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Champion Program

10 Posts authored by: Josh Hill Expert

Today, I reached Level 10, 300,000+ points on the forum.


Many of you know me because I have been active on this forum since 2012, sharing ideas and insights on using Marketo effectively to do demand generation and so much more. I am grateful so many of you found my posts helpful, whether I solved it for you or pointed you in the right direction. I've made a lot of friends here as well and learned quite a few tidbits from people like Grégoire Michel, Sanford Whiteman, Jeff Canada, Adam New-Waterson, Edward Unthank (Etumos), and Dory Viscogliosi.


Since becoming a Champion Alumnus (5x!) and now reaching this last milestone on the forums, I've decided to step back a bit from the Nation and focus on other aspects of Marketing Automation & Operations. I'm sure I'll still be around here and there, but much less active.

I'd like to challenge the other Champions and top experts here to step it up and share MORE of the amazing things you are making Marketo do for you. I see only the same few people everyday responding and helping and it would be a tremendous help to your fellow MOPS friends to put out new ideas into the Nation. If you've asked a lot in the past, perhaps it's time to give back. Not every question is a tongue twister for Sanford. I see a lot of new users asking questions I know can be answered by more people.


This is a small world with Marketo and Marketing Automation. Speak up, be heard, and be recognized for your hard work.




Josh Hill

Troubleshooting in Marketo

Posted by Josh Hill Expert Jul 5, 2016

Troubleshooting in Marketo can be more of an art, than a science. The data you need is often scattered around several screens and what you need to figure out may take time to track down. Is it a workflow error? Sync error? Manual error? Troubleshooting is not just for testing: you can also use it to learn why a lead’s data changed or why they received a certain email.


The most common scenarios you will encounter as a new Marketo user are:

  • Lead received two of the same email.
  • Lead went to the wrong Salesperson.

It is worth searching here in the Marketo Nation Forums for solutions, but you will learn much more if you use the techniques below to attempt a solution first.


And I do strongly recommend attempting to understand what happened before asking the Nation or Support. Both will appreciate the detailed account that can help them help you.


Here are the places where you can find information for troubleshooting.


Campaign Member List

You can find this by clicking on the count of Members on the Campaign Summary tab, or you can click Schedule > Campaign Members or Results > Campaign Members.

  • Which leads actually qualified?
  • Count of Leads that became qualified and are Members
  • Use the View tab to look at more data.

How to Get to Campaign Member Informationcampaign-member-list-view


Campaign Run History (Batch)

If you click on the Campaign and then look at either the Run History Tab or click on the list of Runs at the bottom, you can see how many qualified each time the batch ran. This is a vital troubleshooting tool when you have recurring batches that manage data flows. I’ve often come across troubled systems and been able to uncover when something happened to then uncover why there was a change in volume.


If you know how many qualified on a certain date, you should be able to track back what occurred, or even select leads during that time period and Member of Campaign.

Run History

Campaign Results Tab

This is the log of executed flow steps per Lead. You can filter this by Type of Activity in the same way you do for the Lead View>Activity Log. This is a great way to see if a flow step failed or if certain leads went through at a certain time. Remember that some activities such as Data Value Was Changed, Visited Web Page will be archived after 90 days and not visible here.

Campaign Results History


Members by Week: Campaign Summary Tab

See chart of qualified leads by week – are more or less people entering over time?


This is particularly helpful when troubleshooting certain data change flows or lead routing flows when something may have inadvertently pushed too few/many leads.

Campaign Summary Charts

Member Trend Tab

This is less used, but you can get an idea of the differences over the past three months. Like Members by Week, this will show you abnormalities.


Program Summary Tab

This is where you can view the key tactical metrics for each program or offer. I come here often to check on Program Membership counts, Channel Type, and if the Program is synced to an SFDC Campaign.

  • Total Members
  • Total leads Acquired By
  • Total leads Acquired by Social
  • Total Successes
  • Leads by [Status]

Program Summary


Remember that you can also adjust the view depending on the Channel Type. Most Default Programs show a Member chart, Calendar View, and Used by. Special Programs like Engagement and Email Send will also show the Program Dashboard.


Program Member Tab


This area shows you

  • Count of Members
  • Count of Members by Each Status
  • Potentially other data if you change the View.



Program Dashboard (Engagements)

These Channels have special Dashboards. For Engagements, we can see the overall

  • Engagement Score
  • Unsubscribe Rate for the Program
  • Days to Next Cast
  • Chart of count of leads and Cast Count until Exhausted
  • Engagement Scores for each email.

Engagement Dashboard


Program Dashboard (Email Send)

The Email Send Program also has a Dashboard that works a bit differently.

  • Delivered
  • Opens
  • Open Rate
  • Click Rate
  • Unsubscribe Rate
  • Engagement Score

Email Send Dashboard


Program Summary (Email Send)

This Program uses the Tile setup method, which is really just a different view into a smart campaign. Check here for stats like:

  • Lead Qualification Count
  • Leads Blocked
  • Schedule



Lead Detail View

There are several ways to reach a Lead’s data:

  • Lead Database > Search
  • Smart List > Click on Lead ID
  • Static List > Click on Lead ID
  • Campaign Results > Click on Lead Name
  • Campaign Members/Qualified Members > Lead ID
  • Program > Program Member > Lead ID

Once you open up the Lead’s view, you have access to modify most fields directly. Sometimes this is a useful method for testing. More importantly, you can view key data like:

  • Lead Activity Log (more on that soon)
  • Custom Tab – just a special view.
  • SFDC Data and Custom Fields
  • Marketo Data Fields and timestamps.
  • Lists of Segmentation Membership

Lead Detail > Lead Activity Log


Lead Detail and Activity

This is arguably the most important tool for testing and troubleshooting. Marketo added filters to let you narrow down the types of behaviors or changes to work with this faster.Key use cases include:

  • Why did that campaign trigger?
  • Why did that campaign not trigger yet?
  • Why is the score X?
  • Why did that data change?


