A-Team Chronicles

Using Eloqua for B2C? and Responsys for B2B?

Emma Thomas | August 6, 2018
Principal Solutions Architect
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By Emma Thomas and Michael J. Sullivan


For many situations the choice of marketing platforms is clear. Given that it is well suited to companies that send large amounts of email, push, or SMS messages Responsys lends itself well for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) marketing. Eloqua with its deep integration with CRM, provision for comprehensive Sales + Campaign ROI Analytics, and large ecosystem of training & 3rd party extensions is a clear fit for Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing.

There are however situations where it is not as clear the reverse might be a good fit. In this article we will look at some of the use cases or edge cases where Eloqua can be used for B2C and Responsys for B2B. Also we will consider this overlap of the two where we have Business-to-Business-to-Consumer companies.

Caption: While there are still classic distinctions between B2B and B2C marketing use cases, the lines are increasingly being blurred between B2B and B2C best practices. If anything, B2B marketing is becoming more B2C-like as B2B marketers continue to adopt tried-and-true B2C methods.


Using Eloqua for B2C?

While the use cases for using Eloqua for B2B are quite clear (and will not be discussed in this blog) there are some edge cases for B2C where Eloqua is a good fit.

In particular, Eloqua can be used anytime there is a considered purchase for the product/service you are selling.

Example: You will be going on a family vacation. Therefore the following are likely considerations you will be investigating/researching:

  • the destination
  • where you stay
  • airline you choose
  • type of transportation to book
  • restaurants and museums to visit
  • cultural events during your stay

All are things that are not bought or booked on a whim. There is a lot consideration put into it. Which (in theory) should allow marketing to be aware they have prospect and likewise market to and nurture the audience prior to making the purchase.

Same holds true for things like purchasing big ticket items such as a car, a major appliance, furniture, etc.

One example I like to give is when my wife and I bought a new refrigerator. We looked at several retailers and brands online for several months before making the purchase. Yes, we are just “consumers”. But when it came time to make the purchase we just walked into the store and said “we want that one”. Needless to say there was a lot of research done ahead of that moment.


Muddying the water: B2B adopting B2C techniques

Another thing is that the one of the hottest trends in B2B marketing today is to adopt techniques borrowed from B2C marketing.

  1. Audience-centric marketing
    By taking an audience-centric approach, B2B marketers can understand their customers’ most urgent pain points and then effectively solve them. Example: personalized emails are can generate a sixfold increase in transaction rates than generic email campaigns.
  2. Greater Personalization
    For B2B marketers, greater personalization means more efficiency and greater ROI. Marketing efforts won’t be wasted on unqualified leads or accounts, and sales will similarly save time by only focusing on genuinely qualified prospects.
  3. Omni-channel marketing
    Using the right individual-level data can make targeting far more effective for B2B marketers, by ensuring the campaigns they’re investing in are reaching the right audiences.
  4. Speak wants and needs, not product features
    B2B customers aren’t interested in “state of the art” or “best in class” -- they’re looking for ways to be more effective at their jobs, save time, and avoid pressure from other departments or their managers.
  5. Turn customers into advocates
    This is a page right out of the B2C playbook: marketers see customers as investments so that they will not only keep coming back for more but also act as advocates and encourage their friends to buy for a multiplying effect.

User Journeys

This brings up a much-needed discussion about User Journeys. Given that a consumer will be doing their research across a wide range of channels (from magazines, newspapers, and books, to websites, webinars, and blogs, to social media, as well as traditional media such as television and radio), one would ideally want to manage those touchpoints across all channels. Email and landing pages are just a small fraction of all the possible channels where you can reach your customer. Given the complexity it is easy to see why many marketers simply rely upon hiring an ad-agency to orchestrate across all possible channels. But this blackbox approach is both expensive and does not allow one to easily identify the who/what/when/where of any success or failures in the user’s journey. Further, changes in the email/landing pages under your control may or may not affect the other media touchpoint (and vice versa) — i.e. you would be unaware of any impact either positive or negative.


