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7 Posts authored by: Will Harmon Employee

With 2019 right around the corner, we wanted to address an ever-important and always-changing landscape, the MarTech stack. That's why we partnered with Marketo Champion Alumni and Founder of Marketing Rockstar Guides Josh Hill to bring you an in-depth discussion on what your business needs to consider when evaluating your MarTech stack.

 

How do you assess whether or not your MarTech stack is working for you right now?

I would say two or three times a year, I will ask this question of the team and my stack. Depending on the answers and pain level, we can prioritize work to improve the day as well as acquire more customers. I ask a few questions:

  • Can it handle your current volume?
  • Is it creating work or taking away work?
  • Is it collecting the data you need now and in the future?
  • What’s the pain level (or How much would I gain/save by making a change?).


For example, I’ve encountered the question, “Pardot or Marketo?” from many people directly and in the Marketo Nation. When I ask them more about their question, it turns out that they were using Pardot for a year or two, and then reached a certain volume of campaigns as well as database size (usually 30k+) and felt Pardot wasn’t quite meeting their needs anymore.


Similarly, I’ve had a situation where we were running Events out of Marketo. The Events team wanted to provide a certain on page experience and workflow to their audience. When we discussed it more deeply, it turned out Marketo could support that if we spent a bit of time building a better page and Marketo Program Template.
Later on, as requirements and volume changed, we explored an Event Platform as a MarTech stack change to enhance our abilities and experiences for the audience. Naturally, we ensured the new platform worked closely with Marketo and our data processes.

If you consider Marketo one of the core pieces of your tech stack, how do you prioritize adding additional technology?

Again, it’s about asking the right questions. There are a lot of good marketers and sales people like you and me working to convince colleagues at other firms that our tools will solve problems. The challenge is that you may not really need those tools – today or ever. Unless you go through a proper RFP process which include Requirements Gathering, it will be hard to evaluate a purchase (or a no decision).
Over the years, I prioritize projects based on cost-benefit, which in MarTech means “Will this automate away work and scale up things we need?”


A good example is Blog RSS to Email automation. For smaller firms or firms that are used to Mailchimp or ESPs, this is an obvious, easy win: get our blog/newsletter automated. But at some companies, the benefit may not be that large compared to the effort. If your database is complex or the blog subscriber level is low, automation isn’t going to solve much, and it will cost more to build out the system than you save in time.


Similarly, you may want to remove technologies due to cost or overlapping features. If a vendor is pitching a tool that overlaps with another tool, perhaps that’s an opportunity to rip out an old technology and reduce a leak in your budget. Some tools are just so old in the Stack, no one remembers why they are there.


Ultimately, there’s a time and place for many tools, it may not be today, and it might have been yesterday.
As your business (or organization) grows or evolves, your MarTech stack needs to keep up.

What members of your organization should be involved in your decision to invest in your MarTech stack?
Definitely depends on the part of the stack we are talking about.

  • Core Team: MOPS, MOPS Leadership
  • Business Owner Team: for Events, the Events teams or leaders.
  • Budget or Finance if it’s over a certain threshold.
  • IT or Product: a large project may involve IT for a security review or integration assistance.

 

Ultimately, it is best to check in with multiple teams as the vendor or project grows in size. I don’t think you need Finance to buy a Zapier subscription, but you might if you do a multi-year Marketo subscription.



What does a successful MarTech stack allow you to accomplish?

A successful stack allows you to automate marketing and sales business processes in a way that you can efficiently report on the funnel and make future decisions on budget allocation. A successful stack will allow each type of marketer and salesperson to work on campaign storytelling and relationship building, rather than analysis.

 

What are the common pitfalls you see in building and maintaining a MarTech stack?

Shiny Object Syndrome is the biggest problem facing Sales, SOPS, MOPS, and Marketers. Vendor salespeople are very happy to work email and phones until they find someone willing to run with the ball. That person may totally bypass MOPS and other processes because they feel the pain the most or were easily persuaded. Marketing technology must be evaluated by MOPS and other technically oriented people to ensure there is a good fit in the stack and the vendor does everything they claim. I’ve seen a lot of projects completely fail because they were driven by misinformed business owners who failed to ask questions internally. Likewise, it is a bad move for MOPS to purchase a tool like Sales Engage without bringing in SOPS and Sales for evaluation.

 

 

Do you have additional considerations for your MarTech stack in 2019? Let us know in the comments! Also, check out our brand new Holiday themed customer newsletter for more content around setting yourself up for a successful 2019.

The Marketo Master Class series is back with another deep dive into one of the many facets of Marketo: Lead Nurturing. This time around we were lucky enough to team up with Marketo Champion Alumni and Founder of Marketing Rockstar Guides Josh Hill on a special piece of content. Past master classes have drilled into a particular functionality and provided technical tips for navigating the Marketo platform. For this master class, rather than walk through how some of our successful customers leverage Marketo, we wanted to discuss the philosophy every marketer should consider before implementing any and every lead nurturing campaign.

