Skip navigation
All Places > Champion Program > Blog > 2018 > May

When I go to events everyone in the Expo Hall tries to shove a whitepaper in my hand assuming I'll take it home and check it out later, but most of the time it ends up in the recycling bin.


We faced this issue for the past few years and made the strategic decision to make some of our events paperless. This forces our event staff to have real conversations with prospects before deciding which piece of content (if any) the prospect wants to receive and gives us a more unique follow up post-event (Here's that content you requested! vs. Nice to meet you last week).


Using two extra smart campaigns, we were able to remove our typical heavy load of paper at our booth. How did we get there?


1. Gather Content Requests

I have an existing lead scanning phone app as part of my Tech Stack that I was able to easily add an additional field to, but you could go paperless even if you’re using spreadsheets to upload event data.

Start with a field to capture this information. I have a string field called “Content Bundle Request” in Marketo connected to my lead scanning app field "Request Info". You could create a drop down or multi-select option in your CRM and then tie into Marketo. Within the lead scanning app, my sales team can select the content they want to share and get verbal consent from the prospect. I offer three different types of content to deliver.



Note: I have a complex back end system that determines valid consent based off of applicable laws which impacts this content request. If you decide to set up a similar paperless content request system you need to consult a lawyer about ability to gather consent because I only took two law classes in college and one was about torts #IAmNotALawyer.


My lead scanning app sends information to Marketo one way and cannot receive information back into the app. If someone was previously unsubscribed my sales team has no way of knowing when they submit the prospect to my system and the information does not send back into the app after the record is saved. The only way they could know about an unsubscribed prospect would be to go into Salesforce separately, which is unlikely never going to happen.

What happens if someone requests content but they are unsubscribed? I need to manage that process and make sure the prospect still has the opportunity to receive content. Despite being 'requested', we do not consider a verbal, unverifiable request transactional, so this email is not set to operational and cannot supersede an unsubscribe (<--- at least not in my opinion, consult your lawyer). In the event that someone is unsubscribed but they requested an email with content, I’ve set up a notification that goes to the person in charge of our tradeshow events. The notification’s intention is to let her know what prospect requested paperless content and the name of the employee who submitted the prospect’s interest. She follows up directly with the employee so they can sync with the unsubscribed individual to help them opt back into communications with us.

By placing the onus on the event coordinator, I diffuse any frustration from the sales team later if the prospect can't receive an email.  It also gives them a chance to have another conversation with the prospect to opt back in that gives the company a chance to regain a lost contact.


This notification is an easy set up in Marketo.

Smart List


Depending on the size of your organization, this might be hard to scale.


2. Create Your Content Experience

You could easily create a number of different emails that each have one piece of content linked within the body, but theoretically that could send a dozen emails to one prospect after the event. What works best for me is having many pieces of content “bundled” based on interest. Then we can analyze which pieces of content resonate with people based on their interaction with the email.

Even though the prospect is sent to Marketo from the phone app immediately, we don't send the email out until a few days after the tradeshow has ended. After the prospect was scanned they most likely kept walking the Expo Hall and it's unlikely that they'll check their email right then, or even read our email during the rest of the tradeshow. If we were to send the content instantly, it would most likely be ignored or deleted and the content never consumed. If you're recording this information via Excel or some other means that don't immediately populate in your Marketo instance, this gives you time to complete an upload when you're back from the event before sending out your content.


In the past, we sent a follow up email to everyone who met with us at our booth. Now we’re able to send a more personalized experience to people with content bundles as a follow up, providing them with the content they requested. In a separate campaign we communicate with anyone who did not request any particular content; they receive the generic follow up.


3. Keep Sales in the Loop

Sales wants to know which content bundles people have consumed and they never remember which email was requested for a particular prospect. Create an interesting moment that shares which content bundle the prospect requested for easy communication with your sales team.


Years in the making, months of blogging and it’s finally here: GDPR becomes officially enforceable in a matter of hours. Are you ready?


If not, here are a few quick pointers and resources to assist in your efforts.



The topic of consent is easily the most discussed. Key points:


Explicit permission is required; implied consent no longer qualifies.  If you are claiming legitimate interest, consult your legal team first.


Documentation is just as necessary as capturing consent.  All EU records in your database should have:

  • Opt-in date and timestamp
  • Opt-in source
  • Opt-in IP address (if available)


Remember, you can’t “buy” consent.  In other words, you cannot make consent a requirement to downloading a promoted white paper.  You CAN include a consent option on your form as an unchecked checkbox.


Be sure to Link all your forms and communications to your privacy policy.  Let your privacy policy do the heavy lifting, meaning contain all the details about data usage, storage, and protection.


Transparency in Data Usage


Under GDPR, lead scoring is considered user profiling, which now requires user consent. The same thing with any other propensity to purchase calculations—if you are using this to schedule follow-up sales calls, you must have permission to use an individual’s data in this capacity.


Data enhancements must also be declared, and past data audited. If you are enriching your data from a third party source, you need to state the origin and purpose.  Also think about where in the cycle your enrichment occurs, to avoid paying for enhancement if you do not have permission to retain records in your database or if data is kept for a limited period. (Ex: event reminders)


Munchkin code / Cookies

GDPR changes how we can use cookies but does not entirely rule it out. Cookie usage must be declared; “by using this website you agree…” messages no longer comply.  Visitors must be given the option to accept or decline cookie tracking.  If they refuse, then you have no choice but to disable cookies.


