As we discussed in a previous post, it takes a lot of effort for a company to build an interactive online community to produce results. However, for marketing automation pioneer Eloqua, building and maintaining their own community called Topliners continues to be a fruitful experience for both community members and the company.
We recently had the pleasure of connecting with Heather Foeh, Director of Customer Culture at Eloqua. Heather was an Eloqua customer before joining the ranks and becoming an Eloquan in 2008. She truly enjoys helping customers achieve success and receive the recognition they deserve with the use of the Eloqua program.
In our Q&A below, Heather discusses the Topliners community in more detail, the benefits that members walk away with and examples of educating and engaging content that continue to draw in a crowd:
Can you provide us a little background on Topliners?
Topliners was created as a platform to help identify and increase “top-line” revenue for marketers and sales reps. It was developed around years of interacting with customers and learning how marketers think.
When we first launched, our original plan had three sections – Imagine It, See It and Do It. These sections continue to have a focus on inspiring creative marketing or sales campaigns, encouraging the community on what fellow members are doing, and obtaining details on putting ideas into practice.
As the community evolved, we added on the Code It section, where developers can effectively work with one another to build and deploy applications to connect with Eloqua.
Topliners was launched in January 2011 and we now have 6500 members and growing. Each day there are more conversations, more comments, more peer-to-peer assistance, and heck, more fun!
How is Topliners different from other social media communities such as LinkedIn or Twitter?
I would say that we have a very tight community where people can get to know each other on a personal level.
The immediate sense of camaraderie where members can connect and interact with one another by asking and answering questions, sharing success and even funny stories is what helps to educate and engage our members to come back.
We recently had a discussion featured a couple weeks ago titled, “How do you pronounce your name? EE12.” This particular thread did a great job of getting members to interact and schedule to meet one another in person at the upcoming Eloqua Experience 2012 conference in November.
Overall I feel that our customers are able to connect quickly with each other because they already have something in common – the Eloqua platform — and they experience the same common hurdles and questions.
What are some of the benefits for Eloqua users (and non-users) who are involved in the Topliners community?
For Eloqua users, the interaction with fellow peers sharing their tribal knowledge, previous mistakes and workarounds is extremely beneficial. Often times customers can see how one person performed a function one way, yet found another way to make the function work more efficiently instead.
A good example was recently posted in our Do It section titled, “What would you do differently if you got a clean instance of Eloqua and could start from scratch?” This discussion continues to draw in a vast amount of replies with some helpful answers provided by members who continue to climb the ranks in earning points and badges.
For non-users of Eloqua, future customers often take a look at the community and join to get a better idea of the Eloqua platform and the success stories that users are experiencing. We often find that many prospects actually join Topliners first before becoming an Eloqua customer.
What do you want Topliner participants to walk away with?
I hope that our customers are able to get their jobs done more efficiently and more successfully because of the conversations and resources on Topliners.
On a personal level, I want everyone to have a delightful experience and enjoy doing business with Eloqua. Maybe even have a laugh or two before they go back to their busy day. By accomplishing this we’re able to help others do their jobs better, which in turn, results in customers continuing their relationship with us.
Are there plans to extend content from the highly anticipated Eloqua Experience 2012 event on Topliners?
Yes, currently we have active discussions leading up to the event. Following the event, we plan to post presentations of speakers sharing their stories of success and struggles in our Eloqua Insiders Group, a group exclusive to Eloqua customers on Topliners.
Of course, we anticipate some discussions to be created organically for non Eloqua members to view some highlights. We will also extend the highlights on our It’s All About Revenue blog and YouTube channel.