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Marketo asked me and Jason Seeba to share our 2015 Summit presentation as a webinar. If you weren’t among the lucky few at the crack of dawn to see it the first time around, it’s one not to miss. Unfortunately because it is a webinar, we had to ditch the amazing videos, but it will be just as funny of a presentation. We’ll be playing a Marketo-themed trivia game that’s guaranteed to make you smile about revenue attribution.


We made this presentation together while I was still working at BloomReach before I moved to LeanData. It demonstrates how we became confident using data to make decisions. How we become the source of truth for campaign and channel effectiveness while becoming a trusted advisor to the budgeting process.


It all starts with having great report-ready programs. Learn about how to setup your programs, channels, and successes. While defining how inclusive to be for attribution.


We walk through Attribution modeling basics in a really visual way that anyone could understand. For both First Touch and Multi-Touch how you determine which programs get credit for Pipeline Created and Revenue Won.


Jason and I talk through which reports we determine to be perfect in 2014 and how things had changed in a year. We talk about how Account-Based Marketing changed the way we approached our Revenue Cycle Model.


BloomReach is now a six year old business, so we had to include time constraints to make our reporting more actionable. Watch the webinar to see what boundaries we chose to report on.


Learn about our challenges, and what things we did to overcome them. Our stance on sharing reports and how to deal with imperfect data. In the end, we are using this to drive our budgeting, so we better be sure the pieces are in place to be able to have good decision making.


We also speak future forward about how we’d like to see reporting evolve. We also discuss where we could still improve from a reporting standpoint. While wrapping up with the steps you need to get started now.


Hope you can have a chance to join us for the live webinar, or check out the recording later on.



WATCH : The Return of the Right Metrics with Marketo Analytics

concept1.jpgYou have likely seen a wide variety of questions around integrating Google Analytics—the most commonly used website analytics tool — and Marketo, be it with reporting, tracking or data sharing. Given that the topic comes up so often, and there are so few resources specifically targeted towards Marketo users of Google Analytics, hopefully this guide will help with the confusion around this topic.


Missed the first part of this series? See “Get on the Right “Track” with UTM Tagging.”


What is Google Analytics and Why Should I Use It?

Simply put, Google Analytics is an  platform from Google which measures web activity in a holistic manner—meaning it can fill in some gaps Marketo leaves, such as paths taken to get to a web page, e-commerce conversions, audience data and more. Where it really finds power, though, is in using custom definitions to measure success with goals, paths, events and other metrics. Goals allow you to track conversions (and micro-conversions), paths allow you to trace a user’s overall journey between webpages on your site, and events function similarly to Marketo’s Interesting Moments with advanced categorization.


When you combine Marketo and Google Analytics, good stuff happens.


I thought Google Analytics had an integration with Marketo!

Yes and no. The integration you’re likely thinking of integrates the Marketo RTP product with Google Analytics; this will bring in dimensions and metrics specifically related to Real-Time Personalization (campaigns, segments, etc.) into Google Analytics. Note that what we’re covering today both does not require the Real-Time Personalization add-on and acts as a complementary method to what RTP’s Google Analytics integration achieves.


Setting up Google Analytics for Marketo

Marketo Landing Pages use a subdomain to host landing pages with your branding (i.e., vs. Because of this, you’ll need to make a decision on if and how you would like to split out Marketo landing pages from your main website. Because each Marketo customer is going to have a different answer to this question, we recommend you look at each of the situations listed over at Moz to decide your view setup.


Once you’ve determined your views, there are a few Marketo-specific items to take care of:


Exclude Marketo tracking tokens from your data: Leaving the mkt_tok value in your Analytics instance is the fastest way to turn your metrics into a big mess. Visit Admin -> View -> View Settings and look for “Exclude URL Query Parameters (optional).” Add mkt_tok to the box and save.




Activate User ID tracking: You can tie your Analytics session to your anonymous or known Marketo record by inserting the Marketo User ID as a Google Analytics User ID. Go to Admin -> Property -> Tracking Info -> User ID and follow the prompts to set up User IDs. We’ll use a custom tracking code later on to tie this to your Marketo record based on an anonymous/known user’s ID.