Oracle & 3rd party integrations/extensions for Eloqua

In order to extend the reach of nurturing a client across various channels, the following extensions to Eloqua are available on the Oracle Marketing Cloud Marketplace (https://cloudmarketplace.oracle.com/marketplace/product/marketing)

  • SMS, MMS, Push-notification connectors (Various)
  • Social Connectors (WeChat, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Oracle CX integrations (SRM, OCC, CEC, SalesCloud, ServiceCloud, NetSuite)
  • Webinars (Webex, Zoom, On24, GoTo)
  • Video (Brightcove, YouTube, VidYard, Kaltura )
  • Commerce integrations (OCC, Magento)
  • Mobile App tracking and push notifications (Swrve, Oracle Infinity)
  • Analytics (Adobe, Google, Oracle Infinity)
  • Track Anonymous users (4Thought)
  • Retargeting (BlueKai)

Eloqua & Abandoned Carts

While Eloqua does not come out of the box with an abandoned cart integration, many clients have rolled their own. In this regard Responsys has an edge over Eloqua.

B2C Volume & Scale

While it may have been suspect in the past, today’s Eloqua is highly scalable. If the customer needs more than 10,000,000 email sends per month, they have the option to upgrade to Enterprise trim.  Note however that Eloqua’s pricing is different than Responsys in that it is per contact not per volume.


B2C Case Study: NSW Government National Parks and Wildlife Services, Australia

The following case study is a classic use of Eloqua to nurture a consumer through the steps of a knowledge campaign. Note that nothing fancy (from a technology point of view) is being done here other than knowing your goal, knowing your audience, creating engaging content — both emails and landing pages, and designing a well-thought out campaign flow with measurable metrics. This is a great fit for Eloqua.

Target Audience: Young Adults

Goal: increase knowledge and awareness of NSW National Parks and the range of available experiences for people aged between 18 to 34

Scope of campaign: create a series of five personalized emails designed to take recipients on a journey

Conclusion: Each email received well in excess of their goal of a 30% total open rate and double digit click through rates. The NPWS recorded a 79% increase in website traffic since the campaign was launched in September 2016. The fact that traffic had also increased to the NPWS website shows a strong connection between the YAC campaign and new visitors to the site.

You can visit Young Adults Campaign site here: https://blog.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/


When and where is Responsys a good fit for B2B?

Responsys is a leading cross-channel marketing orchestration solution within the Oracle Marketing Cloud. It is normally first choice for B2C marketing and it empowers marketing teams with the tools to deliver relevant, engaging experiences to their target audience across devices, channels, and lifecycle.

Eloqua is particularly well equipped to facilitate marketing for a 'considered purchase' - i.e. something that would require a decision nurtured over time and across stakeholders within a target account.  That means it is the system of choice in a B2B marketing environment.

Responsys is primarily used to achieve an instant conversion in the form of a sell. For that reason, its primary use is in B2C marketing.


This separation between B2B and B2C is well established in the industry and the customer base of Eloqua and Responsys are clearly split along those lines. However does it have to be that way? Is B2B marketing always so different from B2C marketing? B2B marketers have many of the same challenges and concerns as their B2C counterparts:

  • Both groups have to manage the lifecycle of automation assets such as programs, assets, triggers, rules and content.
  • Both groups have similar goals: increase revenue, efficiency, provide relevant marketing delivered to the right people at the right time across the right channels.
  • Both groups have targeted prospects and customers that travel through a purchase cycle.

That does not mean there are no differences but it is reasonable to ask: When is it suitable to use a B2C marketing platform in a B2B environment?


Your B2B customers are B2C customers too!

There has been a shift in customers’ expectations in B2B environments; they are expecting ever-richer B2C-like brand experiences. Every touch point a B2B customer makes with your company needs to have greater personalisation and richer experiences.

This development of creating a B2C-like experience in a B2B environment has already occurred in E-Commerce. Many B2B companies now use personalisation to transform online buying experiences. Buyers now expect marketing communications to transform along those same lines.  They expect companies to provide B2C like experiences in B2B environments.


Simple B2B

So let’s go back to the main question. In what sort of scenario is a B2C marketing platform suitable in a B2B marketing environment? This all depends on the type of sale. Traditionally in B2B sales the stakeholders are many and the business requirements are dispersed across an organization. Also, products can often be heavily customized which means varied pricing and the sales cycles can be long. In this world B2C platforms are not your best bet.

However, there are situations in B2B marketing where the ‘sell’ can be considered simple. Note this does not mean the marketing is in any way less complex. It just means the requirements are a bit different. A ‘simple’ sell can be identified by the following:

  • Short sales cycle
  • Single stakeholder
  • Pricing with limited variables
  • Small Unit Price (so reliance on volume for revenue)
  • In these scenarios, Responsys can be a good fit.

