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Another Summit is behind us and with it came a bunch of FAQs. As with any conference, information overload is a very real thing and 45-minute sessions can’t cover everything we want to say or answer every question asked (hence why we preface each year’s session with the words “rapid-fire”).

 

Juli James and I were lucky enough to get a bunch of really great questions after our session, “Skinning Schrodinger’s Cat II: Fearless MOPs in the Face of the Unknown” and we promised you we’d answer them all in a follow-up blog post. Without further ado, here's what you wanted to know:

 

What are the two "not mailable" segments you had?


(Jenn) This question is in relation to creating mailability segments so when you filter by mailable records, you’re left with a clean list of who you can actually target when sending an email.

The order of segments that I use is usually something like:

 

  1. Employees
  2. Not Mailable - System (these are your records who can’t be reached for technical reasons like invalid emails)
  3. Not Mailable - Policy (these are your records who can’t be reached for compliance reasons, namely things like GDPR and CASL)
  4. Mailable (this is what you’ll pull into your email blasts to filter only marketable records)
  5. Default (there should be 0 people in this segment because everyone should have been caught by the above filters)

 

(Julz) The mailable segments I use are very similar to Jenn’s but I would set it up slightly differently and split Leads and Contacts up into their own segments.  The reason behind this is because in some instances there are requests to send campaigns just to leads or contacts, and it saves having another filter in the send campaign.

 

When setting up segmentations always remember that you can decide on the order that you want your records to be filtered out, so for mailable segments you’ll want to filter out the bad records first.

 

Do you have any tips for dealing with spam bot clicks AKA Voldemort McSauron

 

(Jenn) It depends on your instance so you should really go through your records’ activity history to see if there’s anything you can filter out when setting up your tracking campaigns. For example, I discovered that one of my clients was getting a lot of spammy clicks on their emails but none of those emails were ever recorded as opened. Although you can’t suppress that information from Marketo’s default reporting, you can set up your campaigns to prevent them from getting added as “clicked” to your programs.

 

(Julz) One of the ways I try to avoid spammy clicks in programs is by adding filters to the smart campaign that is looking for the clicks.  So I’ll set up a Smart Campaign that has a trigger of ‘Visited Web Page’ with the filter of ‘Clicked link in email’ that has the matching link in it.  I also put a time filter on the trigger sometimes as sometimes the timestamp between the page being visited and the link being clicked sometimes has a delay.  One of the caveats to this is that when people have disabled Cookie tracking we can’t track the page visits. But it is at this point where you have to weigh up the options and look at what Jenn suggested and see how many spammy clicks you are getting - run a couple of smart lists on your biggest email sends and see how bad the problem is.


Where can I find the resource for bounce management program covered in the presentation?

(Jenn) You can find the Community blog post detailing where more information about bounces and how to track them here (https://nation.marketo.com/community/champion/blog/2015/07/14/making-sense-of-marketo-email-bounce-categories) and download the presentation slides going into detail about how to set up the program and campaigns here (https://resources.digitalpi.com/presentations-2/jenn-dimaria-skinning-schrodinger-s-cat-ii-fearless-mops-in-the-face-of-the-unknown). I also filmed a PiPointer giving an overview of how it works here (https://resources.digitalpi.com/blog/pipointer-why-managing-bounced-emails-is-like-herding-cats).

 

Why do you keep email addresses that you can't email in your segmentation / Marketo instance?

(Jenn) Mostly for compliance purposes, although a case can be made that you can delete these records out of Marketo if you have other ways to keep track of if/when they opted out or couldn’t be contacted. For technical purposes, it can help to keep a binary sync between systems (ie: have all the records in Marketo that are in your CRM) to prevent duplicates.

For example, if you delete a record out of Marketo only because they unsubscribed but that person comes back to your website, fills out a form, and downloads content, they’ll re-sync to your CRM and create a duplicate because Marketo can’t tell that record already exists.

If you have a duplicate management system in place within your CRM, that may not be a problem for you but it’s definitely worth noting because I see it happen all the time in my clients’ instances and it can become a huge headache to manage.

 

(Julz) I’m the opposite to Jenn.  I tried to purge email addresses as much as possible as long as the CRM system is keeping track of the invalid emails, unsubscribes, no longer with account, do not contact, etc etc. This is down the Database size being one of the pricing factors in Marketo. But I’m also in total agreement with Jenn that this is only possible due to the CRM keeping all of the records and also a good duplication system to prevent too many duplicates happening.  I always think there will be 2 differing opinions of what to remove and what not to remove.

 

How much does using segmentation affect processing? I've heard each segmentation transaction is a single batch campaign run per lead. Does that slow down larger instances?

(Jenn) I’ve heard this is an issue, as well, but have never experienced it. By optimizing your segments (ie: not including filters like “contains”), you can ensure they’re functioning quickly and efficiently. Segmentations themselves are also much faster to use in smart campaigns (partially because a lead can only be in one segment) and can often take preference over smart lists if you’re targeting a broader group.

That said, the first time you run a segmentation could take quite some time - I’ve seen my mailability segments take up to 24 hours to run on larger databases.

Here’s a great resource in community about common segmentation issues and how to correct them (https://nation.marketo.com/community/product_and_support/blog/2018/12/18/segmentation-health-check-updates-tips-and-tricks-for-keeping-your-segmentation-updated).

 

Have you ever had issues with the history smart campaign not always running to record the field updates?

 

(Julz) I’ve never seen an issue with the UTM history fields not updating.  This is probably due to the fact that I’ve got all UTM updates happening in one campaign, so that the smart campaign is only for one change per field.  Its set up in a way that the trigger is just looking for just the UTM ‘most recent’ field to change. This change then triggers the ‘original’ and ‘history’ field updates.  I also put a filter on the smart campaign settings so that people can only run through the campaign once an hour, so that you don’t get someone who is clicking all over your website and landing page with UTM parameters.  That might be one of the causes of the history field not being updated.

 

One more thing to note - always make sure that your forms have the correct UTM parameter fields, and that your URL’s are built correctly too.

 

Have you noticed a processing slowdown with the bounce campaigns due to the volume?

(Jenn) I haven’t but it’s important to always monitor these type of campaigns in relation to your other initiatives to diagnose any processing delays or race conditions.

That’s why it’s also important to keep tabs on the sources of your invalid emails. For example, if you determine that a specific source is sending over loads of bad emails, you can consider dropping that source and fewer bad emails will flow through your bounce management program.

For your first few bulky sends after you set up a bounce management campaign, you can expect to see a lot of traffic and data value changes. But if you’re acting on the results and not batch-and-blasting willy nilly to your non-engaged database, that should slow down.

Note: this shouldn’t be a replacement for a deliverability monitor but it can help give you an idea of how your marketable database is performing and allow you to quarantine potentially bad records for further investigation.

 

Can you track the link click inside the velocity content token?

 

(Julz) Yes, you can track link clicks inside Velocity tokens.  The Velocity Scripting was used for the Real Time Content Delivery program that I spoke about in our session has a different token per piece of content, and different variables based on different fields.  It’s a bit more work, but after running reports after each event that has a content delivery email set up for it it's worked without any issues so far.

 

If I wanted to use 1 Velocity Script Token for all of the content then it would be a different story.  For that you can check out Sandy Whiteman’s blog here for a more in-depth break down of how to get work arounds for tracking links in Velocity: https://blog.teknkl.com/multiple-marketo-tracked-links-in-velocity/https://blog.teknkl.com/multiple-marketo-tracked-links-in-velocity/

 

Where can we find out more about velocity scripting and where those live?

 

(Julz) I’m still learning Velocity but Sandy will always be my go to for this: https://blog.teknkl.com/tag/velocity. There is also any work on the developer site for Marketo: https://developers.marketo.com/email-scripting/ and a full site dedicated to Velocity: http://velocity.apache.org/engine/devel/user-guide.htmlhttp://velocity.apache.org/engine/devel/user-guide.html

 

I’m excited to spend more time playing with velocity and also javascript to see what fun things I can set up in Marketo.

 

======================

 

Have more questions for us? Let us know in the comments and we’ll answer as soon as we can.

 

If you weren’t able to get into our session or if you did and want to review any of the info, you can play the session recording here: http://summit.adobe.com/na/summit-online/#26786.

