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 Ways You Should be Using your MAP today

You bought the tools, you have the team staffed up (or you’re working with an outside agency who can help) and you’ve sent a few emails, now what? There are five major ways you can and should be using your tools, here’s a quick hit list for you:

1.    Web-activity driven nurtures: You have a great website with engaging content but what happens after someone who is known to you visits a few of those pages?  Nothing.  How about setting up a nurture to help keep your company top of mind.  An easy example, let’s say someone visits your customer service page, why not drop them into a nurture with answers to top asked questions, point them to some of your best resources or remind them about your live chat features?
2.    Welcome Program: As you gain new contacts in your database send them a series of emails that help them understand what your company is about, how you plan to communicate with them and give them more information on how to change their email preferences or drop into other nurture programs specific to products they show interest in.
3.    Re-engagement Program: You have a big fat database but only a small portion of it engages with you regularly, how about a program meant to re-awaken them.  Maybe it’s time to bust out a sweet offer or fabulous asset for these people.  This will be a boon for you if you can re-awaken them and if you can’t be ready to part with them, they aren’t doing you any good just hanging around collecting dust.
4.    Data Management Programs: Dirty dirty data, we all have it, how do you deal with it?  Inside of your MAP tool you can build out programs that will validate, standardize and cleanse your database.  Talk about a way to amp up the power of your existing data!
5.    Sales Enablement: Why not nurture your sales team?  I know, it sounds crazy so bear with me but here’s your chance to remind your team of the great resources available to them, point them to assets that speak to various points in the buyers journey and help them help your company.

Do you have an innovative program you’re using your MAP for?  Share, we’d love to see how creative you are!

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?

my favorite features from the eloqua winter ’14 release

It’s that time of year again, the Eloqua Winter 2014 release is upon us. There are some exciting updates coming in the Winter ’14 release, here are a few of our favorites:

1. Incorporate your display advertising directly into your campaigns. This was previously known as Adfocus/Bizo and was accomplished via a cloud connector. It’s not being rolled out as an add-on feature for basic users and a standard feature for standard and enterprise users. We’ve done a few implementations of the cloud connector for clients and think the power contained by incorporating your display ads into your Eloqua campaigns is immense!  We look forward to seeing the great results that this feature will continue to drive for customers.

2. Enhanced revenue dashboards – really who doesn’t love better analytics! With the advent of Insight and Analyzer licenses Eloqua put the power in their users hands, with this release you can look forward to some great new reports on campaign velocity, campaign value and reach as well as ROI. If you don’t have closed-loop reporting you’ll miss out on these great reports, but it’s yet another reason why moving towards that closed-loop generates such value for your business.
3. Advances in security and management will allow you to grant permissions to images, shared content and shared filters. No more worrying about whether or not the right teams have access to the right images (or do not have access to out of date images), you can now restrict access to things much more granularly than before.

4. A unique beta feature will allow you to store contact records without an email address. While you’ll have to seek access to the beta through support or your Eloqua/Oracle Account Manager, it will finally provide an answer to how to keep lists for direct gmail, social, mobile or advertising efforts that lack an email address.

5. For all the process oriented people in the audience, another beta to watch is campaign review and approvals. Another one of those bucket-list features we’ve all wanted – the ability to approve, review and manage the process of campaign creation. To read more about the campaign approvals beta, check out: http://topliners.eloqua.com/docs/DOC-5836

6.  The last feature set we’re eagerly awaiting are the new admin tools for Profiler and Engage. Both answer many open questions from Eloqua users around configuration and enablement. On the Profiler side, you will gain the ability to customize the data being displayed inside your CRM. On the Engage side, you gain the ability to restrict batch sizes, add attachments to emails, and make personal templates private. Lots more detail is available on Topliners: http://topliners.eloqua.com/docs/DOC-5385
Which features are you most excited about?

 

Originally posted: http://www.pedowitzgroup.com/blog/eloqua-winter-release-top-features/

data hygiene & acquisition- where to begin

As high as 70% of a marketing database will go stale in the course of a year because of contacts changing jobs or changing roles within a company. Inaccurate data can have a detrimental impact on any business, affect its credibility, and can also lead to decreases in productivity. Maintaining a high standard for data entering your database is crucial, elements of data hygiene include:
• Enhancing, correcting and expanding a record
• Appending and validating the data
• Finding missing elements in the database
• Identifying duplicate entries

Data management begins with understanding what qualifies a record as good or bad. A good record meets the minimum requirements for entry into your CRM and make that the standard for what can enter your Marketing Automation Platform (which means that all required fields are complete and accurate), better is when this record has extra data points that allow for proper segmentation. A bad record is one that does not contain the all of the minimum required fields to enter your CRM or has incorrect/inaccurate data in those fields.

A few questions to ask yourself:
• What fields are required to create a record in your CRM?
• What explicit/profile data points are used in lead scoring?
• What other data points are good to collect and include in a record?

As you prioritize what data points you request on forms, from data providers and from those who submit files to be added to the database it is important to keep in mind the required fields should always be included and then the addition of the four explicit fields for lead scoring should follow closely behind. Everything beyond that should be considered optional but highly valuable all the same.

Once you understand what’s good and what’s bad, assess your database against those standards so you know where your gaps are. As much as I hate the idea of ‘acquiring’ contacts via purchases it is a necessary evil so here is a quick checklist to use if you plan to purchase your data:

• Complete due diligence on the list and the broker.
o Understand the subscriber experience from sign-up through inbox (if your content is being broadcast to a new audience through a system other than your own Automation tool this is important)
o Speak to actual clients, run a credit check, and confirm that the mailing address is a real office.
o Confirm opt-in and unsubscribe process and management of unsubscribes and opt-outs.
Understand what you are buying/renting
o Verify the source of the records.
o Verify the permission level of the records.
o Find out if the sign-ups are incentive-based.
o Confirm that the list is never used for porn or spam offers.
o Make sure that the vendor is CAN-SPAM, CASL or EU Privacy compliant (depending upon the region of the data you are purchasing).
Ensure the ability to Segment.
o Prevent oversaturation by segmenting by category selects, demographics or past behavior
Test. Measure. Repeat.
o Always send a small test and adjust.
o Test subject lines, headlines, offer language and placement of links.
o Ask for benchmark data on response by your chosen segments.
o Know the inbox deliverability, not just bounce rate.

