By Chuck Leddy
During a recent virtual Eloqua User Group meeting, host Karin Pindle described how B2B marketers can better leverage Eloqua to support multi-channel marketing. Pindle, Senior Marketing Automation Consultant at Sojourn Solutions, began by defining multi-channel marketing: “It is the practice of using multiple communication channels to reach your customers and prospects with the end goal of generating measurable revenue.”
Pindle noted that multi-channel marketing has become increasingly important because today’s customers access content and make purchasing decisions using more and more channels, from research sites to online retail sites (Amazon) to streaming platforms (Peacock, Disney +) to social media platforms (Instagram) and well beyond. Marketers need to reach customers wherever they go (i.e., via multiple touchpoints) and tailor messages to both the needs of the channel and of the specific customer. This age-old imperative has never been more challenging than today, especially as more channels appear (and sometimes disappear) over time.
Eloqua can help marketers engage their customers across channels, and Pindle described exactly how to leverage the platform and other tools to do so.
Today’s most common marketing channels
As technology evolves and channels proliferate, it’s a bit surprising that old-fashioned email and email newsletters remain the most commonly used marketing channels, largely because they’re also the most effective ways to reach the largest number of customers. While your B2B customers may not be on TikTok, they certainly have email addresses and email inboxes they visit frequently.
Pindle listed today’s most common marketing channels:
- Direct mail
- Social media
- Paid ads
Eloqua, of course, offers native solutions for reaching customers in several of these commonly-used channels, most importantly email. The Eloqua MAP can also help you track customer visits to your website, said Pindle, “but it’s not meant to be a CMS (content management system) and replace your website or blog.” In terms of supporting events and webinars, Eloqua can be conveniently deployed for sending email invitations and following up after events/webinars, said Pindle. Finally, Eloqua offers native support for some social media, like social sign-in and re-targeting.
As new channels and communications platforms appear, Eloqua is working tirelessly to offer apps that support multi-channel communication. Channels like direct mail, paid ads and podcasts, for example, require Eloqua users to have an app or a custom solution. Pindle notes that “there’s no function in Eloqua right now to host webinars. Eloqua just isn’t intended to replace Zoom.”
As for social media, Eloqua can be part of the solution but not all of it: “if you want to do social well, you need a (separate) social management platform that does mass listening for your brand,” explained Pindle.
Personalization: “We aren’t quite there yet”
Pindle explained that marketers have been talking about (and dreaming about) personalization for years, but the reality remains far from the hoped-for aspiration of real-time, fully personalized messaging. “In terms of personalization, most marketers aren’t yet where they want to be,” said Pindle, although tools like Oracle Infinity and DataFox are getting them closer. “Only 23% of organizations have even personalized their websites,” Pindle noted, let alone personalized their customer engagement across multiple channels. Data management and the tight integration of tools remains a large stumbling block to ongoing personalization efforts.
And since the COVID-19 pandemic, customers have only accelerated their transition to more digital (and less face-to-face) communication channels, making email marketing (as well as having a website full of useful content) more important now than ever. The rapid emergence of new channels means that marketers will need to be agile in keeping pace with customers who inhabit a messy, multi-channel landscape. Eloqua remains a massively-useful tool, said Pindle, but B2B marketers need to be ready to integrate apps and custom solutions to engage their customers wherever they might go next. Accessing and deploying customer data, which tends to be more complicated in a cross-channel world, remains a key ingredient to unlocking marketing value.
Popular Eloqua apps for multi-channel marketing
Pindle listed “several but by no means all” apps that B2B marketers will likely want to consider deploying alongside Eloqua for their multi-channel marketing efforts:
- Websites: Drift, Uberflip, Triblio, Demandbase
- Events/Webinars: Cvent, Zoom, WebEx
- Direct Mail: PFL, TO Print
- Social: Hootsuite, Oktopost
- Mobile: Twilio, Swrve, Beepsend
- Paid Ads: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google
Pindle’s presentation made it clear that today’s complex multi-channel landscape will only be getting more messy. Yet the goal for marketers remains the same: to have a holistic view of the customers no matter what channel they use and then to engage customers with one brand voice across every channel. Oracle refers to this as “omnichannel marketing,” which means “all the channels simultaneously exchange information about customers and come together to create a seamless, comprehensive experience across all channels that allows for maximum engagement.”
Eloqua remains a great tool for marketing across channels, largely because of its native tools as well as its many available apps. Eloqua continues to add support for multi-channel marketing. Marketers, like Eloqua itself, will need to remain agile, especially as they seek to go from where they are today to where their customers might be going tomorrow. Eloqua’s marketing automation platform is a great foundation to build upon, but no single MAP by itself can offer a comprehensive solution for customer engagement across channels in today’s (and tomorrow’s) fast-moving environment.
Want to learn more about optimizing the use of Eloqua for multi-channel marketing? We’re experts in Eloqua, and have been helping client organizations reach customers across channels for years. To begin a discussion about your multi-channel marketing needs and how we can help you address them, reach out to us here.