The sweet-spot for simple B2B.


Utilising a B2C marketing platform for B2B environments.

Consider a buyer inside a large company, considering a new mobile phone. It is common place for large organisations to provide self-service punch out-sites where end users (the buyer in this instance) can order their products. Traditionally these punch-out sites were very limited in personalization and targeted content. Customers would not get great satisfaction from spending time in these systems and would often research on other sites. This is transforming rapidly. These sites now provide a much richer experience and an ever more smooth purchasing process.  These B2B transactional sites are becoming more B2C-like.

Another example is a construction company that regularly needs to purchase a new generator. This buyer knows what they need. It is up to the marketer to make sure they have your business in the top of their mind and to know when your prospect is ready to buy and serve up the right proposition at the right time.

Like E-Commerce sites, consumers now expect the same is relevant content and personalisation for B2B marketing campaigns.  Using a traditionally B2B style automation platform to target B2B customers in a B2C-like manner. Having this rich and personalised experience at every step of the buying cycle increases brand loyalty, customer satisfaction and conversion.

Responsys can provide time-critical scalable B2C style marketing to B2B customers every step of the B2B buying cycle.


Reaching the Individual

Another B2B company is using Responsys for B2C-like targeting to tap into its large customer base of small businesses. It uses Responsys to create hyper-targeted and segmented campaigns by business size, mindset, and lifestyle. Responsys allows B2B companies Responsys supports cross-channel lead generation and management providing branded and curated content development and amplification.


In summary

Responsys can be effective in a B2B environment where:


  • The sale is simple and involves a single stakeholder ( this could be a single representative or an individual company).
  • There is a requirement for large scale, near real time personalised campaigns for off the shelf products with little or no configuration.
  • Where there is no or little involvement from a sales person, no quotes or commission plans (revenue recognition).
  • Mostly see B2B marketing that drives quick e-commerce sales.
  • Where a sale requires the involvement of one or more stakeholders and is considered “nurtured” then Eloqua is usually the platform of choice.


The B2B ecosystem beyond Responsys…


Carts get abandoned in B2B too

Merchants using both Oracle Commerce Cloud B2B and Responsys can implement abandoned cart campaigns in near real-time. Includes the ability to define how long the system should wait before determining that a cart has been abandoned, what type of program to initiate to capture the sale (e.g. email, sms), and what format the communication should take (e.g. discount coupon, link to online order, link back to order). Marketers can create abandoned cart programs to increase order conversion (both online and across channels), improve communication relevancy, and provide a useful service to shoppers.


Great experiences with great data

The explosive growth in connected devices has created immense opportunities for marketers to engage with consumers at the moments that truly matter. To capitalize on this opportunity, marketers need to be able to manage audiences based on the engaged environment. Oracle BlueKai empowers marketers with tools to understand the entire customer journey, target more precisely, create and deliver more targetable media campaigns, and generate higher ROI’s.


Add AI to your B2B campaigns

Oracle Adaptive Intelligent Apps for Customer Experience helps you optimize your company’s revenue for marketing orchestrations through adaptive, intelligent recommendations. It is a suite of algorithm-based capabilities designed to optimize the customer experience for brands. It optimizes your company's revenue for commerce transactions and marketing orchestrations through adaptive, intelligent decisions.Integrating with your marketing applications, Adaptive Intelligent Apps uses decision science and machine-learning algorithms to continuously adapt and deliver personalized product recommendations and promotions to consumers. It uses optimized decision science algorithms and machine learning to adapt continuously based on:

  • Massive ongoing data collection from Oracle Data Cloud and Oracle Marketing Cloud
  • Real-time consumer decisions and responses

Business users, such as e-commerce managers, merchandisers, and marketing managers can exercise supervisory control by using:

  • Boosts and constraints for individual products, categories, brands, promotions, and programs
  • Policies for price, inventory, and brand exclusivity to override default recommendations

The figure shows the high-level flow of consumer data and Oracle Data Cloud feeding into decision science and machine-learning algorithms, with supervisory controls, to deliver intelligent offers and orchestrations.

Further reading at: https://www.oracle.com/webfolder/technetwork/tutorials/infographics/aicx_gettingstarted_quickview/index.html



Emma Thomas

Principal Solutions Architect

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