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2017

So, your campaign failed. You’ve invested weeks, even months into this exciting new venture and you don’t know why you aren’t seeing the results you expected. It happens to the best of us. Don’t let it get you down, because this is a great opportunity to learn and make your future efforts insanely successful! But how do you answer the question that’s been keeping you up at night all week?

 

What went wrong?

 

In the world of marketing ops, so many things can go wrong that it can be overwhelming to keep track of it all. First, it’s important to figure out whether it was a strategy problem or trouble in execution. After conversing with a number of my peers, we’ve discovered a number of commonalities that led to disappointing campaigns.

 

The Audience Was All Wrong

Image result for audience wrong gif

Key Indicators: Not a single person you contacted was a decision-maker; you don’t have pipeline associated with your campaign; you didn’t hit your SQL goal; sales was unhappy with the leads

 

Tips for next time: Loop in sales when selecting your audience. Tools like predictive scoring can help prioritize your leads and companies, but your SDRs know the top qualifiers better than anyone. If they have bandwidth, ask them to skim the list ahead of time and provide feedback. Chances are they’d rather DQ someone on a spreadsheet than after making countless phone calls.

 

The Stuff You Sent Wasn’t Engaging

Image result for bored gif

Key Indicators: Lack of engagement; you didn’t hit your MQL goal

 

Tips for next time: Test test test! Focus on A/B testing the following factors based on the corresponding indicators.

Problem

A/B Test This

Low Email Open Rate

Subject Lines, Time of Day/Day of Week

Low Click-through-Rate

CTA Wording, CTA Placement, Messaging

High Bounce Rate

Messaging, Landing Pages, Form Lengths

Engagement drops off early on

Frequency of outreach, multiple channels

 

You Had Bad Data

Image result for bad data gif

Key Indicators: High bounce rate; holes in your data; physical mailer returns; too many “I don’t work here anymore” automatic replies

 

Tips for next time: This is a great opportunity to leverage SDRs, Sales Ops, or a really good intern. Before sending out emails, mailers, ads, or any other piece of carefully-crafted marketing content (especially to high-potential accounts), give the list a human touch. A data provider is a great place to start, but if someone’s LinkedIn profile says they live in Denver and the address provided is in New York, you’ll know something’s off. Seriously. The list is key.

 

There Were Errors

Image result for typo gif

Key Indicators: Typos; lack of populated data in a personalized email; etc

 

Tips for next time: As marketers, we’re always in a rush to drive more pipeline and demonstrate outstanding ROI. Mistakes happen. Luckily, as your team grows there will be more opportunity to add fresh eyes to everything. Utilize your awesome teammates to carefully review your emails, make sure all the links go to the right places, and check your Marketo setup for those easy-to-miss details.

 

Lack of Communication between Sales and Marketing

Image result for not talking gif

Key Indicators: Confusion in sales about how and when to follow up; tracking progress is difficult

 

Tips for next time: Hold a rollout meeting before introducing new initiatives. Include information about the messaging, audience, and end goals for the campaign. Sales will likely provide helpful insight during these meetings as well, so it’s a win-win!

 

The Timing Was All Off

Image result for messy gif

Key Indicators: Touchpoints landed out of order; leads were confused about sales outreach

 

Tips for next time: Integrate anything you can with Marketo and/or your integrated CRM. Time banner ads according to lead status; set up RTP to deliver messaging consistent with the campaign for your audience; send direct mail pieces that have the same look and feel as your emails, and coordinate your emails with the delivery of those pieces. If your systems can talk to each other, you’ll have better control over orchestration and sales will be able to follow up at just the right time.

 

You Don’t Know How the Campaign Performed

Image result for confusion gif

Key Indicators: You can’t tie your campaign back to opportunities; you can’t compare the results of the campaign against your initial KPIs

 

Tips for next time: Before you begin, make sure you know your KPIs and end goals. Once you have those, set up your Marketo program ahead of time to track them. Leveraging program channel tags can play a huge part in this!

 

#CelebrateYourWins

 

We’ve answered the question, “what went wrong?” But focusing on our failures won’t get your department any new pipeline, and it certainly won’t help morale! Now that we’ve made it this far, it’s time to shift gears and ask the increasingly-important question, “what went right?”

 

Sometimes, it takes a long time to see results. In Q1 of last year, we initiated a new program that involved multiple channels and coordination with sales. It was a huge investment and took months of planning. After a few months, the campaign was put on hold due to minimal engagement and disappointing results.

