary.
  4. Limit your form to a single column. This makes the form appear simpler, shorter, and cleaner. This also optimizes your form for mobile devices.
  5. Give your form and fields clear titles. Customers want to know they’re on the right form, and what information you’re asking them to provide.
  6. Avoid dropdown menus. Consider radio buttons instead, where all possible answers are visible at once so the customer can more easily decide.
  7. Start with the easiest information to find. Keep “harder” but necessary questions, like information the customer will have to leave the computer to find, at the bottom. Since the form is mostly complete by now, this makes them more likely to return and finish.
  8. Privacy. Be clear about how the requested information will be used. Additionally, provide a link to your full privacy statement for details. This should feed into your marketing consent solution like 4Comply.
  9. Provide an unmistakable CTA. The form won’t do you any good if it’s not submitted!
  10. Thank the customer. Always say thank you when someone trusts you with their information.

Collect More Quality Leads with Well-Designed Forms

High-quality Eloqua forms do both you and your customers a huge favor: they make lead generation quick and easy. Why wait to improve this? Get in touch with 4Thought Marketing today to improve your Eloqua form design and increase lead generation.

3 Eloqua Insight User Tips Learned the Hard Way

eloqua insight user tips

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing insights directly from several of our on-staff experts on various marketing topics. We hope you enjoy!

Oracle Eloqua Insight, powered by Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (Oracle BI EE), is a powerful tool to analyze your data across Eloqua. It contains several out-of-the-box reports which cover different facets of campaigns, contacts, emails, forms, and landing pages. I learned my way through Insight through exploring these reports.

My analyst journey grew from standard reports, to editing these reports to make my own, and ultimately to creating my own reports and formulas from scratch. It was not a smooth journey. To (hopefully) make your journey easier than mine, I’d like to share several important lessons I learned the hard way about Eloqua Insight.

1.      Report & Agent CANNOT Share the Same Name

I personally prefer to give related files the same name so that I can cross-reference between files if needed. On my hard drive, my Excel document can have the same name as my PowerPoint and Word documents in the same project, and there is no issue. In Eloqua, my campaign can share the same name as its email, form and landing page, and there is no issue. This is not the case with Eloqua Insight.

I had hoped to keep a similar organization style in Insight to make it easier to search and lookup reports and their scheduling agent. Accordingly, I attempted to assign the same file name to my report and its scheduling agent. When I went to run the agent, I received the error message shown below:

Yes, Eloqua did give me a warning message before saving the agent, but I wrongfully assumed I was safe. Besides receiving this error message, my custom analysis report was gone since the agent overwrote it.

To recap: Whatever you do, do not give your report and agent the same name in Eloqua Insight. You will have to start all over with your analysis!

2.      Reports Cannot Be Moved After They Have Been Scheduled

My Insight library was a mess with no rhyme or reason. I attempted to tidy things up by creating folders sorting by time and product. The good news is that my shared library was beginning to look in order. However, the next day I started to receive notices that stakeholders were not receiving their scheduled reports. When I went to check the agent, I received this error message:

I was able to modify the agent via the Condition tab to the updated location of the file, but it was a lot of work. This headache could have been avoided had I just followed the correct folder structure from the start.

To avoid making the same mistake I did, I recommend creating folders in Insight following naming conventions and rulesets similar to the ones you use in Eloqua. This makes it much, much easier to find the reports you need. I also keep a running tally of the reports I create in a spreadsheet including the following columns: date, cadence, report name, agent name, distribution list, subject line, and email.  There have been many times I have been asked, for one reason or another, to remove a certain person from receiving scheduled reports. I can easily look up their email in my spreadsheet, locate the agents they are part of, and remove their email address.

3.      Avoid Scheduling Multiple Reports at the Same Time

You can technically do this, and Eloqua will display all the reports as delivered. But as I discovered, when several reports are scheduled at the same time, not all of the reports reach the distribution lists even if they’re marked as delivered. When I began to set the report at random times throughout the hour instead, the queries of people looking for their reports dropped significantly. I began following this rule religiously with my scheduled agents after finding this out. A few extra minutes of work on my end saved me and my contacts a lot more time later on.

