The email below from marketing automation vendor Eloqua is part of one of those rare B2B campaigns that combines email marketing best practices with an impeccably executed creative concept. In the process, what is otherwise a fairly straightforward “get your free report” lead nurturing program is elevated to a degree that allows it to really stand out from the clutter.
One of the things I admire most here is the extent to which Eloqua took a single, powerful concept: Juan Eloqua (an homage to the old Juan Valdez Colombian coffee ads) and wove it so cohesively throughout the creative.
When most B2B marketers “get creative” with email they usually rely on subject line, headline, and maybe a handful of graphic elements. In this email, however, nothing escapes the creative treatment, not the “from” field (Juan Eloqua), the name of the offer (Grande Guide), even the download button. In particular, take note of the offer image (the green file folder): it’s easy to forget how important the offer is in these campaigns, and by extension the importance of making the offer image “real,” tangible, and compelling. Would the photoshopped cover of a white paper have anywhere near the same effect here? Absolutely not.
The response microsite continues the theme seamlessly, adding a textured background (one that would be awkward in the email) and a video of Juan himself. On the microsite, note the gray squares at lower left: Eloqua intends to roll out a sequence of campaign offers over time, but each offer is only available upon being launched.
Eloqua’s software makes possible some fairly sophisticated marketing, but – on the surface, at least – this campaign doesn’t depend on technical bells and whistles. Just a bold concept (bold yet smooth, you might say) – executed brilliantly.
For more tips on effective email design, download a copy of our free white paper: “Top 10 High-Tech Email Mistakes.”
I would say this is mildly clever at best. Personally, I fail to draw a connection between an enterprise level Demand Generation tech company and coffee. Well done creative helps to instill a feeling
I received this same email yesterday. In my inbox, as well as your screen shot the template is clearly broken due to padding around images that should have been removed. Clicking through to the static web page also shows a plethora of copy from pre-headers/footers that should have been removed, not to mention broken links. This gets a #fail in my book.
My reaction was the same as Mike’s. I don’t see what coffee has to do with lead scoring. I don’t see anything very professional about that tattered folder image either. I haven’t seen the original, but I’m certainly not impressed by what’s reproduced here.
Mike, Pat – thanks for your comments! Well, one thing I think we all agree on is that coffee has NOTHING to do with marketing automation software. But whereas you both feel that fact detracts from the campaign, I think it’s one of its strengths.
Mike, you say the campaign doesn’t “instill a feeling,” but for me that’s the job of a branding campaign, which this is not. Some of the most successful lead gen campaigns our firm has ever developed say next to nothing about the client’s brand, but instead focus on generating response, i.e. what good lead gen is designed to do.
For me, the Juan Eloqua concept is different, edgy, and irreverent, and I think it’s designed to appeal very intentionally to a creative audience, namely marketers. The concept grabbed my attention and drew me into the campaign. Did the coffee theme communicate any kind of relevant value statement about Eloqua software? Not really. But then I don’t think that was the point. When so many B2B emails feature the same old, tired stock photography, this one breaks the mold, I think successfully.
If anyone from Eloqua is reading this, can you tell us how the campaign is performing?
Mike – good catch about the broken image. I agree: it’s distracting.
@Howard: Thanks for inviting us into the conversation. I am happy to weigh in, with my personal perspective on the Juan Eloqua / Grande Guide campaign. For good measure, I’ll share some data from the project.
@All: First, and most importantly, dialogue is a very good thing. Everyone behind this campaign knew that a segment of the population wouldn’t embrace Juan. That’s ok. In fact, it’s ideal. You see, the worst possible outcome for a marketer is to fail to get noticed, followed closely by, failing to induce a response. Of course, we wanted most people to enjoy the video and companion Grande Guide, and most did. But the fact that Mike and Pat didn’t dig it, well, that’s ok. I am just glad they cared enough to consider it, and express their well articulated feelings. Before I get to the data, let me address a couple of the points Mike and Pat make.
@Mike: I am sorry you received broken links. We sent this email out to thousands of contacts in our own database, and nobody complained of broken links. Of course, I don’t doubt there was an issue on your end, it’s just the first I’m hearing of anything. Here’s a direct link to the landing page, please let me know if it doesn’t load on your machine: http://www.eloqua.com/grande/
@Pat: You are right. Coffee has nothing to do with lead scoring – except for the fact that both are marketing necessities. The “coffee” theme, and Juan, himself, were created to promote not the practice of lead scoring, but our new marketing guide on the topic. One consistent piece of feedback we’ve received from marketers is this “marketing automation stuff” is all too wonky, too dense, too confusing. As a result, some marketers tune out, become disinterested. And adoption stalls. So we wanted to “wake people up” with something unexpected, and we also wanted to deliver information in small portions. This goal gave way to “The Grande Guide” series – single-topic ebooks that could be read in 15 minutes (or, about the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee). So we ran with that theme.
@Mike and @Pat: We are not the only company that feels b-to-b marketing is boring. Check out this presentation by Doug Kessler, titled “Why most B2B marketing sucks: A gentle kick in the head.” http://www.slideshare.net/dougkessler/why-b2b-marketing-is-so-boring While I discovered this deck after we unveiled Juan Eloqua, I felt validated by the points the author makes.
@Mike and @Pat: I 100% agree with your implication that the whole campaign is a little confusing. There’s this new guy, a coffee grower. There’s some guide. There’s coffee everywhere. Emails, microsites, videos. Lots of moving parts. I sometimes use my personal blog to add color or give context to professional projects. The number of moving parts in this campaign, and the risk of confusion should the parts become disassociated, was my primary concern. I think to an extent Juan and the Guides were divorced in your experience, thereby contributing to the understandable disconnect. Anyway, here’s my personal blog on the “complications” caused by the number of moving parts: http://jchernov.posterous.com/marketing-with-complications-grandeguide
@All: Ok, now onto the measurement. There were many objectives for this campaign. Some were soft goals: continue generating relevant/valuable content (check), get noticed by more bloggers/influencers (check), trigger some PR coverage (check), provide “fun” content to Facebook Fans/company followers (check), convey the message internally that we are going to take more risks in our marketing (check). We also had some hard goals, that is, increase engagement and leads. Here are a couple stats in that area. Remember, too, that this is the first entry in the series. Juan will be back, as will more Grande Guides. So this shouldn’t be considered a one-off campaign. After all, lead nurturing is central to Eloqua’s solution and philosophy. This type of content is immensely valuable for our own internal nurturing program.
– We activated well over 1000 inactive contacts
– We generated 250 marketing qualified leads
– We have four opportunities in the pipeline as a direct result of this campaign
Those stats only reflect the impact from the demand-gen component of this campaign. There was an entire social media component, but given that the content was un-gated on the social Web, we cannot accurately attribute leads to prospects reached in that manner.
I hope this helps you understand the thinking behind this campaign, as well as the objectives subjective and objective. To me, the companies that deserve a #fail are those who never try. Marketers who put out their prosaic content, follow their tried-and-true tactics, for fear of criticism. Disagreement is a good thing sometimes. It shows people took notice. Social media is noisy. It’s awfully hard to get noticed.
Best to all,
Director of Content