Creative Uses for Custom Data Objects

For Eloqua users the idea of Custom Data Objects can be daunting and even outright scary, however they are a powerful tool very worth learning and using.  Custom Data Objects (CDOs) are used to store data that may be related to a Contact or Company’s record.  CDOs allow you to store extra information without using precious (and limited) custom fields on your contact and company records.  There are plenty of great tutorials on Topliners to help you get started with CDOs, a good starting point is this.

Some of the typical uses for CDOs are:
-Purchase History
-Extra segmentation information from CRM
-Events (E9 and E10 have an actual Event CDO)
-Surveys (E9 has a Survey CDO, E10 doesn’t but you could just as easily store survey data on CDOs)
-Warranty expiration information for purchased products

There are a lot of other interesting ways to use CDOs, here are a few I have seen and helped implement:

-Extended Campaign Membership information, storing historical information and other data points.  With customization of the membership object in CRM (SFDC) you can then leverage the CDOs to bring relevant data points over for both segmentation and historical reporting purposes.
-Storage of UTM data, everyone using web analytics should be storing UTM codes and analytics tags from their various campaigns inside Eloqua for more robust reporting.
-Cloud Connector Data, depending on cloud connectors you are using or may want to use you can (and sometimes have to) store the data on CDOs.
-Opportunity Data (beyond just stage and closed won/lost) for nurturing, sometimes having the stage data just isn’t enough to properly nurture your open or stuck opportunities, bringing over relevant information (like who else is up for the same deal, how long the deal has been open, etc.) will help you better nurture and push people along the buyers journey.

How are you using CDOs today?

5 Tips for Succeeding with your Marketing Technology Implementation

Now that you have made the decision to implement a marketing automation solution where do you go and how do you ensure success as you move forward?  It may seem simple enough to say flip the switch and scream “It’s Alive” but it’s not.  Just having the technology is not enough to achieve the right results, process, people and an eye towards long term results will ensure you have the correct elements to succeed with your new investment.  Here are five things that are crucial to succeeding with your new tools:

1.    Process: Whether it is understanding how data is governed among your various systems, how a lead is managed from “suspect” to “closed-won” or how sales and marketing are helping each other and handing data back and forth process is the number one thing you have to nail down for an effective implementation of a marketing automation solution.  Process will help you define how you should implement your system, it will help you define goals and KPIs for reporting and will also be crucial when you decide to integrate your marketing automation platform (MAP) with your CRM.
2.    Consensus: Diplomacy and bridge-building will be instrumental in reaching the end goals with your implementation.  Many different parties are involved in a successful implementation, from IT to Marketing to Sales and the C-Suite.  You will need to establish shared goals and a plan to execute that brings all parties to the table to end up with a system everyone respects and values.
3.    Content: Just because you have the technology to send emails and drive web traffic does not mean you have the content.  Don’t forget the adage that Content is King, while it is oft overused it is still true. Without quality content you aren’t magically going to be generating leads so take stock of your content, map it to your personas and the buyers journey and then deploy it appropriately.  Don’t be afraid to weed out old and underperforming content in favor of developing shiny new assets.
4.    Data: If you think of your MAP and CRM as the engines that drive your business goals then data is the fuel.  You wouldn’t fill a fancy new car with crappy fuel, you would put in the premium good stuff, so don’t try to run you campaigns off of badly segmented, poor data.  Make sure your database is quality and that you are segmenting accordingly.
5.    Community: Remember, you are not alone in this.  Whether you are using Eloqua, Marketo or something else entirely there are great communities associated with your tools where users are constantly sharing success stories, challenges and solutions.  Engage in the communities and don’t be afraid to reach out to partners, the eco-systems that support these tools are rich with people who have built out complicated (and simple) solutions to almost any problem you can dream up.

Have I forgotten anything?  What was crucial for your company to succeed with its MAP tools?