Skip navigation
All Places > Products > Blog > 2017 > May

Data governance is keeping your Marketo database up-to-date, accurate and useful. Here is how to create a data management campaign to identify generic email addresses in your system.


Why suppress emails to generic email addresses? They are typically tied to a group and not a specific person and if the person who signed up to receive your content leaves the company or changes role your email will no longer reach the desired recipient. Emails to generic addresses might be more likely marked as spam which may impact your sender reputation. Before setting records to Marketing Suspended you may want to review whether the emails are being opened or clicked.


In this example, I am going to create a batch campaign to identify generic email addresses and set them to Marketing Suspended. They will continue to receive operational emails but won’t receive promotional emails. It's optional to set the records to Marketing Suspended.


Smart List

Email Address starts with























In the flow besides setting the Marketing Suspended field to True, I am going to set a custom field called 'Marketing Suspended Reason' to 'Set Marketing Suspended to True due to generic email address' and all the records to a static list.



I am going to set the batch campaign to run in the middle of the night.


If you are looking for more information about data management/health, here is great article by Jeff Coveney on Six Steps to Delete Bad Data.

Here are some helpful tips for fine tuning your Marketo data normalization campaigns. In this example, I will show how to improve a campaign used to normalize the State field.


#1 Build batch campaigns instead of trigger campaigns whenever possible especially when high latency is acceptable. Batch and trigger campaigns use different ‘workers’ in and batch campaign workers are typically underutilized, especially at night or in the early morning.


In this example, I am changing the full name of a state to the abbreviation. You can also use Marketo to fix misspellings.

Smart List



Set your batch to run in the middle of the night or in the early morning.

#2 Build your campaign flows so the most popular states are normalized first. Marketo evaluates each choice so if you put the most popular states at the top, the campaign will run faster.


Example of flow step in alphabetical order.

Change the order so the largest states are on top

#3 Try not to use more than 25 choices in a single flow step. You may have already noticed that more choices equal slower performance/loading. Don’t be afraid to break up your campaign.

#4 Prevent performance issues caused by large list loads (greater than 5,000 records). Performance may be impacted if you have a lot of trigger campaigns using the Person is Created and Data Value changes triggers. Use a vlookup to correct the State field values before you import the file. I recommend setting as many fields as possible in your file such as Lead Source and Lead Source Details before your import.

  • Set the Source Type to ‘is not’ List import
  • Use a batch campaign to normalize the imported records if possible.

Having a lot of SFDC records can possibly impact the Marketo sync speed. I define a large SFDC instance as someone with more than 1M records based on the number of Account, Contacts and Leads they have. The first step in optimizing sync performance is to run counts in SFDC on the number of Accounts, Contacts, Leads, and Tasks.


Here are possible options to improve performance:


  • Clean up the SFDC database to reduce the amount of contacts and leads you have in the system. Start by deleting junk and test records. Merge duplicates if possible.
  • Implement a custom sync rule to limit the number of contacts and leads which will sync.
  • I recommend preventing records without an email address from initially syncing with Marketo, since Marketo uses email address as the unique key for de-duplication. Setup workflow rules in SFDC to enable the record to sync once a sales rep enters an email address for the record.
  • If you don’t use tasks in Marketo, you can with support to disable tasks from syncing.


Here are some additional resources for learning about the Marketo integration with SFDC.

I was reviewing all the great articles about implementing a custom sync rule and thought it would be nice to finally have them all in one location. Enjoy!


First, what is a custom sync rule? A custom sync rule can be used to keep specific records from syncing with Marketo. For example, if you have a lot of records without an email address it is recommended not to have them sync to Marketo.


Restricting Leads from Syncing to SFDC With Sync Filters by Mike Reynolds

Mike's article provides instructions for setting up the rules if you have SFDC. It includes a step by step guide with screenshots.


"Sync with Marketo" mysteries part 1 by Grégoire Michel

"Sync with Marketo" mysteries part 2 by Grégoire Michel

Greg's articles go in-depth about how the custom sync rule works.


Marketo Custom Sync Filter for Microsoft Dynamics CRM by Kristen Carmean
Kristen's article shows how a similar rule can be implemented in Dynamics without configuring anything in Marketo.


Finally, here are my instructions for creating a custom sync rule including step by step instructions.


