Detailed Review of Eloqua

Posted by Karen D. Schwartz
Karen D. Schwartz
With over 25 years of technology writing experience, Karen has worked at leading publications including CIO an...
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on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 in Online Marketing

Eloqua: Marketing Automation with a Focus on Service

Who it's for: Companies that want to turn leads into customers. Eloqua does this with sophisticated tactics like in-depth behavioral lead scoring, nurturing and routing, along with and tight integration with CRM systems.

What it is: An integrated suite of tools that helps companies execute targeted multichannel marketing campaigns, identify likely prospects, and create a method of turning those prospects into customers.

The Good: Eloqua is a mature, flexible, feature-rich system that scores highly on customer support and professional services. It assigns a customer success manager to each customer, helping to ensure success.

The Bad: Although its graphical user interface is intuitive, most companies will need help getting started, and will need to dedicate someone in the company to it. Pricing is higher than some of its competitors, due to its rich feature set.

Bottom Line: It’s a good value, despite the relatively high cost. If you can handle the learning curve, it’s a good investment.

Detailed Review

Pricing: No free trial. Contract required. 

 

Express

Team

Enterprise

Price

$2,000/month

$3,200/month

$6,400/month

Number of users

4-10

11-50

250

Success Coaching

First 10 weeks

Ongoing

Ongoing

Personalization/Customization

Limited

More option

More options

Web API access

10,000 calls/day

20,000 calls/day

50,000 calls/da

Cloud Connectors

Up to 3 apps

Up to 10 apps

Unlimited

Reporting

Standard

Standard

More customized

Notes on Pricing Grid:

All price levels offer best practices and programs template, free live weekly training with trainer, unlimited emails and campaigns.

Support: When it comes to support, Eloqua rises above the rest. In addition to standard chat, email and phone support offered 12 hours per day, Eloqua has an extensive array of courses through Eloqua University, a once weekly “Power Hour” webinar, guides to everything from lead scoring to social enablement, best practices videos, articles and tips.

Most impressively, each customer is assigned to a “customer success manager” (Eloqua Express users share one with other customers, while Team and Enterprise members get their own manager). These managers are on call to help users with everything from ad hoc questions to strategizing about how to get the most out of the tool for a particular campaign.

Setup: Getting started isn’t easy if you’re new at this. Eloqua strongly recommends its money-back guaranteed $6,000 SmartStart package, which includes services to get a company up and running on the platform in less than five days. In addition to implementation, it includes a three-day remote training course.

How it works: Eloqua’s entire stack of functions are fully integrated, which means that companies can see the effect that their actions take on the process every step of the way. Everything is stored in a content management system, which can be organized by campaigns, dates, or any other criteria users set. Users create business process flows using a tool called the Program Builder. This flexible tool can help create and automate any process, from programs that help identify targeted accounts to a scoring program to track and measure prospects.

Email Marketing: Eloqua has a fully functional email marketing system with all of the functionality of a standalone email marketing system. It includes the basics like forms, email templates, opt-out and subscription management, along with more sophisticated functions like the ability to develop multichannel marketing campaigns.

Drip Marketing: This function allows users to send a series of automated messages to prospects at user-set intervals to better engage with the prospect and improve the chances that recipients will become customers.

Campaign Management: This part of the system is for creating and automating multi-channel campaigns. It’s got a lot of useful features, but perhaps the most useful feature is the decision tree, which helps the system route leads based on user-based criteria. Campaign managers start by defining a list of prospects that will be included in the campaign; they can use filters to include and exclude communities of leads within the database. There are also demographic and behavioral filters to help define the most appropriate targets. Campaign managers can create a series of rules for the campaign that help direct the flow, such as when and how to send messages or creating or updating lead record data. Eloqua also supports event management.

Lead Nurturing, Lead Assignment and Lead Scoring: 

  • Lead Nurturing: This is the process of communicating regularly with prospects through newsletters, blogs or event invitations. Eloqua’s system uses automated processes to manage this communication and score prospects until they are ready to become leads.
  • Lead Scoring and Assignment: Eloqua uses algorithms to rank prospects based what they have responded to, their interests, activity and behavior. The higher the score, the more qualified the lead. Unqualified or cold leads can be routed to lead nurturing programs.

Sales Tools: In the end, it’s all about making sales, and Eloqua has it covered. The main tools is Discover, a prospect discovery tool that shows salespeople active and qualified prospects in real-time using a color-coded dashboard. This tool can easily be integrated with a CRM system.

CRM Integration: This is an area of strength for Eloqua, which comes with one-click integration with Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle/Siebel CRM, and RightNow. If you use another CRM system, it’s not that difficult to connect with them via Eloqua’s Application Programming Interface (API). The connections are tight, especially with Salesforce.com, and users can choose what data should be shared. In most cases, the more data you share with Eloqua, the better. The tight integration allows you to sync leads, contacts, accounts and campaign profiles. When leads are updated in Eloqua, that information can be shared with the CRM system as well.

Social Media Integration: Eloqua is integrated with Twitter, Facebook, and RSS feeds, so users can insert links into emails, track traffic from social media sites and use RSS feeds to update campaign content dynamically. The company also has recently upped its social media integration with a suite of tools that help score leads based on social activity, implement one-click forms on social media sites and publish live Twitter feeds of a prospect’s most recent tweets in the Eloqua Profiler dashboard.

Integration with other external applications: By using Eloqua’s AppCloud Connectors, users can connect to a large variety of applications such as web conferencing platforms, social media services, online communities, event registration platforms or anything else you need to get the most out of marketing automation.

Reporting and Analytics: Eloqua has hundreds of reports for campaign and website analytics, as well as dashboards with high-level views of activity. Executives can quickly how well the marketing database is growing, trends in email response, what emails are driving the most inquiries, or any other parameter requested. Web analytics include the number of website visitors over a time period, most popular website pages and leading search engines and keywords. Campaign-related reports can report on the performance of all aspects of a campaign in one dashboard, or break it down to track campaign performance by region or product line. Users can also set up reports to show top campaigns by opportunities generated, opportunity revenue, new inquiries, or any other parameter. Reports can be exported to email, Excel, CSV, Word, PDF and HTML files. Eloqua works well with Google Analytics, Omniture Sitecatalyst, Webtrends and Coremetrics.

Security and Privacy: Eloqua uses high levels of security including the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol for encryption. Only qualified personnel have access to Eloqua’s servers. Physical security includes biometric controls and video surveillance.

Eloqua uses cookies and web beacons to collect personally identifiable information, anonymous demographic information and information about users’ hardware and software, but uses it only to improve performance or notify users about changes. It doesn’t sell, share or rent user information for promotional use, but may do so with partners. Users can opt out of receiving any or all communications.

Comparison to Similar Products: Very small businesses may find Eloqua a bit overwhelming and prefer an easier-to-use, less expensive option. For growing companies that put marketing front and center, Eloqua is a great choice. It competes most directly with Marketo. Both are rated very highly, and you won’t go wrong with either one.

Conclusions: Eloqua has top-notch features and support, and customers tend to think that despite the price, it’s a good value. Once you master the learning curve, the possibilities are limited by your personnel—not the product.

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.


With over 25 years of technology writing experience, Karen has worked at leading publications including CIO and Ziff Davis Enterprise. Karen has always been focused on making complicated technology easily understandable.

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