Just a reminder too, you will most likely need to change your setting that loads munchkin code as this is a departure from the current Do Not Track legislation.


Adjustments you’ll need to make:

  • Turn on ‘Do Not Track’ Settings in Marketo Admin
  • Post a Cookie Policy
  • Evaluate API Cookie Management Platforms - this will become more important with upcoming EU ePrivacy Directive legislation, which has different requirements for various types of cookies.

For more information, see the Marketo Dev site for details on configuring Munchkin code settings.


Preference Center

You will need to build a preference center to process the requests from individuals exercising their GDPR rights.


These rights include:

  • Opt-in and unsubscribes
  • Data exports and transfers
  • Data breach notifications
  • Policy requests
  • Data erasure (AKA “the right to be forgotten”)



Marketing messages and analytics will change. Between consent for cookies (which may limit the behavioral data you have to score from) and the right to be forgotten, many of us are concerned that we won’t be able to track marketing performance and customer journeys for our websites accurately. In all honesty, your internal KPIs and goals will need adjustment. Make sure you know all of your April numbers and conversion rates so that you can see how to reset your goals to account for GDPR changes.


For other marketing ideas and tips, download our free GDPR Toolkit, loaded with helpful information and practical resources, including:

  • GDPR Marketing Communications LookBook- creative suggestions and visual examples for post-GDPR marketing.
  • A recording of my Marketo Summit presentation, Fearless Marketing in a GDPR World, which includes screenshots of how to set-up a preference center and data rights flow in Marketo.
  • GDPR FAQ eBook: Legal Questions. Straightforward Answers.
  • The Marketo Client’s Guide to GDPR Compliance
  • GDPR Data Processor Compliance Assessment


Get your free toolkit:


Stay informed


GDPR is just beginning, updates (and fines!) are sure to follow.  Learn from the missteps of other companies and adjust as grey areas are clarified—to stay informed on GDPR news, decisions and enforcement updates, subscribe to the ICO RSS feed:



GDPR is here; it’s not the end but only the beginning.  Are you ready?

Miss my session at Summit? Here's a recap of my 7 steps to launching your first Account-Based Marketing strategy.


Account-Based Marketing is here to stay. In the digital age, it’s easy to get bogged down in the hustle and bustle of the MarTech capabilities and lose sight of what really matters: engagement. Because even though we’re marketing to accounts, it’s individuals that serve as internal champions to demonstrate the value of your product within their organization. So what does that mean for you?


In the end, it all comes down to understanding your audience. But first, we need to remember the foundation of any marketing strategy: what are we trying to get out of it?


On that note, here are seven steps to launching your first Account-Based Marketing strategy.


1. Determine your goals


A few things to keep in mind when setting your goals.

  • Make sure they are quantifiable. Think "I want to influence 50 opportunities" rather than "I want to increase pipeline." If you can't look back and definitely determine whether you met your goals, you're doing it wrong.
  • Goals should be timely - this just means set dates for them. Put a reminder on your calendar in X number of days to evaluate whether you hit your target. If you don't hit it by your specified end date, that doesn't mean you failed. It just gives you a basis for planning next time around.
  • Don't forget that goals should be valuable to the business. Sure, a 43% click-through-rate feels great, but it won't influence your ARR. Think MQAs (Marketing Qualified Accounts), SQAs, or opportunities.
  • Get buy-in from sales! If sales isn’t ready for ABM’d leads (let's pretend that's a real word), your marketing efforts will be wasted in the transition to sales


Ok, you must be thinking. But my sales cycle is 18 months. I can't wait 18 months to determine whether my ABM strategy was successful!

You're right! So set KPIs for short-term evaluation. This is where you get to look at "vanity metrics" - look at deliverability, the number of engaged accounts, engagement within each account, and individual tactic success.


2. Define the Audience


Marketing is expensive. It takes time, money, and resources. Put delicate effort into selecting your audience so that none of our hard-earned content goes to waste!

  • Strategically select your accounts, but it doesn’t end there!
  • Strategically select your contacts. You want to find people who will get excited about your product and who will want to spread the value of your offerings within the organization. More on this in a second...
  • Have your SDRs weigh in on account selection and job titles - they know what to look for!
  • Leverage resources: predictive, personas, behavior scoring (this will tell you what type of people engage with content you already have), and yes, intuition!


Don't forget to find a data provider that you trust. If you are sending emails, make sure they have a high validity rate. If you are sending direct mail, make sure they are good at providing addresses. Nothing is more discouraging than putting a ton of time and money into a campaign and realizing most of it made it in front of your prospects.


Now back to the contact selection. You know the term "Buying Center" that everyone's talking about? It's just a reference to the unofficial buying decision committees within each of your target accounts. To best market to each company, figure out everyone who has influence in the decision to buy your offering and market to them personally. For example, if you're selling software, you have to get IT on board no matter which department will be using the software, but the messaging to IT will be very different than the messaging you deliver to potential users. If you want more on this, comment below and I'll write another blog post!