Notifications Log

Most of you should be able to see the Notifications button at the top of the screen. If you click on it, you will see a list of alerts and errors Marketo encountered. Administrators should monitor this weekly or even daily (if a large system) for major issues.Marketo tells you what is wrong, but you often have to hit the campaign or lead detail to find out more. Key issues include:

  • Exhaustion of Nurturing content
  • Broken campaigns
  • Failed campaigns
  • Failed syncs to SFDC – if you click, you can get a smart list, but this is the only way to see this kind of data.


Troubleshooting with Smart Lists

Another tool you have is to use Smart Lists to pull groups of leads and then use Custom Views to look at certain fields.

The best use case is when you want to see Email Deliverability fields (and I always have a View with these fields). This View exposes the Email Bounced Reason in a clear way. You can sort it or even build a new smart list to narrow down these issues.


Campaign Queue

The Campaign Queue helps you see which campaigns are running or slated to run soon. Some types of campaigns take precedence over others. In addition, you can try to spot race conditions or blockages like a large batch run that will slow down execution of other campaigns. There may not be a resolution, but at least you will know what is going on.


Campaign Inspector

If you are not certain where a flow step is occurring, then you can search all campaigns for filters and flow steps, among others. This can help narrow down problems or help you understand how the system is setup. If you do not have access to this, you may need to go to Admin > Treasure Chest to turn it on.


Note that you must be at the Top Level of the Workspace you wish to view for Inspector and Queue.


Let’s Talk About Things You Can Break

I do not want you to break things. Here is a checklist of things you can break or miss easily if you are moving too quickly in Marketo. Typos in Marketo (or Marketo Language) can bring things to a halt or worse.


Operators (Any, All, etc.)

Choosing the wrong operator is easy to do because you went too fast. I often come across mistakes (and have made them), where IN vs. NOT IN did not stick because the mouse moved too quickly…or someone forgot.


Logic Steps

I see people ruin smart lists and Lifecycles because they didn’t consider the right parentheses or groupings of filters. See logic for marketers.


Flow Steps

Are they in the right order? Is that wait step correct? For example, the SFDC Sync may push lead data to SFDC instantly, however, SFDC may take as long as 20 minutes to process the lead on its end, which means your next logic steps should wait.


Choice Steps

Only the first qualifying step works! You may want certain steps to always take precedence if more than one condition applies.


Filters (Smart Lists)

Using the right filters is, of course, crucial to most parts of the system. There is a big difference between Was Sent Email and Not Was Sent Email. Understand when to use each.



Remember, triggers are OR between them, then the logic on green filters.


Schedule and Qualification Rules

Sometimes you need to set it to Once, Once Every X, or Every Time. This is a common problem that is easily fixed, especially if you are testing a flow.


Race Conditions

The Race Condition deserves an entire post because it is a critical problem and there are very few ways to handle it. Solving the race condition is hard, but you’ll know you have one when your Activity Log doesn’t seem to update as quickly as you’d expect.


Let’s say you have 10 sync flows. One syncs the lead to SFDC, but the others all change data values, then sync. They are all triggered on Lead is Created, but you only want the last nine to work after the initial sync. This is not going to happen that way. All 10 campaigns will trigger “at once,” but not all at the exact same moment, and not all the data values will change when you want them to.


Look at the Log for affected leads and you’ll see that some executed around the same time, while others waited. You will need to use wait steps to control the execution of the flow. For a good set of examples and solution for Marketo, see Ed Unthank’s Marketo Summit presentation.


Batch vs. Trigger      

Sometimes your choice of Filters vs. Triggers does make a difference, especially if you set up similar flows – trigger to capture now, and a batch to capture misfires. If you aren’t careful, you might include people in the Batch who already went through the Trigger, so exclude with Member of Campaign NOT IN.

There are many use cases for each of the techniques above and I recommend using one or more for each situation.


Troubleshooting in Marketo is fairly easy, if you know where to look. And once you rule out the obvious, you can then call Support to help root out back-end issues.

As you gain experience with Marketo, you will build increasingly complex flows to manage leads as well as to nurture them.


Marketo, in essence, is a rules engine. You decide the rules for your system and your audience. As with all computers, the rules you decide on are executed faithfully and without question. Thus, if your rules are not properly setup, they will go ahead anyway (if they are logically correct). For example, if you set your Smart List to ANY instead of AND, you will likely bring in many more leads than you intended, possibly ruining data or worse, sending out 100,000 emails to the wrong people.


Fortunately, there are ways to build workflows and test processes to avoid disasters. If you follow these principles and any other policies your firm has, you can reduce the error rate greatly.


Technique 1: Pay Attention

When to Use: all the time

Time Involved: 1 minute

Level: All

Paying attention seems like an obvious way to avoid mistakes. It is also prone to many human biases such as “Glossing over work you just did,” and “I’ve done this a thousand times before.” Be careful and follow a few of my rules when I operate alone.

  • Carefully create the smart lists. It is easy to drag, drop, and dash only to see the batch campaign send to 10 times the number you intended. When you think you are done, stop and look at the AND vs. ANY rules as well as the Counts.
  • Watch your Flows – I always check these three times. Remember a Flow step will run once for every lead that goes through.
  • Watch for red squiggly lines in Flow Steps and Filters. Even if it looks right, it means Marketo did not like something.
  • Watch the Schedule Count – does this count match what you thought? Did you subtract the blocked email count from the total? If something seems off, STOP.
  • Qualification Rules – Every vs. Once vs. something else. One of the most frequent questions on the Nation are related to this feature.
  • Scheduled Time – I always schedule a run for 10 minutes in the future because it is very easy to realize that the Email Subject Line is missing 9 minutes after you press Run.