Step 1 - Create the field for the Sync Rule in SFDC (Lead and Contact Object). Make sure you map the two fields together. Make the fields visible to Marketo. Check in Marketo to see if the field appears. The field in Marketo should be mapped to both the SFDC Lead and Contact Object fields. (Marketo Admin => Field Management)


SFDC Field Example = Sync with Marketo (sync_with_marketo) (Type Boolean (aka True/False))


Note: Do not use a formula field since the sync will automatically stop whenever the field changes to false which will cause you headaches since Marketo won’t recognize the value change. Marketo won't see when you delete the record in SFDC. Also, the custom sync field will work much better and be less confusing if the logic is if the value of the field is True the record should sync.


Step 2 – Create a workflow rule in SFDC to automatically change the field from False to True for any new lead that is created in SFDC with an email address. Create a second rule which changes the field from False to True if the email address field changes from empty to not empty.


Do not create a rule to change the field back from True to False is the email address is changed to NULL. The workflow rule should only run if the  sync_with_marketo field is set to False. It should run every time a lead is created or the email address field changes from null.


In SFDC, update all records for the sync_with_marketo field based on your criteria.


Step 3 - Contact Marketo support and request a custom sync rule be implemented.  Best practice is implement the rule prior to the record sync.


Ticket Example

Account String for the instance (Information can be found in Admin => Landing Page) Example: acmecompany


Hi Support,


I need a sync filter rule created. If the SFDC field below is checked (True) the record should sync between SFDC and Marketo. If the field is not checked the record should not sync. The rule should apply to both leads and contacts.


The field is


API Name



Friendly Label

Sync_with_marketo or Sync with Marketo



  • When you start your integration with SFDC, you cannot setup a custom sync filter until the field mapping schema has been configured. The ideal time to request a custom sync filter is after the schema has been configured in Marketo and before you start the record sync.
  • You can use custom sync filters on the Lead and Contact object plus the Account and User object. Check with Marketo support about other objects.
  • If the integration has already been completed, and a custom sync rule is necessary to reduce the number of synced records in the Marketo database, follow these steps:
    • Create "sync_with_marketo" field in SFDC on the lead and contact objects
    • Map the lead field to the contact field
    • Expose the field to Marketo sync user in SFDC
    • Create workflow rule that defines which records to sync
    • Update records accordingly via data loader or similar tool
    • Run reports to get record counts, for both lead and contact
    • Compare record counts in Marketo and SFDC
    • Schedule the go-live time with Marketo support
    • Marketo support to implement sync rule
    • Identify the SFDC records in Marketo you want to delete
      • SFDC is Created is not empty
      • sync_with_marketo = True
    • Run a batch campaign to set sync_with_marketo to False
      • Use the sync flow step to push the updates to SFDC
      • Use a wait step of an hour to make sure updates have synced
      • Use the delete record flow step to delete the record in Marketo only


Here are some additional resources for learning about the Marketo integration with SFDC.


Here is a checklist if you are preparing for your initial SFDC sync

Customers often ask me for tips for improving the integration, specifically the sync speed, between Marketo and SFDC. The syncing of a lot of fields can impact performance. Here is a list of things you can do to optimize the field sync between the two systems.


  1. Start by reviewing the activity log of a few records (leads and contacts) plus recently created and older records. If you see a lot of data value changes for fields you don’t ever use on a form or to segment your database they are probably fields you synced over unnecessarily. If the value of a field is changing every day the field is probably a formula field. Since it is difficult to use a formula field in Marketo I would recommend unsyncing it.

    Example of possible fields to unsync:
  2. Create a field dictionary listing the purpose of each field you are interested in unsyncing. A helpful way to see the SFDC field label and API name is a list of all the fields in Marketo (Marketo only and Synced from SFDC).
    1. Lookup each field you are interested in unsyncing in Marketo to determine how it is being used. Marketo will show you which smart lists and campaigns the field is being used in.
    2. Consult with your SFDC Admin if you don’t understand the purpose of a field.
    3. Run reports in SFDC or smart lists in Marketo to determine if the field is populated for many records and to review the values in the field.
  3. I recommend considering unsyncing a field if any of the following are true:
    1. If a field isn’t being used in a target marketing, a smart list, form or list import
    2. If you don’t understand the purpose of the field
    3. If the field isn’t populated for many records or the data doesn’t look valid.
  4. To unsync a field, meaning stopping the data sync between the two systems, have your SFDC Admin hide the field in the profile for the Marketo user. Remember to also hide the field in Marketo.
  5. That’s it. You can always start the data sync for field again by having your SFDC Admin make the field visible again in the profile for the Marketo user and change the SFDC last updated date for all the records so all the values are updated in Marketo. You will also need to unhide the field in Marketo.


Bonus tip: Remember to evaluate all the fields syncing between the two systems for all SFDC objects. Start with the Opportunity and Account objects but don’t neglect looking at any custom objects that are syncing.


Here are some additional resources for learning about the Marketo integration with SFDC.

Do you ignore the Marketo notifications because looking at potential issues isn't much fun? Many times they aren’t as bad as you might. Here are some of the common notifications I have seen and some tips regarding what to do about them.




Example of Error

Impact to Marketo if any

Recommended Action in Marketo if any

Salesforce Sync Error

An unexpected error occurred.

soqlBatchQuery failed.

Marketo will time out and try again during the next sync cycle.

Marketo logs the error to help identify whether it is a recurring issue and to assist your SFDC admin in investigating it. The error is not caused by Marketo and there is no data loss and all updates will eventually sync. Any investigation into the cause of the error needs to be done in Salesforce.

Salesforce Sync Error: Server is not Available

Marketo is unable to log into your Salesforce account.

The Salesforce server is not available.

Marketo will try again during the next sync cycle.


Salesforce Sync Error: Unable to update Lead

Marketo is unable to update Lead in Salesforce.

INSUFFICIENT_ACCESS_OR_READONLY: insufficient access rights on object id.

Record will not be able to sync to SFDC.

Verify that the SFDC profile that is assigned to the Marketo sync user has the correct permissions. The error can be caused be an object level or field level permission. One way to make sure is to look a given leads error message and see the last sync to SFDC attempt, paying attention to the last fields that were passed over from Marketo to SFDC. Resync lead as needed.

Salesforce Sync Error: Unable to update Lead

Marketo is unable to update Lead in Salesforce.


Record will not be able to sync to SFDC

Verify that the SFDC validation rule is met for the field specified. Create campaigns in Marketo if necessary to put the correct value or a temporary value in the field if you want to sync the record before collecting the correct value. Resync lead as needed.

Salesforce Sync Warning: Change in Salesforce Field

One or more fields has been changed in such as a change to the field's picklist or the length of the field

The following fields have been changed:

•  Lead Source picklist entries changed

•  maximum length changed - old value: '2000', new value: '32768'

The form using the field will automatically be re-approved causing the Landing page asset listed using field will be made as draft to reflect change.

Check your forms and make sure these fields are correct. Then re-approve the landing pages to update the live version.


Here are some additional resources for learning about the Marketo integration with SFDC.

Here is a list of some items that you should check in SFDC if you see a failed to sync error. Typically the root cause is linked to the permissions of the Marketo user that you have set up in SFDC but sometimes it may be a validation rule causing the issue. Usually the Marketo notification will show at least one of the leads affected which you can use then use to troubleshoot the issue.


  1. Has the SFDC Admin changed a user or field permission on the Marketo user profile?
  2. Has the SFDC Admin added any new field validation rules?
  3. Are there any look-up or master detail fields on the object in question? If these types of fields are being updated then make sure that the Marketo user has access to the object.
  4. Do you use record types? If so, make sure that the Marketo user has access to all required record types.
  5. Do you use Apex? If so you may have a trigger that fires on the update of a record, you will need to make sure that the Marketo user has profile access to the relevant Apex classes.
  6. Make sure "Convert Leads" is turned-on within SFDC. If it is not, you will get an error message when trying to merge leads that exist within Marketo and SFDC.


Happy troubleshooting.


Here are some additional resources for learning about the Marketo integration with SFDC.

Here is a helpful tip whenever you have to put on your ‘CSI’ hat to investigate a SFDC failed sync issue.


The robust integration between Marketo and SFDC is one of Marketo’s most powerful features and it is frustrating when problems arise. Recently I was helping a customer determine why they were unable to successfully insert a Marketo only record into SFDC. We started the investigation by looking at recently created records in Marketo which were inserted into SFDC using the Sync Person to SFDC flow step. When the client checked SFDC they found the newly inserted records. However, when they converted them to a contact a duplicate would magically appear in Marketo. When we looked at the original record in Marketo we noticed it was missing a SFDC Created Date and there was a Failed message in the activity log of the record. The SFDC information wasn’t flowing back to Marketo after the insert. We discovered the SFDC team had recently added a lookup field and the field needed to be populated before the record was inserted into SFDC for the first time. Once we made sure the lookup field was populated prior to the sync it fixed the issue.


Here are some additional resources for learning about the Marketo integration with SFDC.

