Sessions to See at Oracle Open World 2016 as a Digital Marketer

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Oracle Open World is only two weeks away! As we start to pack our bags and plan out our week, I couldn’t help but notice the enormous amount of content catered to digital marketers in Oracle CX this year!

If this is your first year at Open World, you’re in for a treat. Oracle has done a great job of organizing the content to cater to each “pillar” of the the CX cloud solutions. If you are looking for a full session guide on all things Oracle Marketing Cloud, click here for the search results and set filters.

Here’s some of the sessions which sound like great ones as a digital marketer and sessions you’ll see me at!

Discover What Marketers Need To Know About Bringing Offline Data Online 

Thursday September 22, 2016 12PM- 12:45PM Moscone West- 2005

Oracle will be presenting ideas on how “marketers must tap into their rich offline (CRM) storehouses of consumer data to reach their customers online through a process called data onboarding.” In a nutshell, this sounds like a great session to learn more about the benefits of having a database management platform (known as a DMP).

Driving Digital Marketing Transformation at Lexus 

Wednesday September 21 3PM- 3:45PM Moscone West- 2005

I always love case studies and this one sounds very interesting and another reason to understand database management platforms and why they are important. The description gives us a taste of looking at a luxury brand and how they have optimized their marketing. “Gone are the days of relying solely on static, non-personalized advertising and websites that revolve around TV and print content. Best-in-class automotive marketers are now augmenting these traditional strategies with dynamic, personalized content delivered through digital media and websites. This session explores how Lexus has implemented Oracle BlueKai’s data management platform to dramatically improve its digital marketing from audience targeting to segmented messaging to higher conversion rates.”

Extreme Marketing Automation: Using Oracle Eloqua to Achieve Amazing Results

Thursday September 22 1:15PM- 2PM Moscone West- 2005

This session is a good session to learn more about custom data objects within Eloqua. Custom data objects are extremely powerful when managing your data within Eloqua. As a marketer though, it can be somewhat overwhelming. This session will explain how CDO’s can be incorporated into your marketing strategy. The description from the session catalog:

Understanding how all the marketing inquiries flow through the marketing automation system and why some of them become leads and others do not have become increasingly difficult questions to answer and report on for many companies. This is especially true for larger companies, which receive inquiries from hundreds of different vendors and sources, and have to accommodate the reporting and processing needs of many different products and business units. This session explores how this challenge can be solved using Oracle Eloqua’s custom objects to significantly improve the quality and conversion of leads.

PS: If you are interested in learning more about Custom Data Objects right now, instead of waiting for Oracle Open World click here!

Future of Marketing Automation: Product Overview and Vision of Oracle Eloqua 

Wednesday, September 21 12:15PM- 1PM Mosone-West 2003

I am excited to see what highlights they provide for Eloqua. This year there has been a TON of changes to the platform and I’m sure even more to be planned. This session will provide you the details and overview on some of the new improvements to Oracle Eloqua. It’s always good to get a heads up on the platform changes! 

As you can see, we’re very excited about Oracle Open World! We hope to see you at some of these sessions this year! See you in San Francisco! 

How To: Marketing Email HTML For Non-Coders

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If you have attempted to send out a responsive email to your contacts I am sure you can understand the frustration of HTML, CSS, Javascript, and other coding languages standing in your way. Before starting with SFCG my ‘official’ background was in advertising but from email marketer, to data analyst, to technology implementation specialist I have done it all.

Working in the startup culture of Austin, Texas often means small teams, small budgets, and small-working-time deadlines which have taught me one important lesson: “Do it all yourself if you don’t have the resources.” This mentality has helped me learn shortcuts for editing copy quickly, finding free stock images for presentations, and even creating HTML emails with no coding experience.