Engaging Sales – An Action Plan for Increasing User Adoption of Sales Tools

You’ve spent time and money building a comprehensive marketing plan, buying fancy tools and implementing them you even bought the sales tools that go with your marketing automation platform, now what? You turn them on and run right? Not quite. Unless you have less than five sales people and they are all very very deeply involved in your marketing organization, chances are they have no idea what you invested in or why it isn’t just another shiny object for them.

Sure you can go to the Marketo or Eloqua websites and pull screenshots galore and PDF documents that extoll the virtues of the various tools you now own but Joe Salesguy may not be all that interested in reading all of those. Let’s be realistic, you wouldn’t send emails to your marketing universe that were less than relevant so why pass out generic stuff to your sales team and hope they will read it and find value? While it might sound like a lot of work to build a plan and execute isn’t it worthwhile? You bought into the Sales Insight or Discover tool-set because it was supposed to empower sales, so let’s really empower them. Here’s how:

1. Build a buzz. Prior to launch pick a small subset of your sales users for a pilot. You will want to get some of your more engaged, willing to experiment sales folks. With this you are doing two things, first you are making sure these tools work for your teams but second, and most important you are creating an internal case study. *If you’ve already launched then go fishing for some case studies, we all know how powerful they can be in a sales cycle, think of this as your own internal sale!

2. Set up in-person training time. At launch time plan to have a few in person workshops at different times (and if need be locations) so that you can connect with the sales users, explain the tools, gauge the reactions and then assist them in set up and use of the tools. Be ready to have some sample contacts/leads for them to test sending emails to, test following and watching the buying signals in the tools you have built.

3. Don’t set it and forget it. Build internal resources to support adoption of the tools, everything from an internal email nurture program to a webpage with resources, FAQ docs and samples will go a long way towards helping your users after training. These documents are definitely not one time use, make sure that the team who trains new sales users is involved so that they can leverage these going forward.

4. Reach out in multiple formats. You don’t send one-dimensional campaigns to your prospects so don’t do it here either! Engage your users with video, blog posts, emails and any other format you think might help them.

5. Track use. After you have gone through all of this you need to track the usage of the tools, listen for case studies of success with the tools (socialize those case studies!) and make sure the tools continue to be used. These tools cost money, make sure you are able to show some return on the investment.

How are you socializing your sales tools with the sales teams? How do you measure user engagement and what is “success” for your company? These are crucial questions to keep your eyes on as you roll out new software for your teams.

Data Governance – another byline in organizational alignment

As Marketers we have quickly become the holding place for so much data, from who we view as our Total Marketable Universe (both companies and people) to who we communicate with  to what those people care about.  The volume is not trivial nor is the care and maintenance of this information, however few companies have a true process and policy for the care of their marketing data.  

As we clamor for more and more data (purchase history, invoice information, etc.) we need to establish and maintain data governance policies, not just for compliance and legal reasons but also as another way to enhance the relationship between Marketing and the other departments inside of an organization.  Marketing and Sales must be aligned on what data is coming from what systems, who can fill it in and where the expectation for supplying information comes from.  Marketing and  Accounting need a good working relationship to ensure that marketers can really understand who a “customer” is and can maintain a loop between the systems to flag these people for the appropriate marketing based on their place in the customer lifecycle. IT and Marketing need a deep relationship to ensure that systems are in compliance with both internal security standards and, where needed, external compliance standards that the company is subject to.   To this end, here is a step-by-step guide to establishing a data governance policy.

  1. Create a cross-departmental committee for data governance.  Bring together representation from each group that holds major data and be prepared to explain why you (as Marketing) want and need to share information with this team.
  2. Understand who uses the system and what their goals are.  Everyone from the end-user who accesses the CRM to the Marketing Manager designing Campaigns to the Customer Service Representative who takes support calls should be considered in this process.  Understand who touches the data and at what points as well as what they need to get out of the systems.
  3. Determine what the system of record is.  If your Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) is the system of record then link all of your other data sets to it, or, if you need to maintain a few systems define the use cases.  For example, the ERP system might be the system of record when it comes to determining who a “customer” is but your MAP might be the gold standard with regards to prospects and the pre-sales process.
  4. Assess the health of your current database.  Once you understand what systems should be the standard for your various processes, establish a baseline assessment of the completeness, quality and correctness of the records in these tools.
  5. Understand what your deficiencies are; after you have established a baseline map out where you have gaps to fill and then create an action plan for fulfilling them.
  6. Fill in the gaps.  Pretty self-explainatory 🙂
  7. Build technological process to prevent lapses.  This may take the form of integration between your systems or data washing machines in an external database or even data append programs in your CRM or MAP tools, whatever it is create a process that does not require daily monitoring.  You should be able to build it, review it periodically and let it run.
  8. Build business process and reporting for exceptions.  Knowing what your problems were before you filled in the gaps and what key pieces of data are necessary for the users in each system build out exception repots that can be checked on a regular basis and reviewed for necessary corrections.
  9. Dashboards to review health at a glance, set yourself up for success by creating monitoring dashboards that show (at a very high-level) whether or not your tools are maintaining your systems as you expect them to.

How far along is your company on the path to a realistic data management policy?