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Battle of the Conferences: Silverpop v Eloqua

August 20 2013 7:09 AM

A week apart from each other, the two big marketing automation players have been battling it out in customer and partner conferences – Silverpop Amplify and Eloqua Experience Europe 2013. I’ve gone, I’ve seen and I’ve observed and thought it might be interesting to compare how they went. Most of us know their products and how they compare. But how do these two match up when it comes to looking after their prospects and customers on the day?

A word of warning - it doesn’t get more subjective than this, but here’s the review and scoring (would be rude not to) of the two competitors pre, during and post event, from my very own experience.

If you’ve attended yourself and can’t wait to have your say, the comment box below is ready.

Here we go…

Silverpop Amplify  Eloqua Experience


Comms & detail of information

I had 10 marketing email invites and 1 personal follow up from a Relationship Manager

Good effort. Silverpop’s doing what they’re preaching and getting noticed.


1 early bird email invite came through (which I missed). 5 unsuccessful attempts to enquire about availability through form, phone and email, 1 successful tweet and 3 weeks later I was in.

Oracle/Eloqua limping behind. A note to anyone organising events - one email won’t do.

Score: 10/10  Score: 1/10


BFI Southbank is characterful and interesting choice, well placed for in and out-of towners. Main conference room was/is a large cinema, meaning big comfy chairs. If it hadn’t been for interesting presentations, many would be caught napping.


Millennium Gloucester Hotel – big, glossy, comfortable and predictable.

Main conference room had an impressive stage set-up, big, red and well lit. Must mention the air-con at industrial freezer temperature for super-chilled experience.

Score: 7/10  Score: 6/10

The event

Opening session

By CEO and Product Strategy Director

Both delivered their presentations with genuine-sounding excitement (Americans are famous for this in Europe), with the right level of geekiness. They were useful and clear to the point that I still remember what they talked about.


By SVP of Global Sales & Group VP of Product Management

These two gentlemen adopted more serious presentation style. But what were they talking about? Oh yes, introducing breakout sessions relating to their ‘5 tenets of modern marketing’. Plus product demos for each tenet.

Mentions of Mad Men

0  1
Score: 8/10  Score: 6/10

Breakout sessions

These were mainly done by Silverpop’s partners. Are Silverpop’s customers shy?

Content relevant to both B2B and B2C. In addition to the sales funnels and buying cycles we’ve dipped our toes in the advanced personalization based on behavioral, multi-channel & real-time data. Rather exciting.

4 out of 5 were interesting and useful, 1 was interesting, useful and delightfully presented

Top of the class:
Catherine Toole – Content is King (so don’t let it die on the toilet)


Day 1 - mainly customer Case Studies, Day 2 – Eloqua education sessions

Content purely focused on B2B. It was all about the buying cycle, segmentation & personas.

The format of these sessions offering Case Studies and Educational content is a good way to go.

2 out of 5 were interesting, useful and well presented

Top of the class:
Talk Talk Business – Eloqua at the heart of Talk Talk business

Celeb speaker

Hilary Devey
Bold as Brass: My Story

It does what it says on the book cover. Hilary in her fragile post-op state managed to capture the audience with her life story. Genuinely inspiring, although the gender bias was anything but subtle.


Rory Sutherland

Beautiful theory, Wrong species: How marketing gets better when it stops kowtowing to finance.

Rory was great. And I knew he would be. His style, which you may have seen on TED, is firing out thoughts at Kalashnikov cadence. Not without the substance though. In his presentation he’s identified interesting connections between several disciplines – from economic models to human psyhcology – creating small but real insight moments throughout.

Winning score for this one.

Score: 7/10  Score: 8/10

Post event


Presentations available 3 days after the event via unprompted email from Silverpop, with direct link to them.

Bish Bash Bosh.

Easy, zero fuss.


Instigated request for an access to the presentations. Few emails, 1 registration for Topliners and 2 days later I had access to most but not all presentations. Some are still missing.