3. Create your strategy


Notice that is is not the first step! Now that we know the why and the who, it's finally time to create the what! Start with the obvious - outline your content. Your content, like with most marketing strategies, should follow the basic buyer journey:

  1. Begin with brand awareness and thought leadership - now’s your chance to really demonstrate your value and build trust with your prospect
  2. Introduce pain points - you want your prospects to relate to the problems your product or service can solve
  3. Introduce interactive materials - ROI calculators, worksheets, free trials or demos, etc. Once they have a taste of life with you in it, they won't want to go back!
  4. Now we can get a little more aggressive with more sales-focused CTAs: “Call Us” vs “Check Out Our eBook” - these CTAs should point prospects in the direction of your goals
  5. Help your SDRs know how to reach out depending on demographic qualifications and engagement within each account



Make sure CTAs drive prospects to your goals, and adjust along the way to meet KPIs. Once you know what you're going to say, figure out how you're going to say it. What will you send? Emails? Retargeting ads? Web personalization? Social media placements? Direct mail? SDR outreach? Get creative. The possibilities are endless!


When you're developing this collateral, determine both the content and the design cohesively so that your outreach provides a consistent experience for your prospects. Keep the cadence in mind. Nobody wants to be over-emailed, but if you spread your messaging too far apart your prospects won't remember you between touches. A good way to get around this? Ongoing display ads.


4. Get Cliché and Smarket


Don't take this for granted. Sales + marketing alignment will make or break your campaign! After you create your content strategy, get input from sales early on- make sure they’re as excited about it as you want your leads to be!

  • Set up your program to communicate all relevant information to sales, and give them a heads up as to how that information will be made available to them
  • Get aligned on the timeline - if you have joint goals, you must have a joint timeline to match
  • Let them know ahead of time which accounts you’ve chosen and when & how they should interact with them. Direction is everything!


5. Implement


Set up your program in Marketo, and integrate everything you possibly can to flawlessly orchestrate your tactics and gain cohesive reporting. I wrote a blog post on this a while back that addresses the technical side of this. Check it out here if you’re interested!

  • My biggest tip: leverage Engagement Programs to coordinate timing of complex campaigns with multiple channels. SO. HELPFUL.
  • Set up your target accounts if you have the ABM platform, and make sure sales have the chrome plugin. It's legit.
  • Test, test, test - both technically, and statistically to see what works and what doesn't.


6. Learn


Just because you went live with your new ABM strategy doesn't mean you're done. Remember those KPIs we set at the beginning? Every single day, evaluate the performance of your program to make sure you're meeting your expectations, and if not, make the necessary adjustments. Remember, results take time! Sales cycles are longer with cold outbound.

  • Talk to sales! If morale is good, it's a great early sign.
  • Celebrate your wins and learn from your losses - both with marketing & with sales


If you have RCE, now is the time to use it. Go into your lifecycle and check the "Start Tracking by Account" box for each stage. Then you can use the Model Performance Analysis report for companies!

lifecycle.png analysis.png



7. Rinse and Repeat...after you’ve made updates from your learnings of course!

Not only do you learn more each time, but you have more fun too! You worked heard creating this strategy, and if it works, there's no reason to throw it out. Find more target accounts and contacts, and do it again. Engage more accounts and watch the money roll in.


The GDPR compliance deadline is looming…have you prepared for the different data rights scenarios in your database?


Screen Shot 1.png


It is likely that within your database, you’ll have varying levels of data processing rights. Common scenarios you’ll need to account for in your data rights center Marketo program:


  • Personal data to maintain and use - this encompasses both consent & legitimate interest.
  • Personal data to use for a limited time period, such as access to a webinar or event.
  • Personal data to maintain and use for limited purposes, such as only for transactional or account communications, and not for marketing messages or scoring.
  • Lapse in consent or legitimate interest. This could be time or action based.
  • Offline consent given, perhaps from direct mail, a live event, a phone conversation or a personal meeting.


There are many options and your data rights center needs to accommodate all the scenarios.


Building a Data Rights Center


Screen Shot 2.png


Just as you have a subscription center in Marketo, you’ll also want to build out a data rights center, detailing the rights you have to retain and process data, encompassing the scenarios previously mentioned.


To do this, there are a number of fields I find helpful and useful to retain:


  • Most recent activity date, most recent activity detail - important for supporting the “as long as necessary” data storage clause


  • GDPR data rights (Y/N) plus rights DateTimestamp - again supporting the “as long as necessary” clause


  • GDPR data rights source and notes - good for recordkeeping and using in smart list filters to limit processing, or define your audience for WTD nurtures, whitelisting, or data deletion.


If this sounds like a lot, it is. But remember, GDPR loves documentation!  If you’re ever subject to a compliance inquiry, you’ll be in a better position by having a complete data trail.


Data Rights Campaigns


Screen Shot 3.png


In the example above, these fields are populated if you have full data consent acquired with opt-in email consent. You would use something like this flow for populating fields with either consent or legitimate interest.


When setting up the smart list, remember, email consent CAN constitute data consent. And if you are claiming legitimate interest, be sure to consult with your legal team first. If going this route, you would set up a similar smart campaign for legitimate interest as defined with legal, such as legitimate interest via sales activity or an active contract.


In the data flow, populate each of the fields outlined. In this example, the data rights source is populated with the email opt-in source description. Then in the notes, categorize this as “opt in email consent.” It’s useful to have different fields for source and notes as the source could explain why you have legitimate interest or where consent came from. You can then populate your notes section with common phrases you can use in filters, such as “limited processing consent - no scoring” or “retain for 30 days only”. This helps adapt to the various data rights scenarios.

