Being Loquacious About Eloqua

By Colin McAllister, 14 June 2018

Find out some of the stuff we’ve learned over the past 4 years of working with the Eloqua platform.

If you’ve arrived here, it’s probably because you know a bit already about Eloqua. For those who have arrived here by mistake happy coincidence , here’s a quick précis: Eloqua is one of the world’s leading Marketing Automation (MA) platforms. Founded in 1999 and purchased by Oracle in 2012, Eloqua has over 1,400 clients with more than 100,000 users worldwide. It’s a serious bit of kit which is used by some of the largest companies.

Don’t just see it as a marketing automation tool

Much like its main competitors Marketo and Pardot, Eloqua – to make it work how many organizations will have envisaged – requires a culture shift not just in Marketing teams, but, potentially, organization-wide.

In order to get it right, you need to plan. And plan forensically. This is not a spam-cannon, but a capable, complex beast of a platform. That planning requires diligence and, to a degree, knowledge of the platform itself. The impact to culture comes from the realization that you need to plan meticulously all the campaign permutations, the logistics, the content, the timings, the testing regimens and the data segments before one single finger is laid onto a keyboard to log into Eloqua.

Eloqua’s very size and its exacting requirements on campaign creation may actually be a good thing. It enforces a discipline and a clear view from product owners and marketing teams about what they wish to do and how they wish recipients to behave.

That’s not to say you can’t do quick campaigns in Eloqua – of course you can – it’s more around the very nature of Marketing Automation; ensure email recipients are receiving content that fits, conforms and resonates with their previous behavior. If you are trying to implement a complex campaign, accept there’s a significant latency between arriving at a campaign concept and its execution.

Don’t underestimate the amount of effort required

Leading on from some of the items raised above is the preconception of email as a cheap communication channel with your clients. Again, it certainly can be. But the power of Eloqua/Marketing Automation really comes from planning and pre-empting behaviors and ensuring you have email content which fits those behavioral permutations.

Also, if you’re going to be conducting A/B tests then you need to provide content for each test variant. And remember the losing content will be disposed of immediately. Some A/B testing can be done quickly and easily; pretty simple stuff to change a subject line or introduce personalization versus not. But it can be time-consuming and laborious if you are introducing different messaging, messaging hierarchies etc and testing those.

Every asset needs thought through, and planned, for every possible permutation on your campaign. Some of these assets include:

  • Emails
  • Landing pages (HTML, CSS and Javascript)
  • Forms
  • Segment data
  • Canvas control
  • CDOs
  • Shared Lists
  • Shared Filters
  • Lead management
  • Dynamic Content

And that list is not exhaustive.

If you work in a regulated environment like Financial Services or Healthcare, the compliance/regulatory burden can exacerbate what is already a significant level of effort.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but pulling all these assets and the content required to populate them, is a significant task and it all needs planned meticulously.

Eloqua original 600 preview

Test like you’ve never tested before

Eloqua is unforgiving. Get one small thing wrong, one checkbox left checked/unchecked and you may have a serious challenge on your hands.

Again, getting back to the cultural part of this; there needs to be an understanding and acceptance from the business that planning needs to be robust, but the level of effort allocated to testing shouldn’t be underestimated.

The stakeholders involved in the campaign should be the final sign-off on any campaign, so testing can’t be seen as a marketing task, a developers task or a Quality Assurance analyst’s task; those final stakeholders/product owners should be the final arbiter that the campaign output is fit-for-purpose.

That’s the easy bit!  We can run, relatively quickly, through testing in some fantastic tools like Email On Acid, Litmus or BrowserStack.  Does the email render well on all the desktop clients?  Does the responsive template(s) collapse correctly across all in-scope mobile devices? Does the landing page work on all operating systems and browsers? Do all the links go to the right place?

All good? Fantastic!

But with a platform like Eloqua, the actual testing of all the assets and components involved is a much more involved and labyrinthine piece of work. Every single part needs to be tested rigorously. From the list of Eloqua assets mentioned above, every single one will need tested both atomically and end-to-end (where applicable for your campaigns).

If your campaign is multilingual, the burden on testing becomes exponentially larger.

Keep your brief as the cardinal reference point (making sure it has been updated with any amends as the campaign comes closer to fruition) and double-check that every single asset is configured in accordance with the brief and is going to exhibit the behavior you need it to.

And then test it again.

Housekeeping – Boring but crucial

Set up your folder structure and asset naming conventions before you even touch a single email campaign. This needs to be agreed with the key stakeholders; one person’s naming convention doesn’t necessarily make sense for everyone involved.

Agree the structure of campaigns for easier finding and re-use between everyone who will be implementing campaigns. This is even more important if you’re using a 3rd party vendor to support your MA programs.

Remember also that it’s not just about Eloqua; landing page assets will, no doubt, have some form of analytics package enabled for you to track behaviors and emails will have the UTM tracking codes with your email asset as the campaign parameter by default, so your naming convention will be carried over into external platforms and therefore needs to be something easily understandable to your analytics team as well as marketing and developers.

We’ve created a simple wizard that should help you with your naming convention structure for any type of asset in your campaigns.  Simply fill out the short form and you can download the wizard today.

Do you speak Eloquese?

Much like any other enterprise-scale platform, Eloqua has its own lexicon. You’re going to need to know some of it to a greater or lesser degree. Fill out the form to download a ready-reckoner of some of the most commonly-used terms and what they actually mean. Get ready to bust that jargon!

Get in touch today to find out how we can help get the most out of your Eloqua campaigns.

Download Our Eloqua Naming Convention Tool & Eloqua Lexicon

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