Coding Tricks for Oracle Developers

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Being a developer is hard. We tend to strive to make the best, most precise code. We tend to try to keep it clean and readable in case somebody else might need to review it and work on it in the future. However sometimes we believe our code is clean and as it turns out, once you are done, you realize that your code might be confusing for another developer or you might want to reuse your code and might find yourself updating it several times in different sections. Fortunately, there are several tricks that are useful in helping you make your code simpler and reusable. Below are 3 tricks I follow when developing a script (PHP, Javascript, Groovy, etc) for any Oracle CX system.
 

  1. Use Camelcase Syntax

Camelcase syntax is the writing of compound words or phrases where each word or abbreviation in the middle of the word begins with a capital letter with no spaces between them. For example “iPhone”, “JohnDoe”, etc. This syntax is helpful in keeping your code clean and readable. Mostly used for declaring functions and variables this syntax will look something like this in php scripting:

 

                Declaring a function with variables in it:

                

               

  1. Use Comments

Comments are a programmer's readable explanation in the source code. These are used with the purpose of making the script easier to understand for people that might be working with the script in the future. The syntax varies depending on the programming language, with the most common of them being that comments start with “//”. You can also use a block of comments to write documentation, these generally start with “/*” and end with “*/”. Below you can find our previous example with comments added to it.

 

  1. Use Code Golf

Code Golf is the term used to describe the technique of writing code that can be reusable. In other words the less code you can write the better. This technique is usually applied when you develop a big project that can have thousands of lines. A good example would be if you need to get information from a MySQL database for 5 different tables, the first idea would be to write 5 separate functions to get the data from the 5 places. Using the code golf technique we can reduce these functions to one by sending the table name inside a variable to the function before we execute it, and then reusing that same function by changing the value of the variable every time we need to. To end result would be that you will have a clean code without it being thousands of lines long.

 

Conclusion

Having been a programmer/developer for the past 8 years has shown me that by using these techniques, you can reduce the amount of work you do, you can understand the code in a more humanly way, and you will be able to reuse your creation for different purposes. At the end of the day the goal is to make your customers happy, and what better way than by making their application the best one there is. 

Eloqua From Best Practice: The First Step to Knowing Your Customer

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Marketers use forms as a data collection tool to get a better picture of their audience. At the same time, forms can also facilitate customer transactions with your organization, for example:

  1. Signing up for newsletter, demos, free trials
  2. Registering for special events and seminars.
  3. Managing account preferences (the frequency and content a certain audience is interested in)
  4. Gating content in exchange for contact data

Well Eloqua makes it super easy to create a form, so let’s take a look:

Basic Settings:

Click the ‘assets’ tab from the homepage and choose ‘forms’. There are two options for you; either create a blank form or integrate an external form. I chose create a form here which then takes you to template chooser. Choose a blank form or use an existing template.

First you will need to name the form and decide the overall settings of the form. Simply click the little arrow located on the right top of the screen, and click settings

Form creation

Now there are three main parts on the screen: the tool bar, the work area, and the configuration panel.

First, taking a look at the left side of the screen, there are three purple icons called ‘Contact Fields’, ‘Custom Fields’, and ‘Field Groups’.

Choose the tool bar to select the fields you want for your form. In the screenshot, below I dragged ‘First Name’ ‘Last Name’ and ‘Email Address’ into the form.

Then, moving on to the ‘Custom Fields’, there are many different formats you can choose from that give your audience the ability to interact with your forms in different ways, including ‘Single Line Text’ ‘Paragraph Text’ and many others. I dragged the ‘Single Check Box’:

The last one, ‘Field Groups’, is a collection of commonly grouped fields. But we will explore this later on.

*At the bottom of those three, there is an icon called ‘Progressive Profile’, which will send the audience another form to fill out when they have given certain responses. (You know, to further collect useful data or to remind the audience about an event).

Customize the filed

Next, when you click into any field, it will take you to the field settings on the right. You can customize the field instructions, size, and data types.

By clicking the validation tab button, you can select the box to make the blank required or that it must contain an email address, among other criteria as you can see below.

The next step in creating a good form is to click the pre-population tab, and specify the text field that you want to appear on the field when opened. You can provide a static value, such as an email address for example. Or you can use a field merge, and pre-populate the field if it is an already known contact in your database so that a returning customer would not need to retype the information again.

