Program Canvas: Is it a replacement for Program Builder or an Enhancement?

Author: Sheershak Gupta | Categories: Email Marketing & Automation, Digital Strategy, Personalization, Software, Oracle | Eloqua

A few months ago, Oracle Eloqua introduced a new feature called Program Canvas, which has the potential to transform data processing within the platform. Marketers can use Program Canvas to automate the different manual tasks, such as CRM Integration (Limited), Data Cleansing, and Security Label Management (Limited). This feature is available in your Eloqua instance under the Orchestration drop-down menu.


Elements of Program Canvas

use of program canvas

Data source, decision, and action are the three elements that compose programs in the Program Canvas feature:

  • Data Source – It specifies the source from where contacts in your program can be pulled – Contacts or Custom Data Objects.

  • Decisions – This evaluates the contacts on the basis of different filters, such as Compare Contact Fields, Compare Custom Object Fields, and Shared List Member, among others. Each step in this element offers you a choice to go ahead with – Yes and No. Your choice determines the path that the tool will take to compare and segregate contacts for completing the activity.

  • Actions – This is the final step that is based on Decisions. Once you have specified your choice in Program Canvas, you can process the contacts by choosing an Action: add to campaign, subscribe contact, add to share list, wait, and form submit.

Working with Program Canvas

Program Canvas is set with an enhanced user interface that is easy to use and fast as compared to the similar-in-capability Program Builder. However, it is to be noted that as of yet, not all the Program Builder capacities are available in Program Canvas. Therefore, depending upon your target, you could either use the Program Builder or the Program Canvas feature in Eloqua.

Benefits of Program Canvas

  1. Easy to use and allows building programs using the simple drag and drop option.

  2. Facilitates easy identifying of errors at any point in the program building process.

  3. The new Data Source Listener feature triggers actions in real time, based on lead scoring, contact creation, and campaign response processes.

  4. The Program Canvas workflow responds instantly (depending on the volume of data), whereas the Program Builder can take up to 15 minutes to evaluate a single step.

  5. The functionality of Program Canvas can be extended by integrating it with Oracle Marketing Cloud Apps.

  6. By integrating it with apps, such as The Contact Washing Machine, you can maintain your databases efficiently.

  7. Program Canvas allows the trouble-free setting up of contacts and CDO. This boosts the opportunities that marketers can explore to manipulate linked contacts with the CDO.

  8. Program Canvas can be effortlessly integrated with CRM tools and third-party apps, such as WebEx, GoToMeeting, Contact Washing Machine, Oracle Service Cloud, and Oracle Sales Cloud Integration. This can reduce the lead time and speed up the process in which your sales team can actively engage with new leads. This further helps in improving the lead quality for converting leads to serious customers.

Limitations in Program Canvas

  1. Program Canvas can’t be used to send out emails.

  2. There’s no Run mode available in this feature.

  3. There is no approval process in place to verify the workflow in Program Canvas.

  4. Performing ownership-type actions is restricted here. Users cannot assign/remove a contact security label or send process member reports to the owner.

  5. Performing actions-based on data tools is not allowed from Program Canvas; the only exception being the Update Rules task.

Difference between Program Canvas Vs Program Builder

Owing to the similarities and the differences between Program Canvas and Program Builder, it’s only evident that comparisons are bound to happen. While many users who are familiar with Program Builder still feel attached to this feature and find its capabilities handier, many others who have explored Program Canvas in this brief period that it’s been around, find it promising – though not all-empowering. Program Canvas is set with functionalities when it comes to Update Rules and Contact Security Labels but is certainly way ahead when it comes to speed. So, we can say that it is a mid-stone between Campaign Canvas and Program Builder.

Highlighted below are the top differences between the two:

  • Run Mode – No Run Mode is available in Program Canvas whereas there are three different modes available in Program Builder. This allows Program Canvas to run programs faster and efficiently.

  • Email Send – Program Canvas can’t be used to send emails while Program Builder is set with this capability.

  • CRM and MA Integration – Program Canvas lacks the capacity to run integration rules, while Program Builder is set with it.

  • Cloud Apps – We can install different third-party cloud apps in Eloqua and utilize them in Program Canvas. Program Builder is not designed to support cloud-based apps; however, it can support cloud connectors. But again, Eloqua decommissions all connectors.

  • Data Tools – Only the Update Rule is available in Program Canvas whereas data tools such as match rules, match de-duplication, and validation rules are available in Program Builder.

How can program canvas help your business?

So, with all the similarities and differences out there for you, which would you prefer? Our take on this is that depending on your marketing strategies, you can use Program Canvas differently as compared to how your peers may be using it. The idea is to start using this feature and see how well you can explore it to impact your business. Below is a case highlighting the benefits derived from using this feature:

Case: Marketing team wants to identify the contacts whose lead score has changed and notify the Sales team about it.

A unique characteristic of Program Canvas is the Listener element. It’s a feed in Program Canvas that continuously hits the database; once the set criteria, configured at the Listener step is met, it runs in real time.

We can configure the Listener step at three different sources – the lead scoring model, contact creation, and campaign response.

program canvas vs program builder

We can use lead scoring model as a source for Listener and run it on three parameters – all score changes, increase profile and engagement score, and decrease profile and engagement score.

Marketing Automation

We can configure this step as per our business requirement to capture the changes in a score and feed the contacts as a feeder. Also, we can process this further by including other campaigns, such as a nurture campaign, to monitor changes and notify the respective sales representative. This way you can automate the task of transforming data in real-time within Eloqua.

So, we can conclude by saying that Program Canvas is useful to marketers using the Eloqua marketing automation tool, not as a replacement of Program Builder yet, but to speed up tasks and work alongside third-party cloud-based apps.

Don’t miss to share with us your case story in which you may have used this feature differently and driven the maximum benefit.