Case study
Oracle Eloqua New Instance Implementation
Fortune500 Client

to be added


How Not To Trigger That "Spam" Emotional Response

Eloqua Consulting

Gabriel Anghel

9 mins read

How Not To Trigger That "Spam" Emotional Response

Ever had that one annoying email sender you can’t seem to get rid of in your Other or Promotions tab? No point to this question – yes, you did.

We all did.

We’ve all reached saturation levels, we’re all at that point where creating a new email address appears to be a better idea than hitting delete on 20+ emails each morning… and then again, each midday…

Sure, you can always unsubscribe. That’s a given and luckily, it’s the law. You’ll always have the right to be forgotten and removed from all communication lists.

But is this honestly the best solution we can hope to have?

That’s unlikely, considering that often, it’s not all emails and all content you’d like to opt-out from.

Yet, the sender may not split them up by subscription types, altogether not using any Preference Centre. Perhaps you still find the majority of the content you receive valuable, but you’re just overloaded by too many emails from them.

Maybe you’d like their content to be different – better yet, grouped differently. More custom-tailored to your preferences.

Perhaps you lack the opportunity to “speak up”, to offer feedback, to help that sender help you come into contact with the most relevant content. And just when you need it, too.

Sometimes, it’s just that hitting delete takes less time than unsubscribing and you honestly don’t have the time to do so every day.

For marketers, the frustration even adds up, creating a whole other spectrum of self-doubt:

Are my emails facing the same fate? Are my efforts met with the same reaction? Am I also… “that guy”?

User information saturation levels 

For this reason, we put together the best of our marketing automation expertise, in hope of leading to a solution that’s much better for us all – to help each of us avoid being “that guy” and create an email marketing ecosystem we all thrive in, benefit from.

Read along to find best practices in both marketing automation platform management and email marketing content use, ones that could help us add value through personalized content delivered to our inboxes when we need it most. All while avoiding the draining clutter we’ve all come to dread.

On the marketing automation platform administration side, there is a handful of options, programs, settings, and functionalities we can leverage to adjust our email communication.

Email Timing

For starters, consider keeping an eye on your best-performing Email Timing. If you already have sent several emails to your audiences, on multiple days and at multiple times, reports you can draw up from your platform can easily answer the most valuable questions. Which emails were most engaging? At what time were they sent? On which days of the week? Are there drastic differences across the results?

Simply by analyzing the data you already have at hand you can make well-informed decisions regarding your best-performing email timings for each particular segment. And so, you can adjust communication accordingly, to cater to your own audiences’ preferences.

Touch Governance

Of equal importance, monitoring your email frequency and implementing a program that prevents too many emails from being sent to the same contact are vital email marketing management components.

When sending email communication at a large scale, you probably have multiple contacts engaged with different content tracks, at varying stages of the customer journey. These users are ultimately members of various subscription types and campaigns, all at the same time.

Adopting a Touch Governance program to act as a decisional layer in your campaigns is wise if you don’t want a contact being oversaturated with emails from you. This type of program can override campaign audience membership rules to limit the maximum allowed number of memberships.

For instance, let’s say you decide that being a part of two campaigns at once is just the right frequency for your audiences. The Touch Governance program, once added to each new campaign canvas, will firstly check the number of active memberships.

If this already is 2, the program places sends on hold, periodically checking whether any of the previous campaigns have ended, so that the most recent one can begin sending.

Touch Governance program visual

Deciding on the most appropriate Email Frequency for your target, assessing unique touchpoints per campaign, and then designing a Touch Governance program that enforces strict rules for maintaining your desired email frequency is a recipe for success.

In contrast, you run the risk of oversaturating your audiences to the point that they consider you “spammy” and not only might valuable content get lost, but your brand might also lose trust.

Enter another important element.

Contact Fatigue Management

Valuable add-ons for most marketing automation platforms, Contact Fatigue Management tools allow you to assess your reachable database by saturation levels.

While this might sound obvious, each of your contacts is different and should definitely not be treated the same. With advanced intelligence solutions, fatigue analyses look at each particular contact, analyzing the number of emails sent to them and their engagement over time.

It ultimately assigns a corresponding level of fatigue to them (undersaturated, just right, saturated, or oversaturated).

What this means for marketers is new doors being opened for email frequency personalization and custom-tailoring. Your undersaturated contacts have room for more communication, while those with exceeding saturation thresholds are at risk of email burnout and disengagement.

The great news is that you, as a marketer, don’t lift a finger to assess this. It’s all scored automatically, giving you the option to create new segments, add custom filters and routing rules to your marketing workflows, and adjust your communication to reflect real-time consumption preferences.

Custom Preference Center

We have to repeat this; “real-time consumption preferences”.

