Skip navigation
All Places > Champion Program > Blog > 2019 > April

“Work it harder,

Make it better,

Do it faster,

Makes us stronger.”


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


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


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

Tip 1: Get Smart about Smart List Subscriptions


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


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


Other examples:

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


—Carey Picklesimer, Director of Consulting

Tip 2: Use the Awesome Features in Google Sheets

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


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


Use Checkboxes to Note Finished Elements

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

Employ Data Validation

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


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

Conditional Formatting Shows At-A-Glance Status

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


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


—Hilary German, Consultant


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

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


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


Should you be concerned?


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


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

CCPA - The Basics

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


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


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

Organizations Impacted by CCPA

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


The criteria include:

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

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

Data Covered Under CCPA

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

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


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


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

CCPA Penalties

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


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


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


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


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

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


adobe clouds


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


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


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


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



Branding Changes

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


Marketo Engage

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


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


Adobe Sensei

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


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


Microsoft + LinkedIn Partnership

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

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


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

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

Read more at the Adobe news release.


Marketing Activities

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


Event Program Registration Cap

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


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




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


Event Program Goals

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


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



Predictions and Recommended Actions

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


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



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



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



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


Predictive Smart List Filters

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


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



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


Program Member Custom Fields

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


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


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



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


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


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


Journey View

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


Sky’s the Limit

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


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


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


Platform and Performance Improvements

Trigger Campaigns

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


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


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


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


Batch Campaigns

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


Smart List “Contains” Optimization

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


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


CRM Integrations

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


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


Account-Based Experiences (ABX)

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


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


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


Ad Integrations

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


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


Marketo Sales Apps

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


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


Additional possible improvements include:


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

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


Design Studio

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


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

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

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

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

Drift Partnership

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


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


More Resources

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



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


Cross-posted from the Perkuto blog.

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


Marketo Instance Set up Checklist

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


Marketo Docs

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


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

Setting up your channels: Channels need to be set up before you do anything in Marketo from a marketing activities and program stand point so start here

Lead Sourcing: Nice to have this set up before you get going to really understand where your new leads are coming from.

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


Marketo FU Videos

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


Marketo Community

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


Join a Local or Virtual Marketo User Group

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


New Customer Onboarding Email Series

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

Sign Up for Marketo Jumpstart 


Adobe/Marketing Nation Summit 2019 Session Recordings

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

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: