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In my last blog I discussed the importance of defining the scope and vision of your Marketo implementation, this installment focuses on the significance of getting attention and buy-in from executive leadership.


Why is executive-level support key for success?  Besides being able to break down any potential roadblocks between and within departments tasked with the Marketo implementation (e.g. IT, Marketing and Sales), executives can set the tone for the entire organization. As the proverbial captains of the ship, having top-level support can help all departments sail in the same direction. Recruit these “skippers” to champion the vision and strategy for the Marketo implementation and beyond.


In the article, 10 Change Management Keys to Effective Software Implementation, Samantha E. Velez writes, “When there is consistent, managerial backing at every level, the entire workforce is being driven toward the common goal of accepting and adapting to the new system. Effective leadership can sharply reduce the behavioral resistance to change, especially when dealing with new technologies.”


Part of your change management strategy should incorporate an Executive Leadership Plan. When formulating the plan, here are some things to consider matched to typical implementation phases:

  • Kick-off: Get the executive team together and have them describe how Marketo fits into the overarching goals, direction and strategy of your company –  then get them to communicate this company wide.  This not only gives the implementation the visibility it needs; it also helps bring clarity to the entire organization around why the changes are being made.
  • Design: Consider providing Marketo overview training to familiarize executives with Marketo features and functionality.  This forum can also facilitate conversations around scope and time frame related questions, as well as expose this group to available metrics, report types and provide a look at user roles.  When it comes to analytics, some executives like to have system access to run their own reports, while others want things delivered to them.  And, the discussion around user roles might surface new business processes that will need to be adopted. Figuring all this out early in the process helps set expectations.
  • Implementation – and beyond: Focus on providing project updates and strive for on-going organizational alignment. Consider hosting executive briefings, or providing weekly reports to keep executives apprised of project successes and challenges.  During the implementation and early project phases, more frequent meetings and reporting might be necessary, while post implementation you might scale back to quarterly updates. Whatever the meeting or reporting cadence, continue to enlist executive support when needed – be it for issue escalation, or to broadcast your awesome achievements.
  • All Phases: Create a cycle of positive reinforcement. Consider having executives single-out key adopters (both marketing and sales) and program successes. Include these updates in your internal newsletters, company intranet and social network.  Who doesn’t like to be recognized for good work? And we all know that a ‘shout out’ can go a long way when it comes to motivating a team.


Much of what I’ve been discussing emphasizes communication.  In an upcoming blog I’ll dig deeper into the importance of formulating an overarching project communication plan.  If scheduling quarterly meetings makes sense for your business, consider including your Marketo or partner team.  Your Account Manager, Engagement Manager, or partner will keep you abreast of the product road map. This will give needed visibility and runway, allowing you to continually evaluate your strategy and to plan for adding or shifting resources as new features, like Account Based Marketing, change or amplify your existing strategy.


Set your organization up for smooth sailing! Getting executive buy-in from the start puts your investment in Marketo on a long-term course for success.

My recent switch from the Enterprise Consulting team to the Education team has given me greater exposure to clients who are either brand new to Marketing Automation (MA), or switching from another MA, like Eloqua or Hubspot. Typically, I’m training a core group of people that have been charged with the responsibility of driving a successful new implementation; oftentimes training takes place before any type of discovery or kick-off with the professional services teams (either Enterprise or SMB) has occurred.  What I've come to realize is that, while clients are in different places along their respective MA journeys, there are some best practice topics that any organization should consider to help manage a successful implementation - as well as the ongoing successful adoption - of Marketo. These topics include:


  • Defining an overall scope and vision
  • Garnering executive leadership
  • Outlining ownership and internal support path
  • Devising an internal communications plan
  • Discussing users and roles
  • Managing technical system requirements
  • Ensuring data quality
  • Creating internal processes to support the platform and people
  • Motivating Users and Non-Users
  • Creating training plans


I’ll be dedicating the next few blogs going over these topics individually, and in this first installment let’s look at some things to consider when defining an overall scope and vision for your Marketo implementation.


Typically, when clients get started with a solution as robust as Marketo they are super excited and want to get up and running quickly – oftentimes with a goal of utilizing as many new feature as possible.  Lots of teams are either drawn to proving they are getting the most out of their investment quickly, or they have upper management pressuring them to show ROI as fast as possible.



This is where you have to be realistic about how much change your organization can handle at once.  Biting off more than you can chew can lead to frustration, confusion and failure. This is why Marketo suggests a “Crawl, Walk, Run” phased approach.  By initially focusing on the core team and essential ‘must haves’ you’ll ensure success and build confidence – not only among the core implementation group, but with other departments, like sales or IT – as they see a focused and organized team executing on a realistic plan.


As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So ask yourself the following:


  • What people need to start using Marketo now?
    • Can you take advantage of Quick Wins to give insight into people who are just curious about the solution, but may not need to be trained straight away - if ever? This suggestion works great if you have a sandbox, but even if you don’t, pointing people to Marketo Product docs or Marketo Resources is a low cost way to give people visibility into all Marketo can do and makes sure no one feels left out.
  • What are some quick wins that can have the biggest impact?
    • This is highly subjective and depends a lot on your company’s MA maturity and experience. For MA ‘newbies’ this might include adding A/B testing and scoring, for more experience teams it might include setting up best practice program templates to enable scaling (via cloning) and extending access/insight to sales via smart lists and report subscriptions and/or Sales Insights.
  • What are my key KPIs and how am I going to report on them?
    • In addition to setting some basics reporting goals, like a lift in sign-ups, or growth of lead quantity and quality, set tactical metrics around content performance for emails including opens, clicks, unsubscribes and include web engagement metrics.
    • Ask yourself who should see reports and at what frequency.  As previously mentioned, you can set up subscriptions, but you might not want to socialize reports until meaningful data is available.
  • Do I have a defined scope for each phase of the implementation?
    • Make sure the scope matches your organizations overarching marketing strategy and goals.  Don't start rolling out Social, for instance, just because you can - ask yourself if it is part of the greater plan.
    • Set goals at 3 month intervals – for at least the first year – so you can stay focused on the present, while keeping an eye on the future.


