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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

https://docs.marketo.com/display/public/DOCS/Setup+Steps

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. 

https://docs.marketo.com

 

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 https://nation.marketo.com/videos/2478

Lead Sourcing: Nice to have this set up before you get going to really understand where your new leads are coming from.  https://nation.marketo.com/videos/2437

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.  https://youtu.be/uJlNfVGz8Ew

 

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

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR1gLMRmt-snX0zMWVQB7Vw

 

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. 

https://engage.marketo.com/UserGroupSignUp.html?utm_campaign=community

 

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. 

https://engage.marketo.com/Marketo-Jumpstart-Sign-Up.html

 

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

https://summit.adobe.com/na/summit-online/

It’s happened to all of us who use Marketo. We’ve gone through the training, we work in the platform and we feel like we have a pretty good grasp on the most effective way to handle campaigns. And then one day, a colleague comes along and says, “Hmmm, why are you doing it that way? You should just do it like this!”

 

And in that aha moment, we’re working smarter, not harder. That one little tip that seems so common sense to our coworker or colleague can completely transform the way we tackle a task in Marketo. Insights like these can save us valuable time and stress.

 

So what are some of the best Marketo hacks--the best ways to save time and use Marketo more effectively? Here are some suggestions to get you started, and, I welcome your contributions as well!

 

  1. If you have a webinar or event with multiple emails in support of them (such as several invite emails), use Email Send channel emails within the program. These can act as nested programs and allow you to have program level tokens (such as event details and description), as well as email program tokens, such as custom tokens that might change within each specific emails, such as tracking links.

 

  1. Include the form embed code within the form name. If the form embed code is 1590, name the form ‘CONTACT-FORM-1590.’

 

  1. Here’s a great tip from the Perkuto email editor guide about pasting content that will save a lot of time. When copying and pasting content into your email, simply use [SHIFT+CTRL+V] on a PC or [SHIFT+CMD+V] on a Mac to get perfect results.

 

  1. One of the most efficient ways to cut down on build time of a program that remains pretty consistent from month-to-month is creating a folder in your Marketing Activities and building a program template for each type of program you build on a frequent basis—whether that’s a newsletter, webinar, or live event. On top of that, and to really increase efficiency, you can add program level My Tokens that can include anything from an email address all the way to email body copy. Editing these at the program level in a My Token allows you to edit everything in one place and never really have to worry about going directly into the asset itself to edit.

 

  1. Use snippets and tokens in your emails. Snippets make great footers! And remember to always check the text version, too--that goes for both the emails and the snippet.

 

  1. Include tokens in your scoring campaigns.

 

  1. Having a master email template with a large range of modules that you can turn into multiple smaller templates saves you time and helps streamline templates.

 

  1. If you edit an email template or landing page template and you need to update existing emails or landing pages associated with the template, go into Design Studio, click on "emails" or "landing pages," sort the list from A-Z for templates, and find the template you edited. Click to select the email or landing page row, hold shift and click to highlight all the emails or landing pages associated to the template, and click approve to mass approve landing pages or emails.

 

  1. If you ever need to check the status of the Marketo-SFDC integration, this "backdoor" Marketo link can be a lifesaver! https://app-sjh.marketo.com/supportTools. All you need to do is replace the character(s) after app-sj with characters unique to your instance, for example [http://app-sjxyz.marketo.com/supportTools]

 

  1. Before building reports in Marketo or Bizible, it’s essential to be crystal clear on your goals, the questions you’re trying to answer or the problems you’re attempting to solve. What story do you want to tell? What decisions will be made as a result? Too often these fundamentals are poorly thought out ending in frustration and incremental time spent on generating new reports.



Is there a Marketo tip or hack that have saved you time (or saved your sanity?) By all means, please share in the comments! And if you’re interested in the Email Editor 2.0 Guide referenced in one of the tips, you may download a free copy on Perkuto’s website.

Hey there #MKTGNation!

 

You're talking about it, your boss is talking about it, and you're clutching your purple swag to your heart as the shadow of the big red machine looms overhead. Adobe has acquired Marketo for a cool $4.75 billion as of September 20th - but what does this mean for you, your company and our beloved Marketo? We got the gang back together to discuss our take on the acquisition and what this will mean for Marketo and us as B2B Marketers. I cannot emphasize enough that we don't have any insider information that you can't access on the internet, this is just our take on what we've heard so far.

 

Overall, we are all really excited about what this change will bring, and looking forward to seeing Marketo invest more and more into its core platform!

 

Watch on Youtube

 

We want to hear from you! What is your take on the acquisition? And more importantly, what swag are you hoping to snag from Purple Select before it's gone!

 

Joe Reitz Andy Varshneya Geoff Krajeski Jessica Kao

This post details some of the tactics I presented at the Marketing Nation Summit this year, the slides can be found here: Cut me some Slack! Leveraging The Slack API With Marketo Webhooks And Bots

 

Slack is a powerful tool for communication and collaboration. I think it's safe to say that the most of us have at least used Slack at one workplace if not on a daily basis. With the many useful integrations built by other tools we use, we have access to all useful information in one place and it's great at replacing tedious email threads.