I just recently renewed my Marketo Certified Expert status with the latest iteration of the certification exam. It's quite a bit different from the previous versions, so I thought it would be helpful to provide a list of topics you should know:

  • Understand how inherited tokens work
  • Review the A/B testing functionality in the email program, including the dashboard, and know the steps to setting up a subject line test
  • Understand what happens if you add a new piece of content into a stream of the engagement program when someone is exhausted content
  • Understand how to transition someone from one stream to another in an engagement program
  • Understand approaches to resetting the score of a lead
  • Understand operational emails versus promotional emails
  • Know the types of tokens and where each can be used
  • Know how custom columns work in a report
  • Know that you use a lead performance report to measure database growth over time
  • Know that you use a landing page performance report to measure form conversions
  • Know the difference between Marketo and an ESP
  • Know how Marketo handles soft bounces versus hard bounces
  • Know what the value of a text version of the email is
  • Know what marketing suspended is for
  • Know what a local asset is (in a program) versus a global asset (in Design Studio)
  • Know what data you need to have in order to track cost per success
  • Know what you can see on the engagement program dashboard
  • Know the basics of international spam laws
  • Know what the roles of the different stakeholders are during the scoring process (CEO, CRM, marketing, sales)
  • Know where in the form UI you go for progressive profiling
  • Understand what happens when you have multiple triggers in a smart campaign
  • Understand what happens when you have multiple choices in a flow step and a lead qualifies for more than one
  • Understand the connection between acquisition program and new names
  • Understand the ways someone gets automatically marked as acquired by a program
  • Understand that you cannot move backwards in a program status
  • Be able to select which program type to use for a live event hosted by the company
  • Know that you need to activate the content in an engagement program before you can launch it
  • Know the consequences of removing leads from an engagement program after they already participated
  • Know the functionality that the webinar integration gives you at each step of the process (invite, register, attend, no show, attend on demand)
  • Understand that triggers are how you respond in real-time to someone
  • Know how to set up a data management campaign to standardize country
  • Understand whether you set up visibility rules on state or on country when you want to display state only if country is US/Australia
  • Understand what are things that Marketo would categorize as behavior scoring and what would be demographic
  • Know the difference between Send Alert and Send Email (who receives the email)
  • Know about the connection between snippets and segmentations
  • Know about the connection between segmentations and dynamic content
  • Know the differences between segmentations and smart lists
  • Know the ways you would alert sales to a new lead
  • Know what Munchkin code does
  • Know what communication limits are
  • Know about stored values for a picklist
  • Know about hidden fields
  • Know when you can use advanced thank you pages
  • Know about lightbox options for embed forms
  • Know how to edit the URL of a landing page

Let's imagine that you have a nurture campaign for prospects with four emails, each relating to a product. If someone clicks the link in a product-specific email, you want them to get a series of three emails related to that product and then move them back to the previous set of emails if they did not engage in the product-specific stream. Do you put this in one engagement program or two or more?


Here are some factors you should keep in mind when you're trying to make this decision about program design:

  • Will this nurture program always remain as it is? Are there any possibilities that the client might decide to vary the initial set of emails in some way, such as making industry-specific variations, sending the emails in different time zones to different regions, or adding more emails that are based off a different set of rules? Would they do this to the product-specific nurtures as well - potentially make the current set an early stage stream but then add mid and late stage emails also? If you anticipate changes that would involve expanding your nurture program, you may want to split these out into two or more nurture programs to give yourself room to adjust the rules later without having to redo everything.
  • If you separate them into more than one nurture program, you're going to need extra smart campaigns to pause people in one nurture program and unpause them in the other. This is a relatively minor consideration but if you have relatively new Marketo users, it can be overlooked and it is possible people might be active in both at one time when you don't intend for that. If you have everything in one nurture program, the system automatically ensure someone is only in one stream at a time.
  • You also need to consider reporting. Do you have a different measurement of success for the first set of four emails than you do for the different product-specific streams? If you want to measure success of the entire program of 16 emails based on these leads being passed to sales, then you are fine to report on them in a single program. If you want to report on how many people engage with the first set of emails but you want to report on conversion for the product-specific nurtures, you would want to put these into separate programs.


Anyone have any other factors they think should be included?

By Chandar Pattabhiram, CMO of Marketo



Attribution has traditionally been the bane of all marketers, but we’re no longer doomed to continue the old ways of thinking about it. Why is this good news? Because the metrics that we marketers have customarily used to measure and showcase our success are running out of steam.


The Engagement Economy is catapulting the shift in our thinking and techniques from old school marketing into adaptive engagement. As we evolve in our marketing, we must also evolve in our measurement.


