One of the first questions I’m often asked by a potential client who is considering purchasing Oracle Eloqua is “How much does an Oracle Eloqua SmartStart Implementation cost?”.
Here’s the short answer: It depends.
Read on for the long answer…
Your marketing automation platform (MAP) is the foundation of your marketing technology stack; a poor implementation leads to long-term problems across the marketing organization. No matter what marketing automation platform you choose, the implementation should not be a bargain shopping excursion.
In determining the cost of an implementation, there are several considerations related to the organization, the complexity of the business process, and how the MAP integrates with the rest of your martech stack that can affect the cost. In my experience, the key factors that impact the cost are:
- Marketing Team Size and Structure
- Marketing Process Complexity
- Data Schema
- Integration Requirements
- Personal Email Address Volume
- Migration and Additional Support
Marketing Team Size and Structure
Smaller marketing teams typically have simpler business requirements and therefore, an implementation will have a significantly lower cost. Larger organizations with multiple teams, regions, or business units will have more things to consider, including contact level security, custom subscription management, and keeping data siloed. You will want to clearly define the business requirements in order to configure Eloqua appropriately. This will often require additional budget.
Marketing Process Complexity
Many of the marketing processes we see use standard functionality in Oracle Eloqua and don’t require customizations. However, one of the key selling points of Eloqua is that the system grows and evolves as your business grows and evolves. If you have unique or complex marketing processes, your Eloqua implementation costs can increase. Quite often, the size and structure of the marketing teams results in more complex processes. However, I’ve seen small companies with very complex systems and larger companies with very basic needs. For example, one of my clients is a 5-person marketing team and their processes for personalization, reporting and access to Eloqua data are quite robust. Another client is also a fairly small team but have detailed sales tracking and attribute revenue to marketing initiatives. So, the size of your team does not always dictate the complexity. It would be short-sighted to assume smaller means less complex.
The complexity of your contact or account data also affects the cost of an Eloqua implementation. If you primarily collect and store basic demographic and firmographic data, the standard SmartStart configuration will often suffice. However, if you store more customized data like purchase history, interests/memberships, products purchased or other unique datasets, custom work may be required to hold this data, likely increasing the cost.
Systems Requiring Integration
Most organizations who implement Oracle Eloqua choose to integrate their CRM so that contact and lead data can flow between the two systems. If you use Oracle Sales Cloud, Salesforce, or Microsoft Dynamics, you can leverage their native functionality to connect with Oracle Eloqua at a lower price point. If you do not have one of these CRMs, you have three options for integration:
- SFTP (lowest cost, least amount of functionality)
- Middleware (moderate recurring cost)
- Custom API Integration (high one-time cost)
Volume of Personal Email Addresses in Your Database
While most Oracle Eloqua customers are B2B companies, there are many B2C companies that take advantage of Eloqua’s nurture functionality, lead scoring, and available integrations. If you are a B2C company with a database containing primarily commercial email addresses (e.g., gmail.com, aol.com, yahoo.com, etc.,) we strongly recommend a 4-8 week IP warming protocol to ensure that receiving domains recognize your new Eloqua account as a “safe sender”. This is a complex but highly beneficial plan, so most businesses work with an experienced partner who can manage it for them. This has to be factored into the cost of implementation.
What Support is Required for Migration and Post Implementation
Finally, it is important to think about your implementation more holistically. In addition to getting Oracle Eloqua up and running do you need support in migrating assets and campaigns from your existing MAP? What support do you require post-implementation? There is a learning curve for any new technology and having someone to assist for the first 3 to 6 months post-implementation is extremely valuable and should be considered when defining your marketing budget.
But Brandi… You Still Didn’t Tell Me What an Oracle Eloqua Implementation Costs!
I know, you want numbers; it’s difficult to provide them. In general, an implementation can range from $8,500 – $60,000 based on all the factors above. The majority of our Oracle Eloqua implementations are in the $10,000 – $25,000 range.
As you are evaluating the cost of implementation here are few more points to consider:
- Once you choose Oracle Eloqua as your marketing automation platform, you are receiving a customized implementation, not a simple onboarding. Some competing marketing automation platforms dangle really low “startup” costs in front of potential clients; however their start up is a basic standardized onboarding centered around completing a checklist and providing canned online training. Oracle knows that no two businesses operate the same, so the Oracle Eloqua SmartStart methodology is focused on your specific use cases and configuring Oracle Eloqua to meet your business needs: the objectives are the same, but the work completed is different with each implementation.
- As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Many potential clients receive proposals from 2-3 partners. Clients who choose a partner based on who has the lower price often end up dissatisfied and, in some cases, having to spend budget to correct mistakes. I understand, budgets are budgets – I’ve managed them, so I get it. However, as you are choosing an implementation partner don’t let price be the only driver; choose an experienced, Oracle approved partner that makes you comfortable and confident.
- Most partners can provide preliminary pricing, but you need to have a discovery/scoping discussion with an implementation partner to get a better idea of what implementation costs for your organization will be. Some business cases seem complex but may not actually be when you review the tech stack. Others seem basic, but when we probe to understand the client’s business, we uncover complexities. The technology can handle any use case you give it, but determining the best approach requires discovery.
At Tegrita, we follow the Oracle Eloqua SmartStart methodology for implementation. This system focuses on each client’s specific use case and blends configuration and setup with training and knowledge transfer. The screenshot below is a high-level project plan for a basic implementation.
I’ve personally led more than 30 implementations in the last 3 years. If you are evaluating implementation partners and want to get a better understanding about what your implementation will generally cost, I can provide initial pricing within a 30-minute call. I’m happy to schedule time with you to discuss.