Note: though it’s tempting to use something like email address or name instead to label your session, this actually violates Google Analytics’ Usage Guidelines. Instead, you should use a third-party tool such as PII Viewer for Google Analytics to tie your Marketo user ID back to information you can read, such as email address, company or other demographics.


Add the Marketo User ID dimension: For clarity’s sake, I like to add an extra custom dimension explicitly labeled “Marketo ID” in order to explain what the random number assigned to a User ID is. This also makes for nicer reporting and dashboards. Head to Admin -> Property -> Custom Definitions -> Custom Dimensions and click +New Custom Dimension. Name the dimension Marketo ID and set the scope to User (meaning it will track across multiple visit sessions.)




(Spoilers: My Marketo ID for the session I had while working on this was 7498.)


Adding Google Analytics to your Marketo Templates

If you’re using the older free-form templates Marketo offers, you may have noticed the bottom of your template has a code block that starts with “GOOGLE ANALYTICS. ENTER YOUR CODE AND UNCOMMENT BLOCK.” While this was accurate in the days of classic Google Analytics, you’ll actually want to place new code that allows for extra Marketo data with Universal Analytics. Insert the following code before your closing body tag:


<script>// <![CDATA[ (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'YOUR GOOGLE UA ID HERE', { 'userId': '{{lead.Id}}' }); ga('send', 'pageview'); ga('set', 'dimension1', '{{lead.Id}}'); // ]]></script>


This will set the user ID to correspond with your Marketo user ID, as mentioned earlier, and set the foundation for any advanced tracking you’d like to do (such as events or goals, which we’ll cover in our next post.) Re-approve all pages that use the template you’ve changed, and you’re good to go.

Note: If you would like to have your Lead ID be recognized on non-Marketo landing pages (such as your corporate website), you will need to do some extra API connections that depend on your specific webserver setup.


Thoughts Around Adding Google Analytics Data to Marketo

Once you’ve started tagging your URLs with UTM parameters, the next question most marketers have is how to work the data into their instance.

There are several different approaches to the topic of UTM data in Marketo: creating a custom object (either in Salesforce or calling Marketo to make a custom object) to monitor traffic, recording all parameter use in strings, and using first/last utm fields are all valid schools of thought (the latter in particular if you don’t have access to Revenue Cycle Analytics or Salesforce.) Moreover, some advanced set ups of Marketo that use multi-channel attribution to content can truly benefit from extensive UTM use.


However, I’ve personally come to the conclusion that there are only two real, solid UTM items that need to be tracked on Marketo’s side for most companies: Lead Source/Lead Source Detail and PPC traffic. This doesn’t mean you should abandon the rest of your UTM tags: the rest of the markup helps when comparing Marketo reports to Google Analytics reports.

With that said, you’ll need to make an internal decision with your sales and marketing teams on one of two directions to track UTM data: upon engagement or upon conversion. The difference is simple, but important: does a source get credit for bringing someone to a page, even if they don’t convert, or is conversion necessary for attribution? Although Google Analytics can calculate this with Multi-Channel Funnels, your company needs to be on the same page on what Lead Source means: first interaction or first conversion. You should also keep the approach consistent with what your company does for lead source and acquisition programs to keep everything on the same page.


Want to capture every last detail, and plan on not using engagement instead of conversion? Good news: We have a script that will parse all UTM parameters and record them as custom URLs in your Marketo instance. This is especially useful for items like capturing content variations or keywords used in PPC, as these are less predictably defined than your source, medium, or campaign.


Want to capture data at the time of conversion with forms?Use Forms 2.0’s hidden field function to write data into your forms without having to do any extra programming. Simply add an extra field to capture this data:




Then, set the field to read data from the corresponding parameter in your URL:




Want to reference querystrings in your Smart Campaigns? It’s easy! You can use querystrings as a constraint filter on the following:

  • Triggers: Clicks Link on Web Page, Fills Out Form, Visits Web Page
  • Filters: Clicked Link on Web Page, Filled Out Form, Visited Web Page
  • Remember: Querystring constraints are not available for triggers/filters around email links and are not usable on any custom fields with the URL data type!