 

A couple years back, I discovered the Incoming Webhooks integration from my previous colleague Henri Syvänen at Avaus and it gave an amazing opportunity for sending relevant lead alerts to Slack channels where teams could monitor the most interesting touchpoints Marketo was processing.

 

Starting with a fresh Marketo instance last year, we quickly got to setting up relevant alerts for marketing & sales to keep people in the loop of what Marketo helps us with how we can track high-intent conversions in the funnel:

 

marketo-alerts-across-funnel.png

Overview of Slack alerts across lead lifecycle stages

 

Although very insightful with alerts split up in different Slack channels, it was easy to miss/forget interesting leads in MQL alerts. I was setting up a few API integrations with other tools we use and got quite interested in how Slack apps work and the possibility of creating smarter alerts that were interactive to push data back to Marketo from Slack - the way an "integration" should work.

 

How the Slack API works

I'm not going to get into the Incoming Webhooks setup too much except for the fact that Slack gives you a "hooks.slack.com..." URL to POST to using your Marketo Webhook and Slack handles the rest, basically as a static message in Marketo.

 

incoming-webhooks-post.png

Incoming Webhooks post with a whole chunk of formatting in text field and "ok" response from Slack

 

Now, using the Slack API to post a message allows you to specify which channel to post to in the payload along with the opportunity of adding interactive components like buttons, menus and (quite recently) custom actions. This is how it flow of data looks like:

 

 

slack-marketo-flow-of-data.png

Payload, Slack post and Response using API

 

 

What's interesting about this setup is that when Slack receives the data it responds with the whole message and some other parameters like the timestamp/id (ts) of the message, that can be mapped to a Marketo field in the webhook's settings. The ts value would allow Marketo to interact with the original message, for example adding a thread comment with more data:

 

 

thread-comment-slack.png

 

Creating your own Slack app

What you'll need for this setup is to create your own Slack app and the great thing is that you can keep it in your internal workspace. Once your app is created, what you'll need is to set up is a bot user + permissions to post using a Bearer token in the header of your posts.

 

I have covered a detailed guide on this part here: Configuring a Slack app for use with Marketo

 

Posting using the Slack API

With all app settings ready, the app will be able to post to Slack through its bot user. This is basically the same as a normal Slack user posting, the bot needs to be invited to the channel it posts in and the channel ID needs to be specified in the payload as attachments.

 

The two part post from above is created using two webhooks and a wait step where the ts value is used to refer to the first webhook's posted message:

 

 

two-part-webhook.png

Using Marketo for formatting data

 

For those interested, I have put together a detailed guide on structuring webhook posts: Structuring Marketo webhooks to post via Slack API

 

It's quite easy to get into a disaster use case of either having (1) too much text in alerts with default values or (2) creating 20 different webhooks. Marketo knows what data is available and can be told what to actually post before calling a webhook.

 

One method that works quite well is creating a webhook template that is tokenized and defines all relevant data on the program / campaign level:

 

 

slack-payload-template-1.png

 

This webhook defines the Slack Channel ID and the title/pretext of the message using My Tokens and uses a custom field called Slack_Contact Details for preparing data before posting to Slack by running through a whole list of Change Data Value flow steps with choices:

 

 

Slack-post-flow-steps.png

 

What this can translate to in Slack is either using one webhook for multiple types of posts or simply removing fields when they're empty:

 

comparison-two-different-posts.png

 

Interactive components and passing data back to Marketo

When first testing this, I was tempted to use one button next to MQL alerts, but it seemed a bit risky if people get tempted to press it. Instead I opted for putting in a bit more work and adding a menu with three different choices to start: Disqualifying, Adding as contact (claiming) and Creating a deal/opportunity.

 

Adding interactive components to Slack requires a URL for Slack to post to. Contrary to "hopeful beliefs", you can't really configure so much from Slack's end and it's up to you to decide what to do with the data. This underlying process of sending data back to Marketo is configured with a tool called Integromat that I personally prefer over Zapier. Both tools work great if you're not very technical and posting to your own server.

 

How this type of setup looks like:

Slack-Qualification.gif

 

 

Underlying workflow for passing data back to Marketo

 

Integromat's webhook URL is added in the Slack app's settings and once a request is made, the JSON is parsed to grab the important values:

 

  • The ts value for updating the originating message
  • The action value from the drop-down menu for sending to Marketo
  • The lead's attributes for knowing who to update
  • The ID of the Slack user who took action to know who claimed/disqualified the lead

 

api-workflow-slack-marketo.png

The integromat scenario for receiving data from Slack

 

 

Integromat authenticates through the Marketo REST API and receives an authentication token. The lead's information is retrieved from Marketo using the token and Integromat syncs the data (points above) on the lead. After this is done, the originating message is updated with three different values based on what the action was that mentioned (1) What the action was, (2) Who took an action (3) Who the lead was.