Finally, plan on an enhancement life-cycle, for when you are ready to use additional features – whether purchased or those that become available in Marketo’s quarterly releases.  You can also include in this life-cycle additional requests that will inevitably come up during an implementation as more people learn all that Marketo can do. Knowing upfront that you've entered a marathon, not a sprint, may keep people more focused and patient during this key time of your implementation.

So you’ve decided Pay-per-click Ads are working for your organization, or maybe you are just dipping your toe in the PPC ocean. Why not amp up the power of that marketing investment with web personalization? This provides a seamless, personalized experience for users who click on your ads and then visit your website.  And we all know that personalization leads to higher response and engagement rates.


How does this work?  Let’s take a look…


Google AdWords setup

A click on a Google Ads, sends the visitor to your website’s URL with additional parameters in the URL. These parameters are known as utm parameters and capture information such as the campaign type, source, and ad group. These are defined in Google AdWords, or can be manually added by the user in the destination URL of the advertisement. Here’s a great reference to learn more about how to tag your AdWords URLs and another that provides a URL builder.


For our example let’s say the campaign uses the following URL: 


Web Personalization setup

Within Web Personalization (also known as RTP) you’ll want to use the Segment > Behavioral option of Include Pages as pictured below, and include a parameter related to the URL the visitor clicks on from the PPC campaign. In this example we’ll use the value for campaign and include wild cards (*) to be sure we capture that parameter – like this: *campaign=summer*


ppc campaigns.jpg


It's that simple!  Are you using PPC and Web Personalization?  If not, give it a try.


Thanks to David Myers for his assistance as usual.

Many of you already know how to Create an RTP Segment Using Known Lead Data, but what do you do if you want to test that segment?


It’s easy – here’s how you do it…

  1. First, you must clear all browser cookies (or go incognito or create a private browser session depending upon which browser you are using).  This a key step and if overlooked your test will fail.
  2. Next you should fill out a form on your website using a brand new email address that isn’t already in your Marketo Lead/People database.
    • In this case, your form must be synced with MLM either because you are using a Marketo embedded form or a Marketo form on a Marketo Landing page that has the RTP tag installed, or you are using your own forms along with the Marketo Forms 2.0 API. Click here to read more about the use of forms and Web Personalization (RTP).
  3. Once you submit the form locate the newly created Lead/Person in the MLM database to ensure the lead exists.
  4. Next, in Web Personalization (RTP) create a segment that uses the Lead Database attribute found under Know Leads filters and select Email Address as the field you want to target.  Use the ‘is’ operator and fill in the email address you just used to fill out the form.


Lead Database Filter.png


Note: In order to use email address as a value you must first be sure it’s been synced over – here’s what that looks like:


Add Email Address.png


5. Wait about 5-10 minutes and then refresh the webpage where you submitted the form.

6. You can then check to confirm the test email address matched the segment:


Test Known Lead Data.png


Happy testing!

When creating a segment, one of the Know Leads filters in Web Personalization provides the ability to create personalized campaigns based on a Marketo Email Campaign.  This provides a very powerful way to create custom campaigns that take your conversation from email campaign to the web and will likely result in increased session times as well as more page visits.


Start by creating the segment

Simply drag over the filter and choose either the Program Name or Campaign Name (this is the Smart Campaign name), then set your operator (is, is not, etc.) and begin typing in the empty field.  As you do, your MLM Programs or Smart Campaign will be available in the drop down. 


c conversation 1.png


Let’s take a look at how this works

What’s important to note is that you can't build a segment off of program membership. Like I mentioned, Programs & Smart campaigns in segments are used to continue the conversation from email to web. In order to match the segment a person (lead or contact) in MLM would need to click on a link in an email that's referenced in the Program or Smart Campaign used in the Web Personalization segment.


It’s also important to note that Web Personalization segmentation logic does not always work the same way as smart list logic does.  Read more about how Web Personalization segmentation works here:


An example of how you would set up a segment that uses both an email program and lead attribute can be found in the below screen capture.  In this example, when someone clicks a link in an email sent by the Smart Campaign and if they have a lead score that is greater than 30 they will match the segment. You can then use this segment to create a relevant Dialog, Widget or In Zone campaign to show to that visitor.


c conversation 2.png


Keep in mind that this is creating a definitive campaign that requires that web visitors meet a very specific set of criteria to be able to match and be eligible to see the campaign.  That being said, it’s a very powerful way to continue the conversation from email to the web.


Some other things to consider

So let’s say a user visits your website the day after the email was sent to them.  Will they see the campaign?  The answer is no.  Why? Web Personalization happens in real-time using real-time segments that match at that moment. In other words, the segment won’t match a future visit from a person going directly to the website if they did not click on email link again. It works in the moment, and will personalize content to that visitor during that visit -  it’s not created and built retroactively.  This is unlike a filter or trigger of smart lists in MLM, which bases the flow (action) on existing or past data and filtering.


And another thing to keep in mind is that segment matches can vary if users are, for instance, clicking on a link on their phones which takes them to a mobile version of your website where no RTP tag has been deployed.


In web personalization you must always remember that a visitor must EXACTLY match a segment BEFORE they can become eligible for a campaign and they must be visiting a page on which the RTP tag has been deployed.


Thanks to David Myers as usual for his input and to Michaela Iery for a solid use case on which this blog was based.

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