- CRM integrations & API
- Clean, simple user interface
- Customize full user experience with journey mapping features
- Not a “plug-and-play” platform
- High pricing compared to other marketing automation platforms
Specifically focused on larger organizations with integrated marketing strategies, the Eloqua email service provider platform — a constituent of the Oracle Marketing Stack — is a powerful tool for any organization’s national or statewide marketing efforts.
Marketing and journey mapping
Oracle developed Eloqua as an alternative to other enterprise-focused email marketing automation tools included in suites like Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Adobe Campaign. As an email marketing tool, Eloqua includes most features you’d expect with such platforms (i.e., tracking and metrics dashboards, analytics manipulation, and database integration).
Eloqua equips marketers with customer-driven data points to create useful journey maps, typically diagrams of each interaction between the consumer and the company – from the first contact to eventual purchase. These journey mapping features empower users to anticipate customer needs and identify areas of improvement for personalized client interactions. More widely-used platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact lack such capabilities; however, Eloqua (with Salesforce Marketing Cloud and others) offers full control of front-to-back customer experience continuity.
UI, functionality, & reporting
The user interface built into Eloqua is incredibly simple to navigate with a modern looking skin and color-scheme. We had no significant issues navigating through the platform or comprehending the tool’s full functionality. However, the best indicator of Eloqua’s user interface is in how it renders metrics, campaign analytics, and campaign reporting.
Results from email campaigns are populated in digestible, real-time visualizations while offering a slew of standalone reporting features. Additionally, there are data manipulation tools and standard import-export tools with automatic notifications when the process completes. Click through reporting is lacking; however, most email lists can be managed within the campaign, customer, and market segmentation, among other features.
Platforms like MailChimp lack calendar management and other user automation tools in exchange for marketing features that give off a more “curated” and “managed” experience. Eloqua, conversely, requires users to do more work when it comes to setting up automation experiences or customer journeys.
External integrations and API
One of Eloqua’s high marks is the platform’s application program interface routines built for mainstream customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. The platform integrates with both Salesforce CRM and Salesforce Sales Cloud while offering the same native capabilities with Microsoft Dynamics and Oracle CRM On Demand. The Eloqua API documentation is provided to users and developers to facilitate custom integrations with other CRMs and third-party platforms. However, Eloqua only integrates natively with a few third-party platforms like Zendesk, while MailChimp has integrations for hundreds of third-party platforms.
Source editor & other setbacks
Eloqua features an HTML editor like most mainstream email marketing tools; yet, the platform’s editor is complicated. Unlike the drag and drop editors found on competing platforms, Eloqua’s Source Editor requires knowledge or HTML coding. There are visual components and mail merge features that can be easily included, but the Source Editor will require skilled developers to maximize its utility.
Though the user interface is exceptional, first-time use is a particular issue among some users. Oracle Eloqua is a tool that requires background knowledge of other marketing stacks and journey mapping platforms. Users lacking this knowledge will be faced with learning gaps that diminishes the “plug-and-play” vibe of the entire platform. This can be resolved with dedicated tech support and a rich knowledge base on Oracle’s support website.
We’ll be honest; if you’re shopping for a cheap marketing automation solution, look somewhere else. Starting out at $2,000 per month for ten user licenses and access to most of Eloqua’s features, the tool could be pricey for an organization looking to save a few bucks on marketing. Other Eloqua subscriptions start at $4,000 per month for 50 users and with custom pricing for enterprise clients with up to 1,000 users. These plans are priced for organizations sending to more than 10,000 contacts.
Though expensive compared to “freemium” small-business tools like MailChimp, Eloqua is competitively priced for an enterprise level marketing automation tool. Salesforce Marketing Cloud remains the most affordable option, offering subscriptions starting at $400 per month.
What we think
If the organization has the budget to purchase an Oracle Eloqua subscription, they should consider it. Though they aren’t the only ones that offer journey mapping, Eloqua’s customer relationship continuity features are the industry standard, as are the analytics and reporting functions.
Just be sure that you have skilled HTML developers and staff with previous marketing stack experience to ensure that Eloqua can maximize your organization’s ROI. If you lack this critical technical knowledge, the tool can become a burden.
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