 

For a more detailed guide on this part, I wrote up a post here: Sending data back to Marketo from Slack

 

 

marketo-triggered-workflow.png

 

Once Marketo receives the data, this triggers flow steps to update the revenue cycle stage along with details on the lead owner before running more actions to sync the lead to CRM and as a final step... Comment on the original slack message's thread mentioning the user and attaching a link to CRM to the Contact or Opportunity depending on what was chosen - in best case scenarios this takes 15 seconds to run through the whole flow.

 

I hope this was insightful and helpful for anyone interested in building something similar!

 

Best,
Erik

Hey, #MKTGnation!

 

Summer's (kind of?) over, the PSLs are flowing, and the gang got back together to answer the top questions we hear every day on the job. I may or may not have ranted just a little.

 

Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Why is Marketo broken? (ie: the one that makes my eye twitch)
  • How mature is my Marketo instance?
  • Why does it take so long to change a template? (spoiler: we have different definitions of "templates")
  • Do I actually know how to troubleshoot? (Okay, this one isn't a real question but we cover why it's crucial to understand troubleshooting in our jobs)

 

 

What are the most common questions YOU receive about Marketo (or your job)? Are there common ones you've been able to stop from popping up time and time again? Any pet peeve questions?

 

Sydney Mulligan Enrico Deleon Juli James

3rd and final part of this series!

 

Building nurture programs can be a daunting task. But with the right guide, you can turn an afternoon into an email experience your prospects will never forget! Before we begin, we need to define a few terms:

 

  • An Engagement Program is a specific kind of program that allows a marketer to send content to a specific audience based on an ongoing basis.
  • A stream is a category of content that lives within an Engagement Program. Marketo users can set up rules to tell an Engagement Program which stream members of their audience should be in.
  • Casts occur when Engagement Programs send content to a qualified audience within a nurture stream.
  • In an Engagement Program, each stream has a cadence. The cadence is the predetermined schedule for each cast.


If you only have one Engagement Program, this will be relatively simple. But don’t fear, if you plan on having multiple engagement programs, we’ll also walk you through the process of setting up a Traffic Controller so you can manage all of your nurture subscriptions in one place. Let’s start by building our first nurture program.
First, we need to define a few components of our Engagement Program:

  • Who are we emailing?
  • When/how often are we emailing them?
  • What are we emailing them about?
  • Bonus: What is the journey we want to walk them through?


Now we can start building! In this example, we’ll answer these questions with the following sample information.

  • Who are we emailing? People in our Lead Lifecycle
  • When/how often are we emailing them? Once a week, on Wednesdays at 9am
  • What are we emailing them about? Our brand, based on their place in the Lead Lifecycle
  • What is the journey we want to walk them through? The buyer journey: from TOFU to BOFU

 

To start, create an Engagement Program. For a detailed setup process, see Marketo’s Engagement Program implementation guide.

 

Within this program, create a new Email Send Default Program for each email that will live in the nurture program. Each Email Send program should have the following assets:Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.15.19 PM.png

 

Sometimes, it will be necessary to prevent certain people from receiving emails within a stream. For example, if John Doe has already downloaded the Education Whitepaper, he doesn’t need to get the Education Email pointing to that whitepaper. Here’s how to keep John from receiving that email.

 

Find the Default Email Program Channel in the Admin section. Edit this channel by adding a “Nurture Excluded” program membership status:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.15.37 PM.png

If a lead is already a member of a nested program, Marketo will skip that program and go to the next one in the stream. We will use this fact to exclude John Doe from the Education Whitepaper send.

In each nested program, add an _Excluded Smart Campaign.

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.16.39 PM.png

The Smart List of the _Exclude campaign identifies anyone who should be excluded:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.17.18 PM.png

 

By making viewers of this assets members of the nested program, they will be excluded from this email:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.17.45 PM.png

 

And that’s it!

 

 

Setting up multiple engagement programs? Consider building a Nurture Traffic Controller to help leads get the right content.

Create an operational Program - this will be your Nurture Traffic Controller. In this program, build a Smart List with which you will define your Nurture Target Audience. This generic list should include any leads who qualify for any Engagement Program. Think marketable leads.

 

Additionally, create a new Smart List for each Engagement Program target audience. For example, an Engagement Program targeting software companies might have a target Smart List for leads with Software as their industry.

 

A new Smart Campaign will add new qualified names to the correct nurture program:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.14 PM.png

 

To build the Flow, reference the the Smart Lists for each nurture target audience to tell Marketo which Engagement Program to use.

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.33 PM.png

 

Schedule this to run regularly before each nurture cast.

 

Sometimes, our nurture strategies rely on having sparsely-populated data. Think about our industry example. If Jane Doe is added to the system without an industry, she would go into a generic Engagement Program. But two months later, when her industry is identified as Software, we want to add her to the Software Engagement Program.

 

First, define transition rules: what criteria determine whether someone is qualified for a new stream? Luckily, we already defined this earlier, when we built our Engagement Program target audience smart lists! These can be used to migrate leads into the correct nurture programs.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.51 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.55 PM.png

 

What is going on in that first flow step?

 

The Smart List referenced in Choice 1 determines whether someone is in a different Engagement Program already. If they are, we need to pause them! Here’s how to know:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.19.28 PM.png

 

Schedule the Smart Campaign to run on the same schedule as the first campaign.