Step 1: Getting the HTML…For Free 
The first step to creating a responsive email template with no HTML experience is Google. The Internet is full of free responsive HTML email templates, usually offered in exchange for your contact information. You copy and paste the code into your email platform, then with the HTML in your marketing automation software. Some HTML code you need to know:

  • <header> This is where the information about your email will  be stored such as the meta-data, the font colors and sizes, etc.
  • <body> The body tag shows what will be in the body of your drafted email. So when you need to add copy, images, etc. to the email, you do it within the body tags.
  • <style> This is where the font names and sizes are formatted. You can update the names and sizes here, or again within the actual body of the email. Adding bold styles to the text, or making the text bigger or smaller using heading tags, can also be done here or in the body. (ex: <h1>).
  • <p> Sets up new paragraphs for text, allowing you to set the text size, color, and font name.
  • <img> Is the tag used for adding an image to your email. To add an image you need to save your photo wherever you are sending an email from so a URL will be generated.
  • alt= is used within the image tag to give your images a text name. If a contact doesn’t download your images in their email they see the alternate text. Plus when using alt text on a landing page, it is stored within the meta data and used for SEO purposes.
  • <a href> Allows you to add a hyperlink to your HTML. You can hyperlink text or an image, and it is considered a best practice to add hyperlinks to images.
  • <br> Adds a line break in your copy. If you add two breaks in a row you will get a blank space. This is helpful when you are formatting your text.
  • align Is used to set where the image or text will appear in the email. For example if you use <p style align=”center”> </p>  your text will be centered within the email at all times.
  • color: #FFF To change the color of backgrounds or text you want to make sure you have the Hex Color Code, which is just a # followed by the number. You can always find these numbers through Google. The most common are #ffffff for white and #000000 for black.

It is important to note, when using the tags above, you also need to close the tags. You will see in HTML <header> and then at the bottom of the header </header>. The backslash “/” is used to close a tag, which allows for the email software to see that tag needs to end.

These are just a few of the basics that will help you customize your downloaded HTML to make your own email template. W3 Schools is a great resource for any troubleshooting you may need to do while working with HTML.

Step 2: Update The Links
Now you need to make sure all the links within your email are correct. When you copy and paste HTML from another company, they usually have blank “href” links, or they link to the company’s page. I find the easiest way to ensure you don’t have any information from another company is to use the CTRL+F shortcut within your HTML and search for the company name. That way you can see if you have any links, alternate text, or references to the company and replace them with your own.

Make sure all the images within the HTML link to your sites, the social sites are updated, and the logo links to your homepage.

Step 3: Add Your Own Images
Update all images to reflect your company logo and content. The easiest way to do this is first to upload the images you’ll need into your email platform. For example, if you are using Eloqua, make sure you have your image uploaded into the Images folder. Then, within your HTML code, use the “CTRL+F” shortcut and search for “img.” This will highlight any of the <img> tags (mentioned above), making it easy for you to find images within your HTML code. Then just copy the URL to your saved image from the Images folder, highlight the old image URL in the HTML, and paste over it. This will keep your image the same size as already stipulated in the code, making the image responsive and the correct size. .

Step 4: Changing the Copy
Now that all your images and links are updated you want to edit the copy. Copy is most often found between paragraph – <p> – tags, and many email templates will have dummy text, such as “Lorem Ipsum” which you will want to replace with your own. The text will already be formatted to size, font name, and color within the style tag at the top of your HTML. There are other ways to add some formatting to your text within the body of your email. For example, if you have a piece of copy you want to stand out, you can bold it. By just adding <b> ADD YOUR TEXT HERE </b> you can bold text. Remember it is important to close the tag, or else all the text following the <b> will be bold.

Step 5: Test, Test, and Test Again
Once you’re finished updating your HTML code, you want to test the email. Send it to yourself and a few coworkers so you can see how the email looks on different email clients. You want to test on desktop and mobile, to make sure none of the HTML broke and that your email is still responsive. Another tip I learned: always check your email on the Outlook App for desktop. Sometimes images are broken, or the wrong size, so this is an important step. You can also sign up for a free trial of Email on Acid to check your code. This service will tell you what’s broken and how your email looks on different providers (GMail, Yahoo, Outloook). It’s free for 7 days when you sign up for a trial.

Creating HTML code from scratch isn’t something most marketers can do, but with these easy steps you can update HTML templates to fit your needs. Once you have your code in place, it might be good to think about how to add data points to your emails, putting the “marketing” in digital marketing.


MME 2016- A Modern Marketer’s Favorite Takeaways

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As a modern marketer, I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to represent SFCG at Oracle's Modern Marketing Experience in Las Vegas this year. In preparation for the conference, I had three main objectives that were essential to a successful experience: absorb industry knowledge, understand the current state of marketing automation, enhance my digital marketing knowledge at both a high level and with technical expertise (I even spoke with our Director of Marketing Services about my excitement! ). With #MME2016 in the books, I can confidently say that I was blown away. From the keynote speakers and case studies to the learning sessions and industry discussions, there was an overwhelming amount of content that made it a huge success!

Delivery of Industry Knowledge

Right off the bat, the first keynote of the conference dove into client-specific case studies. Kevin Akeroyd, Oracle's Senior GM & SVP, facilitated three different Q&A's with marketing executives of Western Union, Sears, and Clorox. The most profound part of each of their conversations was their underlying goal of shaping the marketing strategies for companies that are over 100 years old and creating a relevant, personalized, digital experience for their customers. Ryan Deutsch, the DVP of Digital Marketing of Sears, stressed that "understanding people in a personal way at scale is the biggest challenge". Throughout the conference the speakers confirmed that their continuous goal is to hone in on a 1:1 customer experience. Specifically in one of my favorite sessions of the conference, I learned how American Apparel is bridging the gap between in-store and online to create a unique experience for their customers, one that could ultimately change the way people shop.

Understanding the Current State of Marketing Automation

Throughout the conference, there was one buzz word in particular I couldn't avoid: omni-channel. Whether I was attending a keynote speech or was diving deep into an Eloqua session, everyone kept talking about "omni-channel marketing"…and I learned that there was a reason I kept hearing it. As this term kept coming up, I found myself simplifying it as a synonym to "multi-channel", but that's not quite right. Omni-channel marketing is about continuity. It's not about delivering cross-channel messages to a customer. Sure, that's part of it. But it's scratching the surface of something much more profound. Omni-channel marketing is about creating a universal experience across all involved forms of technology with a goal of building a continuously growing customer life cycle. In order to get there, it's important to understand a customer's wants, needs, and interactions. One of the most profound statements I heard at the conference was from Convince & Convert's founder, Jay Baer, who said, "Focus less on what product you should be selling, and focus more on what customer need you are fulfilling". I think this is a key driver when it comes to the state of marketing automation because it's not enough to deliver cross-channel messages. Ultimately, we as marketers need to create relevant, targeted, and universal experiences for our customers.

Enhancing Technical Expertise

One of my favorite parts of the conference was the learning about the nitty-gritty: the technical elements of  Eloqua. I personally loved the "Top 10 Eloqua Hacks" session. After it was finished, I turned to the person next to me and told them I thought I was in a real-life Topliners forum. At the end of the session, they left time for attendees to walk up to the microphone and present their own Eloqua hacks! I felt a sense of fulfillment sitting in a room with other Eloqua professionals as we walked through troubleshooting issues we've longed to get through on a daily basis. 

Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed learning the demos of some of the newer Oracle platforms, like Maxymiser and DMP. Steve Krause, Group VP of Oracle Marketing Cloud walked us through how a fictional company called "Durham Denim" could use these Oracle systems to create a seamless experience for their customers. From customizing online content to delivering "Rich Push" notifications to a very specific *fictional* customer in Austin, Texas, Steve showed us how these platforms integrate at the technical level to create an uniform experience at the highest level.

In summary, my experience at MME 2016 was nothing short of spectacular. Though at times I felt like I was drinking water from a fire hose, it comes to show how much incredible content and information is available during this conference. I highly recommend that all marketers in the digital space attend next year's MME, and when you're there, come find me because I know it's an experience I won't miss.


About the author:

Jake Dworkis is an Oracle-certified Eloqua implementation specialist. His focus within Eloqua includes empowering customers and creating lasting lead nurturing campaigns, strategic segmentation, automated form processing, IP warming campaigns, and database integration.