By Mark Grainger
Marketo vs Eloqua is a comparison that a lot of businesses are deliberating when it comes to choosing a marketing automation system, but how can you be sure you’ve selected the right program for your business? Whether you’re at the forefront of a large business or a growing SME, there can be no doubt that there is a need to implement marketing automation, so the choice between Marketo and Eloqua, two of most popular marketing automation platforms, is an important one that bears serious consideration.
The choice of whether to use Marketo vs Eloqua is a complex one however, as both come with benefits and differences that you must investigate and evaluate before coming to a decision that could impact on your business.
Alongside a dedicated customer relation management (CRM) tool, a marketing automation program such as Marketo or Eloqua will help you to better reach your target audience and put relevant content in front of them. We’ve outlined the many benefits of establishing a strong program of marketing automation in previous posts, but it’s always worth recapping. Marketing automation can help you:
Either one of these capabilities would save you time and money and help to foster growth, but Marketo and Eloqua combine all of this and more, making them an irresistible prospect for business owners and those in the C-suite. So, just how do you choose the right marketing automation tool?
As we’ve established, Marketo and Eloqua are very popular. It’s true that both are fantastic platforms that have much to offer and can help you achieve certain goals when used to their full potential, but it is also equally true that should you choose to implement either one of these marketing automation systems you will see a different set of benefits. That’s why we’re looking at the benefits and drawbacks of each, as well as other factors that separate the two marketing automation solutions, in order to bring you a comprehensive Marketo vs Eloqua comparison.
First and foremost, it’s possible to download a demo version of Marketo, which can be extremely helpful in giving you some confidence in the platform before laying out the expenditure that it takes to purchase the full version. Whether you choose to take advantage of this sample or just jump straight in, you will see that Marketo is visually pleasing and well laid out. Each dashboard that you encounter is spacious, arranged logically, and easy to interpret, allowing you to carry out tasks, such as creating landing pages and email marketing templates that look fantastic, with ease.
That’s not the only benefit that comes with Marketo’s design ethos, as a modular approach sees the platform split into four, well-defined sections: Marketing Automation, Consumer Engagement Marketing, Real-time Personalization, and Marketing Management. Ease of use is a key phrase when it comes to Marketo, and it’s clear that the platform has taken steps to ensure that using it is never an overwhelming or overly-complicated experience.
That being said, it can be difficult for those who are inexperienced to get the most out of Marketo. This is a tool for clued-up professionals, so the work really has to be put in to fully customize and optimize the various options and tools that it provides.
It’s also worth noting that Marketo is best used as a B2B platform, and therefore not the best tool to use should you want to automate an ongoing B2C campaign, but if you implement it with that in mind you will find a comprehensive range of tools.
CRM integration and lead management are two areas that any marketing automation tool should have, whether we’re talking about Marketo and Eloqua or any other option, in these regards Marketo equips itself well. Marketo is currently capable of integration with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and others, with automatic syncing ensuring that any changes made in Marketo or your CRM will be moved across to the other platform. Meanwhile, lead management capabilities include nurturing opportunities and actions based on demographics, engagement, and more. Targeted follow-ups are handled with ease, and alert systems let your sales teams know when buying behaviors begin to show. In fact, automatic emails can even be generated on behalf of individual sales team members to add a more personal touch. A company that has seen huge benefits thanks to Marketo’s integration and lead management capabilities is Duo Security.
“Our growth is fueled by a great product and a strong sales team,” says Kimi Corrigan, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Duo. “Our sales team is dependent on inbound, marketing-generated leads. In order for us to effectively support the ongoing growth of Duo Security, it is of paramount importance that our marketing systems and tools run effectively, reliably, and at massive scale. That’s where Marketo really helps.”
“Due to layering too many processes and data dependencies, our lead entry point to sales was taking an average of 10 hours. With Marketo, and better integrations and processes, we now have an average travel time of 10 minutes.
“The speed and ease of doing business with Duo is a key differentiator, so this improvement was a key factor in enabling our sales team to respond quickly to qualified leads. In 2016 we had 113% year-on-year increase in Marketing Qualified Leads.”
Marketo’s analytics offering includes standard tracking and evaluation, as well as reports on email, campaign and landing page performance, and web tracking. Regardless of which metric you wish to track, your Marketo reports are fully customizable to suit your business needs. It’s worth noting, however, that many find the need to install additional extensions in order to make the most of Marketo reports, with the process not feeling as simple or streamlined as it could be.
The same cannot be said for the creation of email marketing campaigns and landing pages though. Both can be generated with ease thanks to a design protocol that relies on a drag-and-drop interface, enabling you to make aesthetically pleasing emails and landing pages. Once you’ve got a layout and design in place, the comprehensive customization and personalization options put Marketo ahead of the competition, while scheduling features for email marketing campaigns come as standard.