 

Now your traffic controller is complete, and you can rest assured knowing your leads are getting relevant content.

Marketo says companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost.
That is reason enough to kick off a nurture strategy!

 

With personalization the new norm, we have a brilliant opportunity to engage prospects way beyond the unimpressive “Hello, [first name].” In this day and age, tokenized emails tell the recipient, “we have your information in our database,” and nothing more. Instead, show your prospects that you care about their interests by delivering content specifically chosen for them.

How?

Step One: Identify your most impactful topics.

Start with the people that have already engaged with you in the past, and determine what pieces of content they engage with the most? Once you identify your most engaging pieces of content, determine the commonality amongst them. Define categories based on subject.

For example, a company that sells marketing software might have pieces that revolve around Account-Based Marketing, Sales/Marketing Alignment, and Inbound Marketing, while a company selling household appliances may have content focused on small appliances, major appliances, and energy-efficient products. If you don’t have a content matrix already defined, this is a great opportunity to develop one!

Step Two: Determine behaviors that indicate interest in these topics.
Create a chart of all your landing pages, emails, banner ads, social posts, and direct mail pieces that correlate to topics identified in Step One. This information allows us to segment our audience based on interest. For example, if someone clicks on an advertisement for a dishwasher, we can add them to our “Major Appliances” segment

Step Three: Develop your content.
Now that you know which topics perform best, you can develop or repurpose content based on these subject matters. The more topics you identify, the more personalized you can get. When writing new content, keep in mind that just because someone may have clicked a link in a email, they aren’t necessarily ready to buy. Start out with educational pieces, and work your way up to more aggressive CTAs.

If you’re repurposing content, run a report to highlight which pieces of content perform the best and deliver those assets first.Quick tip: you can change the subject line in an email and re-send it to anyone who hasn’t opened it and double the number of emails you have in a nurture stream!

Step Four: Build the Marketo program.
Build a Marketo Engagement Program and add your new emails. Build a different stream for each topic, and add your content accordingly. Next, adjust your smart campaign to add anyone who exhibits behaviors identified in Step Two (also consider creating a global nurture controller, which will identify which leads belong to your various nurture programs). Now we can set up our transition rules to automatically shift someone’s stream as they exhibit qualifying behavior.

 

In our next blog post we will cover a technical deep-dive, stay tuned!

Please join Kevin Weisenberger and me as we kick off the Healthcare Virtual MUG in September!

 

Join us using the event link here: https://nation.marketo.com/events/2557-healthcare-mug-meeting-920 and be sure to share with others who could benefit.

 

Suggestions and recommendations for what you as a community would like to see are always welcomed.

Also, if you would like to be an upcoming speaker let us know.

 

We will try to keep a quarterly or bi-monthly cadence.

 

When done correctly, lead nurturing is a simple method for engaging leads by delivering content to prospects and customers in a way that optimizes engagement and leaves everyone happy. From an operations point of view, “nurture” is defined by a standard set of emails delivered to a lead. Emails are sent regularly and are intended to accelerate brand awareness and engagement. Marketo’s Engagement Programs are designed for this exact purpose.

Before kicking off a new nurture track, it needs to be backed by an engagement strategy. These days, marketing is personalized, and prospects expect everyone to be on the personalization bandwagon. Don’t know where to begin? Start by looking at your buyer journey.

It’s a lot easier than it sounds! Think about buying a car. You’re going along with your daily life and suddenly your transmission blows. Or your best friend rolls into town n a bright, shiny Lexus and you think to yourself, “I’d look pretty good in one of those.” Maybe you see a commercial for the 2019 Jeep Wrangler and the thought of off-roading in the countryside with your pup by your side makes your heart beat just a little faster. This is what’s called the Awareness stage (or in marketing terms, the top of the funnel).

When leads are in the awareness stage, it’s prime time to send them emails with information that makes them think, “yeah, I could use that!” Content in this stage should focus on pain points, brand awareness, and thought leadership. In this phase, potential buyers are just learning about who you are and what you do, and it’s essential to make a good impression.

Next we get to the fun part – the Evaluation stage. They’ve decided they want to buy a car, but now they’re trying to decide which car to buy. Now it’s time to say, “our car is the best car, and here’s why!” Send them stories of other customers who bought cars and loved them. As a follow-up, send a calculator that demonstrates how much money they’ll save in gas if they switch. This phase is grounded in information that makes your product stand out among all of your competitors. Here’s where to send case studies, product overviews, and interactive tools.

Now that they’ve bought in, it’s time to get them to seal the deal. This is the bottom of the funnel – the Decision stage. They’re going to drive to the dealership and test drive the car. They speak to a salesperson who tells them all of the really cool features that make this car unique. But they’re not fully convinced that this investment will pay out. For clients to be happy, sellers need to help them to make the most informed decisions. So here’s where we jump in and help them decide whether the investment is worthwhile. At this stage, content gets more aggressive. Instead of sending “feel-good” messaging, focus on direct CTAs such as “Watch a Live Demo,” “Sign Up for a Free Trial” or “Schedule a Meeting.”