 

PS: Julz and I will be presenting "Schrodinger's Remix" at the Marketing Nation Roadshow: Boston on June 18th where we'll focus on our Summit highlights and your Q&A. If you want to see us in person and are in the area, register here: http://fieldevents.marketo.com/marketingnationboston

Email is complicated.

 

And surprisingly enough, it's rarely given the attention it deserves - especially considering the foundational role it tends to play in marketing automation. For people who are new to Marketo, or new to email marketing, it can be a hard nut to crack - as I see it, for two main reasons:

  • Email requires a multitude of skill sets - a good email relies on good copywriting, graphic design, UX design, HTML and CSS, analytics, and more.
  • Email is constantly evolving - technology moves quickly, and as email clients, devices, operating systems, deliverability and networks do, so does best practice.

 

If coding isn't really your jam, you don't really find design comes naturally to you, or you're just really stretched (aren't we all?) then getting your head around it all can be a real challenge. But it isn't impossible.

 

The first step is not falling prey to the many myths surrounding email. So, here's a breakdown of five myths I hear (and see in action) most frequently...

 

MYTH #1: EMAIL & WEB DEVELOPMENT ARE THE SAME.

Matrix Code

Nope. Email really is a whole other beast, and will still be a learning curve for those with experience developing for web. There's a reason why people joke that email code looks like it's from the 90s… because a lot of it has to be. Where web typically tests across a handful of browsers, operating systems and screen sizes, there's far more to contend with in email. Litmus estimates that every email send has (conservatively) 15,000 possible renderings (see their exploration of why email rendering is so complex). Just look at:

 

With so many variables, each their own unique and often unpredictable quirks, creating a robust and reliable email email template can be challenging for even the most patient of developers.

 

Key takeaway: If you want truly great, responsive, consistent and on brand emails, you have to be prepared to invest in creating and maintaining them - whether by hiring an experienced email developer or someone with the ability to grow that skill set (combined designer/developer roles are common), training internally, or hiring an experienced third party.

 

 

MYTH #2: I DON'T NEED A CUSTOM EMAIL TEMPLATE

Sherlock shrugging

Well... actually, you probably will. This isn't to say it's something everyone needs out of the gate - but there's a tipping point on the maturity curve where, really, you probably do need to invest in designing and developing a bespoke email template.

 

Marketo's starter templates are called “starter” templates for a reason. After a while you'll probably start to find them limiting, and frustrating. But frustration is good - it means you've developed a sense of what you do and don't want in a template; from a design perspective, and from an in-editor usability perspective. The particular needs of each use case are entirely unique - and the best way to meet them is with a custom template.

 

Your in editor experience is critically dependent on your email template - the vast majority of complaints I've heard about the editor are not the result of inherent flaws in the editor itself, but problems with the template. Going custom can enable you to...

  • Fully customise the look and feel of your emails;
  • Run all your emails on a single “master” template (making updates much easier) by including a variety of flexible modules (see: Add Modules to your Email - Marketo Docs - Product Documentation);
  • Utilise Marketo's email syntax to enable greater in-editor experience;
  • Include My Tokens to maximise efficiency and ensure consistency;

… and much, much more.

 

But: make sure either you or the developer/third party you work with is specifically experienced in Marketo. You'll get the best results by considering not just best practice dev, but also in-editor usability - someone with strong experience is more likely to have a good sense of where modules should start and end, which kind of Marketo variables (see: Email Template Syntax - Marketo Docs - Product Documentation) are best suited in different spots, which sections may need to cater to dynamic content, etc.

 

Key takeaway: Don't expect starter templates to cater to advanced use cases, and do expect to invest in a custom template at some point - just get it done by someone experienced, and expect the template to be continuously added to and evolved over time.

 

 

MYTH #3: OUR EMAILS WILL LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THE DESIGN

Michael Scott from The Office tearing up

We wish it were so... Unfortunately, unless your designer(s) are familiar with the ins and outs of HTML & CSS support in email, or you're okay with emails being completely image based (hint: you shouldn't be) then… yeah. No.

 

If you're looking at creating a custom template, or even just working on a custom element within a single campaign, it's really beneficial to ensure the designer knows the complexities of email, or that they're in close contact with someone who does. Even better if they're the one who will develop the template. Not only will it save you a lot of time (and potentially money) in revisions at the end of the process, it'll also save a lot of disappointment if people fall in love with a concept that can't reasonably be executed, or simply isn't best practice.

 

Now - none of this is to say that your emails can't be beautifully designed. It's more to say that you'll benefit from being mindful of what limitations exist - and how you can work around (or with) them. For example…


Limitation:
Not all clients accept custom fonts.

Best Practice Solution:
Provide custom fonts for the clients that can accept them, with closest possible resemblance fallbacks for those that can't. Avoid or minimise heavily stylised fonts where possible (both for legibility and fallback reasons). In cases where a specific font is really important, images (with alt text!) can be used, but should always be kept to an absolute minimum (preferably headlines only) - live text is always preferred.

 

Progressive enhancement is always good to be thinking about here: just because 20% of your audience are using a client that doesn't support a feature doesn't mean you shouldn't enable it for the other 80%. Provide those features to those whose clients do support them, and make sure the fallback is graceful for those whose clients don't. So… It's also helpful to know what your database's client split is (Gmail, Outlook, etc)! It'll start to dictate what features you work hard to enable, vs which you avoid like the plague.

 

Key takeaway: involve email/dev experts in the design process, and aim for a balance of what's practically achievable and what's beautiful - but always within the context of how email clients are actually represented in your database.

 

 

MYTH #4: SENDING A SAMPLE TO ME + A COLLEAGUE = TESTING

Matt Damon in The Martian making stuff explode

It's... not a particularly rigorous test. While it's better than nothing, if this is all the testing you're doing, you're probably missing a lot. We've already covered here how complex email is, and how many different possible renderings a single email can have. If you're using Outlook 2016 on Windows and your colleague is using Gmail on Chrome, you're only looking at a tiny tiny percentage of the possibilities - and it's entirely possible that you're not looking at the clients that are most heavily represented in your database.

 

In an ideal scenario it'd be every email you send - but at least every template, and any emails with custom dev, at a minimum of 1x test per month - should be tested using email testing software (Email on Acid and Litmus are two of the key players in the market here).

 

There's a few major benefits to this (though they'll vary according to tool/subscription)...

 

You can test...Why this matters...
How your emails look across a large number of clients.It gives you the opportunity to fix those breaks and ensure your emails look consistently good.
Whether your subject line and preview text are following best practice, and be able to preview how they appear in different clients.Identifying issues here can directly impact your open rate.
How your email looks in text only, with images disabled, and for colour blind users.Accessibility is becoming increasingly important in email, with many suggesting it will quickly become a critical factor in deliverability and compliance.
How long your email will take to load for most users, and be able to see the size of each individual file.Load speed can have a significant impact on the overall performance of your email, so checking your file size and ensuring you're using appropriate file formats, compression, and scaling settings is not only massively important, it's also actually pretty easy. Check out this guide from Demand Lab.
Whether your emails are at risk getting flagged as spam due to missing/incorrect settings, content, sender reputation or IP issues.Deliverability is complex (check out Send Grid's guide for some insight). While these tools are not always going to be perfect, they'll help you keep tabs on whether things are going wrong and can also help you get a sense of why.

 

...and plenty more!


With the right subscription and tool, you can also use additional analytics to get more insights into what clients are most heavily represented in your database, and how people are engaging with your emails.

 

Key takeaway: if you're not using an email testing tool, you may be sending broken or sub-optimal emails without realising it - a relatively small investment in a testing tool could improve your email performance and increase your confidence & performance significantly.

 

 

MYTH #5: I DON'T NEED TO KNOW ANY OF THIS.

I'm going to assume that if you're reading this, it's because you're interested in creating great emails - if so, you should definitely know these things.

 

Email is complex and constantly changing - but for many of us that's part of what makes it kinda fun. You don't need to be an expert in all of the above, but you having at least a peripheral and conceptual understanding of both what they entail and why they matter will help you make major strides towards creating great emails, every time.

 

Jeff Goldblum clapping

 

 

BONUS TIPS!

Because I can't end a post about email without mentioning some of these other points...

  • Don't expect to copy+paste your HTML from a past system into Marketo and have everything work like magic. Every email editor - including Marketo's - has specific requirements in order to enable functions. Marketo's syntax is simple and powerful - and you'll notice the difference if it's missing!
  • Don't edit the code of individual emails! Editing the code (outside of editable areas) breaks emails from their templates, and prevents any template updates from being applied to them.
  • Minimise the number of templates you have. Creating a new template for every product, every channel, or every send? Chances are, you're missing a major opportunity to optimise.
  • Use Tokens! If you're not utilising tokens within your emails - especially My Tokens - start! They're a great way to control things like brand colours, unsubscribe links, copyright dates, legal disclaimers, etc. But...
  • Test your tokens! Don't be the person who sends emails that say “Hi DUMMY.”
  • Be cautious with velocity script if you're not familiar with it. Velocity is an incredibly powerful way to enable awesome functionality in marketo. But with great power, comes great responsibility… use it carefully!
  • Ask Community for help - within reason. Community is a great resource for advice and support, but don't forget that this is a volunteer community of users! Ask for help pinpointing problems, advice on best practices, but don't expect people to develop whole modules or provide complete strategies.
  • Help community help you! If you're looking for help from community, you're more likely to get assistance quickly if you provide as much information as possible from the get go - including screenshots and full code where relevant.

 

P.S. Enormous thanks to the fab minds that contributed to this post, especially Juli James, Sydney Mulligan, Courtney Grimes, Josh Pickles & Amber Hobson.

It’s been one year since GDPR went into effect, what was the impact, what did we learn and what’s looming ahead?

 

In the first few months after GDPR went “live,” our headlines were filled with stories of complaints and violations. According to a report by DLA Piper, over 59,000 data breaches were reported in the first eight months of GDPR going into effect, ranging in severity from errant emails to the wrong recipient to major cyber hacks affecting millions. Large, prominent organizations were “easy” targets, often singled out by specific consumer advocacy groups. While many consumer groups want to hate the “villains,” as marketers, we can learn from their vulnerabilities:

 

  • Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Apple, and Spotify have reported violations in Austria for failure to provide information regarding how user data is bought and sold.

 

  • The Irish Data Protection Commissioner is investigating Twitter regarding a breach notification received from the social networking site, examining if article 33 was violated. (And if you don’t have your GDPR articles memorized, you must provide notification to users within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach.)

 

  • The Dutch Data Protection Agency (DPA) cautioned several organizations who denied visitors access to websites after the visitors refused cookies or declined to provide requested data. Of course, cookie consent and data collection must be specific and freely given; requiring permission to access a website is in violation of the visitor’s free choice.

 

And while we’re on the subject of the Dutch DPA, the Netherlands is also the first country to release a GDPR fining policy, introducing a scale for less severe violations. Factors that can influence where you fall on the scale include duration of the infringement, number of people involved, how quickly the offending organization reacts, and what type of personal data is involved.

 

But probably the most notorious GDPR event of the year was news of the first major fine issued to Google, a whopping $50 million by the French CNIL for failure to secure user consent to serve personalized ads.

 

What should we expect next?

Compliance: The Next Phase

Preparing for compliance was just the beginning; now, it’s about maintaining compliance. As marketers, we’re tasked with continuing to be mindful of data collection and storage practices, amidst ever-changing rules. I like the analogy given by Ruby Zefo, Chief Privacy Officer of Uber: “GDPR is a lot like raising a baby. We waited two years for the GDPR baby to be born, and now that it’s here, we can’t leave it in its high chair to fend for itself.  You still need to take care of it.”

 

How should you prepare for the next chapter in compliance and data privacy?

 

  1. Cookie practices. We’ve already seen Marketo take proactive measures related to this area, with the newly announced pre-fill form changes. Previously, Marketo landing pages relied on Munchkin cookies to identify known person records and would pre-fill data based on that cookie, regardless if the actual known person was the one viewing the page. (think shared computers here) As a security enhancement and to better align with GDPR requirements, form pre-fills will now only display when the known person clicks through from a link in a Marketo email, to confirm the identity of the data.

  2. US privacy legislation. We mostly hear about California’s bill, CCPA, but Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland and most recently, Washington state, all have proposed legislation as well. Requirements for companies include disclosing personal information collected and providing the individual opportunity to access, correct, and in some cases, delete their information. Additionally, some proposed state legislation obligates organizations to perform risk assessments regarding their data processing activities. For marketers, all this could translate to a state-level data nightmare— a significant plot twist in our novel. Ironically, the US Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on March 12— the actual anniversary date of the World Wide Web launching— to “examine GDPR and CCPA, focusing on opt-ins, consumer control, and the impact on competition and innovation.” Of course, much is still to be defined, including if Federal legislation will preempt state laws, such as CCPA, or set the baseline requirement and allow states to make tighter requirements as they deem appropriate? As our government works through the unknowns, one thing we do know: privacy legislation IS coming to the US and organizations can no longer ignore it.

 

  1. Privacy policies and subscription management centers. It’s time to revisit your privacy policy to ensure it’s current and accurately reflects how you collect, use and store user data. Additionally, make sure your subscription center allows users to easily manage their preferences, including an opt-out from sharing or selling their personal data, a CCPA requirement.

 

  1. Best data practices. If you haven’t audited your instance recently, now is a great time to clean-up your database and remove outdated, duplicate, incomplete and junk records, which only creates unnecessary compliance liabilities for your organization. To assist in the process, download our free 41-point audit checklist.

Marketing Happily Ever After

My best advice for those following the compliance story: don’t take a wait-and-see approach to protecting your data, enabling transparency of data usage or capturing user consent. We’re one-year in with GDPR and six-months out from CCPA going into effect. As evidenced from the many other state initiatives emerging, data regulation is here to stay and will only gain momentum in the months to come. Those who embrace the new realities will be the companies marketing happily ever after.

“Work it harder,

Make it better,

Do it faster,

Makes us stronger.”

 

--From “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft ****

 

If the Daft **** lyrics above could double as the mantra for your organization’s MOPS department, you aren’t alone. Today’s marketers are being asked to work harder to deliver better results more quickly than ever before. Why? Because the competitive pressure is intense, meaning that your company not only relies on the strength of your products or services but also on your ability to market them effectively and efficiently. Squeezing out every bit of productivity from your MOPS people and processes isn’t an option; it’s a necessity.

 

Our consultants have previously shared with you time-saving Marketo hacks--quick “lightbulb moment” tips aimed at helping ensure you’re getting the most out of Marketo. Today, we’re sharing advice on enhancing your MOPS productivity so your team can tackle work more quickly and marketing can deliver on its financial goals.

Tip 1: Get Smart about Smart List Subscriptions

 

Marketo smart list subscriptions aren’t just good for getting lead reports—they’re also great to use to keep updated about system-related issues that may have an impact on your productivity. You can also set up a subscription to alert you about any other situations you may need to address.

 

One of the most common use cases is to monitor duplicates. Duplicates can wreak havoc on your system, so being proactive and catching them early is important. Set up a smart list like the one above and turn on a subscription to run each day. This will allow you to get a quick snapshot of any duplicates that have been created, allowing you to take quick action to address the person or process that is creating them.

 

Other examples:

  • List of leads created and their lifecycle status
  • Lists of leads missing critical info
  • List of high value leads that unsubscribe or are marked invalid.

 

—Carey Picklesimer, Director of Consulting

Tip 2: Use the Awesome Features in Google Sheets

You want to build and send error-free emails consistently and efficiently. But are you setting yourself up for success every time? If your MOPS team doesn’t have a clear, documented QA process, you’re effectively taking a risk every time one of your marketers hits the send button. By creating a template QA grid for each email send and ensuring that your team fills it out and follows the process, you will improve communication within your team and reduce the chance for any errors.

 

Here are some specifics on using Google Sheets to make a top-quality QA grid.

 

Use Checkboxes to Note Finished Elements

Did you know that Google Sheets now has the functionality to add a checkbox? It's a perfect way for the email builder to mark when they are done building each element in the email—and there’s nothing more satisfying for us list-lovers than the feeling of checking off a box to indicate we’re finished.

Employ Data Validation

As a part of the QA check, you can add Data Validation to your Google Sheet to mark each element as Ready for QA, Pass, or Fail. You can add a Questions drop-down and a notes column for the QA person to document their comments.

 

Some questions that a QA person may ask would be, “should we set up an A/B test?”, or “are you sure that this image is correct?”. The QA person can add to the Notes on Fails column with comments such as, “this sentence is missing a period.” Then, after the email builder makes the fixes, they should note in the Notes on Fixes column that the fixes are done.

Conditional Formatting Shows At-A-Glance Status

Adding conditional formatting allows you to color code your Google Sheet so that you can quickly view the status of your build, at-a-glance. Red indicates QA tasks that have failed; green tasks have passed and yellow tasks are those that have questions.

Tabs

It is useful to add tabs to your QA grid so that every asset within the program belongs in the same document. For example, you may want to have one tab for the program set up, one for email content, and one for the smart list check. Tweak this to meet your specific needs; the main thing is to keep it consistent.

 

—Hilary German, Consultant

 


Get Justin Norris’s third tip for improving your MOPS productivity by changing your approach to marketing operations by reading the rest of this post on the Perkuto blog.

Just when we finished preparing for GDPR, there’s a new player in the consumer privacy game. Call it the lesser-known “little brother” of GDPR— if the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) isn’t yet on your radar, it needs to be soon.

 

Much like GDPR, CCPA seeks to protect the privacy of consumers by shielding personal information that relates to, describes, is associated with or can be linked to an individual.

 

Should you be concerned?

 

The short answer is yes; privacy legislation—even at the state level—should be taken seriously. Like it or not, data security, consumer privacy and compliance aren’t just the new buzzwords, they’re our modern-day marketing realities.

 

Let’s take a look at what the proposed CCPA legislation includes and where the potential “gotchas” lie.

CCPA - The Basics

For those of you driven by deadlines, get out your calendar and put a big “X” on January 1, 2020, the date CCPA officially goes into effect. Of course, you’ll also need to block out time in the preceding months to prepare your systems and processes for the changes.

 

Just who does this bill cover? Currently, CCPA is written to cover only California residents (all 40 million of them) but remember, California, the fifth largest economy in the world, was also the initiator of the first unsolicited commercial email law in the United States, which was later adopted as Federal legislation, or the CAN-SPAM Act. No doubt about it, California has a significant influence on the US. Thus, I anticipate that CCPA will also evolve into Federal regulation.

 

Translation: CCPA will have a bigger impact than its name currently suggests.

Organizations Impacted by CCPA

If you are a for-profit organization that does business in California and meets just one of the following CCPA thresholds, guess what? You are subject to compliance.

 

The criteria include:

  • Organizations with gross annual revenues of $25 million or more, OR
  • Organizations with more than 50,000 data records from households, persons or devices—if you have a highly-trafficked website and use cookies, your internal alarm should be sounding right about now! , OR
  • Organizations which derive 50% or more of annual income from selling consumer personal information—think beyond the obvious data broker scenario; if you earn half of your revenue from selling products or services which depend on consumer personal information (such as programmatic advertising), then your business could fall into this category, OR
  • Organizations that are owned or controlled by a business that does any of the above.


And remember—these are “or” statements— if you meet any of them, then CCPA applies to you. (Not-for-profit organization reading this post? CCPA doesn’t address your business status, but rather than assume you are exempt, I advise you to consult your legal counsel for clarification on the topic.)
Now that we’ve covered the “when” and “who,” let’s move on to the “what” CCPA protects.

Data Covered Under CCPA

CCPA is about the control, protection, and insight of personal data. In other words, the consumer must be aware—at the point of data collection—that information is being collected, informed as to how the data will be used and then given the option to opt-out from sharing or selling that personal data.
CCPA defines “personal information” as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Personal identifiers
  • IP address
  • Email address
  • Social security number
  • Drivers license number
  • Passport number and similar identifiers

 

Additionally, there are restrictions on collecting data pertaining to class information, personal property, products and services purchased, purchasing history, browsing history, geodata, biometric data, profiling, employment, and education-related data. Basically, if data can be tied back to a person or identifies an individual, it’s considered “personal data” and is protected by CCPA.

 

Note that personal information does not include publicly-available information from state, federal or local governments, but the caution here is how you intend to use that data and if that purpose is compatible with the other criteria of CCPA.

CCPA Penalties

What’s most ambiguous about this bill (ironically!) are the fines. The penalties for non-compliance are subject to interpretation, both of the law itself and those enforcing it. Let me explain further.

 

If the California Attorney General’s office deems an organization is out of compliance, they’ll issue a notice and the organization will have 30 days to make corrections. After that, fines are enforceable and can vary greatly, depending if the violation is deemed intentional ($2,500/violation) or unintentional ($7,500/violation). What’s ambiguous is “per violation” and if that refers to “per incident” OR “per record involved”; there are many interpretations and debates on the topic. My advice: watch for updates to the legislation and get your legal team to review the actual language of the bill. (or better yet, don’t be out of compliance!)

 

Also included in CCPA is mention of civil damages, payable to the consumer. These fees can range from $100-$750/impacted consumer OR actual damages, whichever amount is greater. But wait—there’s more. CCPA also enables consumers to file lawsuits without showing proof of damages. The bottom line: between the financial penalties, time spent dealing with legal proceedings and potential harm to a brand’s reputation, not complying with the requirements of CCPA could be very costly.

 

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll go deeper into the legislation and the impact on your daily operations. In the meantime, I suggest rallying your legal team for round two of privacy legislation. While we will likely see further refinements to CCPA, the principles of it are here to stay.

 

This article was originally published on Perkuto’s blog. Read it as it originally appeared and/or subscribe to our blog to receive future posts.

This year was the first summit for Marketo users since the Adobe acquisition in 2018. For me, it brought home the reality that Marketo is no longer a standalone product but a single app within a much larger structure of product “clouds.”

 

adobe clouds

 

Although Marketo is no longer the sole focus of its own multi-day event, the union with Adobe could bring benefits to Marketo users who are willing to expand their portfolio of Adobe products. It’s not hard to imagine how less well-developed Marketo features could be replaced by integrations with much more mature and robust Adobe products — for example, Ad Bridge by Ad Cloud or Web Personalization by Adobe Target.

 

That being said, there are many Adobe products for Marketo users to understand and make sense of. It can feel bewildering, and I find it takes time to build a mental map of how all the products fit together. Some of the non-Marketo content in the keynotes was useful for showcasing what these products can do and is worth a watch for the Experience Cloud-curious.

 

Let’s dive into some of the new Marketo-specific features and integrations discussed at Summit.

 

Safe Harbour: This post does not represent any kind of official “roadmap.” It’s just one person’s observations based on attending keynotes and sessions. Given the increased size of Summit this year, I can’t promise it will be comprehensive. The features mentioned may be at various stages of development, or even still just ideas, and sessions did not offer specific details on timelines.

 

 

Branding Changes

While not technically a product feature, the branding changes we saw at Summit were significant.

 

Marketo Engage

Marketo was referred to as “Marketo Engage” throughout keynotes and on signage in the expo hall. It’s clear that “Marketo” as a single-word brand is going to disappear.

 

Marketo Sales Engage (Marketo’s sales enablement/automation tool) was described as Marketo Sales Connect.

 

Adobe Sensei

One component of the Adobe platform mentioned frequently in conjunction with Marketo (I mean...Marketo Engage) was Adobe Sensei. Sensei refers to a set of machine-learning / artificial-intelligence capabilities found throughout the Adobe product suite.

 

The branding creates an impression that Sensei is a single, unified platform layer embedded in many places. However, I also saw pre-existing Marketo features that leverage machine learning described as “Adobe Sensei.” My impression is that this branding describes any machine learning component across the Adobe product family and may or may not indicate a common underlying technology on the back-end.

 

Microsoft + LinkedIn Partnership

Steve Lucas announced a new partnership between Adobe, Microsoft, and (Microsoft-owned) LinkedIn called the Account-Based Experience (ABX) Initiative.

The announcement was high-level. However, some of the examples of how this initiative might impact marketers include:

 

  • The ability to hydrate profiles in Marketo Engage or Microsoft Dynamics CRM (DCRM) with real-time data to better identify account-based buying teams. (Aside: when did “hydrating a profile” become a thing? Are profiles plants?)
  • The ability to align account data with LinkedIn information. Steve emphasized that LinkedIn data remained on LinkedIn but indicated we would be able to “align” first-party data with LinkedIn signals in some way.
  • The ability to message people on LinkedIn directly without needing to log in to the LinkedIn interface.

The details on this are all still a bit sketchy. However, my take-away is that Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn is going to start to bear fruit for DCRM and Adobe customers in some way. I don’t see Salesforce users being invited to this party.

Read more at the Adobe news release.

 

Marketing Activities

Unless otherwise noted, all new UI-related features appear to be available only in Marketo Sky.

 

Event Program Registration Cap

The built-in capability to cap registrants for event programs is much-requested functionality that otherwise requires some complex workarounds to achieve.

 

With this feature, users can set the registration limit for an event or webinar on a per-program basis. The feature will also waitlist people automatically once the cap has been reached and allow you to specify a fallback page to use when the registration limit has been reached.

 

 

 

If using this feature, I recommend that a “Wait List” landing page should become a standard include for tokenized webinar/event program templates, along with registration and thank you pages.

 

Event Program Goals

This feature allows users to specify goals for both registration and attendance. Marketo Engage will track progress against goals and even proactively notify you if it detects a risk of not meeting your goals, so you can take appropriate action. (See more detail in predictive suggestions below.)

 

One screenshot shown at Summit depicted goal progress tracking that appeared on the My Marketo homescreen, which seems like a potentially valuable use of that real estate.

 

 

Predictions and Recommended Actions

Machine learning is clearly going to be an ongoing presence in the marketing stack, in a way that does more than offer token homage to a trend. Nearly every substantive feature announcement had a dash of Adobe Sensei in it somewhere. And a prime example of machine learning being woven into everyday marketing activities is the “predictions and recommended actions” feature.

 

Once you define your goal, machine learning will predict how likely each invitee or program member is to register or attend the event and determines how likely you are to meet your goals.

 

 

If it predicts you will fall short, Marketo Engage will recommend actions to help you reach your targets. For example, it can identify people similar to the smart list audience via lookalike modelling and suggest you invite those people.

 

 

In one session, the presenter even showed a hypothetical user receiving a goal-related warning via the Marketo Moments app and then, from within the mobile app, triggering an ad campaign to boost registration. I suspect this type of application is much further away from becoming reality (I wasn’t aware Marketo Moments was even still supported), but “smart list expansion” type recommendations seem quite achievable and something we might see in the not-too-distant future.

 

 

Marketo refers to the machine-learning technology as “glass box” rather than black box — meaning they intend to be transparent about which factors are being evaluated and factored in to recommendations. I believe the efficacy of these recommendations will depend on whether the right signals are being included in the algorithm.

 

Predictive Smart List Filters

Predictive smart list filters allow you to proactively define audiences using machine learning. Instead of constructing smart lists with reference to static lead properties or past behaviors, this feature would enable users to select audiences based on predicted likelihood to take a particular action. The threshold is configurable as part of the filter constraint.

 

You can also select an audience using a lookalike filter, based on an audience that achieved a particular status in another program.

 

 

“Sensei” models thousands of signals to pick the right audience, and one PM noted this resulted in significant performance improvements in some early experiments.

 

Program Member Custom Fields

This is another long-awaited and potentially game-changing feature. It extends the Marketo Engage data-model to include additional custom dimensions on the program member — similar to custom fields on the campaign member object in Salesforce.

 

The classic use case for this is capturing “chicken or fish” type meal choices when someone registers for an event, but it could be used to store any type of data point that describes a property related to the person/program junction.

 

Another important use case is storing UTM parameters related to a form fill at the program level. This paves the way for more robust offer/channel modelling in Marketo.

 

 

It remains to be seen how this data will be exposed in Marketo, and how this element of the feature is executed will determine its ultimate value. If data is only visible in the program members tab or accessible via smart list constraints on triggers and filters, it will be valuable but limited.

 

If the data is exposed in reports and can be synced to equivalent fields on the campaign member in Salesforce, the applications will be much more wide-ranging.

 

PM Badsah Mukherji is still defining requirements for this feature, so please share your thoughts with him on LinkedIn to help steer it in the right direction.

 

Journey View

Journey view in a smart campaign would show an at-a-glance view of how the smart campaign will work.

 

Sky’s the Limit

One main takeaway for me is that it’s going to be increasingly difficult to ignore Marketo Sky.

 

I’ve personally not explored it in depth. It’s not that I don’t like all the new features; it’s a combination of sticking to what’s comfortable and an assortment of perceived / reported bugs or limitations.

 

However, Sky is clearly the future. It’s where all the new features are. I do want to use those features and help my clients do the same. So I personally plan to spend more time stress-testing Sky and identifying where it makes sense to use in production.

 

Platform and Performance Improvements

Trigger Campaigns

In 2018, Marketo launched accelerated trigger campaigns, which reportedly scaled processing speed by 5-10x. We also now have the “priority override” feature for smart campaigns (Sky only). This allows the user to define processing priority manually on a campaign-by-campaign basis.

 

Both of these features aim at improving overall system performance when it comes to triggered smart campaigns. However, there can still be issues in high-volume instances based on Marketo’s processing logic, which will continually privilege higher priority items that enter the queue over lower priority ones.

 

This logic makes sense on the surface, but in an environment where the queue is constantly full of high-priority items, those lower priority campaigns may experience unacceptable delays.

 

So this year, Marketo plans to release a new feature that also takes into account time-in-queue, ensuring that even low-priority items don’t “starve” in the queue.

 

Batch Campaigns

Marketo is planning functionality to process batch email programs in parallelized chunks. For example, instead of processing a list of email recipients in sequential order, Marketo will break the group into chunks that can be processed simultaneously. This will speed up email sending and may eliminate the need to use “head start” functionality for large / complex instances.

 

Smart List “Contains” Optimization

Use of “contains” in smart list filters is a well-known performance killer. This optimization allows faster performance in some cases where contains might be necessary to achieve a particular goal — for example, checking an email address against a list of domains.

 

Marketo will improve performance here by generating a table of domains that is pre-indexed. When you include the “@” symbol at the beginning of the domain in the smart list, it will enable this optimization and improve query performance.

 

CRM Integrations

Marketo plans to switch the Microsoft Dynamics integration to the REST API and introduce several new flow actions — Create Task and Change Owner. This is a welcome step, bringing the DCRM integration a bit closer to parity with the SFDC integration. There is still a wide gap, but given the strong partnership between Adobe and Microsoft, I expect it will continue to shrink.

 

Salesforce users will also receive some performance improvements through various optimizations.

 

Account-Based Experiences (ABX)

Marketo heavily promoted its capability to deliver “account-based experiences” or ABX. This isn’t a single feature but rather appears to refer to a series of new and existing features that together could support an end-to-end ABM capability at scale.

 

For example, an ABX journey could start in the Account Profiling tool (formerly AccountAI). This is a recently released feature that I haven’t used, but it seems like a useful way to leverage look-alike modelling to do your account planning inside Marketo Engage.

 

Marketo purports to examine your best customers and compare them against an external database of 256 million companies to find ideal target accounts, which are graded A-D.

 

Ad Integrations

Marketo’s AdBridge was launched in 2015 but, in my experience, has been of limited practical use. The feature has not changed substantially since first launched and still requires significant manual effort to add/remove people from ad platform audiences.

 

This year Marketo featured some new integration capabilities for advertisers, which I assume will become upgrades to or a replacement for AdBridge. Exact functionality was unclear to me, but featured improvements include new integrations with Adobe Ad Cloud, DemandBase, LiveRamp, and LinkedIn, all of which appear to allow more seamless access to those platforms from within the Marketo interface.

 

Marketo Sales Apps

Summit highlighted a number of potential improvements for Marketo Sales Engage (formerly ToutApp).

 

First off, the Sales Engage app, which allows sales users to place prospects into automated “cadences”, was rebranded as Marketo Sales Connect as described above. Furthermore, screenshots showed this tool within a dedicated region of Marketo called “Marketo Sales Apps,” suggesting it may be one of multiple sales-focused applications in the future.

 

Additional possible improvements include:

 

  • Triggered Sales Hand-Offs: Marketers can automate sales hand-offs using a smart campaign trigger to automatically put someone in a sales campaign.
  • Dashboard of all Prospects in Cadences: Sales users can monitor who is coming in and who is generated by Marketing.
  • Central Task List: Sales users have a central task list to manage all workflow items assigned to them.
  • Target Prospect List: Sales users have a target list of people (who may not be in a cadence) from which they can click on a person and see what they’ve done and an exact preview of what email content the person looked at. This feature seemed very useful — potentially a long-awaited Marketo Sales Insight replacement, if it could be embedded in CRM.

  • Recommended Templates: Sales users can access AI-recommended templates when composing a message.
  • Feedback on Marketing Assets: Sales users can send feedback to the marketing team about assets and what’s resonating with the audience — a great way to close the feedback loop between front-line BDRs and the content creation team.
  • Performance Data on Marketing Assets: Performance data from sales campaigns appears on a dashboard of a smart campaign showing MQL-to-positive response ratio for that piece of content as well as seller feedback. This idea seemed interesting to me, although it was unclear how the ratio would be calculated.

 

Design Studio

Marketo Sky is slated to feature a number of improvements to Design Studio.

 

  • Adobe Experience Manager integration with Marketo: Import digital assets directly from AEM to asset editors. This integration would be good news for users of AEM who don’t want to duplicate their digital assets across two spaces.

  • Adobe Image Editor: Perform light image editing (crop, resize, etc.) inside the asset editor interface.

  • New Design Studio Design in Marketo Sky: The home screen will provide quick links to recent items and key areas.
  • Journey Automation for Assets: Design studio could contain machine-learning driven recommendations to guide marketers on where to use an asset. For example, when you upload a white paper, the system would identify it as a white paper and make suggestions for which campaigns or audiences it should go to.



    This last feature seemed a bit unusual, as presumably a marketing team should have answered these questions long before the asset was completed. But I may not have captured all the details.

Drift Partnership

Marketo announced a new partnership with Drift (conversational marketing / chatbot tool) as part of its ABX initiative.

 

The announcement was brief, so it was unclear what new functionality this partnership would bring. However, based on the press release on Drift’s website, the integration appears to enable better personalization and segmentation of Drift experiences based on Marketo data. For example, Drift could be configured to share a relevant piece of content or fast track the lead directly to a named account representative.

 

More Resources

Adobe has already published all the sessions from Summit online. If you’d like to dive deeper into product roadmap, here are the original sessions:

 

 

These sessions are also the sources for most of the screenshots in this post.

 

Cross-posted from the Perkuto blog.

A good friend of mine just started on his Marketo journey and got a brand new instance. (So jealous) and asked me how a Marketo Newbie can get started training wise. As I was putting the list together of resources, I realized I get asked this question many times and thought I’d share my favorite go to resources.

 

Marketo Instance Set up Checklist

https://docs.marketo.com/display/public/DOCS/Setup+Steps

I assume that in all your welcome information that Marketo provides for you they have directed you to the checklist below. Start here to get your instance set up. You’ll also want to make sure you have your SPF and DKIM set up. This affects Email deliverability. Once your IT folks have done what they are suppose to, in the Admin section under the Email section it will say it’s verified.

 

Marketo Docs

This is a good reference area to point you in the general direction.

https://docs.marketo.com

 

Marketo Fundamental Concepts - 3 short videos to set up a solid foundation

Setting up your channels: Channels need to be set up before you do anything in Marketo from a marketing activities and program stand point so start here https://nation.marketo.com/videos/2478

Lead Sourcing: Nice to have this set up before you get going to really understand where your new leads are coming from. https://nation.marketo.com/videos/2437

Lead Scoring: You can wait on this if you need to get your emails, webinars, and trade shows going but don’t wait too long. This feeds into MQLS. https://youtu.be/uJlNfVGz8Ew

 

Marketo FU Videos

My good friend Joe Reitz and fellow champion has made a bunch of beginner and intermediate training videos to help folks get started. These can be found in his YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR1gLMRmt-snX0zMWVQB7Vw

 

Marketo Community

If you’re reading this than you’re already here. This is the best place to go when you have a question. Don’t be shy, and ask away and someone else from the community will most likely respond in a few hours. Search first because most likely someone has had the same question as you.

 

Join a Local or Virtual Marketo User Group

Meet other people like you and be the first to know when the next meeting is. There are over 60 user groups that meet in person and several virtual ones if there isn’t one near by including North America, India, Microsoft Dynamics and so industry specific ones. Sign up to make sure you get the latest info.

https://engage.marketo.com/UserGroupSignUp.html?utm_campaign=community

 

New Customer Onboarding Email Series

For all new customers, Marketo has an email series to help you get started. You should be automatically set to receive these emails on a regular basis but just in case you don’t or other co-workers want to join in on the fun, you can sign up here. Note that this is primarily for admin-level users who are setting up a new instance.

Sign Up for Marketo Jumpstart 

 

Adobe/Marketing Nation Summit 2019 Session Recordings

For Further along in your journey, The Marketing Nation/Adobe Summit Annual Conference sessions are also a great resource. This year’s recordings can be found here, sort for the Marketo specific sessions

https://summit.adobe.com/na/summit-online/

It’s happened to all of us who use Marketo. We’ve gone through the training, we work in the platform and we feel like we have a pretty good grasp on the most effective way to handle campaigns. And then one day, a colleague comes along and says, “Hmmm, why are you doing it that way? You should just do it like this!”

 

And in that aha moment, we’re working smarter, not harder. That one little tip that seems so common sense to our coworker or colleague can completely transform the way we tackle a task in Marketo. Insights like these can save us valuable time and stress.

 

So what are some of the best Marketo hacks--the best ways to save time and use Marketo more effectively? Here are some suggestions to get you started, and, I welcome your contributions as well!

 

  1. If you have a webinar or event with multiple emails in support of them (such as several invite emails), use Email Send channel emails within the program. These can act as nested programs and allow you to have program level tokens (such as event details and description), as well as email program tokens, such as custom tokens that might change within each specific emails, such as tracking links.

 

  1. Include the form embed code within the form name. If the form embed code is 1590, name the form ‘CONTACT-FORM-1590.’

 

  1. Here’s a great tip from the Perkuto email editor guide about pasting content that will save a lot of time. When copying and pasting content into your email, simply use [SHIFT+CTRL+V] on a PC or [SHIFT+CMD+V] on a Mac to get perfect results.

 

  1. One of the most efficient ways to cut down on build time of a program that remains pretty consistent from month-to-month is creating a folder in your Marketing Activities and building a program template for each type of program you build on a frequent basis—whether that’s a newsletter, webinar, or live event. On top of that, and to really increase efficiency, you can add program level My Tokens that can include anything from an email address all the way to email body copy. Editing these at the program level in a My Token allows you to edit everything in one place and never really have to worry about going directly into the asset itself to edit.

 

  1. Use snippets and tokens in your emails. Snippets make great footers! And remember to always check the text version, too--that goes for both the emails and the snippet.

 

  1. Include tokens in your scoring campaigns.

 

  1. Having a master email template with a large range of modules that you can turn into multiple smaller templates saves you time and helps streamline templates.

 

  1. If you edit an email template or landing page template and you need to update existing emails or landing pages associated with the template, go into Design Studio, click on "emails" or "landing pages," sort the list from A-Z for templates, and find the template you edited. Click to select the email or landing page row, hold shift and click to highlight all the emails or landing pages associated to the template, and click approve to mass approve landing pages or emails.

 

  1. If you ever need to check the status of the Marketo-SFDC integration, this "backdoor" Marketo link can be a lifesaver! https://app-sjh.marketo.com/supportTools. All you need to do is replace the character(s) after app-sj with characters unique to your instance, for example [http://app-sjxyz.marketo.com/supportTools]

 

  1. Before building reports in Marketo or Bizible, it’s essential to be crystal clear on your goals, the questions you’re trying to answer or the problems you’re attempting to solve. What story do you want to tell? What decisions will be made as a result? Too often these fundamentals are poorly thought out ending in frustration and incremental time spent on generating new reports.



Is there a Marketo tip or hack that have saved you time (or saved your sanity?) By all means, please share in the comments! And if you’re interested in the Email Editor 2.0 Guide referenced in one of the tips, you may download a free copy on Perkuto’s website.

Hey there #MKTGNation!

 

You're talking about it, your boss is talking about it, and you're clutching your purple swag to your heart as the shadow of the big red machine looms overhead. Adobe has acquired Marketo for a cool $4.75 billion as of September 20th - but what does this mean for you, your company and our beloved Marketo? We got the gang back together to discuss our take on the acquisition and what this will mean for Marketo and us as B2B Marketers. I cannot emphasize enough that we don't have any insider information that you can't access on the internet, this is just our take on what we've heard so far.

 

Overall, we are all really excited about what this change will bring, and looking forward to seeing Marketo invest more and more into its core platform!

 

Watch on Youtube

 

We want to hear from you! What is your take on the acquisition? And more importantly, what swag are you hoping to snag from Purple Select before it's gone!

 

Joe Reitz Andy Varshneya Geoff Krajeski Jessica Kao

This post details some of the tactics I presented at the Marketing Nation Summit this year, the slides can be found here: Cut me some Slack! Leveraging The Slack API With Marketo Webhooks And Bots

 

Slack is a powerful tool for communication and collaboration. I think it's safe to say that the most of us have at least used Slack at one workplace if not on a daily basis. With the many useful integrations built by other tools we use, we have access to all useful information in one place and it's great at replacing tedious email threads.

 

A couple years back, I discovered the Incoming Webhooks integration from my previous colleague Henri Syvänen at Avaus and it gave an amazing opportunity for sending relevant lead alerts to Slack channels where teams could monitor the most interesting touchpoints Marketo was processing.

 

Starting with a fresh Marketo instance last year, we quickly got to setting up relevant alerts for marketing & sales to keep people in the loop of what Marketo helps us with how we can track high-intent conversions in the funnel:

 

marketo-alerts-across-funnel.png

Overview of Slack alerts across lead lifecycle stages

 

Although very insightful with alerts split up in different Slack channels, it was easy to miss/forget interesting leads in MQL alerts. I was setting up a few API integrations with other tools we use and got quite interested in how Slack apps work and the possibility of creating smarter alerts that were interactive to push data back to Marketo from Slack - the way an "integration" should work.

 

How the Slack API works

I'm not going to get into the Incoming Webhooks setup too much except for the fact that Slack gives you a "hooks.slack.com..." URL to POST to using your Marketo Webhook and Slack handles the rest, basically as a static message in Marketo.

 

incoming-webhooks-post.png

Incoming Webhooks post with a whole chunk of formatting in text field and "ok" response from Slack

 

Now, using the Slack API to post a message allows you to specify which channel to post to in the payload along with the opportunity of adding interactive components like buttons, menus and (quite recently) custom actions. This is how it flow of data looks like:

 

 

slack-marketo-flow-of-data.png

Payload, Slack post and Response using API

 

 

What's interesting about this setup is that when Slack receives the data it responds with the whole message and some other parameters like the timestamp/id (ts) of the message, that can be mapped to a Marketo field in the webhook's settings. The ts value would allow Marketo to interact with the original message, for example adding a thread comment with more data:

 

 

thread-comment-slack.png

 

Creating your own Slack app

What you'll need for this setup is to create your own Slack app and the great thing is that you can keep it in your internal workspace. Once your app is created, what you'll need is to set up is a bot user + permissions to post using a Bearer token in the header of your posts.

 

I have covered a detailed guide on this part here: Configuring a Slack app for use with Marketo

 

Posting using the Slack API

With all app settings ready, the app will be able to post to Slack through its bot user. This is basically the same as a normal Slack user posting, the bot needs to be invited to the channel it posts in and the channel ID needs to be specified in the payload as attachments.

 

The two part post from above is created using two webhooks and a wait step where the ts value is used to refer to the first webhook's posted message:

 

 

two-part-webhook.png

Using Marketo for formatting data

 

For those interested, I have put together a detailed guide on structuring webhook posts: Structuring Marketo webhooks to post via Slack API

 

It's quite easy to get into a disaster use case of either having (1) too much text in alerts with default values or (2) creating 20 different webhooks. Marketo knows what data is available and can be told what to actually post before calling a webhook.

 

One method that works quite well is creating a webhook template that is tokenized and defines all relevant data on the program / campaign level:

 

 

slack-payload-template-1.png

 

This webhook defines the Slack Channel ID and the title/pretext of the message using My Tokens and uses a custom field called Slack_Contact Details for preparing data before posting to Slack by running through a whole list of Change Data Value flow steps with choices:

 

 

Slack-post-flow-steps.png

 

What this can translate to in Slack is either using one webhook for multiple types of posts or simply removing fields when they're empty:

 

comparison-two-different-posts.png

 

Interactive components and passing data back to Marketo

When first testing this, I was tempted to use one button next to MQL alerts, but it seemed a bit risky if people get tempted to press it. Instead I opted for putting in a bit more work and adding a menu with three different choices to start: Disqualifying, Adding as contact (claiming) and Creating a deal/opportunity.

 

Adding interactive components to Slack requires a URL for Slack to post to. Contrary to "hopeful beliefs", you can't really configure so much from Slack's end and it's up to you to decide what to do with the data. This underlying process of sending data back to Marketo is configured with a tool called Integromat that I personally prefer over Zapier. Both tools work great if you're not very technical and posting to your own server.

 

How this type of setup looks like:

Slack-Qualification.gif

 

 

Underlying workflow for passing data back to Marketo

 

Integromat's webhook URL is added in the Slack app's settings and once a request is made, the JSON is parsed to grab the important values:

 

  • The ts value for updating the originating message
  • The action value from the drop-down menu for sending to Marketo
  • The lead's attributes for knowing who to update
  • The ID of the Slack user who took action to know who claimed/disqualified the lead

 

api-workflow-slack-marketo.png

The integromat scenario for receiving data from Slack

 

 

Integromat authenticates through the Marketo REST API and receives an authentication token. The lead's information is retrieved from Marketo using the token and Integromat syncs the data (points above) on the lead. After this is done, the originating message is updated with three different values based on what the action was that mentioned (1) What the action was, (2) Who took an action (3) Who the lead was.

 

For a more detailed guide on this part, I wrote up a post here: Sending data back to Marketo from Slack

 

 

marketo-triggered-workflow.png

 

Once Marketo receives the data, this triggers flow steps to update the revenue cycle stage along with details on the lead owner before running more actions to sync the lead to CRM and as a final step... Comment on the original slack message's thread mentioning the user and attaching a link to CRM to the Contact or Opportunity depending on what was chosen - in best case scenarios this takes 15 seconds to run through the whole flow.

 

I hope this was insightful and helpful for anyone interested in building something similar!

 

Best,
Erik

Hey, #MKTGnation!

 

Summer's (kind of?) over, the PSLs are flowing, and the gang got back together to answer the top questions we hear every day on the job. I may or may not have ranted just a little.

 

Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Why is Marketo broken? (ie: the one that makes my eye twitch)
  • How mature is my Marketo instance?
  • Why does it take so long to change a template? (spoiler: we have different definitions of "templates")
  • Do I actually know how to troubleshoot? (Okay, this one isn't a real question but we cover why it's crucial to understand troubleshooting in our jobs)

 

 

What are the most common questions YOU receive about Marketo (or your job)? Are there common ones you've been able to stop from popping up time and time again? Any pet peeve questions?

 

Sydney Mulligan Enrico Deleon Juli James

3rd and final part of this series!

 

Building nurture programs can be a daunting task. But with the right guide, you can turn an afternoon into an email experience your prospects will never forget! Before we begin, we need to define a few terms:

 

  • An Engagement Program is a specific kind of program that allows a marketer to send content to a specific audience based on an ongoing basis.
  • A stream is a category of content that lives within an Engagement Program. Marketo users can set up rules to tell an Engagement Program which stream members of their audience should be in.
  • Casts occur when Engagement Programs send content to a qualified audience within a nurture stream.
  • In an Engagement Program, each stream has a cadence. The cadence is the predetermined schedule for each cast.


If you only have one Engagement Program, this will be relatively simple. But don’t fear, if you plan on having multiple engagement programs, we’ll also walk you through the process of setting up a Traffic Controller so you can manage all of your nurture subscriptions in one place. Let’s start by building our first nurture program.
First, we need to define a few components of our Engagement Program:

  • Who are we emailing?
  • When/how often are we emailing them?
  • What are we emailing them about?
  • Bonus: What is the journey we want to walk them through?


