Eloqua Review

Eloqua Review

The following Eloqua Review provides a marketing automation comparison to help evaluate this marketing automation software.

Eloqua Strengths

  • The Eloqua marketing software historical reputation has not included ease of use. However, with the release of Eloqua 10 this is no longer the case. Eloqua 10 has stepped up to deliver an inviting interface, intuitive navigation and a dramatically improved user experience—all collectively contributing to strong ease of use for novice or experienced marketers.
  • Eloqua tools are some of the most mature and flexible among the marketing software landscape. Eloqua visual editors and design tools have succeeded in building a workspace that is easy to use while still supporting marketing creativity. Data management tools are very helpful for tasks such as data normalization, cleansing and appending data with integrated third party services (such as Demandbase or JigSaw).
  • Eloqua is the category leader in email deliverability.
  • Eloqua is particularly strong at automating targeted communications over a wide range of both digital (email, personalized microsites, RSS feeds, instant messaging) and offline (direct mail, fax, SMS and call center outbound voice messages) channels—and reporting marketing performance across channels.
  • Eloqua supports object oriented creation and reuse when it comes to assembling marketing assets. For example, the marketing system permits content blocks to be created independently of campaigns so that they can be reused and dynamically inserted to emails and other marketing assets. More so, when changes are made to the content blocks those changes are reflected in all marketing assets using those blocks. Content blocks may include their own sub-components of text, images, database fields, forms, links and signatures.
  • Many lead management systems can only forward leads to the first step of a defined process. Eloqua is more flexible than that and with its Program Builder it can define lead distribution to any step in a campaign. Workflow rules also permit marketers to conduct random audience splitting on common forms for A/B testing.
  • Eloqua provides Marketing Resource Management (MRM) functionality, that while short when compared to strict MRM software vendors, offers far more MRM execution that most marketing automation software vendors. MRM permits marketers to centrally manage and update assets and elements, such as target lists, forms, emails, content blocks, scripts, workflows and other templates, so that users and campaigns are referencing the most current content.
  • There are a high number of optional rule driven parameters throughout the system. For example, campaign distributions can be excluded for select domain names—such as for competitors. These types of rules are often utilized as marketers progress in the system and seek out greater functionality.
  • Juniper Media reference checks consistently found praises for Eloqua customer support and professional services.

Eloqua Weaknesses

  • Eloqua is more costly than most other marketing software systems.
  • The inability to force unsubscribe links can permit marketers to run afoul of CAN-SPAM requirements and potentially black list the entire neighborhood (of a shared IP address).
  • Despite some strengths in email distributions, there’s no feature to split email distributions for A/B testing of emails.
  • Eloqua’s MRM functionality does not extend to project management, including scheduling of resources or managing project plans.
  • Eloqua does not provide a custom report writer for users to create new reports from scratch.
  • Marketing financial data is not captured within the system. Marketing costs, particularly at the campaign level, necessary to calculate payback and ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) must be tracked in a separate cost accounting or project accounting system and manually entered back to the marketing application.
  • There’s no function to identify and merge duplicate lead records (although this process can possibly be accomplished in the integrated CRM system).
  • There isn’t a packaged integration with PPC keywords such as Google Adwords so the system cannot calculate the actual cost of keyword campaigns.
  • The system supports double byte character sets, however, is available in few languages. Something a bit surprising as the product supports global companies particularly well.
  • Eloqua does not offer a trial program.
Short list Eloqua when:

  • You’re an enterprise organization with more than 10 marketing users accessing the marketing automation software.
  • You customer market consists of mixed B2B and B2B2C, and/or includes B2C for big ticket and long sales cycle solutions.
  • You implement multi-channel campaigns beyond digital marketing channels. Eloqua supports integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns, including digital campaigns such as email, personalized microsites, social media share, RSS feeds and instant messaging as well as more traditional channels such as print and direct mail, fax, SMS, and outbound call center campaigns.
  • Your business is in the software technology, business services, financial services, media or sports marketing industry.
  • You seek enterprise scalability and advanced feature sets such as mature tools, data management, user management and granular security permissions.
  • You use Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle CRM on Demand or Salesforce.com and are looking for a marketing automation system with a packaged and seamless integration to your CRM.

Alternative Solutions

IT buyers may be best advised to consider alternative marketing software products when:

  • You have a very small and unsophisticated marketing staff.
  • Budget and total cost of ownership are top decision making criteria.
  • You sell primarily through indirect or reseller channels.
  • You seek an on-premises marketing software system.

Companies seeking new marketing automation software and evaluating Eloqua must balance the complexity of their business processes and software requirements against Eloqua’s breadth of software scope and depth of configuration and functionality.

Closing Remarks

Eloqua claims it is the category-defining marketing automation leader. History supports the fact that Eloqua created the marketing automation software category and the company is approaching 1000 customers. When reviewing the size of Eloqua customers and the volume of users supported, they may very well be the marketing automation software market share leader. However, that leadership is more at risk now than at any time in the last decade. The competitive landscape has ballooned and become fragmented. Marketing software competitors boast hundreds of new customer wins per quarter, clearly threatening Eloqua’s early lead. If Eloqua is unable to acquire new customers at an increased pace, it will clearly not be a leader for long.

Because many of the marketing software solutions perform essentially the same tasks, brand will play an increasing role in determining how market leaders are chosen. Eloqua is a prolific content producer, but its messaging is indistinguishable. Many company promotions are interesting, even entertaining, but unclear in their take-away and become a flash in the pan. What messaging there is also lacks sufficient amplification and is being drowned out in a sea of noise. In many ways, the company seems to stand by the wayside and allow much smaller competitors to control the market conversation.

Eloqua has a great story to tell but needs to get its mojo back. The company needs to revisit its messaging, and deliver that messaging with a cadence of progressive deliveries that reinforce its position and ultimately produce a crescendo effect. Anything less will surely result in Eloqua sliding backward in market position.

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