From there, the limit is only your imagination—create PPC programs that track your ROI and have credit in Revenue Cycle Explorer, have accurate Lead Sources and Lead Source Details, track A/B testing of promotional material, and more! Once you’ve mastered querystrings in your URLs with Google Analytics and Marketo, it’s time to take the next step: using Google Analytics to answer questions like:


  • Why aren’t my forms converting?
  • Who are my most effective blog authors? Who are my commenters?
  • How can I track leads who share my items on social if I’m not using Marketo landing pages?
  • How can I track events and goals in both Marketo and Google Analytics?


You should go read Google Analytics and Marketo: Events and Forms and APIs, Oh My! as a follow-up to this post for more information on these!

Alex PolameroRecently, I spoke with Alex Polamero, Director of Marketing Automation at The Lewis Group of Companies. Alex is a Marketo Certified Expert as well as a demand generation expert. Currently, Alex leverages marketing automation, social media, and digital advertising to generate new sales leads, recycle leads, and acquire top talent for a large real estate developer in the U.S.

Alex brought marketing automation to the real estate industry and is one of leading marketing ops people outside of Technology and Publishing. To me, this is an important topic because marketing automation can, and is, used beyond Media and Technology firms. If you happen to be a Consultant, the ability to apply marketing automation and demand gen techniques in multiple industries is very important. If you are looking to grow as a marketer, it is vital to understand how to use these tools in a variety of situations.

JH: How did you get involved with marketing automation?

Alex: I had about 10 years experience in traditional marketing. I took an opportunity to develop enterprise social media for a real estate developer, which turned into a project improving email marketing. Ultimately, I was looking to improve lead generation and sales nurture processes. In researching a software solution that would help me bolster our ROI for both social marketing and email campaigns I came across marketing automation and Marketo.

JH: I was led to Marketo because I had to improve email marketing and lead routing, so you took a different route. What else made you think Marketo was the right system?

Alex: One of our needs was to manage dynamic content and segmentation. We also needed better tracking to understand how a lead would engage with us on email, social, pay per click advertising, and on various owned web domains. We wanted to track behaviors to a specific sale.

We also wanted to nurture leads over time, especially once they leased. We saw an opportunity to influence apartment renewals, cross sell other products, and improve our overall brand recognition.

JH: Real Estate is a new industry for marketing automation, so we should explore that. What does the sales funnel look like to you in Marketo?

Alex: First, we drive people to our website or landing pages using hundreds of organic and paid sources. Our goal is to have a prospect call us directly or fill out a form so that the prospect can be segmented based on behavioral and demographic scoring criteria and either added to a nurture process or sent to the appropriate sales team member.

We track prospects part of the way using URL parameters, so that when a lead does fill out a form, we have a sense of the last click attribution. While Google Analytics helps, Marketo can store behavioral data longer, enabling our term to see trends and the impact of campaigns on revenue. We realize that last click attribution can be limited, so we are developing other attribution models to better suit our business needs.

Yes, we do lead scoring: we look at behavioral and demographic criteria to determine when a prospect is warm enough for the Leasing Team to pursue. Once we have their name and email, we begin the automated nurture process. Nurturing includes content on leasing vs. buying, localized offers, and information about communities they are interested in.

JH: Since you track all of this data, did you discover anything that helped you sell better?

Alex: Absolutely! Using Marketo, we were able to identify that over 30% of prospects became qualified leads outside of our standard sales cycle. We found that prospects were doing research longer and making decisions further from the initial point of contact. The data challenged long held assumptions by property managers, and proved extremely useful in redesigning our sales processes. Now we do not give up on leads so quickly, adapting nurture times by segment and product type as well as capitalizing on cross sell opportunities over time.

JH: Leasing sounds more complex than a typical SaaS software sell or business service. How do you manage the details with the other teams?