We can, and must, do better. And that means measuring and amplifying only the metrics that matter the most in the Engagement Economy.


Escape the engine room

For decades, marketing has measured its worth using vanity metrics. Marketers roll out imposing figures on impressions, clicks, conversions and marketing qualified leads, and while such metrics can be useful and look quite impressive, they really only matter to us. If we keep focusing on these metrics, we’ll only keep talking to ourselves.


These metrics do not help marketing align with other areas of the company, such as the revenue and customer experience teams, nor do they promote a strategic look at the business. Instead, they are “engine room” metrics that show what is working within marketing. And maybe what happens in the engine room should stay only in the engine room.


The Maslow’s Hierarchy of engagement metrics in the Engagement Economy has three layers: “engine room” metrics at the base, alignment metrics in the middle, and strategic metrics at the top. When we step out of the marketing engine room — which CMOs are doing more and more — we need to talk true alignment metrics, such as pipeline and revenue, along with big strategic metrics like Lifetime Value (LTV) and number of brand advocates. Here’s why.


Drive alignment

Marketing alignment with sales and other revenue teams seems like a no-brainer, but it is in fact a struggle when the two sides cannot speak the same language. Sales wants to know that marketing has its back, which means that marketers need to quantify the value of their work through metrics that mean something to sales leaders, such as contribution to pipeline and revenue. Prove to them how your marketing actions lead not just to awareness and leads, but also to pipeline and booked and banked revenue. Do this, and you’ll earn their respect. And trust me, if you are unable to do this, there is always someone else along the revenue chain who will cheerfully take all the credit.


Savvy marketers know this, and we have seen a notable surge in the number of marketing organizations moving in this direction. And the savviest of them also recognize that they need to go farther still up the hierarchy of metrics to win in the Engagement Economy.


Amplify via advocacy

At the top of the new hierarchy of metrics are two intimately intertwined strategic metrics: customer advocacy and LTV. Advocates are those who shout their love for your brand from the rooftops — or on Facebook or Yelp for consumers and TrustRadius or G2 Crowd for business-to-business, which is even better. They may not be the biggest purchasers of a company’s products or services, or its longest-term customers, but they are the readiest with their endorsements and the most fulsome in their praise. In short, they are the brand champions and are not shy about saying so. Consequently, creating, nurturing and giving advocates a platform to socialize their love for the brand is an essential and measurable strategy for success in the Engagement Economy.


I believe that for most brands today, 90 percent of customers are lurkers (they purchase opportunistically and engage with the brand at a low level), nine percent of customers are likers (relative to lurkers, they’re pretty steady in their purchases), and one percent of customers are lovers and thus inclined to advocate with abandon. When you are delivering the every-step-of-the-journey engagement required for maximizing lifetime customer value, you greatly increase the likelihood of converting brand likers into brand lovers.


Be the king of the hill, the top of the heap

As for me, I love Disney as a brand, and the stories and characters they create are incredibly memorable. That’s why I call LTV the “Mufasa” Metric — the King of all Metrics — in the Engagement Economy. And there is a good reason for it.


It used to be that marketing was all about funnels. In the acquisition-based marketing world, for example, we were consumed with concern about clicks and impressions. But in the Engagement Economy, marketing alignment must be across the entire customer life cycle, not just around acquisition, which means a different set of metrics matter.


LTV is measured by how long a customer is with you and how much they are spending across their customer lifetime. Companies focused on LTV, as we all should be today, are not just concerned with customer acquisition. They are concerned with the entire customer cycle of land and expand, make them successful, continue to sell them more, and give a great experience driven by meaningful engagement at every step so they stay with you longer and spend more.


Where do you stand? How do you get to the apex?

Companies and their marketers need to take a critical look at where they currently stand vis-à-vis the Hierarchy of Marketing Metrics. Many marketing organizations have pushed open the engine room doors and are successfully aligning their energies and metrics with sales and other revenue generation teams. They can demonstrate which of their programs are translating into pipeline and booked revenue, and to what degree. And many more organizations are now making their first steps.


But the big prize will go to those who embrace the Mufasa of all metrics and reach the strategic heights of advocacy and LTV. Companies need incentives on the marketing team to pursue alignment on pipeline and revenue creation, and all the way up the hierarchy to its strategic pinnacle.


I believe that marketing is primed to be the catalyst for a business to embrace LTV as strategic objective. And in the immortal worlds of Ramses II in “The 10 Commandments,” “So let it be written. So let it be done.”


This post originally appeared on MarTech Today on April 21, 2017.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: