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2016

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You can see the pretty version of this post here

 

If you've never attended Marketo's Summit, or just felt pulled in a thousand different directions by all the inspiring content on tap, then this post is for you.

For the uninitiated, Summit is a smorgasbord of not just all things Marketo, but really all things Marketing. This year's event will take place in Fabulous Las Vegas from May 9th through the 12th (although I assure you, the shenanigans will begin as early as the 7th), and will center around the theme of "Tomorrow's Marketer." Being this fresh into the new year, I'm sure you're seeing all the "2016 predictions" blogs about MarTech, Stacks, Personalization, and a litany of other up-and-coming marketing tools, terms, and technologies. Marketo has done a great job of soliciting participation from solution providers and thought leaders in the past, and for the first time ever, Summit will be a whole day longer... which means that there will be waaaaay more options for sessions to attend and things to learn about. Apart from all the sessions, they also play host to a small tradeshow where you can experience the truly odd feeling of walking a show as an attendee rather than an exhibitor (read: you'll get drunk on power). There's also plenty of other opportunities for networking and partying. Really can't emphasize those last two enough.

With all that information and energy compressed into a few days, approaching Summit is a fairly daunting prospect. After all, you're investing a lot of time (and money) just to attend– so it's critical that you come away edified. So, with that in mind, here's a bit of friendly advice to help you get the most out of your attendance!

 

He who plans, wins

download-planning-guide.pngLast year, we had 106 sessions to choose from. These were organized into general interest tracks based on goals/objectives or trends (you can see last year's offerings here), which is something I expect Marketo will continue. My point here, though, is that once the sessions go up on the Summit site, you should spend a little time reviewing what will be available and try mapping out your week. If you're old school and like to map everything out on spreadsheets, you can download my planner here. It has the time slots mapped out, you just need to fill in the sessions you want to attend.

Alternatively, Marketo usually unveils an interactive app closer to the event that enables you to automatically sync up your calendar. More on that app in a second...

 

Find a krewe

If you're one of the many that ends up attending Summit alone, know this: it doesn't have to stay that way! Last year, I left without knowing a single soul in the Marketo community, and due to personal circumstances, no one on my team was able to attend either. I definitely don't consider myself a social butterfly, but here's where Marketo's Summit app comes into play.

In the weeks leading up to the event, there was a lot of banter and giddiness occurring within the app. Think Facebook, but on a much smaller scale, and with an audience exclusively comprised of nerds like you. Suffice to say, if you're looking for friendly faces to hang out with, odds are pretty good that you can meet like-minded marketers through Marketo's app. And in the unlikely event that you're still having trouble making friends, please by all means join #mykrewe. We'll be easy to spot.

The benefit of connecting people at Summit is simple: it's awesome networking. That, and I think people are genuinely awesome, and sharing an experience with others generally means you'll get more out of it. If the app doesn't sound like your game, though, consider joining your nearest Marketo user group.

 

Go Pro

If you're like me, finding time in your normal schedule to take the Marketo Certified Expert exam is pretty much impossible to do. Luckily, you can plan to arrive to Summit a little early on Monday (or dare I say, Sunday?) to knock this one out before the week gets started. I can personally attest to the fact that becoming a Marketo Certified expert has been the gateway to a lot of cool professional opportunities– I can't even tell you how many times I've had to tell a recruiter "no thanks, I'm not looking for new opportunities right now" in the past 6 months. If you're interested in joining the Champion ranks, this is a pre-req, so get it done!

As far as prep, be sure to take the practice exam until you can ace it in your sleep! You'll be fine, trust me.

 

Flex dem thumbs

As I mentioned, the app has been a fantastic networking tool, so I really hope they bring it back again this year. Beyond networking, it also helps you organize your calendar, and review how sessions really were. This is an important bit, as your participation here will help make Summit even better in future years.