Alex: Marketo helped me create synergy between departments to drive more sales. I see my role as an internal consultant to every division of our company and can apply my understanding of marketing automation, digital lead generation, social marketing, and traditional marketing to each division. I identified unique challenges facing a variety of business units; then applied the software tools, industry best practices, and our own new strategies to improve lead generation and sales using marketing automation. Marketo has also helped us track the flow of prospects and customers across company products. For example, I can see that people are interested in apartments, retail specials, and often-new homes over the lifetime of the customer. This data has encouraged departmental teams to consider how to better communicate with one another and leverage leads that move between products.

JH: In our conversations, we discussed how Marketo is now making the leap to new verticals. What other functions and verticals do you see gaining from taking on a demand gen approach to marketing and then automating it?

Alex: I see huge opportunity and rapid growth for marketing automation in verticals like education, ecommerce, financial services, and healthcare. I also see functional areas like human resources using Marketo for their talent funnels and retention. I spoke about this at the 2014 Marketo Summit.

JH: Does a rules engine like Marketo require special enhancements for real estate? Or can a marketplace like Launchpoint make the necessary extensions for verticals?

Alex: I see how Marketo and a CRM could be used as the core of any sales funnel workflow. Certainly some verticals can benefit from a platform app, but I’ve been able to do what I need through the basic system and my CRM. The key is to use the Marketo API and budget for additional resources whether software partners or training to achieve your desired growth targets Another question during any implementation is, “How much time do I have and do I have the team necessary to reach our goals in the right time frame?” If not, you will have to adjust the team, time, or tools.

JH: What is the big gap right now in Real Estate marketing?

Alex: There are always areas for opportunity for any company to grow and improve. For example, we are considering how to better engage prospects that do not sign an apartment lease. We are thinking about how to communicate with apartment residents that move out but continue to live in our general geographic area. So I see the gap as more about what information can we provide to these people to help them make a good decision about their property and living options. Can we build enough trust where they seek us out first for their apartment, retail, new home, office, or industrial needs?

JH: What is one thing you wish you knew about MAPs three years ago?

Alex: I wish I knew to allocate more resources for training and third party support, especially for ongoing training of new software updates, consultant support, and integration of new tools. Also, I’ve found that building relationships here in the Marketo Community has been hugely beneficial for trouble shooting and brainstorming new ideas to grow revenue.

Perhaps three years ago I did not see MAPs as a competitive advantage. Now I do. If you are in business and do not have a MAP, you are already behind a competitor who does. My advice is that MAPs are being adopted by every business and you need to have one. Firms are investing more to add new technology, and marketing teams will be able to leverage MAP systems to improve marketing campaign effectiveness, reporting, and become more efficient with how they spend advertising dollars.

It wasn’t easy. Believe me.  And honestly I started with less duplicates than any other company I’ve ever worked for.


Coming into Fliptop and getting to basically start the Marketo instance from scratch, I knew that I wanted to build things my way (the right way) and that included getting the database as clean as possible.  There are many reasons why a clean, dupe free database is a best practice. I think Elliot wrote a great piece on the why. I’m going to talk about the how.


Now there is no such thing as a duplicate free database. Actually, I just thought of what that database would look like. An EMPTY database would be a duplicate free database.


There are tolerable levels for number of duplicates. According to Inga Romanoff, having anywhere between 5% to 10% of the entire database be duplicates is tolerable. I started my process with 4,200 duplicates out of an 85k database, representing 7% duplicates.


My first step was the narrow down how leads entered the system.  Do this step first as it is pointless to clean up the database without stopping how dirty data enters the system.  For me this meant switching out all the forms on the Fliptop website and the blog from a Salesforce web-to-lead to Marketo forms.  Marketo automatically de dups leads if the email addresses match. Salesforce does not. I had a bit of a problem with my engineering and customer success teams entering test leads into the system to test our own predictive scoring. I first cleaned up all those test leads and then built a data management campaign to go through on a monthly basis to delete test leads. 


Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 8.51.43 PM.png


Next I gave my sales reps a tool to add leads in with full contact information. I turned to InsideView as they integrate nicely with both Marketo and Salesforce. If the lead already exists in our system, InsideView will update it rather than creating a net new lead. My reps can research leads and add them into our CRM easily without creating a duplicate mess.