Technique 2: Review Thrice

When to Use: always

Time Involved: 1 minute

Level: Any I use this technique in combination with Technique 1, cycling through the steps three times…or maybe I’m a little OCD about sending emails to thousands of people.

  1. Smart List x 3
  2. Flow x 3
  3. Schedule x 3


Technique 3: Paired Campaign Managers

When to Use: always

Time Involved: 1 minute to 1 day

Level: Any


A technique the Marketo marketing team uses is paired campaign managers. One person builds the Program, while the other prepares the creative. Then they switch to review each other’s work.If you have the staff, I highly recommend setting up this system as it helps to avoid the human ability to ignore errors and typos after working on something for 4 hours.You can go further and setup an entire approval process, even with just 3 to 4 team members:

  1. Build Program
  2. Add Creative
  3. Review Creative
  4. Review Program
  5. Test Program
  6. Approve by Director
  7. Launch


The one challenge with a full blown approval process is Marketo does not have an “approval system.” It may be possible for you to break out Roles according to the process above. For example:

  • Approver: can access all Marketing Activities
  • Program Builder: Marketing activities, but cannot send or approve emails or Pages.
  • Creative: Design Studio, Build Emails or Pages only. No Approval rights.


Technique 4: One Email, Multiple Leads

When to Use: Any system

Time Involved: 1 minute

Level: Any

This trick works on any email platform, although I tend to only use it on Gmail. You can create as many individual Leads in Marketo as you want and have them all go to the same email
  • Marked somewhere as a Test – IGNORE.
  • Fields values as you want them to be for the Test.
  • Qualification Rules set to Every Time. (otherwise, the lead goes through once regardless of test changes).

Once ready, be sure to copy the email address to a Form or notepad so you can keep using it. Then, make the change of value using any of the following steps:

  • Direct Edit
  • Edit in CRM
  • Fill Out Form
  • Change Data Value in Flow Action

Once your test is done, adjust your flow (if needed) and keep testing. To re-set your Lead, just undo the Data Value Change you made using the Direct Edit or another flow action.


Technique 5: One More Time…

When to Use: Basic Trigger workflows, Drip campaigns, Engagement Nurture, Lifecycle Testing, Lead Routing

Time Involved: 1 minute

Level: Any


This technique is just to modify the Schedule to use a Qualification Rule of Every Time. This way you can continually run the same set of Test leads.


Technique 6: The Brake

When to Use: Basic Trigger workflows, Drip campaigns, Engagement Nurture, Lifecycle Testing, Lead Routing

Time Involved: 1 hour to 2 days

Level: Any


This is by far the best technique and it is the most simple. At the end of your Smart List, add one of these two filters:Member of Smart List IN “Internal Test”

Email Address CONTAINS “”

Edit Wait Steps to 1 second or 1 minute – when you Clone, Brake, and Wait, you need to reduce all Wait Steps to 1 minute Any Time. Otherwise, you will Wait 2 days until Tuesday for the next email to go out. It can be a bit time consuming, which is why Cloning and Testing work better.

Technique 7: Software Style Testing Process

When to Use: Lifecycle Testing, Lead Routing, Very Complex systems

Time Involved: 1-5 days

Level: Advanced


This process involves setting up leads that meet various criteria to flow through your workflow. Each time you run each lead, you should have an Expected Result and an Actual Result. Once complete, you will have a clear list of potential flaws in the workflow and possible ways to resolve them.


Do not let “software” intimidate you. The test cases you setup will likely be a bit short of what a full Engineer in Test might do, but it’s close. Here are some terms you may come across:

  • Edge Case: used by engineers to discuss unlikely scenarios that could happen, but may not be worth the effort to test or fix. Be very careful that edge case leads do not bring the system to a halt.
  • Test Case: this is a planned test and lead that meets certain criteria we expect to happen. For example, the Lead is entered in Form X with State=CA and Country=Canada. What do we expect will happen? Test Cases may be called “Use cases” if created before the build.
  • Test Plan: The combination of Test Cases and materials to run through the system with Expected Results vs. Actual Result.


Portions of this post originally appeared on my blog and in collaboration with Steven Moody.

Josh Hill

Load Balancing in Marketo

Posted by Josh Hill Expert Jun 1, 2016

As your use of Marketo matures, so do their customers become more skilled in the use of the platforms. And that means some customers push the limits of what the system is designed to do. Whether it is running dozens of data correction flows, scoring, and lead lifecycle or accumulating workflow detritus, an older system is often a slower system. Remember the Windows entropy problem? It's similar.


To keep your leads flowing fast, there are some tricks and best practices for running a system efficiently and effectively. These tips are helpful for new system builds (do it right the first time) as well as rebuilds or cleanups. These tips are considerations and each situation may require different designs.

Why do systems like Marketo slow down?

Like any computer program, Marketo is limited by hardware as well as software. Marketo is designed to handle marketing focused activities like scores, syncs, and email sends. Marketing tech people like me have taken advantage of other functions like data normalization, personalization, and lead lifecycles to perform tasks that the system can do, but maybe wasn't expecting to be used heavily.


There are three key components that can slow down an instance:

  • Number of trigger campaigns
  • Volume of Leads
  • Complexity of smart lists


There is not a hard and fast rule for the number of campaigns or leads that Marketo can handle well. Based on my experience, slow downs can occur with as few as 150 triggers and 100,000 leads. I've seen systems with 1,400 triggers and heard of systems with 3,500! With regular cleaning and good systems design, it is fairly easy to keep your system running fast.

Increasing speed, reducing load

Trigger campaigns are always on, always listening. That means for every lead that changes, the system must check if it meets those conditions. If you import a lot of leads, or change a lot at once, the system will have to check all of those at once. According to Marketo, each lead is set serially into the flow, further slowing down the system.