When establishing rights lapses: time stamps are important-- review consent date and most recent engagement. You might discover it’s time to send a whitelisting or wake the dead nurture to these records! If consent or legitimate interest does lapse, you’ll need campaigns to properly process the records, either deleting or marketing suspending them as appropriate.


Building a Preference Center to Manage Individual GDPR Rights


Screen Shot 4.png


Finally, you’ll also want to build a Preference Center to automate how you’ll process requests from consumers exercising their individual GDPR rights, including:


  • Opt-in and unsubscribes
  • Data exports and transfers
  • Data breach notification
  • Policy requests
  • Data erasure



Want more actionable tips plus other helpful GDPR resources? 


Download our Ultimate GDPR Toolkit, which contains:


  • The on-demand recording of my Marketo Summit breakout session, “Fearless Marketing in a GDPR World: Tips to Thrive Amidst New Regulations.”
  • Our new GDPR LookBook, chock full of creative suggestions and visual examples for post-GDPR marketing
  • The Marketo Client’s Guide to GDPR Compliance Whitepaper
  • GDPR FAQ eBook: Legal Questions. Straightforward Answers.
  • GDPR Data Processor Compliance Assessment


Get your copy’s free!

It’s an annual tradition at Marketing Nation Summit for Marketo to announce new features and product updates.


Similarly, Perkuto's post-Summit practice is to provide a summary of the discussions as well as commentary on the potential impact for your marketing operations. It’s our way of keeping you informed while keeping it real. So grab a cup of coffee — this post is a little longer than most but worth the time to read in its entirety.


Marketo Product Updates on Deck for 2018 - An Overview

This year, Marketo defined five main product priorities plus announced key enhancements in each area. The 30,000-foot overview:

  • UX: Garnishing audience “ooh’s” and “ah’s,” Marketo’s unveiled its new next-generation user interface, “Marketo Sky.” Entering into open beta this month, Sky is visually appealing and contains some highly-requested productivity enhancements.
  • Analytics: In a calculated (pun intended) and much-needed move, Marketo shored up its attribution and analytics capabilities with the acquisition of Bizible, a leading Marketing Performance Management solution.
  • AI: “AI” is the buzzword in marketing circles right now. In a timely move, Marketo announced new machine-learning capabilities for identifying your ideal customer and finding look-alike audiences (AudienceAI).
  • Marketing/Sales Alignment: In 2017, Marketo announced the ToutApp acquisition. In 2018, ToutApp is being rebranded as “Marketo Sales Engage” with tighter integration to the Marketo platform.
  • Platform: Marketo continues the ongoing quest for scalability, with additional changes to improve campaign throughput and speed plus a plan for improved LaunchPoint integrations.

Diving Deep: UX

Marketo’s next-generation user interface has been a long time coming; customers should expect an open beta version available in May 2018. More than just a cosmetic re-skinning, the new interface is a complete overhaul of Marketo’s front-end, using modern web technologies and providing a stronger foundation for continued development. Seasoned Marketo admins will especially relish the productivity improvements, including:

Saved Rules

Saved rules are collections of triggers/filters or flow steps that can be preserved and made accessible to your users. For example, you might have a specific set of smart list filters you use to email all customers of “product A,” including customer status, product entitlement, record viability, plus advanced logic to tie them together — you get the idea.

As we all know, (and likely have experienced at some point), these filters are easy to mess up. With the new interface, the admin can create a rule called “Customers of Product A” and drag that rule onto the canvas causing your previously saved filters/triggers to materialize. Currently, the saved rules feature operates globally, although there was a discussion of private vs. public rules possibly in the future. And in case you’re wondering, the same logic can also be applied to flow steps. Overall, the saved rules feature will save marketing operations staff time and error-proof the process. Well done, Marketo.



marketo saved rules

A saved rule and a list of filters it contains.


Mass Approvals and Activations

Are you regularly cloning your program templates? If so, you’ll be happy with this one. (If you aren’t, you should!) The mass approval and activation feature simplifies and streamlines the process of deploying programs by displaying a list of assets along with an easy way to approve or activate them in bulk. This is another substantial improvement and time-saving enhancement, not to mention relief from tedious and unnecessary clicks.


Approve multiple smart campaigns with a single action.


A pop-up notifications menu tells you when your mass action is complete.


Asset Expiration

Never manually update stale or outdated pages again! The new Sky will provide a way to give assets an expiration date, or in the case of smart campaigns, a deactivation date. Rest assured that visitors cannot access outdated pages (ex: a registration page for a past event) and lighten the load on your system by not keeping triggers active longer than necessary. Best of all, you’ll never need to backtrack work as landing pages can have a default or page-specific fall-back to show after the expiry date.



Easily set an expiration date for multiple assets.


My Token Updates

My Tokens are the key to scalable and efficient operations in Marketo. Sky introduces some token-related improvements, many of them targeted at power users with heavily-tokenized programs, including:

  • Token foldering: The ability to organize your tokens with sub-folders.

  • Token searchability: New keyword search capabilities within programs and folders.

  • No renaming: System prevents you from silently breaking your token references by restricting token renaming. This is useful but also annoying when you make a spelling mistake.
  • Token cloning: The alternative to renaming — cloning the token and renaming it.