After closing down the avenues of how leads go into the system I could next turn to actually de duping the database.


The process to get to a place of zen and zero dups relied in large part on a tool I found a LONG time ago called DemandTools by CRM Fusion.


It is by no means the prettiest tool around but it gets the job done.  The tool comes with pre built “scenarios” you can run to do sweeps of the database.  Scenarios are basically like matching criteria on the leads, first sweep is to find leads with the exact same email address.  Then the next sweep finds leads with the same name and company name.  Each sweep the criteria loosens up, like the teeth on a comb and the matches on duplicates will become less precise. You can also de dupe leads against contacts and even accounts with similar pre built scenarios. 


I probably ran 10 or more sweeps using their different pre-built scenarios on just Leads and then moved to de duping Leads against Contacts to whittle the list down. In then end there were probably 200+ leads left in my "Possible Duplicates" smart list inside of Marketo that I de-duped by hand. I know this sounds tedious, but when there were only 200 left I felt I could see the light of the end of the tunnel so I went for it.  The result is when I run the "Possible Duplicates" smart list in Marketo I see "No leads were found."


So how do you handle how leads enter your system and managing duplicates? 

As someone who has been holding weekly sales and marketing check in meetings since 2010, I think I've learned a thing or two on how to make them go smoothly, and what not to do. Here are my top 4 tips on how to make these meetings successful for both parties involved.


1. Decided on the metrics you are going to report on and stick to those numbers. I learned this first one the hard way.  A couple companies ago we looked at different metrics every meeting from website traffic, sales call activity, MQL conversion rates. This made the teams unfocused and a bit scattered. Decide early on which numbers you want to look at every meeting and stick to that. Whether it is weekly inbound leads, number of requests for demo, website traffic, or untouched leads, pick the metric you and the head of sales want to look at week over week and do not deviate. Going into the meeting with a different set of numbers every week will only confuse matters.


2. Communicate the marketing plan widely and openly. I once heard the adage that marketing lives 6 months in the future, sales can only see the present, and finance lives in the past.  Events book months if not years in advance. Typically marketing will put together their entire plan at the beginning of the year and know where they will be every single week. The thing is, sales is rarely privy to those planning meetings or checks the marketing calendar. Since sales lives month to month, it is up to marketing to communicate and champion the plan. Even if you feel like you are repeating yourself, tell them over and over what events are coming up, where case studies are located, what email nurturing means. It is always better to over communicate than to let a great marketing program go by without letting sales know it ever existed.


3. Be open to new suggestions. To your Building off point number #2, it’s great that you have a marketing plan in place, but be open and flexible to new ideas and suggestions.  If sales says they want to do a local event to feed a certain territory, take it into consideration. Sometimes speaking opportunities come up last minute.  If sales sees an ad campaign that isn’t making sense to them, be open to their suggestions; prospects are probably just as confused by the messaging. This also means building in a bit of slush to your budget for last minute changes, with the caveat of communicating that if one project is added to the time table another project will have to slip.


4. Be your own cheerleader. Marketing events tend to rely heavily on active participation. To make the events successful, marketing needs to “sell” the event to the sales team and the ‘higher ups’. Convince sales that the event is the correct one to invite their prospects to. I prepare campaign briefs for events and big initiatives to explain through what we are doing there, who else will be there, and what we are aiming to get out of it. Often I worry that I am repeating myself in weekly meetings, but it is always better to over communicate than to let an event go by without letting sales know it ever existed.


What are your tips for making sales and marketing meetings a success?

ring.gifI hate repeating work in Marketo. Yet landing page templates seem to be an area that requires a lot of repeat work. It seems natural to just build a new template when you have some new use case, channel, or brand to contend with. But the problem with this approach shows up later, when changes are needed at a global level. Suddenly you’re stuck with all sorts of versions to update. The end result is a bunch of legacy templates with outdated code, and maybe one or two templates that actually remain current.