Now we can start building! In this example, we’ll answer these questions with the following sample information.

  • Who are we emailing? People in our Lead Lifecycle
  • When/how often are we emailing them? Once a week, on Wednesdays at 9am
  • What are we emailing them about? Our brand, based on their place in the Lead Lifecycle
  • What is the journey we want to walk them through? The buyer journey: from TOFU to BOFU

 

To start, create an Engagement Program. For a detailed setup process, see Marketo’s Engagement Program implementation guide.

 

Within this program, create a new Email Send Default Program for each email that will live in the nurture program. Each Email Send program should have the following assets:Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.15.19 PM.png

 

Sometimes, it will be necessary to prevent certain people from receiving emails within a stream. For example, if John Doe has already downloaded the Education Whitepaper, he doesn’t need to get the Education Email pointing to that whitepaper. Here’s how to keep John from receiving that email.

 

Find the Default Email Program Channel in the Admin section. Edit this channel by adding a “Nurture Excluded” program membership status:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.15.37 PM.png

If a lead is already a member of a nested program, Marketo will skip that program and go to the next one in the stream. We will use this fact to exclude John Doe from the Education Whitepaper send.

In each nested program, add an _Excluded Smart Campaign.

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.16.39 PM.png

The Smart List of the _Exclude campaign identifies anyone who should be excluded:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.17.18 PM.png

 

By making viewers of this assets members of the nested program, they will be excluded from this email:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.17.45 PM.png

 

And that’s it!

 

 

Setting up multiple engagement programs? Consider building a Nurture Traffic Controller to help leads get the right content.

Create an operational Program - this will be your Nurture Traffic Controller. In this program, build a Smart List with which you will define your Nurture Target Audience. This generic list should include any leads who qualify for any Engagement Program. Think marketable leads.

 

Additionally, create a new Smart List for each Engagement Program target audience. For example, an Engagement Program targeting software companies might have a target Smart List for leads with Software as their industry.

 

A new Smart Campaign will add new qualified names to the correct nurture program:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.14 PM.png

 

To build the Flow, reference the the Smart Lists for each nurture target audience to tell Marketo which Engagement Program to use.

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.33 PM.png

 

Schedule this to run regularly before each nurture cast.

 

Sometimes, our nurture strategies rely on having sparsely-populated data. Think about our industry example. If Jane Doe is added to the system without an industry, she would go into a generic Engagement Program. But two months later, when her industry is identified as Software, we want to add her to the Software Engagement Program.

 

First, define transition rules: what criteria determine whether someone is qualified for a new stream? Luckily, we already defined this earlier, when we built our Engagement Program target audience smart lists! These can be used to migrate leads into the correct nurture programs.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.51 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.55 PM.png

 

What is going on in that first flow step?

 

The Smart List referenced in Choice 1 determines whether someone is in a different Engagement Program already. If they are, we need to pause them! Here’s how to know:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.19.28 PM.png

 

Schedule the Smart Campaign to run on the same schedule as the first campaign.

 

Now your traffic controller is complete, and you can rest assured knowing your leads are getting relevant content.

Marketo says companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost.
That is reason enough to kick off a nurture strategy!

 

With personalization the new norm, we have a brilliant opportunity to engage prospects way beyond the unimpressive “Hello, [first name].” In this day and age, tokenized emails tell the recipient, “we have your information in our database,” and nothing more. Instead, show your prospects that you care about their interests by delivering content specifically chosen for them.

How?

Step One: Identify your most impactful topics.

Start with the people that have already engaged with you in the past, and determine what pieces of content they engage with the most? Once you identify your most engaging pieces of content, determine the commonality amongst them. Define categories based on subject.

For example, a company that sells marketing software might have pieces that revolve around Account-Based Marketing, Sales/Marketing Alignment, and Inbound Marketing, while a company selling household appliances may have content focused on small appliances, major appliances, and energy-efficient products. If you don’t have a content matrix already defined, this is a great opportunity to develop one!

Step Two: Determine behaviors that indicate interest in these topics.
Create a chart of all your landing pages, emails, banner ads, social posts, and direct mail pieces that correlate to topics identified in Step One. This information allows us to segment our audience based on interest. For example, if someone clicks on an advertisement for a dishwasher, we can add them to our “Major Appliances” segment

Step Three: Develop your content.
Now that you know which topics perform best, you can develop or repurpose content based on these subject matters. The more topics you identify, the more personalized you can get. When writing new content, keep in mind that just because someone may have clicked a link in a email, they aren’t necessarily ready to buy. Start out with educational pieces, and work your way up to more aggressive CTAs.

If you’re repurposing content, run a report to highlight which pieces of content perform the best and deliver those assets first.Quick tip: you can change the subject line in an email and re-send it to anyone who hasn’t opened it and double the number of emails you have in a nurture stream!

Step Four: Build the Marketo program.
Build a Marketo Engagement Program and add your new emails. Build a different stream for each topic, and add your content accordingly. Next, adjust your smart campaign to add anyone who exhibits behaviors identified in Step Two (also consider creating a global nurture controller, which will identify which leads belong to your various nurture programs). Now we can set up our transition rules to automatically shift someone’s stream as they exhibit qualifying behavior.

 

In our next blog post we will cover a technical deep-dive, stay tuned!

Please join Kevin Weisenberger and me as we kick off the Healthcare Virtual MUG in September!

 

Join us using the event link here: https://nation.marketo.com/events/2557-healthcare-mug-meeting-920 and be sure to share with others who could benefit.

 

Suggestions and recommendations for what you as a community would like to see are always welcomed.

Also, if you would like to be an upcoming speaker let us know.

 

We will try to keep a quarterly or bi-monthly cadence.

 

When done correctly, lead nurturing is a simple method for engaging leads by delivering content to prospects and customers in a way that optimizes engagement and leaves everyone happy. From an operations point of view, “nurture” is defined by a standard set of emails delivered to a lead. Emails are sent regularly and are intended to accelerate brand awareness and engagement. Marketo’s Engagement Programs are designed for this exact purpose.

Before kicking off a new nurture track, it needs to be backed by an engagement strategy. These days, marketing is personalized, and prospects expect everyone to be on the personalization bandwagon. Don’t know where to begin? Start by looking at your buyer journey.

It’s a lot easier than it sounds! Think about buying a car. You’re going along with your daily life and suddenly your transmission blows. Or your best friend rolls into town n a bright, shiny Lexus and you think to yourself, “I’d look pretty good in one of those.” Maybe you see a commercial for the 2019 Jeep Wrangler and the thought of off-roading in the countryside with your pup by your side makes your heart beat just a little faster. This is what’s called the Awareness stage (or in marketing terms, the top of the funnel).

When leads are in the awareness stage, it’s prime time to send them emails with information that makes them think, “yeah, I could use that!” Content in this stage should focus on pain points, brand awareness, and thought leadership. In this phase, potential buyers are just learning about who you are and what you do, and it’s essential to make a good impression.

Next we get to the fun part – the Evaluation stage. They’ve decided they want to buy a car, but now they’re trying to decide which car to buy. Now it’s time to say, “our car is the best car, and here’s why!” Send them stories of other customers who bought cars and loved them. As a follow-up, send a calculator that demonstrates how much money they’ll save in gas if they switch. This phase is grounded in information that makes your product stand out among all of your competitors. Here’s where to send case studies, product overviews, and interactive tools.

Now that they’ve bought in, it’s time to get them to seal the deal. This is the bottom of the funnel – the Decision stage. They’re going to drive to the dealership and test drive the car. They speak to a salesperson who tells them all of the really cool features that make this car unique. But they’re not fully convinced that this investment will pay out. For clients to be happy, sellers need to help them to make the most informed decisions. So here’s where we jump in and help them decide whether the investment is worthwhile. At this stage, content gets more aggressive. Instead of sending “feel-good” messaging, focus on direct CTAs such as “Watch a Live Demo,” “Sign Up for a Free Trial” or “Schedule a Meeting.”

Now it’s up to sales to close the deal, and we can rest assured knowing that we’re leaving our prospects in good hands.

Follow along for more in this series!

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