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Eloqua Marketing Software Analysis

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Eloqua Best Fit and Alternative Solutions

Sweet Spot
Short list Eloqua when:

  • You're an enterprise organization with more than 10 marketing users accessing the marketing automation software.
  • Your customer market consists of mixed B2B and B2B2C, and/or includes B2C for big ticket and long sales cycle solutions.
  • You're in the financial services industry. Eloqua offers an Asset Management solution that enables mutual fund wholesalers, institutional asset managers, and marketers within the financial services sector to communicate and engage more effectively with financial advisors and within a highly regulated business environment.
  • 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 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, the company has well over 1000 customers and is the clear leader among enterprise organizations. When reviewing the size of Eloqua customers and the volume of users supported, they may very well be the top marketing automation software market share leader. However, that leadership position 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 largely 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 much more of 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.End

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Comments (8) — Comments for this page are closed —
Guest Sanjay Peduhimil
  We went through the marketing software selection process over a year ago – and I wish I had read your reviews back then as they would have saved a lot of time. The biggest recommendation I have for people about to begin this process is don't begin the selection by trying to compare the top vendors against each other. We unfortunately did that, as I think a lot of folks do, and ended up consuming a lot of time in discovering they all do the same things, albeit with different tools, interfaces and methods. So at the end of the comparison contest you are left with subjective opinions and no significant differences. Instead thoroughly identify your top 10 or so marketing objectives and software requirements. Then instead of sitting through generic marketing software demos, which are interesting but less than helpful in your selection process, focus first on specifically how each marketing software vendor achieves those objectives. Be specific and be thorough – and the differences will likely be striking. When we finally adopted the second approach, we were able to identify big differences in how the marketing software systems would work in our environment.

Guest Mimi Sasen
  I get concerned about customers when companies like Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot and others complete their IPOs. I've seen too many tech valley companies look at IPO's as their ultimate badge of success. And once they go public, their focus changes from building the great products necessary to win customers, to implementing short term tactics to influence the stock price, and subsequently their new found wealth. Many employees become obsessed with the price of the stock and the value of their stock options, instead of being obsessed on customer success. Once the founding owners who made the product great no longer control all the decisions, and are suddenly reporting to others, they often find the hassles and loss of autonomy a drag and take their new money and cruise after the lockup period to some time off or the next start-up. Few tech companies of the small sizes such as Eloqua, Marketo and HubSpot could continue their passion and pace of innovation or customer support without their founders. Bringing in a new crew of executive managers comes with a host of new learning curves and issues – none of which are good for customers.

Guest Graham P
  I'm glad business intelligence was included in the Eloqua review, however, this remains a big weakness for Eloqua and every other marketing software vendor. I cant really figure out why these marketing software companies don't deliver data warehousing and data mining capabilities. The volume of raw data is exponentially growing and marketers need more than just reports to sift through it, make sense of it and make it actionable.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    Excellent point. I'm reminded of an astonishing quote from Google CEO Eric Schmidt - "Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003". When you consider the voluminous marketing data accumulation such as click streams and contact behaviors, marketers would certainly benefit from more enterprise analysis tools. Marketing automation software solutions in general offer strong reporting, but lack real business intelligence (BI) solutions. From my discussions with vendor executives, it seems to most often come down to limited time and priorities. Several vendors such as Eloqua provide the tools to extract data into data warehouses, data mining and OLAP applications, and while IT involvement is required, it's a viable approach until the vendor community either acquires or solidifies closer partnerships with the BI solutions.

Guest Colleen Petri
  I think part of the problem for revenue performance management and marketing performance in general is that marketers measure the metrics that are easy to measure more so than the metrics that most matter.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    That is a very accurate statement for too many marketers. A few years ago Forrester did a B2B online survey to rate and rank marketing metrics. Tactical measures such as click through rates, cost per lead and number of campaigns launched were routinely measured, but were the bottom three metrics in terms of effectiveness. Customer retention, volume of new sale opportunities, customer satisfaction and net new customers were not measured as frequently but were the top four measures. These later four metrics are clearly more challenging to accurately measure, but obviously more strategic. They also cross sales and marketing boundaries and require a holistic view across sales and marketing activities to be effective, thereby giving credence to the concept of Revenue Performance Management.

Guest Denise Johnson
  I'm not getting the revenue performance management concept. Eloqua and Marketo seem to use this phrase a lot and its unclear to me if this is an industry term or something they made up.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    This is a phrase coined by marketing software vendors and while it is clearly jockeyed for marketing purposes it also has strategic value. Per Eloqua, revenue performance management is "a systematic approach to identifying the drivers and impediments to revenue, rigorously measuring them, and then pulling the economic levers that will optimize top line growth". I personally find this definition too broad, and too much motherhood and apple pie. By this definition, business leaders have been practicing revenue performance management since the beginning of business and without the knowledge or need of a new marketing moniker. Per Marketo, revenue performance management (RPM) is "a strategy to optimize interactions with buyers across the revenue cycle to accelerate predictable revenue growth." Similar to Eloqua, there's nothing wrong with the definition but it comes across a bit broad.

From my perspective, revenue performance management is about expanding the traditional (sales) funnel to include marketing performance, knowing how marketing and sales collectively drive revenue, implementing more (cross departmental) performance metrics and understanding how changes made anywhere in the revenue cycle can impact revenue performance. In the grand scheme of things, revenue performance management is a valid business concept that Eloqua, Marketo and other marketing automation software vendors can inject in sales cycles for competitive positioning, however, elevating a concept that most buyers have never heard of—and vendors are certain to manipulate in their positioning—as the core branding and marketing message is bound to incur mixed results.





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