So instead of building new templates each time some minor new change is needed, I try to think about the process backwards-identify the elements I might need to customize on my landing pages, and then build a flexible template that will let me control those changes in the future.


This approach is made more viable with the new guided landing page templates, which add an awesome new functionality called Variables. These, plus some creative applications of program/folder {{my.Tokens}}, allow you to build a template that works for nearly any situation. Here are a few ideas to try:


Branding: logo swaps, color palate changes, fonts, etc


Logo and style changes are some of the more common edits you might be making to a template. You may need different looks for an SEM page vs an event registration page, or for a parent and sub brand. At a minimum, you should wrap key brand elements like a logo within a “mktEditable” div. The magic of this class allows the content within it to be directly editable within the landing page editor.


You can get even more control with variables, for scenarios like:


  • Toggling between two main logos (boolean variable)
  • Changing the accent color used on your pages (color variable)
  • Setting the URL of an element like a banner image (string variable)



And when you need finer tuned control and the ability to overhaul CSS on the fly, program {{my.Tokens}} are what you’ll want to use. Consider putting a few placeholder tokens in <style> </style> tags in your header for any program or folder-specific CSS editing you might want to do.


Tokens are great in that you can choose whether or not you want to assign them a value, so it’s always worth adding a few to your templates should you need them later. They’re especially handy when you’re testing a new form design, or need to make broader layout changes. It’s as simple as pasting the new CSS snippet into a token, and the pages within that folder or program will instantly reflect the new code--no draft approval required.

Placement and visibility of elements

variables-screencap.pngIf you check out the
documentation on variables, you’ll see a few mentions of manipulating the visibility of elements in your page, such as making your footer shown or hidden. But you can take this idea a lot further, and build variables that allow you to display a form or secondary call to action with the flip of a switch. You can use this sort of idea in tandem with other variables that control the width of different elements (especially when using a responsive, grid-based framework like Bootstrap). This allows you to use the same template for both your landing pages with forms and form-free confirmation pages.


Scripts and tags


It’s common to see separate landing page templates when specific tracking scripts are needed, such as a confirmation page to track goal conversions in Google Analytics, or on a specific landing page used to fire a remarketing script. This can get clunky to manage across multiple templates, and a few tokens will serve you well here.


Just as with CSS tokens, you can set a few dedicated javascript tokens in your template which can be referenced as needed. Then, if you have a specific program or set of programs that you need to call a script for, just put in a value for one of your script tokens, and you’ll be set. Note: if you’re really clever, you’ll put programs that use common scripts in the same folder, such as those used for Search Engine Marketing. Then you can just set the token in one place--at the folder level, and all the programs within it will automatically inherit that value.


Better yet,  you can solve a lot of this with Google Tag Manager. It’s a wonderful tool that allows you to fire different scripts based on different scenarios: a specific page view, a click, or another event you configure there. This will probably keep your PPC manager or agency happy, because they don’t have to fuss with different landing pages to get the configuration needed.


Localization and miscellaneous meta info


For global brands with page localization needs, there are meta properties such as HTML language type and CSS text direction (for languages like Hebrew that read right to left). You can set these sorts of items as variables in your template too, allowing you to quickly swap between localization preferences.


There’s a few other miscellaneous use cases too:


  • Copyright year - this changes every year, so think about setting a token for it in your footer if you display one. This will save you hours of work fixing landing pages on January 1st.
  • Footer links - For social icons, privacy and T&C links, make that area a token that you can change globally. This stuff does sometimes change, and with a token it takes just seconds to update.
  • Open Graph tags - Do you ever wonder how people get their posts to display well on social networks with full sized images? Chances are they’re using open graph tags to specify post meta content. So you can place this data in your templates and set via tokens for quick updates.


If you were to implement every one of these ideas, you’d have a lot of tokens and variables to contend with. So the key word here is moderation--just because you can make everything a token or a variable doesn’t always mean you should. This is doubly important for variables, which require hard coding into the templates, so tweaking these all the time isn’t really ideal.


These ideas just scratch the surface of what some of you have already come up with--so please share any clever template ideas you’re using in the comments!


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