Reduce the number of Triggers!

  • Convert triggers to batches.

Does every score have to happen immediately? Probably not. Behavior based triggers are prone to frequent hits and complexity, so move these to a nightly batch. Data normalization can also help. Batches also run all the flow steps for every lead at once, instead of serially, which reduces total processing time.


The real reason triggers cause problems is there are two queues. Whenever a change to a lead happens, it hits every potential Trigger in the backend - the Trigger Evaluation Queue. You cannot see this and Marketo Support won't show most of you what is going on there.


The key thing to know is the formula: Change x # of Leads.


100,000 Leads Imported x 20 Lead is Created Triggers = 2,000,000 evaluations


Yes. It gets big, fast. The fewer triggers you hit, the faster Marketo can send the lead to the correct Trigger that's visible in the Campaign Queue. Some big offenders could be your SalesOps team or Product team making batch changes on their end, only to let 1,000,000 records sync to Marketo to hit that Evaluation Queue. This Queue will slow down your processing and routing inside Marketo because it takes longer for the lead to hit the correct set of Triggers and then be processed as you expect.

  • Reduce the Qualifications Rules from Every Time to something else.
  • Reduce Triggers like Change Data Value and Lead is Created to single points of entry or batches whenever possible.
  • Reduce the number of leads that can flow through with filters
  • Leverage the auto-deactivation after 6 months.
  • Clean up triggers quarterly with the Campaign Inspector.
  • Compress flows by adding flow steps to one campaign based on the same trigger. Eg: Interesting Moments and Scoring can often be on the same flow.


Smart Lists Should be Less Complex on Triggers

Depending on the situation, you may want to reduce the complexity on batches and triggers. Instead of Marketo looking for the list and running it, just put the filters in the trigger itself. Or reduce the number of nested smart lists called in a smart list. Whenever you ask Marketo to call another Smart List, it has to wait until all of the other smart lists finish, before putting together the final counts.


The more complex a smart list, the harder it is for the system to figure it out, which increases backend processing (which you do not see on the Campaign Queue) and even creates campaign failures from timeouts.


Change the Time of Day of Batches

While this may vary with your business and location, batch data flows should occur at night, or the time of day where leads aren't on your site frequently. This helps give priority to email sends that may start around dawn or through the day, as well as triggers that route leads to sales on weekdays.


Use Wait Steps in Processing

There is a much longer discussion on this regarding Lead Lifecycles and Ed Unthank's lead processing articles. Many times, some campaigns are subject to a race condition between themselves or the CRM. To mitigate this, where the lead should have been updated, but wasn't in time for the next campaign to process properly, you can do three things:

  • Add Wait Steps at the start of the flow to let the other flows catch up. Sometimes 5 to 30 minutes are needed.
  • Add Wait Step after a Sync to CRM step to let the CRM assign a Lead Owner. May require 10 - 30 minutes if the system is complex.
  • Request Campaigns to control the order of operations.


Now remember that Wait Steps will also slow down the overall time it takes for a lead to finish processing. Sometimes this is good if you think Marketo isn't fully registering the Data Change before the next step. Other times, it may cause the overall time to take much longer.


With Project Orion on the horizon, we may all see our processing times reduce, especially with behavioral data. Just because it goes faster, doesn't mean you should abandon good workflow design.

A version of this post appeared on my blog and it is similar to Christine Tran's approach. I thought I would post the full version here so you can see more detail on the planning and field detail.


The process involves four phases to achieve pages in dynamic languages.

Every customer receives the standard Unsubscribe page when they first turn on Marketo. This page helps you conform to the minimum legal standard in most countries. If you are smart, you will want to build out a subscription center fast to reduce total unsubscribes and encourage people to subscribe to different kinds of communications.

For example, you may want to provide options like:

  • Newsletter
  • Event Invitations
  • Webinar Invitations
  • Solution A Content
  • Blog Posts
  • Unsubscribe All

Remember, these are examples. You may want to add more like Fax, SMS, and other channels. When I create these fields, I usually use a picklist in Salesforce first, with Yes, No, "null" as values. This way, the system is easy to understand whether you are an engineer, salesperson, marketer, or machine.


Email Preference Center Phase 1: New Channels


  • Program – Operational
  • Email Preference Center Page
  • Confirmation Page to display results
  • Email Preference Form
  • 01 – Unsubscribe All campaign flow
  • Additional fields as desired

Step 1: Create a Program

This program should be Channel=Operational. In some situations, I have created a separate Channel called “Subscriptions” where the statuses are Opted In, Opted Out and the Type is Operational so reporting is not affected. This only helps you with the counts and is totally unneeded from a technical perspective. Up to you.


Step 2: Foldering and Naming

This is how I setup my folders, which is largely the same across all Program Channels. Note the leading number ensures the order is how I want it.The basic subscription center program

Step 3: Create a Confirmation Page

The reason we create this page first is to ensure the Form is completed more quickly. You will use this page several times, so might as well do it first.Most of my clients request the Confirmation page to reflect the new values provided. This is pretty easy with some tokens.confirmation-page-1confirmation-page-2

As I mention in the sidebar above, it is possible to display a human value. This is why I almost always use a picklist for each field with Yes/No/Blank. Blanks mean that the lead hasn't made a selection and we cannot send to them yet. The default token will say "Not Selected".Example URL SLUG:

  • Add requisite fields.
  • Modify the Values as needed. In this case, I want Unsubscribe All to encourage people to do what I want, but you can leave it as a simple checkbox.
  • On this form, we will keep everything as Not Required and Prefilled to show the current settings. You may want to mention that on the page.
  • Set the Confirmation page on the Form to ensure that it always goes to the right place.