  • See where tokens are used: A new context menu showing the usage and location of tokens, although the icon to access it is somewhat counter-intuitive at present as it looks like a "refresh" button. Currently this feature only supports tokens located in email header fields and rich text regions, limiting its usefulness, but hopefully this will become more comprehensive over time.

  • New token types: A simplified process to defining links and images as variables. Say goodbye to the previous process of inserting within text/rich text tokens; Sky’s new token types create an experience similar to the link/image dialogues inside of assets as well as ensure link tracking works correctly.

    Example of an image token dialogue, which allows you to pull directly from Design Studio files.

Global Search

Improving system organization, Sky is planned to include a global search box with an index spanning the entire platform, making every asset within reach from a single spot. The index not only captures the name of the asset but also the asset labels. Global search is a good improvement although there are limitations of the search function, include searching the content of the assets themselves. Perhaps we’ll see this addition down the road.





Labels are a new kind of metadata, which can apply to both programs and assets. Functioning similarly to “tags” on a blog post, labels enable freeform and unstructured metadata to sort, organize, and search your assets. There won’t be any validation around labels, meaning it will be up to Marketo admins to define and create clear taxonomies and conventions appropriate for their users and requirements, but overall, the addition of labels combined with global search is a powerful enhancement.




Labels offer a lot of flexibility, but make sure you develop a label strategy to make them consistent and therefore useful.

Other UX Improvements

Marketo’s list of updates doesn’t stop here. Of the other updates mentioned, some are currently in the beta while others are on the horizon:

  • My Marketo Homepage: Marketo will finally have a solid “homepage” experience when you log in, displaying familiar navigational tiles as well as dashboard-style widgets highlighting key metrics or system data. Marketo has wisely made this customizable (as no two companies would want the same thing) but which options are available is still TBD.

  • Filter the Tree: Reminiscent of a beefed-up Campaign Inspector except more readily accessible, users can filter the tree by date range, asset type, label (etc.) to limit the scope of what’s in focus when working in marketing activities.

  • Contextual help: Contextual information and guidance via help prompts throughout the interface.

  • Revamped Program Detail Page: More information, all in one place: in addition to mass approvals in bulk, the program summary page offers a revamped program schedule providing a full calendar experience and easier access to related information.
  • Revamped Smart Campaign Detail Page: Resolving previous UI inconsistencies and enhancing ease of use, admins can access a grid of campaign members and perform single flow actions just as you would in other person grids.

  • Revamped Asset Detail Page: Expect more accessible “used by” menus and buttons for primary actions. Additionally, the draft and approved version of an asset are now combined in a single node (as opposed to the draft being a child of the approved asset) with separate sets of action buttons to manipulate each version.

  • Revamped Landing Page Detail Page: The URL is now clickable and can be copied with a single click for easier access. PURL enablement is also more conveniently exposed on the detail page.

  • New Iconography: Introducing the lightning bolt for triggered campaigns!

  • Folder Level Permissions: Another long-awaited feature, it appears Marketo Sky will now make this possible.
  • Cookie Opt-In: Although not part of the current beta, Marketo intends to offer native cookie opt-in functionality in response to GDPR. There are, however, no immediate plans to support other requested GDPR features, such as person anonymization.
  • More Agile Release Cycle: Marketo Sky enhancements (and bug fixes) will no longer be tied to quarterly release cycles but will be shipped independently, possibly every few weeks.


Other Miscellaneous Good Stuff

Not strictly related to UX, Marketo announced a few other improvements in the UX session, which are mainly self-explanatory.


  • Add a CC Contact to Email Sends
  • Continuous Audience Sync for AdBridge: The existing AdBridge integration is pretty lame, requiring manual intervention. With continuous sync, it becomes much more useful.
  • Secure Tracking Links in Emails
  • Native Form Recaptcha Integration

The Need for More Powerful Analytics within Marketo

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Marketo purchased Bizible, the most significant acquisition in its history. Both a strategic and bold move, the addition of Bizible transforms what was previously a weak area of the Marketo platform into an area of strength.

When I first became a Marketo customer, I expected (perhaps naively) that Marketo would have a basic level of digital analytics built in, similar to Google Analytics. Unfortunately, this capability doesn’t exist with out-of-the-box in Marketo, a sore spot for many new customers.

While it’s possible to build, there’s a lot of heavy lifting required — custom JavaScript, form modifications, and many programs to track activities at the level of granularity you want. And adding to user pain, Marketo’s standard reports are just that — basic and not very customizable, limiting the ability to report on the data you capture.

Marketo does offer other advanced reporting solutions, but neither provide the full-featured marketing analytics that many companies need.

Advanced Reporting (a.k.a RCE to old-timers) offers some very useful pivot-table style analysis, but this area of the product has been unimproved for years, has limited customizability (for example, you are confined to a single multi-touch attribution model), and is very slow on large data sets.

Then there’s the new Marketing Performance Insights (MPI) tool, which seems more like a role-based dashboard for easy reporting on a selective group of KPIs - very useful, but not a full-featured marketing analytics solution.


