Contact ring-fencing for Eloqua Segments.
One of the clients I worked for had been using Shared Lists as an exclusion method for their campaigns for a while now. They would add contacts to a list as a ring-fence and remove them after a period of 1, 3, or 6 months manually.
What was required was an automated process of adding and removing contacts from the Shared Lists. They also wanted to track which contacts were added to which lists for reporting purposes.
After reviewing their request, I designed and implemented an automated solution which has been documented below.
The solution addresses the following requirements:
- Allow contacts to be added to an exclusion pot
- Timestamp exclusions to allow the length of exclusion to be defined within the segmentation
- A historical view of which contacts were in the exclusion pot.
This solution utilises the following Eloqua Assets:
- Campaign Canvas
- Form Submit (Cloud App)
- Shared Filters
- Custom Data Objects (CDO)
Contact Ring-Fencing for Eloqua Segments
Using the above-mentioned assets, a campaign was created on the campaign canvas.
Based on the criteria for exclusion, contacts were added to a “Form Submit” step which stored contacts into a CDO.
A new Shared Filters needs to be created to query the CDO and identify customers who had been excluded.
It could then be added to a segment as an exclusion to remove contacts for a period of 1, 3 or 6 months, as desired.
STEP 1 – Eloqua Form
Created a basic form to capture the email address and a ring-fence reason field.
This will allow marketers to describe why someone is being excluded.
E.g., They might want to flag anyone who has entered a nurture campaign in the last three months and exclude them from offer emails.
Within the processing steps, a CDO was linked to store the information that would be captured on the form.
It had three fields; email address, ring-fence reason and a date field to capture when the record is stored.
The essential element in the configuration is to ensure the email address is NOT used as the key field.
This will allow the contact to exist within the exclusion CDO for multiple ring-fence reasons.
Now set the Ringfence Date by applying a date stamp which will update each record in the CDO
The output from the above should look like something below.
STEP 2 – Storing Excluded Contacts into Custom Object
On the campaign canvas, a Form Submit step is added to allow contacts to be pushed from the campaign, via a form and into a CDO.
The configuration can be done as a one-off setup and will sit within your campaign.
As seen below, the ring-fence reason is defined as a static variable.
Depending on the business requirements, the “ring-fence reason” could be written to a contact field at the point of exclusion using a Contact Washing Machine and later nullified using an update rule.
When the campaign canvas is activated, the excluded contacts are pushed into the CDO with their email address, ringfence reason and a date stamp of when that record was captured.
STEP 3 – Applying Exclusions to Segmentation
After records have been placed within the CDO, exclusion filters can be created for the periods needed.
Based on your requirements, this could be done in two ways
- Exclude anyone in the CDO with a date stamp in the last 6 months.
- Exclude anyone in the CDO with a date stamp in the last six months and also has a ring-fence reason of “Luminary”
The powerful thing about creating segmentation this way is; after 6 months, the exclusion will evaluate as false.
This means anyone who was previously excluded will fall back into your target segment.
You can create multiple filters for different activities.
- Welcome Ring-fence – 1 Month
- Welcome Ring-fence – 3 Month
You can also enhance your segmentation by combining multiple ring-fence reasons.
E.g.: Exclude anyone who has had a welcome email and has also had a newsletter in the last 2 months.
This segmentation can be applied using AND and OR operators to really extended your campaign targeting.
The exclusion can now be added to any segment and will allow you to identify how many customers are being excluded based on your criteria.
Contact ring-fencing for Eloqua segments can help you automate many processes within your campaign build.
As outlined above, you can add people to an exclusion pot, create different exclusion pots based on dates and have a historical view in a CDO.
This will ensure all the data is in one place instead of looking for the campaign and email names used for different communications.
Oracle recommends a CDO limit of 5 million records to ensure optimal performance.
I recommend using a program canvas to delete records older than a certain point automatically.