Step 5: Create an Email Preferences Page

This is the main page you will point everyone to. The URL slug should look like this:

  • Must replace with full URL

The entire URL we created above is fine, alternatively you can append the URL slug to%mkt_opt_out_prefix%email-preference-center.html

  • Allowing people who find the page to Add themselves to your database. (Yeah, rare, I know).

To make this happen is fairly easy. There are two methods: Easy with more assets; and Hard with coding. Let’s talk Easy.

URL Slug:


  • Preferences Page – Not You


Add link to Not You under the original Email Preference Form as shown.



If you really want to go the Hard way, you can do one of two things:

  1. Have the Not You link reset the page without the munchkin identifiers.
  2. Go to the second page without any munchkin.

I like Easy and it takes advantage of Marketo’s existing features.


Email Preference Center Phase 3: Dynamic Snippets by Region/Language

If you are operating programs internationally, especially at a fairly large firm, you will eventually need to implement a regional or language friendly system. The process is fairly simple, however, I would urge you to test it carefully.


Option 1: one subscription page per Region.The overhead increases because you have to manage the links in your email template footers.

Option 2: one subscription page per Region with Dynamic SnippetsThis option takes partial advantage of dynamic content.

Option 3: one subscription page to rule them all.This is much better, however, I urge you to test it a lot before going live. We’ll talk about this one in Phase 4.With Option 2, you get to try your hand at Dynamic Snippets. This is a fairly underused feature of Marketo, which can be very powerful if thought out.



  • Segmentation by Region or Language
  • Email Footer Snippet
  • Add to Emails

Step 1: create a Snippet

Go to Design Studio > Snippets

Step 2: create the dynamic content for the snippet



I recommended using one Segmentation per asset to avoid confusion.Once this Snippet is ready, test it on an Email that uses a Template with a Footer as editable. The results should flow through automatically in preview or a Live Test.


Email Preference Center Phase 4: Dynamic Languages on One Page

Of course, the holy grail is Option 3: just using one page for everything. In this situation, we will add new ingredients and modify the original Email Preference Page to be dynamic.I will go through most of the steps, but be sure to read the docs on setting up Dynamic Content and Segmentations in order to follow along. Please remember that your Segmentation Segment order and smart list criteria will determine which Language is visible to the lead.New Ingredients:

  • One Form for each Language
  • Modify the original Email Preference Page to use Dynamic on the Form and any other text.


**The Not You Page will still be the Default Form because new leads won’t have a Segment yet. Remember to set the Default to English or the major language of your audience.



Here is an example in Japanese I made using Google Translate.


Step 3: Test the Forms in a Clone Page

If you already have a live Preference Center, I highly recommend that you clone the original Preference Page and Confirmation Page to test these Forms before going live.


Step 4: Set the Form in the Email Preference Page to Dynamic



Step 5: Set the other page content to Dynamic

Step 6: Make the Confirmation Page Text Dynamic

Look how cool this is! Is it all clicking now for you?


Step 7: Update the Unsubscribe All Campaign

You will have to add all the Forms to the Trigger. Feel free to test it.Wow, after all that work, you now have a fully functioning, international web page. What more could you need? Some options to consider for the future:

  • Double Opt In – this is required in Germany and some locations. Pro bloggers swear by it (including me) because it ensures email validity and engagement. All you need to do is add a flow or two to send out a confirmation email and link whenever someone subscribes. They click on the link and your second flow handles the final steps. See my Guide for an example.
  • Confirmation Email – please avoid this unless it is for Double Opt In. If I unsubscribe, I don’t want a final email. Use the Confirmation page for this.
  • Leave me alone for awhile. This option was first made famous by Marketo years ago. In this system, you ask people if they want to suspend emails for 30 days or more. The challenge is in setting up the workflows and lists to properly suspend someone for that period. Remember, the simpler methods work best.
  • List Setup – of course you will want a set of smart lists and even static lists to manage people who are Opted In vs. Out by Subscription. You will also want to update any suppression lists.

Hi everyone,


I noticed that the Marketo University has added new courses on the ever complex RCE and RCA modules. I went through it and it is a good update to the old docs, most of which are no longer available. Here are some of the links.



Learning RCE is easiest when you use it everyday and rely on the reports to deliver actionable information. I've learned a ton by using it the past few months, including insight into why Marketo itself is setup a certain way. Even if you do not have RCE, there are several videos, including the Setup videos which will help you understand Programs more deeply. The earlier you start using Programs properly, the more you can have reliable reports from RCE later.


**Please keep in mind that some courses may incur a fee, which may depend on your company's contract with Marketo.

This post will cover how to think about the Engagement system. I've discussed this a bit before in Discussions, but not in its entirety. This is an ideal post if you are considering Nurturing for the first time or have built one Engagement and are not satisfied with how you did the setup.


I am aware that Sirius Decisions has a slide or two for its clients which has a similar framework. It just so happens we came up with similar concepts. Here we will focus on how to do this in Marketo Engagement Nurtures.


Before you begin to build anything in Marketo, first, go through this framework. After you have this sketched out, then you can use the Content Grid and Stream-Stage framework to place content into your narrative structure. Only then can you build it in Marketo.


What this isOther thoughts

Who can enter the nurture?

When can they enter?

Which existing leads can enter (Batch)?

Which new leads can enter (Trigger)?

Schedule of entry

Criteria to enter

How often?

Goal - Good ExitWhat is the goal of this nurture? This could be to get to MQL, SQL, Opp, or just move to a more specific nurture program.What will you do when they reach the Goal?
Bad Exits

When do we stop nurturing if they do not reach a goal?

Unsubscribe from these emails.

Becomes invalid for other reasons.

Stops engaging with content after X days or Y emails or whatever.

What will you do if they do not reach the goal?
Narrative Structure

Is this going to go through the Three Stages or something else? Do you want to follow Early/Mid/Late or Attention, Interest, Desire, Action?

I believe AIDA works better for a very long run or a very short ecommerce nurture.  Tell your story in the most appropriate way for your business.


How often will you send content? Will you accelerate content as the lead moves to new streams?

(If you want variable wait times between emails, please consider using a standard Drip Nurture with Wait Steps instead of moving leads between Streams).


What do you want to track here?

Your decisions here will impact how you setup the Channel Program Statuses (yes, you can edit these or make new ones) as well as any other reports you make. I strongly urge you to consider Statuses by Entry, Good Exit, Bad Exits in addition to other metrics Marketo can offer.

#leads entered

#leads at Goal

#leads at Bad Exit

#leads by Status


Opps and Revenue Influenced?


The Flowcharts

Please begin all of this on a whiteboard and then translate it to a flowchart tool like Visio or Lucidchart. Many marketers have bright ideas about the triggers and stream transitions, but find it difficult to structure it becuse they never mapped it out. Do this.

Data and Metrics

Many marketers also forget to build in ways to track their success over time. Marketo has some cool tricks to doing this, but it requires a bit of though and a few workarounds.

  • Use statuses to track total counts - you can create any nurture channel you want and add Statuses based on Goals and Exits to know how well you are doing overall. Make sure that you add a Status Trigger campaign folder and the appropriate triggers inside the Nurture which will listen for the criteria to change the Status.
  • Use an Empty Stream for Good Exit and Bad Exits. Simply moving a lead out of the Engagement will lose all the data and email history for that lead. First, move the lead to an Empty Stream (so they stop getting emails) and adjust their Status accordingly. Then you can use the Status and Stream counts to watch the success.
  • Decide if you want to track each email as a Success Touch or just use the Good Exit Status as a Success. This matters if you rely on Revenue Cycle Explorer and Multitouch (MT) attribution. Do you want each Email getting credit for advancing the lead or just the entire nurture. Marketo suggests each email, but I don't necessarily agree.


Use Tables to Help Structure the System - Measure Twice, Build Once

Before you attempt to build this in Marketo, use a series of Tables like this to structure your plan.


StreamStream 1: EarlyStream 2: Mid Stage
CadenceTwice a month on Tuesdays at 6am PDTOnce a week on Tuesdays at 4pm PDT
ContentGeneral information about Marketing Automation and Pain PointsSolution to pain points and how some people solved it.


Then you will want to create a table to match the smart lists and campaigns to setup. Here's an example of a foldering structure I use.



This is not the end of your journey. In fact, I urge you to read a few of the great resources here on the Nation before you start your nurturing workshop. Good luck!


More Resources

One of the most frequently requested workflows is the Recurring Webinar. Quite a few Marketo clients setup recurring webinars for product demos (especially all your SaaS firms) and want to route the registration through Marketo. This makes perfect sense and it is very possible to do this.

Before you do so, please note a couple of key differences:

  • GTW and WebEx do not support recurring webinars with Marketo. Just not going to happen.
  • You need 1 Program for every single time you run the recurring webinar. It is always a 1-1 relationship. Please do not try to circumvent this. The reason is once you connect a webinar to a Program, it is very difficult to change it. The other reason is you will have bad data for your reports. All you would see is "1000 attendees" for the demo webinar---for all time. This makes no sense.
  • What Marketo does do is give you the tools to support a recurring webinar yourself.


Here's how to proceed:

Most of the time, there is a single page for registration and a list of dates the lead can sign up to. In the past, this form spit out a list to you and you registered the people with the right events.

In this How To, I assume you know the following concepts and how to use them:

  • Program
  • Event Partner Setup: Admin > Launchpoint
  • Webinar Setup
  • Connecting Event Program to Webinar and SFDC
  • Standard webinar or event registration flows
  • Forms 2.0


Use Case: Register for Standing or Recurring Webinars or Events

The standard way of handling webinars in Marketo is to create a single Webinar Program, then build or clone the related assets, and put up a single registration page - one for each webinar. Usually the lead or customer is asked to choose one of several dates to join. Yes, you still need a 1-1 match between a webinar and a Webinar Program.This can be done for Roadshows and Webinars with the same process. In this example, we will use a Webinar. Here is the basic workflow we will build.

Recurring Webinar Process

Create a Custom Field: Event Date Code

The recurring webinar system first requires you to create a custom field in Marketo. Go to Admin > Field Management > Custom Field.Add Field to Marketo

Since this field is only required in Marketo, we don’t need to worry about mapping it to SFDC.Using the Event Date CodeIn the system, we need to tell Marketo which event was selected. In the previous step, we created Event Date Code as a custom String field in Marketo. Now we can choose a code system. I like something simple like this:

Form Field Value Codes

Now, if we want to display the date on the thank you page, we will have to use the natural language as the code, e.g.: January 5, 2014. This is fine, but there could be some limitations if we try to do fancier things later on.

Field Values Dates


Central Program Setup

The next step is to setup an Operational Program to manage the central registration system. This Program will not take credit for the attribution or registration; it is just a place where the Lead can sign up. It is a central place for you to manage the recurring webinar or event.The Lead will then be passed to the correct Program Status based on the date in the field we created.There are two approaches:


  • Change Program Status for the target Program.
  • Request Campaign – request the target’s registration campaign flow.


Both systems work just fine and require the same amount of work to update for new events. I will show you both systems.


Option 1: Change Program StatusIn this system, we are listening for the Form Fill Out on the main page. We must also make sure the Event Date Code IS NOT EMPTY, or our plans will fail.

Smart List Trigger

The Flow is simple:

  • Change Program Status in the target Program based on the Event Date Code.
  • Wait 10 Minutes (for the emails to go out)
  • Reset the Event Date Code field so that if the lead shows up next time, prefill won’t mess up their next request).