Marketo also offers full social media marketing functionality, with the ability to manage social campaigns across all of the relevant platforms, with a particular focus on competitions and promotions that improve engagement.
After taking a detailed look at Marketo, it’s time we take a look at the second marketing automation tool, Eloqua.
Whilst Marketo and Eloqua provide similar benefits for businesses with their marketing automation tools, there are marked differences between the two. For example, Eloqua places the emphasis of its social media offering away from promotion instead offering a more comprehensive method of gathering intelligence on customers through smart listening tools. This information then feeds back into targeting and segmentation elsewhere in your campaign.
Speaking of targeting, Eloqua is well-known amongst marketing automation professionals for being a leader in automating targeted communications across digital and offline channels, including email, RSS feeds, instant messages on the digital side, and direct mail, fax and voice messages offline. What’s more, performance monitoring is readily available for whichever channel(s) your campaign is focused on.
“For today’s enterprise marketer, automation is simply a must. There’s no way you could scale communications in any way that can compete with the speed and targeted approach of a marketing automation platform such as Eloqua,” explains Samuel Usem, Marketing Automation Supervisor at 3M.
“The scalability of Oracle’s Eloqua cloud database allows us to build one set of content and campaign templates across the organization. Allowing teams to build off the work of each other and continue to scale content quickly knowing that Eloqua will be able to deliver at the right time.
“If content is king as they say, and data is the knowledge of what’s working than marketing Automation platforms such as Eloqua are the secret sauce. Tying together content and delivering to the right customer at the right time in order for the sales pipeline to continue to flow.”
Eloqua is a flexible tool and, with its program builder functionality, it can help you distribute leads to any step of your campaign. A/B testing is also available with workflow rules, allowing for random audience splitting based on common forms. Overall, the system thrives when it comes to setting rules and optional parameters.
One key piece of functionality, which should help boost its appeal, is the ability to exclude certain domain names during campaign distribution setup, which is particularly helpful when it comes to ensuring that your competitors don’t receive your content and, therefore, your ideas. As with Marketo’s greater functions, these rules should be classified under the banner of advanced options, and are best used after a degree of experience and expertise has been acquired in order to fully benefit.
While it should be expected that systems such as marketing automation are complicated, and require an investment of time in order to gain the necessary knowledge to use them properly, Eloqua has drawn specific criticism in the past for being difficult to use. For example, Eloqua does not provide a report writer tool to allow custom reports to be created from scratch, and marketing financial data is not captured, meaning that ROI and payback must be calculated by tracking marketing costs and spending at a campaign level using a separate accounting system.
One of the areas in which Eloqua has improved massively in recent years, and an element that makes the choice between the systems a more difficult one for consumers, is usability. Eloqua has not previously been known for its user-friendliness, regardless of the skill and expertise of those using it. Now though, it has significantly improved its user experience, with the most recent release boasting a far more attractive and inviting admin panel and interface. Navigation and menus are particularly improved, so novices and experienced marketing automation professionals alike can begin using the program without worrying about getting lost and frustrated.
Another area that Eloqua is particularly strong in, and one that could sway your decision, is its Marketing Resource Management (MRM) capabilities. Eloqua is not a dedicated MRM tool, but it does provide plenty of functionality to help your business. In fact, it actually comes with more MRM options than most marketing automation software, Marketo included. Its MRM functions will let you and your marketing team manage and update assets such as emails, content blocks, workflow, scripts, templates and lists, ensuring that users and the campaigns they are a part of are always being presented with the most relevant and up-to-date content.
Aside from a focus on certain functionality, and how it can best be harnessed to service your business, the main factor that will come into play when deciding between Marketo and Eloqua is most likely the cost. In the battle of Marketo vs Eloqua, pricing should not be underestimated, although it should be taken into consideration alongside the differences in functionality laid out above, and not seen as the key factor.
Both systems offer three different pricing tiers, each unlocking different benefits such as increased user amounts. Whilst Marketo’s are labeled Basic, Standard, and Enterprise, Eloqua’s corresponding levels are Spark, Standard and Select. As you can see from the chart below, there is a marked difference in the prices of each tool, with Eloqua charging over double Marketo’s monthly rate for the first two tiers.
Whether you move ahead with Marketo or Eloqua, the monthly subscription cost will also be rolled into a TCO, or total cost of ownership, which includes the cost of CRM integration and deployment.
Programs and solutions such as Marketo and Eloqua do not come cheap, but the value that they can add to your business may well prove priceless. In the battle of the two systems, the question to ask is not how much you are willing to pay, but rather which of these two marketing automation services better suits your needs. Either option will prove to be a solid investment for your business, but only by evaluating the differences, and aligning the strengths with the needs of your company, will you be able to make the best choice between Marketo and Eloqua.
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