They've also gameified the experience in the past, but... I don't know much about that. Promise. #dontjudgeme

 

Be punctual

I say this not just because it's good manners... but you'll likely have a hard time finding a seat in some sessions if you don't arrive on time (or a little early)! Obviously, Vegas is a new venue, so it might be different than prior years... but the keynotes are especially important to attend, and 6000+ marketers will all be vying for the same front row seats. Plan accordingly.

 

 

Don't try to do it all

Relax. Within a couple weeks of Summit ending, Marketo will post recordings of all the sessions so you can view them all on-demand. Something that helped me last year, though, was sharing an Evernote Notebook with other attendees, and swapping detailed notes from sessions the other was attending. I fully advocate this divide-and-conquer approach, especially if other members of your team are attending with you!

 

Make time for shenanigans

Any experience is only as good as the stories you can tell about it. With the wealth of information you're going to come away with, it's important to keep some balance and have a little fun while you're at Summit, too.  Whether it's sight-seeing, getting your grub on, hitting the blackjack tables (I mean, it is Vegas...), or whatever else gets your motor running, your brain will need to disengage and decompress at the end of each day. What you'll actually find is that this helps you stay more engaged as you move from session to session. The conversation and fun stories that result are an excellent side effect, though.

Sidenote: I'm looking for a krewe to join me for the best Japanese in CONUS.

 

 

Do you want to send a different message to someone if they email you during business hours or after hours? What about on the weekend? Should leads be routed to a different sales team based on the time of an inquiry? What about segmenting leads based on dayparting or day-of-week? You can do all this with Marketo and a connected CRM like Salesforce.

 

What You Need

 

To use time-based logic, you need the following:

 

  1. Fields to contain date/time stamps and (optional) day of week
  2. Marketo Smart Campaign to populate date/time fields
  3. Salesforce logic to parse date stamp into the day of the week (optional)
  4. Marketo Smart Campaign to route leads based on time and (optional) day of week

 

Step 1: Create Your Fields

 

To get the benefit of routing by both the time of day AND day of week, you’ll need to create your fields in your CRM. I’m using Salesforce for this example. You can call these fields whatever you like and can track whatever behavior you like. Let’s assume for this example you are interested in tracking the time of a “Contact Us” form submission.

 

Create a Field to Hold Your Time Stamp Only

 

In Salesforce, go to Setup > Customize > Leads > Fields > New and use the type “Text”. Make sure to repeat this on the Contact object and map these fields to each other so that this field can be used for both Salesforce Leads and Contacts in Marketo. Why use “text”? This will make sense later on!

 

SFDC_Last_Contact_Time

 

Create a Field to Hold a Date/Time Stamp

 

In Salesforce, go to Setup > Customize > Leads > Fields > New and use the type “Date/Time”. Make sure to repeat this on the Contact object and map these fields so that this field can be used for both Salesforce Leads and Contacts in Marketo.

 

SFDC_Last_Contact_Date

 

Create a Field to Calculate Day of Week

 

In Salesforce, go to Setup > Customize > Leads > Fields > New and use the type “Formula” with a return type of “Text”. Make sure to repeat this on the Contact object and map these fields so that this field can be used for both Salesforce Leads and Contacts in Marketo. Here’s a screenshot of the formula you need (substitute your actual field name instead of “Last_Contact_Us_Date__c”):

 

SFDC_Day_Week_Formula

 

And here’s text you can copy:

 

CASE( 
MOD(DATEVALUE(Last_Contact_Us_Date__c) - DATE(1900, 1, 7), 7),
0, "Sunday",
1, "Monday",
2, "Tuesday",
3, "Wednesday",
4, "Thursday",
5, "Friday",
6, "Saturday", "Error")

 

Here’s how this formula works: First you get the date-only value of your date/time field. Then you subtract another date from it with a known day of the week. Then you calculate the modulus (remainder) when dividing that number by seven. The remainder indicates the day of the week of the date value you are trying to parse. You can then use a CASE formula to populate a string with the name of the day of week based on that remainder. It’s a little complicated, but basically you just need to know it works. :)

 

Step 2: Stamp Your Date/Time Fields in Marketo

 

The next step is to use a triggered Smart Campaign to populate your time and date/time fields based on the lead behavior you want to track. Our goal is to stamp the time and date/time fields, pass the data into Salesforce so our formula field can calculate day of week, and give that data time to sync back to Marketo. To ensure the right order of operations, we’ll be using a simple two-campaign structure here where the first campaign will request the second.