Option 1: Target Webinar Program System

The next step is within each Target Program: the Confirmation Trigger will listen for the Program Status is Changed in this Program to “Registered.” If we want, we can ensure the right Event Date Code is used. This brake isn’t necessary, but it might prevent errors if someone accidentally changed the status.program-status-trigger-webinar

The flow is simply to Send the Email because we’ve already set the webinar Status to Registered.Option 2: Request CampaignAgain, in this system, we are listening for the Form Fill Out on the main page. We must also make sure the Event Date Code IS NOT EMPTY.In the main registration processor, the difference is just that we use Request Campaign to call the target Program’s registration flow.

Requested Recurring Webinar Campaign Flow

Option 2: Requested Webinar RegistrationIn the target Program, the Confirmation flow listens for the Campaign is Requested and Event Date Code. The flow then does Change Program Status and Send Email.


If you are used to having the Change Program Status within the target Webinar, then I recommend just keeping this the same in your Program Template.Either system will work!


Form SetupNow that we have a Program, we can create a Form. Add the fields you wish to have filled in, but also add the Event Date Field.Recurring Webinar Form

Landing PagesThere are two pages to create:

  1. Registration Page
  2. Thank You/Confirmation Pag

For the Thank You Page, we might want to display the Lead’s choice on the page. The only way to do that is if you chose to keep the standard Date format instead of using the date code system.Recurring Webinar Page Variations

Approvals and ActivationNow you can approve the pages and turn on the target Confirmation flows, then the Webinar Registration Processor.Completed Recurring Webinar System
Go ahead and give a whirl.


How to Update the System Each Month

Let’s say you had four recurring webinars each month. You would use these steps to update the Form and central flows.

  1. Setup the recurring webinars in GotoWebinar. These must be separate webinars.
  2. Setup the Marketo Webinar Programs and connect them to GTW. Use a Program Template here.
  3. Decide on the Event Date Code.
  4. Make sure your target Programs’ registration flows are activated.
  5. Central System: Update the Form with the new codes and dates.
  6. Central System: Approve the Page Draft
  7. Central System: Update the Webinar Registration Processor to point to the correct Programs
  8. Give it a test

That should do it! Now you have a recurring webinar system that is mostly automated.For more recurring event ideas and webinar tips, see these helpful articles:


More links:


There are quite a few threads on this topic, so please do a search if you want to know more. I owe a lot to earlier threads, but the links have disappeared.

Alex PolameroRecently, I spoke with Alex Polamero, Director of Marketing Automation at The Lewis Group of Companies. Alex is a Marketo Certified Expert as well as a demand generation expert. Currently, Alex leverages marketing automation, social media, and digital advertising to generate new sales leads, recycle leads, and acquire top talent for a large real estate developer in the U.S.

Alex brought marketing automation to the real estate industry and is one of leading marketing ops people outside of Technology and Publishing. To me, this is an important topic because marketing automation can, and is, used beyond Media and Technology firms. If you happen to be a Consultant, the ability to apply marketing automation and demand gen techniques in multiple industries is very important. If you are looking to grow as a marketer, it is vital to understand how to use these tools in a variety of situations.

JH: How did you get involved with marketing automation?

Alex: I had about 10 years experience in traditional marketing. I took an opportunity to develop enterprise social media for a real estate developer, which turned into a project improving email marketing. Ultimately, I was looking to improve lead generation and sales nurture processes. In researching a software solution that would help me bolster our ROI for both social marketing and email campaigns I came across marketing automation and Marketo.

JH: I was led to Marketo because I had to improve email marketing and lead routing, so you took a different route. What else made you think Marketo was the right system?

Alex: One of our needs was to manage dynamic content and segmentation. We also needed better tracking to understand how a lead would engage with us on email, social, pay per click advertising, and on various owned web domains. We wanted to track behaviors to a specific sale.

We also wanted to nurture leads over time, especially once they leased. We saw an opportunity to influence apartment renewals, cross sell other products, and improve our overall brand recognition.

JH: Real Estate is a new industry for marketing automation, so we should explore that. What does the sales funnel look like to you in Marketo?

Alex: First, we drive people to our website or landing pages using hundreds of organic and paid sources. Our goal is to have a prospect call us directly or fill out a form so that the prospect can be segmented based on behavioral and demographic scoring criteria and either added to a nurture process or sent to the appropriate sales team member.

We track prospects part of the way using URL parameters, so that when a lead does fill out a form, we have a sense of the last click attribution. While Google Analytics helps, Marketo can store behavioral data longer, enabling our term to see trends and the impact of campaigns on revenue. We realize that last click attribution can be limited, so we are developing other attribution models to better suit our business needs.

Yes, we do lead scoring: we look at behavioral and demographic criteria to determine when a prospect is warm enough for the Leasing Team to pursue. Once we have their name and email, we begin the automated nurture process. Nurturing includes content on leasing vs. buying, localized offers, and information about communities they are interested in.

JH: Since you track all of this data, did you discover anything that helped you sell better?

Alex: Absolutely! Using Marketo, we were able to identify that over 30% of prospects became qualified leads outside of our standard sales cycle. We found that prospects were doing research longer and making decisions further from the initial point of contact. The data challenged long held assumptions by property managers, and proved extremely useful in redesigning our sales processes. Now we do not give up on leads so quickly, adapting nurture times by segment and product type as well as capitalizing on cross sell opportunities over time.

JH: Leasing sounds more complex than a typical SaaS software sell or business service. How do you manage the details with the other teams?