Now it’s up to sales to close the deal, and we can rest assured knowing that we’re leaving our prospects in good hands.

Follow along for more in this series!

When building out various components of a demand generation strategy within Marketo, testing is an area that can often be overlooked. It’s tedious and time-consuming and not always the most exciting task, but the more complex the logic is within a component, the more important testing becomes. Something as simple as a missed flow step or incorrect trigger may have downstream implications that impact the accuracy of your team’s reporting, sales processes, or even external user experience. It’s much easier to catch and fix errors prior to going live than to attempt to trouble-shoot, fix and clean up data within live programming. A solid testing plan will help you do this.

 

What Should I Be Testing?

The answer here is – everything you build. This may include (but is not limited to) lead lifecycle programming, lead scoring, lead nurturing, channel tracking programming, data management programming, email compliance (CASL/GDPR) flows, integrations, and user-facing assets such as emails, landing pages and forms.

 

Testing Best Practices

Creating Scenarios

When you're testing a piece of programming, you'll want to make sure you're testing all possible scenarios that could happen to a record within that flow to ensure nothing is falling through the cracks. The best way to do this is to create a spreadsheet that lists out all of these scenarios, the starting attributes a record should have for each scenario, the test steps or updates you'll need to make to a record to simulate a scenario, and the end result that should happen if everything works properly. Include columns where you list the test record you used for each test, pass/fail, and any notes for failures. Remember to include edge cases, and not just perfect path scenarios.

 

 

Test Record Format

A standard naming convention for your test records is useful for several reasons. First, you'll want to be able to easily differentiate test records from live data if you're doing you're testing in a Marketo production instance rather than a sandbox. Second, for documentation purposes it’s good to have a way to quickly associate a test record with a particular scenario, especially if you're testing complex logic that requires multiple rounds of testing, fixes and re-testing. Our team uses the following standard format for our test records:

 

First Name: [tester first initial][tester last initial][yyyymmdd]-[numerical designation]

Last Name: Test

Email: [tester first initial][tester last initial][yyyymmdd]-[numerical designation]@test.com

Company: Test

 

So, for example:

 

Be sure to take into consideration any required fields as well as starting data attributes that are needed for your scenarios.

 

Testing in Production

Sometimes it will be necessary to test programming in a Marketo production instance rather than a sandbox. When you do this, you'll want to be cognizant of the fact that there may be live data, reporting or routing in place. There are a several measures you can take to mitigate the impact of your testing in a production instance:

  • When you build your Marketo programming in your production instance, add an extra filter to all of your Smart Campaigns so that only records with email addresses ending in @test.com can flow through, ensuring live data does not enter your flows before you're ready.
  • If your programming contains wait steps or time-based actions, reduce these to be a shorter amount of time if needed, to expedite testing.
  • If you are testing programming that lives completely in Marketo and is separate from any programming or processes that live in an integrated CRM, it may be useful to keep your test records within Marketo and not sync them to your CRM, if possible. If you have a centralized Smart Campaign that syncs records to a CRM either at creation or when certain attributes become populated, you could add a filter here for “Email Address NOT contains ‘@test.com’”.
  • If you do need to sync test records over to your CRM, consider suppressing @test.com domains from any lead routing or alerts you have built. If this isn't an option, communicate your testing plan to the users who are at the receiving end of those lead assignments or alerts.
  • Consider adding filters to reports or dashboards that your team leverages, to suppress records with @test.com domains.

 

Documenting Test Results

Documentation is an important part of the testing process. It helps you keep track of your progress, and down the road if something breaks you'll have a documented history of when it was working, which can help with trouble-shooting. As you go through your test scenarios, mark off each pass and fail. For the failures, make note of what went wrong. When you complete your scenarios, go back to the failures and determine what fix is needed, then re-test afterward, indicating the passes and failures for the additional rounds within the same spreadsheet. If you're testing programming that was built by someone else, look for trends around what’s failing to summarize for the builder, to help them identify where an error might have occurred in their programming.

 

Testing Tips for Common Components

Below are some testing tips for common components that you may have built or are planning to incorporate into your Marketo infrastructure.

 

Lead Scoring

When you design and implement lead scoring, it’s a good practice to test out your scoring model itself prior to building it in Marketo. This is particularly important if you have score thresholds aligned to certain stages of your Revenue Cycle Modeler. Run some tests to make sure that if someone does a certain amount of activities, or submits your progressive form a certain number of times, they accumulate enough behavioral points from the activities and demographic points from data entered via form submission to reach the score threshold for the stage you consider them to be in. Check your math. If you document your scoring model in a spreadsheet, you can create Excel formulas to quickly sum up a person’s score when you simulate various activities.

 

Once you finalize your scoring model and build it in Marketo, you'll need to test all of your triggers and flows. Ensure the correct amount of points are being appended to your demographic, behavioral, and total lead score fields as defined in your scoring model. If you're building multiple scoring models, ensure the correct score fields are leveraged throughout each build.

