Oracle Eloqua 21D Release Overview

Oracle Eloqua 21D Release Overview

November 2021 | Marketing Automation

Eloqua gets a major new feature, with the addition of SMS marketing. Improved Salesforce Integration and higher API limits will see wider adoption.

Oracle has long sold Eloqua as a tool for B2B cross channel campaigns. Yet, the platform has no native multi channel capabilities. It integrates with some media publishers and social networks through the App Cloud, but Eloqua is still focused very much on outbound email. The latest release changes that by introducing native SMS capability for the first time.

SMS traditionally has not been a major channel for B2B marketing. Business communication is still sent primarily through email, so marketers follow that trend. There is strong consumer resistance to receiving bulk messages on mobile phones, which applies even more to businesses. On top of that, not all knowledge workers use mobile phones for work purposes, particularly if they don't have company phones.

However, there is still definitely a place for SMS in the B2B marketing mix, which can now be run through Eloqua. The new features are an add-on capability that requires an additional purchase. They enable both outbound and inbound SMS messaging to Eloqua contacts directly from the campaign canvas. Messages can be sent from branded numbers in 180 countries globally, and any links included in a message are automatically shortened using a branded URL shortener.

Transactional and Promotional

The primary use for SMS in B2B marketing is probably transactional messages rather than promotional messages. Eloqua supports both types, with promotional messages respecting local laws that may exist around mobile marketing. Transactional messages will see greater adoption. Event reminders and emergency service notifications are the two most prominent use cases for SMS that are typically seen in marketing automation. This is particularly true for companies that use Eloqua for customer service notifications as well as for marketing communications.

Polls and surveys through SMS are also allowed by the new module. Eloqua supports inbound SMS communications using campaign specific keywords to a branded SMS shortcode. Contacts who message in can be added to a campaign for follow up through SMS or email. Additionally, there are a suite of reports that can view any SMS messages collected for each campaign. Not every Eloqua User will have a use for these new SMS capabilities. The channel is very much a niche within B2B marketing, but the new module is a game changer for those organisations that do use SMS to communicate with their customers.

Salesforce Integration

The other main set of enhancements in this month's release relate to the Salesforce Integration app. This app has continued to evolve since it replaced the previous native integration last year. The current release introduces a particularly broad set of new capabilities from which all Salesforce users will benefit. Improved campaign response creation and more granular filters for email activities are net new features that weren't previously available in the native integration.

Eloqua users syncing custom objects see the biggest benefits, though. It's now possible to use the upsert action with custom objects, which simplifies integrations by combining create and update actions into a single action step. The upsert option has already been available for contact actions for some time, so this change is a step towards providing parity between contact and custom object syncs in Eloqua. Additionally, it is now possible to test custom object actions within the app using the test configurations screen, which will substantially speed up QA workflows.

Greater Parity

The test configuration change was already available in the native integration but was sorely missed by those Eloqua users who needed it. That's one of several features being ported over in this release. The app now allows you to update Eloqua picklists from Salesforce. This is a niche capability that was heavily appreciated by those who needed it. It enables you to sync any two fields from any salesforce object into an Eloqua picklist. Companies using lookup fields in Salesforce as an alternative to picklists are the most common beneficiaries, but it does automate maintenance of Eloqua picklists, a task that admins find easy to overlook.

Also being migrated from the native integration is additional logic around field updates on imports, which provide greater control over data priorities for those that need it. Finally, you are no longer required to write back the ID of the newly created record in create actions. This was an issue for custom task or activity integration workflows, where a new record is supposed to be created every time.

Higher Limits

However, the most welcome update in the 21D release isn't actually a new feature. There has been a big increase in bulk API limits. Previously, Eloqua had a soft limit of 2000 API calls per day, which was far too low for customers using a large number of apps or integrations in their Eloqua instance. Any API usage is included in this limit, which covers marketplace apps and the CRM integration apps, as well as direct API calls. It was very easy to accidentally run into that limit if you weren't careful. Thankfully, this API limit has been increased to 2000 API calls per hour for imports or exports and 4000 API calls per hour for syncs. Larger Eloqua customers will benefit substantially from this, as it removes a major pain point for them.

The Oracle Eloqua 21D Update is scheduled over the weekends of November 20th, 2021 and December 3rd, 2021. Contents of the release are subject to change. Full details, including smaller changes not mentioned in this article such as changes to Insight, can be found in the official release notes.

Banner Photo by Grant McCurdy / Unsplash

Written by
Marketing Operations Consultant and Solutions Architect at CRMT Digital specialising in marketing technology architecture. Advisor on marketing effectiveness and martech optimisation.