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The Future Wave From Eloqua to Marketo

In recent months we have been privy to a lot of conversations and questions surrounding the future of the Eloqua solution. The question we are looking to answer in this article is whether this is a perceived lack of investors or more of a lack of investment. And if it is an actual lack of investment, what are the solutions for Eloqua customers as they look to transition in the future?

In the spirit of being completely transparent, Vertify is a Marketo Engage and HubSpot partner. However, we pride ourselves on being a data-driven, objective company with a robust solution that you can plug into any and all of your existing customer and revenue apps, including Eloqua. We have spent time researching and polling the market to better understand the future of the Marketing Automation space, and what we found is likely not all that surprising for those who have been entrenched in the Marketing Automation market over the last few years. 

Our data shows that Eloqua users have been asking about the future of Eloqua for months. Why?

  1. Feature rollout over the last few years has been slow and/or lacking.
  2. Roadmap transparency is lacking. 
  3. Rumor has it that Oracle wants to eliminate the entire CRM/CX Marketing division altogether.

Sure, these drivers are subjective opinions and data points from Eloqua users, but that should not be taken lightly. After all, if customers are expressing these observations, it is because they do not feel like they are being supported or listened to in the way they expect or deserve. These opinions can be leading indicators of a future shift in the market. 

Let’s break down the three points above and then discuss where we see Eloqua users getting the most bang for their buck in the future. If you are an Eloqua user that resonates with the data points above, don’t worry! There are now solutions on the market that can help take you from pain to gain. 

Feature rollout over the last few years has been lacking

Over the last couple of years, Eloqua has not released any added functionality of note. Other than a few new reports, basic SMS enhancements, intelligent form spam prevention, and some lightweight navigation upgrades, Eloqua has not launched any features that have gotten users excited. More innovative features like advanced intelligence that do roll out are typically over-priced add-ons that often require a different license to adopt.

It’s understandable that feature releases may slow down when other priorities arise, but the one thing that seems consistent is the lack of listening and feedback-gathering between Oracle and its customer base. Eloqua did this well in its early days; it was forced to listen because the technology was not built by marketers. But, since Oracle took over, that feedback loop is virtually broken. 

Some customers are saying things like, “I really do not understand why Oracle/Eloqua is not using its knowledge from its users and clients.” Do yourself a favor, and visit the Dream It section within the Eloqua forum. There are so many wonderful ideas, but there is a sentiment that Eloqua is ignoring its user base. We will let you decide if that is a valid criticism or not.

Roadmap transparency is lacking

In talking with users, the last roadmap information they received was from September 2021. To Eloqua’s credit, it did release a partial roadmap in March of 2022 as part of a marketing push around the Gartner Magic Quadrant announcement. The challenge is that if the Gartner Analysts are seeing the entire roadmap and the customers are only seeing a partial roadmap via marketing materials, the customer is not central to driving the roadmap itself. 

Is Eloqua just looking to market, or are they looking to build for its customer? Its actions should help us draw some conclusions as to how it views future product development. There are some releases expected in February and May, so we will wait with anticipation to see what is coming. 

Rumor has it that Oracle wants to get rid of the entire CRM/CX Marketing division altogether

Let’s start with the fact that rumors are just that – rumors. We certainly don’t want to put a lot of weight on rumors, but we should at least take a look at what’s circulating. 

With recent layoffs across solutions consulting and sales for the CRM/CX Marketing division, it is not outlandish to draw some conclusions about the future of this division. When you decide to get rid of huge swaths of people who are primarily focused on executing the go-to-market motion for this product, you need to tune in. This isn’t necessarily an indicator of the end of life of Eloqua on its own, but it certainly does indicate where Oracle will and will not be prioritizing in the near future. 

So what options do current Eloqua users have moving forward?

With Marketo going into the fifth year under the Adobe moniker, we are seeing a ton of investment across the Adobe Experience suite of products. Granted, Vertify does have a little inside knowledge as a partner. However, we do not need a crystal ball to see what is happening in the market. This will help us understand how Adobe is advancing the Marketo application and brand. 

With Summit approaching, the market is seeing a lot of investment from Adobe to specifically appeal to current and former Eloqua users from the mid-market to the enterprise. Over the last several years, Marketo has enhanced specific features to not only appeal to historic Eloqua users but also to help give those users additional options when it comes to the buyer’s journey automation for the enterprise. Historically, Eloqua had the most impact in this market. But with the advancement of the capabilities below, Eloqua is no longer the only solution for enterprises. If the data above is correct, the enterprise automation torch may be passed to Adobe in the near future. 

You have likely seen much data over the last few years comparing Marketo and Eloqua. We won’t go over those details again here. Instead, we’re simply going to point out a few of the areas where Marketo has invested to not necessarily compete with the Eloqua enterprise market but to instead build solutions for enterprise users that make their lives better. 

Top three areas where Marketo has invested in helping enterprise automators

Let’s start out by stating the obvious. Both applications are fancy if-this-then-that tools for lead collection, email automation, and segmentation. First up is setup.