 

Revenue Cycle Modeler

Before you build your RCM, it’s a good practice (and not just for testing purposes) to document the criteria a record must possess to move into each stage – scoring thresholds and any field attributes. When you're creating your RCM test scenarios you can use this as a guideline. You should test every trigger and flow step within each Smart Campaign that is leveraged in your RCM logic. Consider any skip or turn-back logic you have incorporated, where a person can move from one stage to a non-subsequent stage. If your RCM listens for contacts to be added to opportunity records in your CRM, then you'll want to simulate this behavior within your CRM (if you're testing an RCM in a Marketo production instance, be aware of implications this will have in your CRM production instance). Testing an RCM is often more time-consuming than building it.

 

 

Channel Tracking Programs

It’s likely that your team is leveraging Marketo Programs, channels and triggered Smart Campaigns in some capacity to capture content interactions across various engagement channels. A common approach to this also involves a URL querystring strategy so that a single landing page can be promoted across channels. Anytime you build a new tracking program it’s best to visit the corresponding URL with querystring, submit the form, and ensure the correct Smart Campaigns are triggering, and appropriate actions are then taken to the newly created record (depending on your architecture this may be data value updates, a confirmation email, and/or a Marketo Program status update).

 

 

One-off Batch Email Sends

Run a test record through each Smart Campaign used within your Marketo Program. Ensure Marketo Program Status updates, wait steps and re-sends are all happening as intended. If you're using filter logic, run some checks to ensure there are no errors here. Before you schedule your batch campaign make sure that the number of people expected to run through the Smart Campaign is in line with what you'd expect, and ensure your Smart Campaign settings are correct.

 

 

Automated Outbound Nurture

Whether you're leveraging Marketo Engagement Programs to house your nurture logic, or building “from scratch” with traffic cops, watchdogs, and wait steps, you should be sure to test all logic that moves people into, out of, and within your nurture program. Ensure that only the people you want nurtured are able to flow in, and make sure that if a person’s data profile changes then they are moved to the correct new spot within the nurture program, or out of nurture completely. Furthermore, ensure that the correct emails are being sent at the correct points in time, and that interactions with the promoted content in those emails are accurately tracked. You'll also want to test the emails themselves – send tests to designated people on your team to ensure links are correct, and everything renders appropriately.

Just when you thought the topic of GDPR might settle down, it’s still hot news. A little more than a month after the enforcement date, big names are reported for compliance violations, major US publishers block European visitors, and data privacy measures get a little closer to home.

Forced Consent Complaints

It wasn’t much past midnight on GDPR’s official enforcement date when the first complaints were filed. Apparently, tech giants make for easy targets with a slew of complaints filed against Google and Facebook, claiming forced consent. In other words, both platforms require users to give “all or nothing” consent in order to use their respective software vs. parsing data consent areas and allowing users to provide individual consent for each use. Similar complaints have since been filed against Apple, Amazon and LinkedIn. Are the violations legitimate? All are still pending; no resolution or fines have been assessed.

Blocked Media Sites

Some major US publishers have taken a different route to GDPR compliance by blocking EU visitors entirely. The Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune are two of the bigger media companies blocking EU visitors due to non-compliance of ad targeting practices. Other publishers, including USA Today, are displaying non-targeted ads while Meredith and The Washington Post have started asking permission to new site terms to view their sites, including an upsell ad-free option. Publishers—particularly The Los Angeles Times—need to get this figured out as the data privacy landscape is about to get even more complicated.

The Golden State Adopts GDPR-Like Legislation

Barely one month after GDPR went into effect, California Governor Jerry Brown signed The California Consumer Privacy Act, aimed at protecting the data privacy rights of California residents. Much like GDPR, California’s act seeks to give consumers more control over personal data usage, including the right to know how data will be used, what data is being collected and sold, and the right for complete data deletion. The bill, still in early stages, will likely be amended before the enforcement date of January 1, 2020. And if you think this is just hype or California making noise, keep in mind California was the initiator of anti-spam email statutes, later to be replaced by the federal legislation we now know as the CAN-SPAM Act. Privacy legislation is coming to United States—be prepared!

GDPR—Still on the Radar

In just the first month of enforcement, we’ve seen complaints filed, organizations suspending service to Europeans, and copy-cat legislation emerge. The bottom line in all of this is, best data practices need to be our baseline standard. GDPR’s enforcement date is just the beginning; taking proactive measures now will ensure you’re prepared for new legislation, without interruption to your business operations. Recommended reading:

 

How to Avoid a €20 Mistake with your Data: Tips for ensuring your database is clean, junk records removed, and country data normalized.

 

Requirements for Consent – What You Need to Know: Understand what GDPR requires for consent plus how it compares to CASL requirements.

 

And of course, leave your comments below and together, we’ll support each other through another round of compliance preparations.

 

 

As originally published on the Perkuto blog.

Sometimes I think asking, “Which attribution model do you prefer and why?” would be a great (marketing) conversation starter. From single-touch to complex regression-based analysis, some marketers are passionate about a particular method while others are still contemplating which is the best option. The topic sparks an interesting discussion.