The Significance of the Bizible Acquisition

Marketo can now justifiably claim a leadership position in marketing performance management. Marketo customers who adopt Bizible gain immediate access to better data and better reporting — and with greater ease. Bizible offers the following advantages:

  • Channel Tracking: Bizible is the only attribution tool I’m aware of that captures attribution data on the front end. It tracks digital channels out-of-the-box using a Google Analytics-style taxonomy that is familiar to almost all digital marketers.
  • It “Just Works”: Based on the half-dozen Bizible implementations I’ve participated in, the time-to-value is remarkably short. You can start collecting attribution data within a day by installing a managed package and placing a simple script on your web properties. A basic install requires no complex coding, no updates to forms, and there's no need for hundreds of attribution programs or campaigns.
  • Flexibility and Customizability: Bizible easily accommodates more complex requirements via multiple attribution models, ranging from simple to completely custom. And, you can even view all your Bizible data in a warehouse and integrate it within a broader business intelligence infrastructure.

Screenshot of Bizible's new "Discover" interface, also announced at Summit.



Bizible’s Impact on Marketo Customers

Will the acquisition of Bizible be an analytics game-changer for Marketo or another potentially-useful product add-on that is used by a relatively small percentage of the customer base? The answer, I believe, will primarily depend on cost.


At present, Bizible pricing is reportedly remaining about the same, which means there’s little immediate value for Marketo customers. Organizations interested in using Bizible will continue to do so with the only difference being where you send your payment.


However, if Marketo introduces a pricing model that makes acceptance a no-brainer — perhaps generous license discounts for Bizible adopters in exchange for longer overall Marketo contract lengths — then we might see a vast base of Marketo + Bizible users emerge. There's also the possibility for tighter integration between the two platforms, of course.


AI Enhancements

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the trend of the year, and Marketo is proactively responding. Marketo’s AI upgrades extend beyond a single product and include embedding machine-learning capabilities into an increasing number of areas across the platform. Current and planned features help users to find perfect customers (ICP Marketing), expand campaign audiences (AudienceAI) and enhance content relevance for customers based on prior content consumption patterns and topical interest. (ContentAI). Let’s take a deeper look at each one.


ICP Marketing


What it is: ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) helps you understand the audience you should be targeting by creating a profile of your “perfect” customer. Under the hood, it will be powered by Mintigo. With ICP, you’ll be able to feed a set of customers to analyze (either a smart list or static list) into a predictive model, which will then surface a set of customer attributes. After creating the model, you can fine-tune it, suppressing attributes that you believe are irrelevant or noise by assigning them a lower weighting. Finally, once your profile is defined, the model can assign your accounts a letter grade from A-D depending on how closely they match your ICP which also improves targeting and ABM prioritization.


What does it mean for customers? This type of look-alike profiling is already commonly available from predictive vendors, including Mintigo. It’s unclear if ICP introduces any capabilities that aren’t currently available from predictive vendors, and if a separate Mintigo subscription will be required. However, it’s possible that ICP represents a move to tighter native integration — perhaps one that doesn’t consume REST calls — not to mention other benefits that aren’t available with a third-party deployment. At this stage, we don’t have enough information to be sure.




What it is: While ICP Marketing focuses on defining the ideal customer for your business, AudienceAI goes a level deeper to help you discover look-alike audiences at the program level. To begin, identify your audience for a campaign. AudienceAI will then suggest similar records within the database to consider, charting attribute similarities between the original and expanded audience. After you run the campaign, reports will provide a performance break-out between the original and extended audience, allowing you isolate and analyze the results as well as qualify the net lift received.

What does it mean for customers?
Like most things AI, I suspect this feature is garbage in/garbage out, meaning that if your campaign is poorly targeted in the first place, the AudienceAI suggestions will be limited or even flawed. I also wonder if you can place overriding constraints on the expanded audience. For example, you probably don’t want to invite North American prospects to your event in the Netherlands, no matter how similar they are in other respects. That being said, if you are following engagement marketing best practices and sending carefully targeted messages to smaller segments, this could be a beneficial way to expand the reach of your campaigns without sacrificing relevance.





What it is
: ContentAI is a rebranded amalgam of predictive web content (an outgrowth of real-time personalization) and predictive email content. The feature will crawl and index your web content and then display it in defined widget areas on your website or in emails based on user interest and content consumption patterns.


What does it mean for customers? ContentAI is not a new Marketo feature, but it did receive renewed emphasis at Summit. Expect it to be promoted widely in the coming year.


***Updated*** AI Lists

What it is
: AI lists will automatically analyze the membership of a static list and provide insights on its members. Clicking on the "Clusters" button under list actions will initiate the analysis.


cluster button.jpg


Marketo will give access to a number of characteristics that you can evaluate when looking for similarities and the ability to exclude some that might not be relevant.


cluster analysis.jpg


After the analysis is complete, Marketo will display a list of "clusters," which are populations in the list membership that Marketo has grouped together based on common characteristics.



You can then go into each cluster and see details about what makes them similar.


cluster detail.jpg


What does it mean for customers? AI lists is an interesting addition, providing access to the intelligence of machine learning directly within the Marketo UI. This feature could enable marketers to better understand their audiences, surface interesting segments they hadn't considered before, build better targeted campaigns, and improve personalization.


It would be nice to see a broader range of attributes available for the cluster analysis, as I can imagine there will be important business-specific traits that companies would want to include.