 

Last week, I was playing around in RCE and realized that the campaign had influenced three of our largest recent opportunities, resulting in over 2000% ROI! What a great way to start a Monday. So even if your program completely fails, don’t fret. You never know what kind of unexpected payoff you might have in the future!

 

One thing I have noticed when creating a more complicated nurture in Marketo, you have to be creative to make things work the way you want them to and the great part about Marketo is that you have a whole arsenal of features available.

 

This hack works with a lot of use cases, but the specific way I got to making it was when a client wanted a specific nurture for free trials for licenses from their website that would be sending on specific days of the trial.

 

variable cadence.png

 

I've seen a lot of questions about variable cadence on the community. I was overjoyed seeing Marketo's announcement of this feature (screenshot above from summit slides) on the Summit this year. There is still some time remaining until that so I figured I will share this method. This has been tested for a few months and is proven to work given the right setup.

 

I will also share some learnings from setting up this a few different ways which I would strongly not recommend .

 

Example of 30 day product trial nurture with fixed days for sendouts

 

If you're looking to nurture leads who signed up for a product trial during a fixed amount of time for the trial, you would probably want to deliver some content on specific days of the trial to try to convert/activate them on milestones. Multiple products will be tougher to nurture as managing dynamic content in one stream can become a lot of work.

 

Main asset setup

variable-cadence-example.png

 

Using similar naming conventions for different products, it allows you to globally maintain sendouts, making it easier if you want to add new streams or make changes on the days you want to cast.

 

Stream setup

engagement-stream-setup.png

 

Adding one stream per product and emails for each in the same order will allow for maintaining your casts from the same place. This is of course if you want to be sending the same amount of content and on the same frequency for your products.

 

Setting stream cadence

setting-stream-cadence.png

 

In order for the setup to work, casts should be set to recur every day at the same time, in this example 10 am. The space between the days for casts will be maintained by scheduled batch campaigns.

 

Another point to note before continuing, this can be applied on normal nurturing streams with longer spaces (let's say 2-3 weeks) where you want new leads in nurture to receive content immediately instead of waiting 2-3 weeks if they just missed the last cast. In this type of situation where you don't want to send out on numbered days, you can just choose the weekdays for when to cast, e.g. Tue, Wed, Thu with the same weekly repeating cadence.

 

Entry to nurture and Custom Object

 

Smart List

Added to Trial.png

 

In the example above, a Custom Object has been added for Trials and the trigger for entry to Stream 1 is being added to a trial for Product 1. This works great if you have an external database that confirms a new trial and is scheduled to import daily at a specific time to Marketo.

 

Flow

trial-flow.png

 

Once the lead qualifies for the flow, they will be added to the appropriate stream (in this case Product 1).

 

This is also a great time to send out a welcome to trial email directly. If you're using a Custom Object for the trial you can add information from it by using Velocity Scripting with $TriggerObject values, more on there here: http://developers.marketo.com/email-scripting/marketo-objects/

 

After that:

  1. Cadence is paused (should be sent on the third day)
  2. Wait step for 2 days
  3. Cadence is resumed to Normal to send out the first email in the stream (-Day3-)

 

Smart Campaigns for managing cadence

 

Smart List

Smart Campaign-SL.png

 

Here is an example of the first batch campaign applying for the first email sent on Day 3, looking almost identical for all days, you set up the first one and then clone and adjust from there.

 

Filters explained:

  1. Only applies to members of this engagement program
  2. Was Sent (Not delivered*) an email that contains the naming convention (-Day3-) for this email in the past 2 hours (explained next in Schedule)

 

*The positive aspect of using filters is that there is a sent choice as opposed to triggers that only have "Is Delivered", this is important because if you would use the was delivered option you risk sending your emails daily.

 

Flow

Smart-Campaign-Flow.png

 

Once a lead qualifies for the flow, their cadence will be paused for a fixed amount of time.

 

Flow steps explained:

  1. Pause the cadence for the Engagement Program (will not receive casts)
  2. Wait for a fixed amount of time - The time between Day 3 and Day 8 will be 5 days, so taking away a few hours from that will place the person on the cast of their 8th day.
  3. Once the wait is over, cadence is resumed.

 

Schedule

Smart-Campaign-Schedule.png

 

Every batch campaign for maintaining cadence will be scheduled to recur daily at the same time. In this case, every cast is scheduled for 10 am and the batch campaigns run at 11 am (after). The Smart Lists specify the email (e.g. -Day3-) delivered in the past 2 hours, so this will ensure the right batch campaign runs.