The Potential of Eloqua Insight

As you explore, build, and analyze Eloqua Insight, you will find just how powerful this tool can be. Want to see what it can do for your company? Our team of Eloqua experts can get you on the right track. Get in touch with us today to get started.

7 Common Marketing Automation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

marketing automation mistakes

Marketing automation is neither a magical solution to every company’s marketing challenges nor a failed system that produces no results. A professional marketing automation system is only as good as its designers and users.

If your company uses marketing automation for promotional campaigns, chances are you’ve run into problems before. Certainly, no system is perfect. However, we’ve observed several common marketing automation mistakes that companies tend to make, especially at first. Let’s look at what these problems are and how you can avoid them.

1) Failing to Guide Marketing Automation with Segmentation

Segmentation is not a new concept. Segmenting customers based on behavior, geographic location, and more have occurred since the dawn of direct mail. But despite its long history, many marketers to this day continue to misunderstand what the concept actually means, and how to implement it themselves.

Let’s consider a straightforward segmentation: customer vs. prospect. One has purchased from your company. The other is an interested window shopper. Segmenting these two people is perhaps the easiest segmentation you’ll ever create. You can even use the same content or assets to contact both segments in some cases! So why is this such a problem?

The problem comes from Oracle Eloqua users who try to segment by increasingly specific behaviors. For instance, segmenting contacts based on who bought the blue T-shirt instead of the red one, rather than simply segmenting them as active customers. This may be necessary long-term. However, this is not something to tackle while your marketing automation system is still in its infancy. Keep it simple for now, and save the detailed segmentation for the future.

To begin your segmentation system, we recommend asking your accounting department for a list of customer companies. Upload the list to Eloqua and flag each contact as a customer. That’s it! The first step of marketing segmentation is now complete.

2) Poor Segmentation Strategy

When the time comes to begin segmenting customers in more detail, it’s easy to fall into one of two opposite strategies: either trying to do everything yourself for personalized marketing or leaving everything to an automated system to save time. Both are significant marketing automation mistakes.

As your company grows, you will collect so many contacts and create so many segments that you will no longer be able to track everything manually. An automated system can streamline this process, but removing the human element entirely runs the risk of marketing to the wrong segment or producing robotic-sounding marketing content. What’s the solution?

Tools like 4Segments allow you to balance manual and automatic segmentation by displaying your segments visually. At a glance, you can tell how many people fall into each segment and how they overlap. Best of all, you can get as specific as you want as you segment customers and save each new segment for later review. This combination of automated work and human creativity can go a long way toward improving your segmentation strategy.

3) Weak Personalization Testing

Have you ever received an email that began, “Dear FNAME?”

Personalized emails are known to have higher conversion rates than obviously automated ones. By adding custom fields, email marketers can personalize a message down to the fine details. But unfortunately, each custom field has the potential to disrupt the rest of the message. Placeholder text or code makes it painfully obvious that the email was not sent by an individual person, and no matter how perfect the rest of the email is, your contact’s first impression is already poor. This marketing automation mistake is potentially very costly.

The best way to tackle this problem is with aggressive quality control. Create a campaign checklist that staff must review before sending off an email. Send test messages to yourself or colleagues to see if the custom fields are filled out correctly. Double- and triple-check your personalization programs that generate these emails. Don’t let a program’s mistake get in the way of your prospects.

4) No Inbound Marketing Strategy

You may have used marketing automation to generate the best email nurture in the world, but without contacts to receive the nurture, what’s the point? An inbound marketing strategy works alongside your marketing automation systems to capture and nurture leads. Unfortunately, new marketers just learning about marketing automation can get so caught up in experimenting that they forget to actually find leads.

