Eloqua: Interview with Heidi Melin

Heidi Melin, Eloqua CMOAt Dreamforce 2012 we caught up with Heidi Melin, Chief Marketing Officer at Eloqua:

When I was CMO at Polycom we needed to demonstrate the value that Marketing was providing to the organization and I could not do that in a credible fashion without a marketing automation platform like Eloqua.  During our evaluation process there were a couple things that were important to me.

First it had to be a solution that would integrate with our existing CRM platform.

The next piece was not about the software but it was about the services, it was about the education, it was about the best practices to ensure that we were doing it right. Having been in software for a long time I know how important that expertise is because companies that just buy software and don’t look at the underlying business practices and processes are not successful. You have low adoption rates, you have frustration, you have gaps in a seamless process between Sales and Marketing.

The final thing was I needed a solution that could be rolled out in a distributed global environment.  A complex organization liked Polycom required a robust tool and what we found was that Eloqua had the capability we needed in order to rollout for a global implementation.  I needed to be able to manage it in Europe, North America and Asia. It also needed to have the functionality to be able to go through the channels.  97% of our revenue came through the channel.  That meant 2 and 3 tier distribution in some cases and that our leads were passed to channel partners and I needed to get them back in order to do any closed loop reporting.  That is hard.

For complex organizations Eloqua has the depth and functionality to handle their challenges but I would also say it is not just about the software.   Support, services and best practices are important for their success for both big and small companies.   If you get the software in fast and nobody uses it, does it matter?  In a globally distributed environment we have the depth of functionality that allows CMOs to do what they need to in a complex organization.

Strict Mode is a good example of how we help complex organizations succeed.  In some countries the way that information is used is different.  Germany has some of the strictest privacy laws on the planet.  If you have a business process that is set up to take information from other sources, there are different privacy laws in every single country.

Today we are processing 10 billion transactions per day.  So we have very high performance, availability, reliability for organizations that are scaling and growing and need to process a large number of transactions.

One of the things that the Eloqua had done a good job of was feeling bigger than we were at the time.  Part of the identity system developed prior to our new logo was to connote a strong, stable, reliable, big company.  As we have grown we are now a publically traded company with $100 million in revenue and 1,000 customers.  We no longer have to say that we are ‘big’.  What we can do is let some of our personality, passions and enthusiasm come through.

I had a monumental experience in London at our Eloqua Experience Conference where I watched Joe Payne and Paul Teshima speak in front of an audience with passion and energy and I looked around at the image we were projecting (the signage, logo, graphics) and I saw a huge disconnect.  The image that we were projecting was not consistent with our personality and enthusiasm.  There was a bit of ‘cool’ factor that we were missing.  We are cool company and we needed to reflect this in the market so we made the decision to launch the new brand at Dreamforce 2012.

It’s not just about the logo it is about the story.  It’s about modern marketing expertise and it’s a story that we have not been telling. We tell a story about lead scoring and lead nurturing which is a part of modern marketing.  We tell the RPM story which is critical to modern marketing.  But how do you tie those two things together and how do you make it relevant when you are sitting across the table from a Chief Sales Officer or Chief Marketing Officer?  It’s really about how modern marketing works.

Marketing automation is coming into it’s own.  It is the growth area for which customers are gaining a competitive advantage.  We integrate tightly with Salesforce.com, Radian6, BuddyMedia and Data.com so they are cloud partners of ours.  So think of Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud as being part of the social engine that connects into the Eloqua platform and delivers demand out through the field.



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