  1. Setup

Marketo has put effort into creating an easier and more user-friendly setup process. This was not necessarily the case six years ago, but with its investment in the app and its partner ecosystem, it shines above Eloqua in 2023.

The setup of Marketo is fairly straightforward and highly customizable with the ability to hide records and fields with ease. And with Marketo’s robust partner ecosystem, you will even get added assistance from a global expert base. With each Marketo license sold, there is a Marketo partner like Zirous tied to each implementation. These partners are focused on your onboarding success and ensuring that you have a quick time to value. 

Eloqua on the other hand…Let’s just say Eloqua is an overly complex spaceship with a defunct user manual that is written in a different language. Implementing Eloqua, even for the enterprise, is considered expensive. It’s standard for Eloqua implementations to be well over six figures and to take years — just for the implementation. That doesn’t include ongoing maintenance or customization after your onboarding is complete. 

  1. Multi-point integrations

This is an area that has stumped so many users over the past few years. When it comes to Eloqua, it claims that it can and will integrate with anything. Look a little closer, and you’ll find holes in its claim.  Sure, it is a part of the Oracle machine, but that does not make that statement possible. When it comes to Eloqua, you will have to spend a lot of time with your technical teams from IT and Operations if you want to get anything out of your Eloqua investment. If you want to get integrations to actually work, you must get IT on board from day one with Eloqua. 

But, most marketers and business units are looking for turnkey, native and nearly native integrations. They simply want to control their own destiny and not be tied at the hip to an enterprise IT team with many other competing priorities that aren’t on the business side of the house. 

Back in 2021, Eloqua did away with its native Salesforce integration and forced users to build custom integrations using the Salesforce integration app. Let’s just say, it is once again an overly complex spaceship! 

Marketo, on the other hand, has not only invested in native connections for Salesforce and Dynamics, but it has built a relationship with Vertify to provide “nearly native” integrations for every revenue app in the market. Adobe was aware that this was critical for its customers to maximize the Marketo solution. Not only has Marketo invested in the Vertify relationship  (which is sold on Adobe paper and is seen as an extension of the Adobe Engage offering), but it spent time learning about enterprise-level integration requirements. In collaboration with Vertify, it built out functionality to connect multiple Salesforce and Dynamics instances with no coding involved. So, the enterprise that has ten Salesforce instances, two Dynamics instances, and one Marketo instance with multiple partitions can now integrate without the involvement of IT- at half the cost of adopting Eloqua. 

Marketo has clearly been listening to the market. Its investment in native integrations and nearly native integrations with Vertify allows users to focus on the customer and not the technology. 

  1. Dependability

If you are used to working with Eloqua, you know that it is notorious for “breaking.” We know many Eloqua users who simply make it part of their day to spend time seeing where Eloqua broke for the day, then jump on a call with their “success manager” to get them to fix the issue. 

Marketo has shored up its infrastructure over the years and made the app highly reliable. Due to the fact that our platform speaks to Marketo on an hourly basis, we know when the product is working and when it is not. We can safely say that we have seen marked improvement in the reliability of the platform over the years. Our mutual customers agree! Our customers also agree that you do not have to be a rocket scientist to use Marketo and fix issues in Marketo. We can’t say the same for Eloqua. 

  1. Pricing over the years

To be blunt, Marketo is much more affordable. With marketing budgets tightening over the last few years from SMB to enterprise, this is a very important aspect to consider. If you signed up with Eloqua three years ago, it’s time for you to take a look at Marketo and its pricing model. You will find that it is built to scale, and it’s built for budget-conscious enterprise teams. 

Based on our experience, a $150K annual Eloqua deal would typically come in around $75K annually for Marketo. Keep in mind that the $150K Eloqua pricing doesn’t include all of the additional hidden business costs of working with other tech people and teams to actually make the application work for you. With Marketo, you will get the tech, the partners to support it and the integrations to get the most out of your investment. 

The user’s choice

With Adobe investing in Marketo for the future and Oracle not paying the Eloqua brand much attention, Eloqua users are left with some decisions to make. Should they continue to use a dying and overly complex product? Or, should they cut their losses and jump ship to a future- and customer-focused application like Marketo? Marketo is not the Marketo from five years ago and should now be seen as a true enterprise player that can solve all of the enterprise automation needs. It has come a long way! We’ll let you decide what your future holds, but we do encourage every Eloqua user to consider your future and options before it’s too late, and you’re left scrambling.

About the contributors

Vertify has been leading automated multi-platform integration for years. Our no-code, hub-and-spoke integration technology helps companies from large to small sort through their data less and start using it more. To achieve the inter-platform — and interdepartmental — cohesion your company needs to compete, get started with a demo today.Zirous’ goal is to create success that works for your organization for years to come. Our philosophy is a business-first approach, and our valued partnerships with world-class software vendors in each service area guarantee the perfect solution for your business. Check out our website to learn more.

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Matt Klepac