Slightly disconnected comms, coming from 3 different people. The effort wasn’t a complete waste though. Topliners -their community site is a useful place to go for Eloqua knowledge and content.

Score: 9/10  Score: 6/10

Pricing & value for money

1 free entry per customer, otherwise £299

Silverpop was a pretty good value for money, my colleague and I have been educated. It was well organised and there were no frustrations along the way.


Early bird £299
‘Late’ bird £549 (delayed registration due to lack of response)

Value for money for the Oracle/Eloqua privilege was ok based on the 3 very good presentations. As for the pre- and post-event efforts, sadly not so much.

Score: 9/10  Score: 6/10

Brand perception

Nimble, keen, solid, personal

Bruce Lee


Robust, stand-offish, corporate

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Score: 9/10  Score: 6/10

Total scores

59/70  39/70


So there we have it. We use these brands all the time and know the strengths and weaknesses on a product level (if you don’t know them, get in touch and we can talk about it), but I thought it was interesting to see how they communicated in person.

If you attended, please have your say below. (This invitation is especially extended to representatives of Eloqua and Silverpop, which of course will give us a chance to further compare how well each company monitors the blogosphere!)


's avatar

October 04 2013 11:02 AM

Excellent stuff. Have never seen these two compared in this way before. Interested to see if either of them reacts to your blog!

October 04 2013 11:02 AM

Why thank you very much JB!


October 04 2013 11:03 AM

Sue We (Silverpop) loved hearing about your experience at Amplify. Thanks for attending the conference and for sharing publicly! I was the lucky one who got to join our CEO Bill Nussey on stage. Glad you were okay with the “Geek” factor - it’s not something we know how to turn off

VP Product Strategy at Silverpop


October 04 2013 11:04 AM

Yet again, didn’t disappoint in the speed of response. Cheers Bryan.

Tom 's avatar

October 04 2013 11:04 AM

As a fan of Eloqua, I am really disappointed that they did not communicate to you the way in which I have seen their system deliver for a lot of our clients. In my experience, Eloqua has enabled B2B brands to build a relationship with their customers in a way that makes the user feel fully supported and communicated through their decision making process.
I have had a really positive experience of using the product in campaigns that we have deployed using Eloqua - the Topliners community site is also a great place to exchange views and questions on the product, but if they fail to engage and nurture the people who are interested in their product, they are in danger of loosing out to more friendly brands who don’t just talk the talk, but who walk the walk.


October 04 2013 11:04 AM

Tom, great to see some love for Eloqua. Don’t know whether they’re actively pursuing this strategy, but turning existing customers and users into advocates is a good way to go for an established company like Eloqua.


October 04 2013 11:06 AM

Sue that’s a great synopsis, nice work. I attended Amplify London as a Silverpop partner (reseller APAC) and was lucky enough to have 7 clients (Education First) attend the day. While I had a great day, I was most satisfied seeing how much they got from the day. Everyone learned a few new tricks but the best aspect was that my clients got to spend time 1-on-1 with VPs, SVPs and the CEO. I thought it was a really good format in a nice location at the BFI. Great to see that you saw it the same way.

October 04 2013 11:07 AM

Terrific analysis, Sue! and so thorough. Surprising outcome too. Great work.

Heather Foeh

October 04 2013 11:08 AM

Sue - the comparison idea is a great one! I hope you were able to get some good ideas and content from both conferences.
I’m in charge of the communication plan for Eloqua Experience and I dug into our database a bit and found that we had indeed not sent you enough emails. Our normal cadence is one email every month in addition to our regular customer newsletter, with a few extra emails thrown in around key dates (early bird deadlines, etc). I’m sorry that we missed out on sharing those comms with you. Feel free to reach out to me directly with any other suggestions - I’m always happy to hear them.

October 04 2013 11:09 AM

Tony, Kim, Heather, I’m chuffed you’ve taken time to share your opinions. Heather, I also appreciate your openness to suggestion. Thank you all.

October 21 2024 8:17 AM