 

Repeating setup for all Smart Campaigns

 

Once the first campaign is set up you can clone it and:

  1. Adjust the name of the Day of the email (ensure to use contains)
  2. Adjust the wait time, so for Day 8 (Next cast is Day 14) it would be 5 days 12 hours to land on the next cast.

 

Changing streams after nurture is done or lead has purchased

engagement-empty-streams.png

 

When the nurture is done on the last day, leads can be added to a separate stream without cadence. The main reason for this is that with daily casts setup and no more content to send, you will get a lot of notifications in your Marketo top menu. Also it is better knowing that those inside of a stream are currently in the middle of a trial.

 

When a lead purchases a paid version of your product you can set up a trigger to pause trial nurturing, add them to the purchased stream (ensure Success Program Status is set up) and send a welcome email or whatever you choose.

 

Survey after trial

 

One great use case for globally managing your trials is sending a general survey to request information on what the lead thought about the trial. I have configured custom Marketo based surveys with a rating scale of 0 - 5 composed of Image links to the same Marketo landing page with URL parameters for tracking response on the email click and then asking a couple general questions (picklist it) regarding the product.

 

If you configure the entry campaign with a Change Data Value flowstep to update the product name, you can personalize one email with tokens.

 

Necessary Quality Management

 

To keep quality you will need the following:

  • Bounce management (Soft/Hard): If there is bad email quality, make sure to create Smart Campaigns for removing leads from the stream. You could create an empty inactive stream for Invalid Emails.
  • Communication Limits: If your communication limits are strict and leads are receiving other emails during the nurture you will need to take this into account since it could possibly change the time of delivery.
  • Make sure to test the nurture and double (or triple ) check your smart campaigns. When you're configuring a lot of smart campaigns too quick and don't let the system save before moving on, you may keep the same value twice.
  • Unsubscribed Leads: If you have a subscription center or custom unsubscribe you need to take this into account for removing the leads from nurture and most likely having an Unsubscribed Stream / Status. You can use trigger tokens for changing the data value on a custom field that writes the name of the email asset that triggered the unsubscribe to get information on where you should optimize.
  • Take into account use cases of someone doing a trial for two products and ensure you can manage moving them to the new product trial stream if they've already run through one.

 

Other use cases

 

As mentioned above, this does not need to be a fixed day nurture for a trial. You can use this method when you have a 2-3 week nurture where you want to include leads every week so they don't have to wait too long if they have missed the latest cast (they're all run at the same time). So if you were to name all your nurturing emails like NUR-01-, NUR-02-, ..., you can set a weekly cast on a weekday but set a wait step for 2-3 weeks with cadence paused, and of course Schedule set to run every time.

 

Lessons Learned

 

From previous experience I have tried a couple different methods that don't work so well and have come up with this custom solution to get a scalable workaround. Some of the things I tried which did not work so well in the past years:

 

  • Setting this up without an Engagement Program and a whole lot of Smart Campaigns: This becomes very tedious work as using Smart Campaigns will not prevent leads from receiving the same email twice. If you need to make a change in even one Smart Campaign you will need to run batches to remove those who are in wait steps from the flow and manage everyone manually, which I could say is not so much fun.
  • Setting up an Engagement program for one product and using one stream per day: This was a similar setup to the one given here, it worked for the most part but was just a pain to maintain and resulted in a lot of notifications

 

As always if you want to know more feel free to ask and I'd be happy to help. Also if anyone has anything to add here, do it!

 

For more tips and tricks, feel free to check out erikheldebro.com

This year was my 5th Summit and I'm always envious of people that manage to pick the best sessions to attend.  The good news is that everything is recorded. The hard part is finding the time after we come back to dedicate to listening to the recordings.  For our last Marketo User Group meeting here in Silicon Valley, I listened to the top 8 sessions and summarized them for our local group as determined by attendance and rating.  Attached is the slide deck for your enjoyment.  Here's a brief summary of each of these sessions, who would benefit, key takeaways, etc.  Feel free to use the slide deck to present internally or help justify next year's trip to Summit. 

 

Session 1

7 Human behavior Hacks that Increase Engagement and Response

Nancy Harhut

Audience:  Marketing Practitioners

This session really gets into the human behavioral science realm of marketing.  It gave really great ideas on things to try for optimization on conversion rates, A/B testing, response to emails and landing pages.  If you want to geek out about what works for your audience and the science behind how people respond to digital assets, then this is a great talk to listen to.  