 

Of course, all models are simplified approximations of an infinitely complex reality, and, no attribution model is perfect. Attribution models attempt to estimate the influence of your various marketing campaigns on human behavior that is unpredictable, irrational and fluid in nature. There’s no way of actually knowing that your white paper or webinar was responsible for 33% of the purchasing decision and therefore should receive a third of the credit. But, even with the flaws of attribution, applying the appropriate model, understanding the data it’s generating, and applying the directional insights will help you make better marketing decisions.

 

In this post, we’ll explore the different models and why you might use each one.

 

Getting Started with Attribution

 

Before settling in on a particular attribution model, assessing your needs and being realistic about what you want to accomplish will assist in your model decision.

 

  • What questions are you trying to answer? Contribution to revenue, pipeline value, understanding your sales cycle from the first touch to deal closed, which efforts are most impactful, why leads aren’t converting to sales—what do you need answered to sharpen your marketing plan and align reporting with your organization’s objectives?
  • Is your sales cycle simple or complex? Do you have a lot of marketing efforts or only a few?
  • What’s attainable for your organization? Do you have the appropriate tools in place? Are you just starting with attribution or are you more experienced?

 

Once you know what you want to achieve, then you can select a model that’s appropriate for you. (And I should note, unless otherwise stated below, all models discussed are as defined within Bizible’s platform.)

 

First-Touch Model

 

Stemming from the philosophy that a sale cannot happen if a customer doesn’t know you exist, a first-touch model applies 100% of attribution credit to the first tracked marketing interaction, which may occur before the person even enters your marketing database. The model itself is simple, and data analysis is less complicated. In a simple sales cycle with a quick or transactional sale, it’s very easy to see marketing effectiveness and contribution to revenue. The challenge with a first-touch model is data collection, because you need a way to capture and store the anonymous first touch and then associate it with the person when they eventually enter your lead database. You can solve for this challenge with custom tracking script and Bizible tracks this out of the box.

 

In more complex sales cycles, first-touch attribution acknowledges the brand awareness stage, highlighting which of your early marketing efforts were most successful at attracting new customers to your product or service. If you seek to gain insight into top-of-funnel activity, then a first-touch model can be useful in providing answers. If you want to know marketing influence in later stages of your sales cycle, a first-touch model falls short as it only tells part of the story by overvaluing early-stage efforts and ignoring subsequent campaigns.

 

Lead Creation Model

 

Going beyond brand awareness, a lead creation model attributes 100% credit at the point a customer is interested enough to provide contact information and essentially, becomes a “lead.” For example, if a customer visits your website three times and on the fourth occasion, completes a form for more information, the marketing effort that drove the fourth visit would receive 100% of revenue credit. The philosophy here is the campaign that converted a prospect to a lead is the most significant. Many organizations often start with a lead creation model because it provides an excellent introduction to attribution and the set-up is relatively straightforward.

 

Like first-touch, this single touch, simple model does not provide a good representation of longer and more complex sales cycles; for that, you need a multi-touch model.

 

Evenly-Split/Linear Model

 

A Linear or Evenly-Split model gives equal weight to every touchpoint with the rationale that every marketing effort is essential to moving a prospect through the sales pipeline. The challenge with this model is it oversimplifies the marketing process and fails to take into account the context of when the interaction occurred when giving credit.

 

For example, let’s say a person enters your database, consumes a few blog posts and then - a few months later - attends a VIP dinner and soon after is added to a new opportunity. With an evenly-split model, the casual content consumption that did not occur in proximity to any meaningful funnel event would get the same amount of credit as the high-touch dinner that likely made a much bigger impact on the sale. If you relied on this model exclusively, you might easily draw some inaccurate conclusions about relative channel importance.

 

Nevertheless, a Linear model can still provide some insight into which marketing programs are impactful. If you are tracking attribution using Marketo and Revenue Explorer, this is the only multi-touch option available.

 

U-Shaped Model

 

U-Shape is a simple multi-touch model that distributes credit between the early-stage touches to provide a more balanced view of which channels are generating new names in your database. In this multi-touch model, 50% of the weight is assigned to the  first touch and 50% to the lead creation touch. The philosophy behind it is to emphasize lead generation while also sharing credit between the various touches required to grow your database. For this reason, I prefer it over either a First-Touch or Lead Creation single-touch model for evaluating lead generation activities.

 

W-Shaped Model

 

W-Shaped Model

 

A W-shaped model is very similar to a U-shaped model except it acknowledges a third milestone, opportunity creation. Each primary stage of the sales cycle, first touch, lead creation and opportunity creation, is attributed with 30% of revenue and the remaining 10% is split between the other touchpoints. A W-shaped model is one of the most popular attribution models as it gives marketers a well-rounded view of the marketing campaigns leading up to the opportunity creation stage.

 

What’s missing in a W-Shaped model is insight into any activities that occur after the opportunity is created. For example, let’s say you organize a special event for customers and later stage prospects and then several opportunities close soon after. With a W-Shaped model, the significant investment in this event wouldn’t receive any credit.