Also you can use the field label and field instruction to give your audiences instructions with more clarity of what you need them to fill out. You also can drag the field to put the boxes in whatever order necessary to make the form more logical for the audience.

 

In the end, remember to keep your from short, clean and easy to read. Putting in the work on the front end makes the customer experience much better because it makes the interaction with your company easy.  Oh, and don’t forget to save the form so all of the work you put in doesn’t go to waste!

The P in PARIS

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In our previous blog post on Campaign Best Practice in the PARIS Way using Eloqua, we covered the 5 steps on how to approach a campaign through Eloqua.

What Alan Lakein had to say about the P in PARIS (planning) is that “planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” No good marketing campaign starts without a good plan. With the help of Oracle Marketing Cloud, we can really put what we plan into execution, but it has to start somewhere.

It can be as big as planning for a year, laying out all your major campaigns or simply just planning for one specific campaign that lasts a week. In this article, we will solely focus on the planning for one specific campaign and show how the following steps will benefit you in your preparation.

1. Define your campaign’s rationale

What is your campaign’s primary purpose? Are you promoting a new product? Introducing a holiday sale? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you start to branch out. Jot it down here before you start defining your goals and target audience. Think of it as the goal for the goal. This is where all your campaign ideas start, the root cause for your campaign, and the mother of all your decisions. 

2. Define your goals

There are a lot of goals you may have for a marketing campaign: increase conversions, capture user data, drive web/in-store clicks, expand the audience and so on. But let’s face it, it is really hard to kill all of these birds with one stone. Otherwise, we would be using a different quote on this one. However, we can prioritize our campaign goals and make them more targeted by using the SMART Goals demonstrated below. 

A SMART goal will help you stay laser-focused on your campaign and help set up your reporting more easily than if you had a vague slogan-like goal. There are a lot of goal setting articles that will explain SMART methods better than me, and I am sure you can spot a SMART goal if you see one. 

For example, “Increase the sales this year” is not so SMART, but “Increase the sales in the women’s clothing section by 8% by the end of this quarter, which is 3 months out” is a closer one.

3. Choose your target audience

Whether in the B2C or B2B world, customers are picky nowadays. They want to be addressed by a company on an individual level, or as a unique company. And marketers would like to build tailored and personalized campaigns for each individual. Since that is not always possible, so we come to the next best thing. Find a group of customers who share some similar traits and send out more targeted messages. 

The most important thing to take into consideration when choosing a target audience, is always the balance between size and accuracy. Obviously, these two elements tend to contradict each other. That’s why having a clear goal in the first step is very important so that we know which set of customers is more suitable for any specific campaign.

4. Select your Call-To-Action (Metrics)

This does not necessarily refer to a single “Call-To-Action” button on your email. It usually is the immediate action you anticipate your campaign participants would take and should align closely with your top goals in your first step. Having a clear Call-To-Action will help you further craft your creative copy for your campaign and messaging to your customers. You will know better what incentives to provide, what keywords to use, and what images to stimulate the results when designing the message.

The other reason we need to clarify the Call-To-Action is for future reporting planning. A clear definition of what you would like your target audience to do means marketers will be able to define the right metrics and design the data collection channel for our R in the PARIS way. You probably already noticed, the PARIS steps are related to each other, and having a carefully planned campaign will make our lives much easier and efficient when going to subsequent steps.

5. Articulate your campaign messages

Don’t get me wrong, this is not to tell you to start your creative work and open PhotoShop and all of the other gadgets that go along with that. We all know how fun and daunting it is once we get to the creative part, and that is why articulating your campaign messages in your Planing stage is important.

You need to clearly define some key messages for your audiences, which does not have to be fancy. It can be as plain as, “Come try our new women’s line because they can really bring out your character”, and let your creative team work out the rest of the charm. You can even start putting in tag lines, hashtags that the team can reference when they are excited by all the amazing ideas generated from the brainstorming sessions.

 

When all these have been set, we are ready to move on to the A in PARIS, which is Action. We will introduce a new way to execute your campaign and manage your Eloqua assets so you don’t end up missing some key marketing material or small building blocks when it is already too late. Stay tuned!