Depending on your industry, the most effective inbound marketing strategy could consist of:

  • Determining which communication channel your contacts prefer (i.e., text message vs. email) and reaching out to them through their preferred medium
  • Creating engaging online content like blog posts to stand out in the crowd
  • Inviting possible leads to webinars and other live events that you host or participate in
  • Creating personalized offers and calls to action to generate conversions
  • Turning satisfied customers into advocates for your company

5) Missing or Incomplete Compliance Monitoring

Ever since the passing of the GDPR in 2018, governments around the world have developed and passed large-scale privacy laws of their own. Others have worked to expand existing privacy laws. And while the US has yet to pass a federal privacy law, several individual states have their own regulations or are in the process of creating them. Why is this important for you?

Because every one of those privacy laws carries significant fines for each violation, even if unintentional. And when the violation inevitably makes headlines, the court of public opinion won’t be kind.

Since Eloqua users handle an impressive amount of customer data every day, it’s important to know where the data comes from and what regulations protect it. It’s also important to know how to fully comply with those regulations. If your company currently has a very bare-bones privacy policy, now is the time to improve. Consider using an automated privacy compliance software like 4Comply to track your collected data and ensure you use it in a legal manner.

6) Too Many Marketing Automation Tools

Speaking of automated software, remember that you can have too much of it. Smaller companies don’t need the long list of platforms that Fortune 500 brands use. More importantly, you more than likely don’t have the expert manpower to effectively use all of those platforms. Some may end up falling by the wayside as your marketing automation team does its best to keep up.

In addition, think about how many of these tools you would actually use. Software still requires processing power even if you never use it—and that processing power can slow your website and harm your technical SEO score. And that’s not even considering the wasted money from unused software subscriptions.

To counter this problem, schedule regular audits of your software list. Which ones do you regularly use? Which ones show a measurable benefit for your company? Which ones do you have the expertise for? These questions can help you narrow down what to keep and what to discard.

7) Relying on Outdated Marketing Automation Approaches

The world is not static—especially not the internet. What worked five years ago may not work today. And if you’re still making the same marketing automation mistakes you were five years ago, it’s long past time for an update.

There are a few steps you can take to counter this:

  • Take note of any and all changes in consumer behavior
  • Regularly audit and update your marketing automation strategy
  • Attend marketing technology conferences to see how the industry is growing
  • Consider running a training program for your marketing team (hiring an external team is an excellent choice here)
  • Experiment with add-ons to your marketing automation platform that build on and expand its functionality

In Conclusion

To summarize, while marketing automation can and does provide an invaluable boost to many companies, it’s not a magic wand. You are still responsible for properly using your tools and respecting your customers’ preferences and data privacy. Most importantly, you are also responsible to keep up with changes in consumer behavior, data privacy laws, and technology to stop marketing automation mistakes before they start.

Sound overwhelming? You don’t have to handle this alone. Contact us today for expert help improving your marketing automation setup.

The 7 Must-Have Partner Apps for Oracle Eloqua

eloqua apps

Oracle Eloqua users should be quite familiar with the wide variety of built-in functions this marketing software offers. But it’s possible to expand both the value and functionality of Eloqua to improve your marketing strategy even further. What’s the best way to do this? For many Eloqua users, the answer is to use specialized Eloqua Add-Ons called Cloud Apps.

Here at 4Thought Marketing, we have several favorite Eloqua apps that we use, including several we made ourselves. Let’s take a look at what they are and how they make our workday easier.

Motiva AI

Artificial intelligence and machine learning now play an increasingly significant role in marketing optimization. The Motiva AI app uses the same AI that Google uses for paid searches to improve your email engagement and analyzes customer data for future campaign improvements.

What It Does: Motiva uses real-time data from your Eloqua instance to automatically optimize your campaigns and increase engagement.

Key Benefits:

  • Increased engagement through hyperspeed content testing, per-contact send-time optimization, and subject line advice
  • Monitors contact data quality to help you clean out unreachable contacts, find bots, fix deliverability issues, and lower your licensing costs
  • Automated segment discovery and rich reporting
  • Frequency management and touchpoint optimization
  • 5-minute integration, GDPR/CCPA and HIPAA compliant


CTAs are an invaluable part of your marketing strategy, and can be used everywhere from emails to blogs and even videos! The Vidyard app allows you to generate leads from within your video content.