 

Marketo Date_Routing_Program_Overview

 

Marketo Campaign #1 - Stamp Your Fields

 

Smart List

 

Use a “Fills Out Form” trigger with the name of your form.

 

Marketo Date_Stamp_Trigger

 

Flow Steps

 

  • Use a “Change Data Value” flow step referencing your time field and populating it using the Marketo system token, {{system.time}}.
  • Use a “Change Data Value” flow step referencing your date/time field and populating it using the Marketo system token, {{system.dateTime}}.Note, these tokens will use the timezone set in your account settings.
  • Sync the lead to SFDC
  • Wait a few minutes, to ensure that the formula field is populated
  • Sync the lead to SFDC again, to bring the formula field value back into Marketo (this is usually necessary because formula field changes will not trigger a sync by themselves)
  • Wait a few minutes again to ensure the formula field value is safely in Marketo
  • Finally, request the second campaign. You’ll need to build it first in the next step before you can add this Flow Step.

 

Marketo Date_Stamp_Flow

 

You’ll note this method is a bit “expensive” in terms of Salesforce API calls, so use it judiciously.

 

Step 3: Do Some Time-Based Routing!

 

Now you’ve got everything you need at your fingertips to route based on time of day and day of week. Our final steps are to build a Smart List to crunch the logic, and then a Smart Campaign to take the action we want.

 

Build an “After-Hours” Smart List in Marketo

 

To determine whether a lead has made an inquiry outside of business hours, we’re going to use a Smart List as a local program asset. The Smart List will check whether the time of last contact was before 8 AM or after 5 PM on Monday-Friday, or anytime on Saturday or Sunday. Here’s what that Smart List looks like:

 

Marketo After_Hours_Smart_List

 

How does this work? Well, consider that the actual time-stamp looks something like, "11:35 AM (-800 GMT)". So basically you are parsing the time-stamp string to see whether it contains a combination of certain hours (numbers that end with ":") and AM or PM. And that’s why this field must be a text field, because otherwise we couldn’t use the “contains” operator. Using advanced filter logic you can combine these filters together with the day of the week to make your targeting as granular as you like! Make sure to check your filter logic and test, test, test, to be sure you’re getting the intended result.

 

Build Your Marketo Outbound Smart Campaign

 

In this example, the campaign is sending an email.

 

Smart List

 

Use a “Campaign is Requested” trigger. Remember this request is coming from the Flow Steps of the previous campaign.

 

Marketo Auto_Responder_Trigger

 

Flow Steps

 

Use a Send Email flow step that checks for membership in our “After Hours” smart list using a Choice. If not a member, send the standard auto-response.

 

Marketo Auto_Responder_Flow

 

Think of the Possibilities…

 

Sending different emails is just one option. You can do lots of different things with this technique, including assigning a lead to different sales team or a third-party answering service based on time of day, using different marketing channels (an SMS, etc.) depending on time of day, using the data to see which days of the week bring in the best leads...use your imagination! See also a similar use of this technique from Josh Hill for routing leads to different locations based on time of inquiry.

 

Credits: Credit for the technique to parse the time-stamp using filters should go to Adam New-Waterson, since I’m pretty sure I first saw this in a Community post he wrote. Thanks Adam! Credit for the formula to parse the day of the week name from a date value belongs to someone on the Salesforce Success Community. Unfortunately I can't remember who, but thanks, whoever you are.