 

Session 2: 

Analytics that Matter: The Right Reports For Every Step of the Buyer's Journey

Jessica Kao

Audience:  Marketing Execs, Marketing Practitioners

We have so much data at our finger tips that too often we can get stuck in analysis paralysis.  There are so many reports that we can generate, which ones do I even start with? The fundamental principles that should guide what reports to be looking at for each stage of the funnel and how to prioritize.  Here's a hint:  Reports should lead to an action.  For those that want to get a handle around attribution and how Marketo calculates it, what it all means, and what questions are answered by First Touch and Multi-touch, this is the talk for you.  Think that reporting is out of reach because your instance isn't ready?  There are some quick wins that are covered about what you can do immediately to understand what is happening in your instance today. 

 

 

Session 3:

Look Sharp! Data Visualization for Marketing Ninjas

Martin Kihn

Audience:  Anyone who needs to make a dashboard of reports

At some point, we all have to make a dashboard of reports whether it's in SFDC, your CRM, Marketo, in PPT, etc.  But we never really think about there might be a method other than slapping a whole bunch of charts and graphs.  Usually its the last thing on our mind.  This was the first time I had heard a talk about  choosing different graphs or charts for displaying different types of data.  It makes complete sense that data visualization is in a way story telling and some thought should be invested into how we tell the story and not just what we are showing. 

 

Session 4:

Shake the Funk! The Data Behind Deliverability & How to Stay Clean

Jacob Hansen, Matt Rushing

Audience:  Marketing Ops, Keeper of the Marketo database

 

If you send out emails and care about email deliverability (which you should), then this talk is worth your while.  It goes into explaining what contributes to your sender reputation, how you monitor it, what you should do, and some basic technical concepts explained at a level for even the non techies. 

 

Session 5:

How to Build a Killer Content Marketing Strategy

Amanda Todorovich

Audience:  Content Marketers, anyone producing content that feels like they are staring up at an impossible mountain

The speaker was Content Marketing Institute Marketer of the Year 2016.  It's a great success story from Cleveland Clinic about their journey.  Prepare to be inspired.

 

Session 6:

Creating and Managing a Lead Lifecycle in Marketo That Will Make Your Sales Team Happy

Steve Susina

Audience:  Owner of the Lead Lifecycle, Marketing Operations, Marketing Practioner

This is the perfect how to, recipe/protocol on how to go about building your life cycle.  Just as important to actually building it in Marketo, is also involving the stake holders like sales, what meetings to have, what issues need to be discussed and agreed upon to ensure success as well as how to avoid the common pitfalls.  If you are wanting to build out a lead life cycle in your organization, than this is on your must watch list. 

 

Session 7:

Be the Exception! How Brilliant Marketers Get Bigger Results by Doing it Their Way

Jay Acunzo

Audience:  Anyone looking to be inspired

It's talks like this one is why I love summit.  I always walk away inspired.  Its a high energy talk that keeps you engaged the whole time about how to not be ordinary.  So, if you are staring out the window stuck at work on a sunny summer day, give this a listen.  It might perk you right up. 

 

Session 8:

Forrester Reveals the 7 Key Steps to Customer-Obsessed B2B Marketing

Lori Wizdo

Audience:  Marketing Executives, Marketing Practitioners

At first, I thought this was going to be about Customer Marketing, ie marketing to people that were already customers.  In actuality, it's about marketing to both prospects and customers but putting the customer persona, ie the person you are trying to sell to first.  Perhaps I was the only one that made that mistake and now I have admitted to all of you.  I hope you don't think any less of me.    Anyway, this is one of those talks that makes  you think, question how you are doing things now and how to fundamentally change the way you are marketing.  You have to wield enough power in your organization to actually make these cultural or mindset changes.  Or if you are a marketing practitioner its great food for thought for later on down the road when you are running the show. 

 

Bonus Session:

How to Maximize your Value – Results from the 2017 Marketo Compensation Survey

Jason Seeba and Inga Romanoff

Every year they put together the Marketo Compensation Survey and review the results at Summit.  Once this is out, I will post it here for everyone.  This is a must have if you are using Marketo, which presumably you are if you have made it this far down the post.  People have used this to negotiate their salary for new jobs, or to help justify yearly raises.  We talked about this at our last Marketo User Group.  Here in Silicon Valley, we've seen an uptick in folks renegotiating their salary every year rather than just being subjected to whatever meager raise.  One of these reasons is that if you've got Marketo skills, you can find another job pretty easily that's willing to pay more so keeping Marketo talent around becomes challenging, especially where we are. 

 

Were there any Summit talks that you found inspiring or helpful? 

 

The slide deck also includes the new changes for MCE, new product announcements, and snap shots of the compensation survey.