One of the insightful things that has been said to me recently came from an independent consultant working at a major FMCG client. He said: “The problem here is that we have some people who are world-class at marketing to the masses, but they haven’t got a clue about how to speak to a customer.”
Demonstrating marketing’s direct revenue contribution is the ‘holy grail’ for CMOs today. Scaling customer acquisition and retention activity without increasing headcount is also pretty up there on the Richter scale.
For Australian cloud-based payments provider, Ezidebit, these two ambitions have become a reality thanks to the rollout of a new marketing automation platform.
The 15-year old company provides direct debit solutions to about 20,000 customers across Australia, representing nearly 1 million consumers. Focused solely on the B2B space, key clients include fitness centres and childcare facilities. With a team of three marketing staff and 27 sales employees, Ezidebit needed to find a way to more strategically source new customer leads, demonstrate the effectiveness of campaign activity, and deliver increasing levels of targeted content to existing clients in a cost-effective way.
After initially evaluating a number of options, the company rolled out Oracle’s Eloqua marketing automation platform from 1 July.
“Trying to scale efforts without increasing costs was always the goal,” Ezidebit marketing manager, Ryan Brough, told CMO. “The aim was to allow the sales team to close more deals, while the marketing team did more of the prospecting.
“As marketing, we have gone from sales support to feeding the sales team more qualified leads that they are more likely to close, at a faster rate and with higher retention results.”
Brough said Ezidebit chose Eloqua because it integrated easily with the company’s existing Salesforce.com CRM and Oracle back-end.
“The sheer volume of customers meant we needed a tool that could easily scale,” he continued. “We also maintain two very different customer approaches: One is customer acquisition, and to do that we have to talk to a number of people before we close a sale. It’s all about significant numbers for us to talk to.
“Once those customers are on-board, our second focus is ensuring their utilisation of the product. We are making improvements all the time and we need to be able to inform clients regularly so they get the most out of our platform. We can’t do that cost-effectively without digital marketing.”
Five months down the track, Brough said the Eloqua suite has allowed the marketing team to plan, automate and adjust in real-time more targeted and effective campaigns, by analysing which customers it hasn’t communicated with for a while, as well as their buyer persona and where they are in the purchasing cycle.
“Marketing can measure the effect of the emails we send have, as well as the money we spend on Google AdWords,” Brough said.
One of the most important outcomes for Brough is that the marketing team can communicate clear metrics around the effectiveness and ROI of campaigns to senior management and the board. As a result, marketing is now carrying a quota of new leads as one of its key KPIs.
“The single biggest success is reporting on the success or failure of a campaign to the board and CEO,” he said. “They want to hear about ROI. We can now track it back and say X customers received Y number of emails before sales closed the deal, and then over a 12-month period see the lifetime value of that customer and where they came from.
“From the beginning of the financial year, we’ve been able to show the revenue we bring in, and the prospects we needed to reach that. Marketing is measurable, and we have reverse engineered our deliverables from the total target the business is looking to reach.”
While Eloqua has added a host of capabilities, Brough said it couldn’t have worked without accurate data in-house. The Ezidebit team undertook a comprehensive data cleansing program during implementation, and makes this an ongoing monthly task.
As well as adopting a marketing automation suite, Ezidebit also rolled out Compendium’s content management system (CMS) platform. As part of its customer retention strategy, the organisation produces up to 30 pieces of content a month in the form of blogs, e-books and videos, offering business advice as well as information about new features and functionality.
Using Eloqua, Brough’s team has been able to increase the amount of content delivered each month, an important step given how vital this information is in also increasing the visibility of Ezidebit through Google Search.
“We can now plan content, go live and push these pieces straight through to Eloqua for email campaigns,” he said. Compendium was also acquired by Oracle in October, a move Brough expected would trigger even tighter integration between the two platforms in future.
Brough’s next step is to better utilise the Eloqua platform to drive bottom-line results. One current project is tracking functionality to report on the success of individual Google AdWords campaigns. Tracking will also help fine-tune the media mix and improve ROI through each channel, he said. Already, the team has been able to report on a 20 per cent increase in leads through AdWords thanks to better campaign management, as well as improved landing pages on its website.
A more ground-breaking initiative is to use the Eloqua’s new re-targeting capabilities to retarget Ezidebit ads and content across different media channels based on an individual’s digital body language. Ezidebit is Eloqua’s test case for these new capabilities in Australia, and Brough expected to be live from January.
“We can send an email to an individual on Monday to download an e-book, and by Tuesday, if they haven’t clicked on that email, we can start serving banner ads on the Web, whether they’re on CNN or CMO.com.au, until they click either on the banner ad or the email,” Brough explained. “As soon as the individual takes action on either, we can turn off the ads and start serving a different message.
“We can learn through the data analysis on the digital body language that an individual likes to interact with banner ads versus emails.” To do this, Eloqua is working with a retargeting partner.
“This will give us a more effective way to use our [media] budget,” Brough added.