Who is your most realistic and accurate source of user preferences if not your users themselves? Offering your audience the chance to choose what type of content they prefer to receive from you is without a shred of doubt essential.

Custom preference center visual

Consider creating a custom email communication Preference Centre. This happens through a landing page and a form, grouping various email communication campaigns by types and topics.

This way, should your users decide to opt-out of communication for a specific campaign alone, they can easily do so without globally unsubscribing to all your communication. The more in-depth you go with grouping, the better accuracy – just keep in mind that you also might not want to offer so many options that you trigger a customer confusion moment.

Ultimately, a Preference Centre gives your contacts the freedom to speak up and tell you what content is most valuable for them. If you allow them to choose themselves, they will be most satisfied with what type of communication gets sent to them, following the most realistic source of truth.

Luckily for us marketers, aside from several MarTech platform admin approaches that can be considered when personalizing to delight audiences, many content-related aspects also factor in. These leverage programs, setups, and data collection or reporting practices to enhance custom-tailoring.

Data Management – 360 customer views

In today’s digital world context, obtaining a clear, accurate picture of consumer desires no longer represents a difficult endeavor.

Considering the almost insanely huge amounts of data and data analysis mechanisms marketers have at hand, data collection and processing have advanced so much that companies can draw up truly realistic, 360-degree portrayals of customer preferences.

What is perhaps rather tricky still, is what can be done with this information; more specifically, how to best use it to achieve specific desired outcomes. (And honoring privacy, of course, but that’s a whole other topic.)

When we return to the idea of personalizing emails to delight audiences, to accurately match expectations, data management practices are a true differentiator.

This stretches from the definition of requirements for data that needs to be gathered to processes in place for its collection, to its storage and the actual analysis, to ultimately valuing applicability and leveraging outcomes accordingly.

Collect – store – process – analyze – use. We probably all have more information at hand than we even realize, and that’s why we can’t stress the last factor enough. Capitalize on all this information to add personalized content to your emails, sent to specific audiences based on their own interests.

Data management from a 360 customer perspective

Dynamic, interest-based Content

Adjusting your email communication to cater to individual preferences is no piece of cake, but it also doesn’t need to be too complicated.

A powerful marketing automation platform (such as Oracle Eloqua) allows you to add Dynamic Content to your emails, to send specific segments the right content for their needs.

Actively listening and collecting as much information as possible from your contacts aids you to define very narrow segments which in turn can be presented with extremely custom-tailored information that goes way beyond simply sending content based on the buyer journey stage, for example.

Think of it in the most basic way and then extrapolate; if you know contact X has attended a certain webinar last week, on topic Y, and also viewed a few key pages on that same topic in the past, you wouldn’t want to contact them with information of a whole other nature, right?

But what if they are in the same stage of your journey as contact Z, who attended a webinar for topic T? What if the two leads are exactly alike from almost all points of view, except for their topic of interest? Would you consider sending two separate, very-similar-yet-slightly-different email campaigns? Maybe. But what happens when there are 5,000 similar leads?

Dynamic Content happens, if you want to follow best practices, execute your campaigns as efficiently as possible, and hope to generate great success. You split your audiences by demonstrated interests, and you present them with the information they really need at that specific point in time.

You show you understand them and you delight them.

Reporting – feedback analysis

Last but definitely not least, another factor worth mentioning is providing users with the opportunity to speak up about where a preference mismatch happened. When no other prior effort seems to have paid off and contacts still unsubscribe from your communication, instead of simply forgetting they were ever your contacts, you can use this “opportunity” to gather feedback.

Of course, this won’t always work, and some users will never have the time or willingness to provide too detailed feedback on the reasoning behind their choice. But some will. And their feedback can be turned to gold when carefully assessed using either out-of- or outside-the-box reporting solutions.

Offer one last chance for your contacts to let you know why they are unsubscribing, without pressuring them into changing their minds. Simply take in the feedback, analyze it, and determine if you can (and should!) apply any changes to your email communication content or frequency.

Final thoughts…

Dealing with the problem of emails that trigger a “spam” emotional response goes way beyond globally unsubscribing, and we all need to know that there are many better ways of handling this situation.

If we, as marketers, take a stand and start moving further in the direction of a friendlier email marketing ecosystem, we can all benefit from cleaner inboxes, more efficiency, and better content.

Have you decided to improve your email marketing campaigns? Feel free to reach out to us to thoroughly discuss any and all custom-tailored solutions we can devise.

Eloqua Consulting

Gabriel Anghel

Creative, energetic pioneer in digital innovation, passionate high-tech marketing professional, F1 and sports car enthusiast. With a keen interest and over a decade of experience in global marketing automation, online marketing strategies, and API solutions for integrations, I am honored to have co-founded Logarithmic Solutions and thus be leading an insightful, well-equipped team of marketing heroes on a journey towards unlimited digital transformation.