Learning Marketing Automation? Dive Right In

Learning by doingThe decision to work with a marketing automation program like Eloqua is no small decision. It’s going to involve a tremendous expansion of the skill-set that you possess. It’s going to tax your abilities, and half-measures (adopting it part-way) is not going to get you where you want to go. If you adopt Eloqua, your marketing department is going to need a re-think from top to bottom.

As the Topliners poll shows nearby, the best way to become comfortable with Eloqua is to simply dive right in. (Click on the chart to see a larger version of it).

While “diving in” may make some sense, you have to be careful about what you’re diving into. The process of learning Eloqua, from beginning to end, involves a great deal of effort (which is worth it). The instructions that Eloqua provided at http://growth.eloqua.com provide a realistic road-map of what that journey entails.

Take a look at the list of just first-level of things you’ll need to do to “lay the groundwork” from that chart. I’ll go through these and provide just a few brief words on each of them.

Laying Your GroundworkPersona Development: This involves fairly intensive discussions with the sales department to understand who the various people are who are buying your products and services, why they are buying them, and what the process is like to get from “interest” to “purchase”.

Data Management/Standardize Data: Do you have data already? If so, there’s a likelihood that it’s not been “normalized”. If you don’t have data, you’ll need to think through and understand what you’ll need, and how to make sure it’s captured properly.

Naming Conventions and Folder Organization: Eloqua’s folder structure is an important part of classifying your emails, and before you send your first email out, you should have some kind of roadmap to make certain your emails are organized correctly as you continue to build out your program.

Email Deliverability and Best Practices: This is a whole separate science. It’s not as if there’s a dearth of material here; rather, the challenge will be to understand what targets you’d like to achieve, and then figure out how to be selective about which “best practices” you need to adopt.

Increase Email Response Rates: In some ways, this is a subset of the previous item; in other ways, this is a function of testing to achieve the kinds of targets you have set for yourself.

Subscription Preferences and Management: It’s an opt-in world; people hate getting spammed, and users will want to be able to opt themselves into and out of certain categories of information they will receive. Thinking through these categories is going to be vital to your efforts.

Inactive Contact Management: Eloqua charges you solely based on the number of contacts you have in your database. That means, if you can reduce the number of contacts you have, you can reduce the amount of money you pay for your annual contract. But at what cost?

Web to Lead Form Integration: Imagine the process that your potential customers will go through while in your “sales funnel”. You’ll want to learn more and more about them as they move forward. But what do you need to know, and when do you need to know it?

Lead Source Capture: How will you capture the names of individuals in the first place? More and more marketers are popping up big “give-us-your-email-address-now” screens in front of the first visit to your website. Is that what you want to be known for?

Don’t think you don’t need to do all of this. If you have a website – if you hope to use your website as a part of your selling process, then you either need to do all this, and more, or risk having your business become irrelevant to your users.

Consider the broad range of disciplines that are involved in just this list alone. This is merely “laying your groundwork”, before you actually accomplish one thing. The amount of work that needs to go simply into laying your groundwork should be a sign to you that an Eloqua implantation is not going to be a one-time “set-it-and-forget-it” software installation. It’s going to be a way of life.

Introducing 4Segments

4Segments
4Segments will revolutionize how you use and share data

4Thought Marketing introduced 4Segments at Oracle’s “Modern Marketing Experience” (#MME15) – this a tool that will revolutionize your ability to create, understand, and share the value of your marketing lists and segments. If you’ve built “segments” in any of the major “marketing automation” platforms (Eloqua included), you’ll love the simplicity that 4Segments brings to the task.

4Segments will enable you to take personalization to a whole new level in your marketing content efforts, as you seek to build the relevance you need to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Contact me for a demonstration of this cool new tool.

“Buyer Personas and The Marketing Funnel – Its a confusing World”

Forrester Research: The New Marketing Funnel

What’s the right way to think about “buyer personas”? I’m discussing that topic in a series of guest-blog posts at Acooze.com, content marketing consultants from Melbourne, Australia.

… if you’ve studied content marketing at all, you’ve seen the sales funnel or the marketing funnel. This is traditionally how marketers are given to think about how customers progress on their journey from someone who doesn’t even know about you to being a customer.

About a year ago, Forrester Research published a new version of the funnel…. As you can see, the funnel has become a bit more complex.

My article this week walks you through the growing number of complexities that are being faced as marketers delve further into the world of marketing automation.

Read more here to see and understand the current state of “the marketing funnel”.

I’m @johnbugay

Understanding Buyer Personas: The Human Side

The Human Side
The Human Side
Reposted from @acooze:

What’s the right way to think about “buyer personas”? I’m discussing that topic in a series of guest-blog posts at Acooze.com, content marketing consultants from Melbourne, Australia.

Building and understanding buyer personas is important because as you understand the personas you’re dealing with, you can begin to understand their pain points.

Then you need to create benefit statements that correspond to those pain points. Benefits statements become the key messaging units of the content. But first, you’ve got to begin creating and then mapping the various personas.

Different people in your target accounts are going to have different concerns. And accordingly, they’ll be searching for answers to different kinds of questions.

I thought I’d provide example that shows you how marketing and sales can work together to craft useful personas. Then discuss how “content” could map to those personas…

Read more: The Human Side of the Buyer Persona.

I’m @johnbugay

Understanding Buyer Personas: Two sides of the coin

Buyer Personas: two sides of a coinReposted from @acooze, @learningeloqua:

What’s the right way to think about “buyer personas”? I’m discussing that topic in a series of guest-blog posts at Acooze.com.

You have to be able to identify your buyer persona in two ways. First, you must know them from their own perspective – get them to say “I am a person who …” (and you need this kind of feedback ideally from a representative sample of them, or from your salespeople’s understanding of them). That’s the human side.

Second, you must be able to access them within your data. That’s the technical side. A lot of content marketing advice exists about the first, but it seems like information on the second is a bit harder to find.

Getting your buyer personas right is like burning both ends of a candle. And if you’re not making a connection in the middle, you’re going to run into some difficulty.

Read more: Buyer Personas, A Collision of Human and Technology

I’m @johnbugay