Fully Adaptive Campaigns

The ultimate vision for AI in marketing automation encompasses fully adaptive campaigns and the ability to pre-select a person’s next touch automatically across multiple channels. We’ve heard this concept before at both Summit 2016 and 2017. Are we any closer to fruition? Perhaps, although I expect it will be several years before it becomes a reality, given the complexity of the task.


Sales and Marketing Alignment

As mentioned earlier, ToutApp is being rebranding as “Marketo Sales Engage” (MSE) with tighter integration to the Marketo platform. What can you expect?


Live Feed

MSE features a “live feed” of recent updates relevant to sales. Essentially, a salesperson can dock this feed at the side of their screen and see real-time updates of new prioritized leads, lead actions across web and email, and other sales and marketing touches. Think of it as a revamped “Best Bets” view from Marketo Sales Insight (MSI) except in a better container.



MSE also includes the ability for sales to put marketing leads into automated nurtures (called “Playbooks”) as well as assistance in writing semi-personalized, templated emails.


What does it mean for customers?

One of the challenges I’ve perceived with the ToutApp acquisition is that there hasn’t been a compelling reason for users of competing solutions in the category to make a switch.


However, the introduction of a consolidated live feed that includes both sales and marketing data in one place is intriguing. Data disintegration is frustrating to sales; they need a simple, clear place to get all their insights. Pitching MSE as a master sales enablement tool may be a key selling point, especially if Bizible touchpoint data is integrated. Looking ahead, MSE could also be the natural successor to the aging MSI product, which has been stagnant for years. Perhaps existing MSI seats could be swapped for MSE licenses? Just an idea, Marketo.


Platform Scale and Performance Improvements

For many years, Marketo’s platform has been on an extended journey to increase the scale and performance of its underlying platform, dating back to the Orion Project in 2016. In Q1 2018, we saw the launch of “Campaign V2,” intended to improve the speed of trigger execution. The rollout is underway now, continuing throughout the year.


Immediately following on the heels of Campaign V2, “Campaign V3” is also in the works, designed to improve the speed of batch campaign execution. In practical terms, this means that (for example) if you send an email to 1 million people, that audience will be chunked up and processed in parallel, enabling your emails to deliver significantly faster.


Campaign Performance Troubleshooting

Marketo is also shifting campaign control into the hands of the user with the goal of improving campaign performance. Features announced:


  • Campaign priority control: Allows the user to determine the priority of campaigns without the use of hacks to game the system. The engine will also automatically boost priorities of flow steps that are lingering in the queue.
  • Visualize campaign relationships: Complex campaign interrelationships (especially when using the Request Campaign flow step) can be challenging to visualize. Marketo plans to introduce a visual tool to see these relationships better, which one PM compared to a “transit map.”
  • Identify Campaign Hotspots: This sounds like an auditing tool that will allow you to zoom in on “expensive” flow steps and identify problems that are slowing down the system. Common culprits are flow steps with many conditional choices; with the campaign hotspots tool, you’ll know for sure.

CRM Integration

We all know, a smooth CRM integration is essential and have experienced the pains when it is not. These CRM-sync improvements may seem obscure, but they will make life significantly easier for companies with complex environments or who are migrating to a new CRM.


  • Disconnect and reconnect CRM: Traditionally, CRM integration via a native connector has been permanent. Integrating with a different CRM using a native connector required migrating to a new Marketo instance, a painful and costly process. With this new tool, you’ll be able to disconnect your instance and reconnect to your new CRM safely.
  • Custom timestamp for sync: Currently, the Salesforce (SFDC) integration looks at the standard SystemModStamp field to determine whether a record has changed and if syncing is necessary. The system has its flaws as some SFDC organizations are connected to external systems that generate a lot of noisy updates. Marketo’s new feature would allow admins to specify a custom ModStamp field controlled by custom business logic, to ensure the sync only inspects records that have a meaningful change.
  • Sandbox refresh support: If you have a Marketo sandbox integrated with a Salesforce sandbox, you know refreshing the SFDC sandbox can cause problems. The good news: Marketo is actively addressing this use case to provide better support in the future.

LaunchPoint Integrations

LaunchPoint is growing up! Expect the integration ecosystem to mature in some very significant ways, bringing Marketo closer to a Salesforce AppExchange-style environment — all welcome changes for LaunchPoint integrators and their customers. What will the updates address?


  • One-Click Installs: LaunchPoint partners will be able to configure a package of configuration changes in a partner sandbox environment and package them together. LaunchPoint customers will then be able to easily install this managed package into their instance, immediately creating all required fields, objects, and other configuration changes. The net result? This enhancement will greatly reduce the time-to-value for LaunchPoint partner and customer integrations.
  • Partner Flow Actions: Partner Flow Actions (PFAs) provide an easy way for integrators to create new first-class actions into your arsenal of flow steps. They are essentially nicely branded webhooks you can insert into a LaunchPoint package to remove the complexity and expose the configurability in the familiar flow canvas of a smart campaign. For example, instead of configuring a webhook to send a physical gift item to a prospect, you can now use the “Send PFL Item” flow — a much more user-friendly step for most users.

  • Partner Triggers/Filters: This feature functions the same as a PFA but for triggers and filters.


The Marketo product team has a lot to juggle. Scaling the platform for enterprise use, paying off technical debt, keeping on top of the latest trends, aligning the roadmap with revenue goals, and keeping a (sometimes demanding) group of power users happy — it’s not easy to balance those priorities.


For long-time customers, there’s much to celebrate in this roadmap. Marketo Sky, once it has its kinks ironed out, will deliver greater productivity and also hopefully increase the velocity for future improvements. Platform enhancements are a rising tide that lifts all boats. And a more mature LaunchPoint ecosystem is vital because it will continue to crowdsource innovation to the many smart integration partners building on the platform. All that’s good stuff.


On the other hand, many of the other new features just announced may seem tantalizingly out-of-reach for customers who can’t afford big increases in contract value to get shiny new toys. Long-time users regularly voice concerns about the percentage of new features that appear as paid add-ons as opposed to improvements to the core product.


Marketo needs to pursue a balanced strategy, and it’s a delicate negotiation between delighting passionate customers who use Marketo daily and want it to improve continually vs. introducing new product lines that support Marketo’s ongoing growth.

What’s your reaction to this year’s roadmap? Please chime in with your thoughts!


(Cross-posted from the Perkuto blog. For a retrospective of previous Summit product discussions, see our posts from 2015, 2016, and 2017.)

Whether you came to my talk on the Analytics that Matter at Summit 2018 or not,  the real key to understanding how First Touch and Multi Touch Attribution is calculated in Marketo lies in this document.  Or rather your post Summit 2018 homework. Yes . . . I was that kinda TA. What happens when you reach success after the opp is created?  What happens if a person is acquired after the opp is created by placed on the opp before it closes?  All those questions you have will be answered by doing these word problems. 

This is used in Program Analyzer, Performance Insights, and Advanced Report Builder (aka Revenue Explorer/RCE)


You don't need a Marketo login.

Just take this document.  The Key to Finally Understanding how FT and MT Attribution are Calculated

  1. Print it out.
  2. Book a room for yourself and anyone who wants to do math word problems together for 45 minutes.  (Think college study group) Heck, make it a party and order pizza, or take one of your marketing team meetings and do it together. 
  3. Grab a pencil.
  4. Do the exercises.


This will be the most important 45 minutes you will ever spend if you really want to understand how attribution is calculated in Marketo.  You don't even have to read the first 2-3 pages.  The important thing you need to know lies in these rules below and the 20 exercises in the workbook attached.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 1.21.28 PM.png

Note:  FT Rule #5 and MT Rule #4 are only applicable if you choose the Explicit setting. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 1.23.19 PM.png

Let me know how it goes.  Would love to hear what you guys think and if it was helpful. 

Post originally appeared on The Mind-Hive. If you're a Marketo Champion (current or alumni), we want to open source this effort and help elevate your expertise, brand championship, and overall mindshare. See the first post about the difference between a Hive-Mind and a Mind-Hive 


As I sit on the bus for my morning commute, with Mt Rainier looming over the freeway, I can't contain the motivation for writing this post. Marketo Summit 2018 is over, but I'm still feeling rippling aftershocks. Plenty of other folks will be writing more thorough recaps than I can hope to accomplish in the next 30 minutes, but I did want to share a few fun things.

Your #MarketoFu will be strong

During the Q&A for my session, someone (please comment so I can know your name) asked me flat out when I'd be making more Marketo-Fu videos. If you've missed these, there are 40 live, unedited training videos on YouTube to help new users get started and advanced users to keep ramping up the maturity curve. It needs to be said that I found it extremely humbling and gratifying that those videos have helped so many people. I had at least a couple dozen folks thank me for them or ask me if I was the same Joe from Marketo-fu. The dark-hearted consultant in me just died of happiness to know that a project born of laziness was actually useful. The original intent of Marketo-Fu was to not burn client hours on 30-minute calls to explain minutiae, like how to create user roles. It's the core tenet of marketing automation: anything you have to do more than once, you shouldn't have to do more ham once!    I'm still working through the details of where this new Marketo-Fu sandbox would need to exist, but I fully plan on new videos soon, and very soon. More tk...

#Krewechats are coming back!

Every year, the krewe is re-energized by what we learn at Summit, and the people we talk to. Last year, we stopped doing regular krewechats for a two reasons. First, a few of us had some big life changes, like moving across the country for AWS or finding out a little one was diagnosed with Leukemia (please send Dory Viscogliosi your love, her youngest is just as small and fierce as her template  ). Second - and just because we're being totally honest here - we didn't think it mattered. We had high hopes for getting Marketo's attention for creating a custom revvie award for that level of advocacy, but it didn't materialize. Fast-forward to this year, with the faces of Marketo HEROES blown up on 50 foot banners right on Mission street and throughout Moscone... well, it was reinvigorating. Our current plan is to meet monthly, with our first video being next week to do a full Summit debrief. Stay tuned for that chat! Maybe soon we could get Sarah Kennedy on one, since we're like besties now   

Life goal for Summit 2019: Gunning for Marketer of the Year

No one has ever accused me of doing things halfway. Between what I do as part of my job at AWS to train hundreds of Marketers to leverage our full tech stack to deliver measurable results for the business, to being a Marketo Champion, President of the Champion leadership committee, and Marketo-Fu/Krewechatter extraordinaire, I'm calling my shot and I'm taking aim. In 2019, I intend to win the Revvie award for Marketer of the Year, and I sincerely hope if you're reading this that you'll join me in this crusade and give me a run for the money!

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: