In this the first in our series of reviews on marketing automation platforms, we will take a look at some of the major players in the marketing automation space and put them head-to-head in a grueling series of challenges to see who comes out top of the tables.
The first contender in our marketing automation review is Eloqua. Eloqua has been on the market since 1999 and was acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2012. Oracle describes Eloqua as a platform that, “enables marketers to design adaptive experiences that personalise customer journeys and drive sales opportunities.” So what does our panel think?
Eloqua's email editor has a powerful user interface with multiple templates to choose from. These can be customized using visual drag and drop. The good news is you don’t need any html skills, but if you do then with Eloqua the world is your oyster. Email can be scheduled to be sent based on actions, defined times or a pre-defined nurture workflow. Testing email versions is easy using the built-in email checker, and content can be dynamically changed using rules and filters. You can also use behavioral filters for better targeting.
The interface for Eloqua's landing page creation is basically the same as the one you use for building emails. Your templates can be pre-designed or custom built, you have the option for dynamic content; you can drag and drop images. Data capture forms can be embedded, or custom forms build. A/B testing an be done as part of an automated process. A feature worth noting is Eloqua's “micro sites” capability that enables you to setup multiple sites focussed on different topics. This will help you give your customers a better idea about individual products or services without needing to put everything in one place. A site can be highly personalized and use contact data to dynamically show differing elements. Typically, micro-sites identify prospect’s by name and deliver targeted content and increase conversion rates by providing a relevant experience. No coding is required to create them with Eloqua.
Eloqua’s Co-Dynamic Lead Scoring technology uses criteria like Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline. It also uses key qualification data like lead response, activity and behavior. You can run multiple scoring models at the same time so you can have different locations, products, etc. You can use demographics, product-specific scoring, sales representative input, prospect online behavior. The scores are updated in real-time based on online activity and are automatically down-graded when the prospect has been inactive, i.e. it deducts points.
The Eloqua marketing automation software can be tightly integrated with your CRM system to track and report on the full sales cycle. Eloqua uses the “integration studio” to natively sync with Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamic CRM, etc. Native integration allows for bi-directional data syncing - any change in Eloqua will pass through to the CRM system and vice-versa. The bi-directional syncing keeps the sales team and the marketing team aware of any changes and allow for accurate tracking of a lead's activity.
Reporting within Eloqua is standard: users see how prospects are moving through the sales funnel, from first conversion to closing the sale. Other reports provide information on who are the most engaged buyers; which pages prospects visit; what are the search words that people use to get to your site; what is the impact of your email marketing campaign; who is on your site now. This information is the essence of inbound and content marketing and is of major importance to any business. Eloqua also provides “Eloqua Insights” built on a BI platform. The reporting is powerful and the dashboard is customizable.
Eloqua provides a “Social Suite” where everything social is located. It is a collection of apps which are broken down into three major categories:
- Apps to drag social content directly onto landing pages
- Apps to pull in and manipulated social data from social sites
- Apps to create reports to measure your social conversions.
Eloqua facilitates the on-boarding process by enrolling its users into the “Eloqua University” with three different delivery options: Instructor Led Training (ILT); Instructor Led Online (ILO); Web-Based Training (WBT). The ILT provides a real instructor who travels to the customer’s location or delivers training in an Eloqua office. Content is selected from a course catalog. The maximum is 12 people per class. The ILO courses are delivered online in a web virtual classroom with a facilitator. The maximum is 15 people. The WBT uses on-demand e-Learning modules that are interactive and provide exercises.
Eloqua uses their own methodology - “SmartStart” to on-board customers. It gets customers using the platform for 3-5 days.
Eloqua has three main pricing tiers: Marketer, Team and Enterprise. It is one of the more expensive solutions out there, but it's powerful administration and permission models, as well as its ability to manage complex sets of custom metadata make it indispensable for larger marketing departments.
Whilst it provides a solid set of tools and a reasonable price for the mid-market, Oracle Eloqua is best known for being one of the leading players within the large enterprise market sector.
- Oracle Eloqua website: www.eloqua.com
- Oracle Eloqua implementation and campaign development services