What It Does: This app allows you to embed CTAs and data collection forms before, after, or even during a video.

Key Benefits:

  • Choose the perfect time to add CTAs in the video’s runtime
  • Create gated video content to gather data at the beginning of the process
  • End videos with a CTA to encourage customers to continue
  • Gather and follow up on leads faster
  • Track watch time and determine quality of leads based on their apparent interest

Campaign Contact Remover

If you have more than a hundred contacts in Eloqua, the Campaign Contact Remover app can make your average workday much easier.

What It Does: This app does the heavy lifting of ensuring your marketing contacts receive the correct campaigns.

Key Benefits:

  • Set campaign filters once so you never lose track of what you are working on
  • Avoid sending the same offer to contacts multiple times

What to Remember: This isn’t the only cloud app developed by 4Thought Marketing. Browse a complete list here.

Contact Washing Machine

Once dirty data gets into your contact record, it’s hard to get rid of. Manual review certainly isn’t an option for the vast majority of businesses. That’s where the Contact Washing Machine comes in.

What It Does: This app reviews your collected contact data to remove dirty data quickly and efficiently.

Key Benefits:

  • Trim left and trim right to clean data, similar to the trim function in Microsoft Excel
  • Improved automation: use regular expressions to change data in a contact

Facebook Lead Ads

It’s possible to generate a lead from Facebook without the user ever leaving the Facebook site. But how do you move those leads from Facebook into your system? One reliable method is using the Facebook Lead Ads app.

What It Does: This app automatically transfers leads from Facebook to Oracle Eloqua.

Key Benefits:

  • Increased productivity for businesses that already rely on Facebook Lead Ads
  • Improved lead quality resulting from current information shared with Facebook, leading to higher customer response

LinkedIn Campaign Manager

Connecting to leads is a critical step in the sales process. With the LinkedIn Campaign Manager app, you can now engage more directly with your contacts on LinkedIn and even follow their profile to tailor promotions to their latest preferences.

What It Does: This app integrates Eloqua with LinkedIn for a more meaningful customer connection and lead follow-up.

Key Benefits:

  • Capture and nurture leads from LinkedIn
  • Target individual LinkedIn users with specialized ads

SMS Gateway

In a study of more than 1,000 campaigns, Cellit found that SMS has 8 times the response rate of email. The SMS Gateway app allows you to take advantage of the very lucrative potential of text message-based campaigns.

What It Does: This app optimizes your SMS campaigns for better delivery and increased customer response.

Key Benefits:

  • Two-way support: no more “do not reply” email addresses necessary
  • SMS-Friendly Copy: counts characters in your message to ensure optimal delivery
  • International support: generate numbers unique to each country you contact

What to Remember: Without consent, your SMS campaigns could be labeled as spam by the FTC. Don’t get in your own way!

“There’s an Eloqua App for That”

When used correctly, Eloqua apps can provide a much-needed boost to both your workday productivity and your profits. But it’s important to remember not to get so focused on finding the next great app that you lose sight of your competitors stealing your customers right from under your nose—or of privacy laws challenging your practices and putting you at risk of fines for noncompliance.

Once you have your favorite Eloqua apps all in a row, what’s next for your marketing strategy? Focus on issues with potentially long-lasting consequences, such as your compliance (or lack thereof) with relevant privacy laws. Talk to us about achieving GDPR compliance without endangering your newly revamped marketing strategy—or the profits it’s bringing in.

Process Leads Faster with the Contact Feeder Cloud App for Oracle Eloqua

contact feeder

The Contact Feeder Cloud App helps you get leads into the hands of sales or your campaigns faster.  Unlike Eloqua listeners, which run once every 24 hours, you can configure the app to check for matching contacts as often as every minute. If you get a new lead, you can process it quickly, reducing the risk of leads going cold or not getting them to sales as soon as possible.

Watch the video below for a quick overview of using the Contact Feeder Cloud App in Eloqua.

The Contact Feeder Cloud App makes it easy to add contacts from a segment or shared filter into your Eloqua program canvas at any time. To sign up for a free 10-day trial or request a demo, contact us today.