Alex: Marketo helped me create synergy between departments to drive more sales. I see my role as an internal consultant to every division of our company and can apply my understanding of marketing automation, digital lead generation, social marketing, and traditional marketing to each division. I identified unique challenges facing a variety of business units; then applied the software tools, industry best practices, and our own new strategies to improve lead generation and sales using marketing automation. Marketo has also helped us track the flow of prospects and customers across company products. For example, I can see that people are interested in apartments, retail specials, and often-new homes over the lifetime of the customer. This data has encouraged departmental teams to consider how to better communicate with one another and leverage leads that move between products.

JH: In our conversations, we discussed how Marketo is now making the leap to new verticals. What other functions and verticals do you see gaining from taking on a demand gen approach to marketing and then automating it?

Alex: I see huge opportunity and rapid growth for marketing automation in verticals like education, ecommerce, financial services, and healthcare. I also see functional areas like human resources using Marketo for their talent funnels and retention. I spoke about this at the 2014 Marketo Summit.

JH: Does a rules engine like Marketo require special enhancements for real estate? Or can a marketplace like Launchpoint make the necessary extensions for verticals?

Alex: I see how Marketo and a CRM could be used as the core of any sales funnel workflow. Certainly some verticals can benefit from a platform app, but I’ve been able to do what I need through the basic system and my CRM. The key is to use the Marketo API and budget for additional resources whether software partners or training to achieve your desired growth targets Another question during any implementation is, “How much time do I have and do I have the team necessary to reach our goals in the right time frame?” If not, you will have to adjust the team, time, or tools.

JH: What is the big gap right now in Real Estate marketing?

Alex: There are always areas for opportunity for any company to grow and improve. For example, we are considering how to better engage prospects that do not sign an apartment lease. We are thinking about how to communicate with apartment residents that move out but continue to live in our general geographic area. So I see the gap as more about what information can we provide to these people to help them make a good decision about their property and living options. Can we build enough trust where they seek us out first for their apartment, retail, new home, office, or industrial needs?

JH: What is one thing you wish you knew about MAPs three years ago?

Alex: I wish I knew to allocate more resources for training and third party support, especially for ongoing training of new software updates, consultant support, and integration of new tools. Also, I’ve found that building relationships here in the Marketo Community has been hugely beneficial for trouble shooting and brainstorming new ideas to grow revenue.

Perhaps three years ago I did not see MAPs as a competitive advantage. Now I do. If you are in business and do not have a MAP, you are already behind a competitor who does. My advice is that MAPs are being adopted by every business and you need to have one. Firms are investing more to add new technology, and marketing teams will be able to leverage MAP systems to improve marketing campaign effectiveness, reporting, and become more efficient with how they spend advertising dollars.

How to be a Good Marketo Nation Citizen


My goal in this post is to share with you how to get the most out of the Community. I've been on here since 2011, when it first started and have enjoyed making friends and helping people understand Marketo and Marketing Automation.


I noticed recently that many of you aren't taking advantage of the wealth of resources built up in the past 4 years. Let me show you what you're missing, especially if you are new to Marketo:


How to Ask a Question that will get you a useful response

A quick walkthrough of the last two weeks’ threads show me most of the questions look like:


“What is the best practice on nurturing?”

“How do I deal with bounced emails?”

“Can I add a lead to a List twice?”

“How does the sync work?”

“Is there a partner for X application?”


Each question could have been answered with a quick look at the Docs or search of the Community for existing answers. Why wait for an answer when most are at your fingertips already?


Most of my responses end up asking another question: “What exactly do you want to do?” I can’t provide a great answer to a vague question. Here are my tips for getting the maximum value out of your Discussion threads:


  1. Try it yourself! Be a pro, test something and learn from it. Just be careful not to press Run on experiments J
  2. Read the Docs. Most feature related questions can be answered in very quickly. Not always, but often.
  3. Do your research first. About half the questions are the same every week, mostly from new users. I can guarantee you that someone already answered it at least twice and in more detail. So take the time to check the FAQ and use that search bar in the top left corner. You will be delighted!
  4. Explain what you did in the Question: I did X, Y, Z and this happened to me. Should I do A or B? If I do A, this could happen, if I do B, that could happen. This tells me that you actually tried to do something in your system and it did not work or you may have future issues you are unsure about. Then others can tell you what they think the pros and cons are, or something they tried that worked well.
  5. Add screenshots.
  6. Share Test page URLs if you can.
  7. Know the difference between a Support Ticket and a Question. For example:


Marketo is slow to send emails out today = Support Ticket. No one else will know why your instance is having trouble.


How do I move people between Engagements using Opens and Clicks? = Discussion Question


Basic Troubleshooting

Here are some quick ideas that should help you figure things out yourself. To me, this is the best way to learn the system and to prepare for the Marketo Certification Exam.

  1. What type of error? Can I describe what should happen vs. what is happening?
  2. Check the Campaign Summary Tab for counts and Run History
  3. Check Results Tab
  4. Check Lead Detail from sample leads to track back changes and campaign impact.
  5. Notifications – is there a sync error?
  6. Are the filters right? Are you sure?
  7. Is Marketo the source of the error? Is it the CRM or Web?
  8. Did I search the Community for similar problems?


If you still cannot resolve an error, then either ask a Question or call Support. Support is going to be most helpful when you provide key information:

  • Direct link to the Campaign, List, Lead, or Program.
  • What is happening now
  • What you want to happen.
  • Business impact.


Things to Avoid

  • Do not share proprietary information. We’re cool here, but it’s a risk you shouldn’t take.
  • Do not promote your firm's products unless it answers a direct question or solves someone's problem clearly.


Things to Do

  • Give back: answer questions if you know the answer.
  • Join a MUG.
  • Read the Guidelines
  • Read the Nation How To
  • Post your cool workflow
  • Write a Community Blog Post
  • Post job opportunities!
  • Follow Threads and People
  • Bookmark key threads that provide great solutions.
  • Read the Docs
  • Look at Launchpoint for integration ideas to extend your capabilities.


And keep on learning!

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