 

Full-Path Model

 

Full Path Model

 

Similar to the W-shaped model, a full-path model also acknowledges major milestones in the sales cycle, now extending all the way through the revenue stage. Each significant stage receives 22.5% of the credit with the remaining 10% spread across touchpoints in between.  The Full-Path model is obviously more complete than the W-Shaped model and is arguably more sensibly-weighted than an evenly-split / linear model, as the touchpoints that occurred in nearest proximity to important funnel events get a much higher percentage of credit. This can produce reports that better reflect the “actual” impact of these important activities while still giving credit to everything.  For businesses with a complex sales cycle who want full visibility, a Full-Path model is a smart choice and remains easy and simple to implement.

 

Custom Model

 

A more advanced multi-touch option within Bizible is the Custom model.  With this model, you can define custom stages in the sales cycle in addition to those included in the Full-Path model—a common one to add is an “MQL” stage. You can then define your own percentage weightings for each stage based on your unique business model. Notice in this example, that the product demo stage is now receiving 10% credit, demonstrating the perceived significance of this event in the sales cycle.

 

This model offers more flexibility and requires some extra configuration. Its relative freedom also brings a certain level of risk, as the marketer might have inaccurate assumptions about the relative weightings that the different stages should receive and thereby create misleading distortions in the model.

 

Companies may want to run a Full-Path model first, then as knowledge of their unique sales process deepens, transition to a Custom model to achieve a more tailored approach.

 

Custom model

 

Machine-Learning Model

 

This model uses the same stages as the Custom model, but in this case, the machine makes recommendations for weighting credit between the various stages, representing the relative importance to winning a deal based on three criteria:

 

  • Predictiveness: the correlation between stage progression and whether the deal will close
  • Ease/Difficulty: high conversion rate implies less importance in the customer journey
  • Uniqueness: if a touchpoint is shared with multiple stages, the credit is shared, too

 

The algorithm is not random—Bizible based it on millions of touchpoints and buyer journeys. You can use the insights from the Machine-Learning model to refine and alter your Custom model, ultimately producing a machine-learning influenced model that incorporates human insights specific to your organization.

 

Tactic-Weighted Model

 

In a Tactic-Weighted model, credit is allocated based on the importance of the specific marketing tactics involved. For example, attending a webinar may get more credit than downloading an e-book, and attending a prospect VIP dinner may get even more.

 

This type of model—or one that blends it with a position-based model defined above—makes a lot of sense to many marketers, who intuitively know that spending four hours at a high-touch event naturally carries more weight than casually perusing web content.

 

This is an advanced model that is not available out of the box in any platform I’m aware of, but is something an analytically-mature organization could engineer within a BI tool.

 

That’s a Lot of Models!

 

One of the nice things about Marketo’s acquisition of Bizible, is marketers now have more model options to choose from, single-touch to multi-touch, simple to complex. To some, the options may seem overwhelming. My advice: take an inventory of your needs and start with what’s attainable. Remember, you can always transition to a new model as your knowledge and understanding grows. No model is perfect, but attribution will help you gain insight into your customer journey and the relative influence of your marketing efforts.

 

In my next post, I’ll address how to leverage your attribution data to fine-tune your marketing strategy.

 

Want a deeper dive?

 

I'll be presenting a webinar, Bizible Essentials for Marketo Users on July 10 at 1:00 ET . We’ll explore the differences between Revenue Explorer and Bizible, the solutions Bizible offers and the impact on your daily operations. Reserve your seat here.http://bit.ly/2KRmXBF

 

And to go completely meta, here's a Bizible report showing the registrations by channel for the Bizible webinar so far. This offer-by-channel report is really easy to produce in Bizible, and I'll describe how at the webinar.

 

Bizible_Webinar_Reg_by_Channel___Salesforce_-_Enterprise_Edition.png

Now that GDPR is in full swing and hopefully most people have recovered from the May 25th Day of reckoning, I had a lot of questions about GDPR.  So far, I’ve been sat on the outside of the whole GDPR issue and I was interested to learn more.  I've read so many blog posts, watch videos, looked at infographics etc. etc. etc. but even with all the information that is out there I still had questions, and now that GDPR is in full flow I thought now would be a good time to see how everyone has dealt with it, or what they're still dealing with and what we think is going to happen next.  The discussion starts from the very basics up to how it should be dealt with in Marketo and what responsibilities MOPS have.  On the chat we had Joe Reitz, Jenn DiMaria, Sydney Mulligan, Jessica Kao, Geoff Krajeski, Enrico de Leon, Jr.

 

Below are the questions I asked:

  1. What exactly is GDPR and how does it affect the use of Marketo?
  2. If a company doesn’t operate in the EU do they still have to be GDPR Compliant?
  3. Is it the MOPs team responsibility?
  4. Any quick tips?
  5. I’ve seen more and more GDPR emails coming through, how much will this affect people's databases as I imagine lots of people won’t ‘opt-in’.  What’s the expected response rate?

 

So take a look and see what you think, I learnt a lot in 30mins, more than I've probably learnt over the past few months.

If you have anymore GDPR questions, feel free to ask and I'm sure someone will be able to help, I might even be able to help a little now!

 

#KreweChats Episode 14: GDPR - A Recap - YouTube

 

I've also got links to lots of other documents/videos/presentations/blogs etc, so if anyone wants those I'm more than happy to share below.

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