 

1. How did you develop your nurture philosophy?


I developed the Journey Session Framework after working on various nurtures using smart campaigns as well as the Engagement Program. After a few tries, I realized that in order to make it work, there were the five questions to answer. If you cannot answer all of the questions, you won’t be able to launch the nurture properly. In many ways, this harkens back to the old Marketing or Campaign Brief, from a marketing automation point of view.
The Five questions are Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. But that’s not how I ask them to get the answers we need for a nurture program.

  • Entry – Who
  • Exit – Bad – Why
  • Exit – Goal - Why
  • Cadence - When & How
  • Content – What


If you can concretely answer these questions, you can do amazing work in Marketo.
For example, you might end up with a Journey Doc like this:

  • Entry – Who – people who fill out the free trial form with XYZ fields.
  • Exit Bad – people who unsubscribe or cancel their trial.
  • Exit Goal – people who pay for the service.
  • Cadence: one email within 1 hour and then every 2 days at 2pm afterwards.
  • Content: onboarding emails – 3 to start, we may add 3 more.

 

2. What metrics are you looking at if you’re trying to improve a nurture? (open rates/click rates?)


I am not a big proponent of such metrics for a nurture. These days, clicks are about 80% fake – created by spam bot filters. A click can only tell us a little bit about that particular asset, not whether the journey itself is leading toward the desired lifecycle stage. If your nurture is designed to advance someone (a lead or Account) to MQL or SQL, that’s the only metric to consider.
Remember that your stages are (usually) based on a lead scoring methodology or your funnel methodology, so it is predeterminate to say that “We’re driving 20% more MQLs with this new nurture.” Is that because it takes 1 click to reach MQL? Is it three whitepaper downloads? Are your assets structured to hook into that scoring?
In some sense, you can treat a long term, carefully planned nurture, similar to the lead funnel. The ability to monitor the inflow and outflow of the nurture against the key stages is critical.

  • Entry – how many entered each day or month
  • Exit Bad – how many people fell out because of unsubscribes or excluded traits.
  • Exit Goal – how many people reached our goal – MQL or Upsell.

 

3. How do you make changes to an existing nurture/program without reinventing the wheel or breaking the system?


The best way is to add new content. However, I do encounter this issue frequently. Sometimes the marketer made a mistake, sometimes we add new nurtures and have to shift leads to a different nurture after the fact. Most of the time, at least with an Engagement, this is easy to do with smart lists and campaigns.
The challenge is when you have a Smart Campaign drip, or Irregular drip with wait steps running. If leads are in the flow, you may have to remove them and start again. You can also, if you are careful, adjust the flow steps, however, this is risky. Leads could pop out to the wrong step or you could create a bug in the smart campaign and cause it to fail.

4. How do I determine whether content should be in a separate stream or separate program entirely?


I use my Nurture Waterfall concept to decide things like this. Nurtures aren’t about a set of content, they are about the people. The Waterfall has several nurture programs, or streams, designed to take someone with a limited profile to entice them to offer us more information about themselves. Once they do, we move them to more specific nurtures targeting their Account-Solution-Persona.
Usually if the Lifecycle Stage is different or the Buyer Persona is, that’s a reason to have separate Nurture systems. Depending on how you structure the Streams, you can either do this by Persona-Stage or separate the Nurtures. There’s no perfect way to handle this.

 

5. What are the common pitfalls you see in nurture planning and execution?

 

Lack of planning.

Lack of content.
If you don’t understand the Journey Questions, you won’t be able to build the nurture in Marketo or any system.
It is critical to have a continuous stream of content to add to the Streams to extend the nurture as most B2B buyers will take months to years to be ready for your sales people.
The other pitfall is this strange assumption that every nurture begins with 4 emails. The assumption blocks a successful nurture because:

  1. Four emails are rarely enough. Most marketers can barely get 4 emails finalized on Day 1 and then they will rarely come back to add more than four. If you know it takes 60 days to reach SQL and 180 days to make a sale, why is your journey 4 emails?
  2. Only need one email on Day 1. Create a rolling schedule of new content. Your audience won’t notice if there’s a delay, but you definitely need to feed the machine or risk a dead list. Psychologically, creating one email at a time is less daunting than building a 49 week nurture.

 

6. In what situations would you want to leverage a nurture program over any other program?

 

This isn’t the right question. A nurture program is part of a continuous multi-channel effort. People should find content organically or through advertisements, then opt in to further communications. The nurturing program keeps your audience engaged while specific Events, Webinars, Videos, etc will spark their interest further. Of course, not everyone, but enough to keep business moving.

 

Each lead who opts in from offline events should enter a long term nurture. Leads who don’t advance in the funnel should move to an appropriate stream related to the reasons they did not work out this time.

 

We hope you learned some key takeaways to think about while planning your next nurture campaign. Do you have a nurture checklist of your own? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

Featured in the October edition of the Fearless Forum, Amber Hobson of Applied Systems is walking us through her journey of implementing Dynamic Content. In this master class, Amber goes into detail about her team's marketing strategy before rolling out Dynamic Content, lessons learned during implementation, and how it ultimately impacts marketing efficiency and reporting.

 

Q1: Can you describe how you leverage personalization at your organization?

Every single email is personalized to some extent. Our CMO is very much about the right content to the right person. We had implemented specific letterhead, envelopes, etc. throughout the organization to ensure that when you receive something from Applied, the address matches your country’s main location. He wanted us to do this for digital as well. We started with multiple emails for each region to get the right footer address, which later grew into the sophistication that we have today.

 

Q2: What are some specific benefits you’ve seen from implementing personalization?

It saved time for our Demand Gen team significantly! It’s much easier to change words or make minor edits within the Dynamic Content than it is to create multiple emails and set up our smart campaigns to send the right one based on country. Now, we can just build a single email and schedule it in a simple campaign.

 

It also had an unanticipated benefit where it can now flow into our reporting. We can actually do our reporting for email statistics based on the Dynamic Content segments as well. This is huge for our regional teams! It allows us to see how an email performs based on each group. For example, we’ve learned now that shorter emails are perform better North American while longer emails are better received in European.

 

Q3: Can you go into detail about efficiencies?

We work in 4 countries and technically 2 languages. In our industry, there are minor wording changes even between the US and Canada. This means that we were having to build separate emails for just a single word or a CTA link change. At this point building multiple emails for minor nuances was difficult to manage and we would have a single program with at least 5 emails to ensure we were getting the right content to the right person. By implementing Dynamic Content, we were able to scale down to a single email that we segment appropriately to make the necessary regional changes. We always start with the US (our largest market) and then we can quickly run a find/replace for some of the smaller copy changes.

 

Q4: How are you setting up your Dynamic Content campaigns within Marketo?

Our most used campaign is our Geographic segment. We set up a segment to catch country & language for everyone in our database. We’ve had to expand this segment over time as our company has grown by adding other markets. We also switched to using the State/Country picklist functionality in SFDC. One thing you have to remember is that when a change like that is made, you have to update all of your segments. Otherwise you end up with more people in the “Default” category than you want.

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Then we created a Footer & Unsubscribe snippet for our emails as the most basic quick win. This allows us to have unique subscription centers and to include our local addresses in the footer of our emails.

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Then for every email we do, we use that Snippet in our footer section.

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Q5: What are some unique ways you’re leveraging Dynamic Content with Marketo?

We have two unique ways that we’re using Dynamic Content. One is geography. All emails automatically have a geographic segment added, even if it is just for the footer & unsubscribe content. The second method that we do is leverage Acuity to manage scripts. We use Acuity to provide each of our sales reps with their own calendar link. Then we create a segment based on SFDC account owner and simply change the URL based on the reps.

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Q6: How are you layering features of Marketo to make Dynamic Content work for you by utilizing tokens/buttons?

This one took us a while to figure out! We had been using Dynamic Content for our copy for years before we realized that we could use it for our CTA links as well. We have added Dynamic Content to each of our five program tokens, which we use to populate our CTAs. We standardized our CTA to always include one of these tokens (with a few minor exceptions).

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We also layered Marketo features into our modules when we are working in a newsletter. We have our client newsletter that goes out each month and each module corresponds loosely to a certain product. We segmented each module to have different content based on if you do or do not have that product. It gets crazy when working through QA, but we’ve identified key client accounts that will get specific content sections that we use as our QA people.

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Q7: What was the trial and error process like leading up to the current Dynamic Content model you’re using?

It was more just us being paranoid about what we thought might happen versus what is actually likely to happen! We put our marketing team on every email that went out, but since we all have US information, the test results may not always be ideal. We got so many questions from the team asking if it should have said this or if it was correct for the market. I think we finally have them set up to understand it, but it made everyone so nervous!

 

Then, we had to train our communications team how to write the copy so that we were getting all regions at once so we could actually schedule them correctly. The other issue with the geographic segment was that we used to have our French copy translated for a later date, but now we’re providing the copy at the same time as the other regions. It creates a better experience for our client base (especially because a single account may have both French & English filters), but it took some training for our team.

 

Q8: What was the most challenging part of building out your Dynamic Content model?

It took a lot of research to decide how we wanted to start. We knew that building three (at the time) different emails every time that we sent something wasn’t working, but we weren’t sure how to fix it. After digging around on the Marketing Nation Community, talking to other users, and then going through trial/error, we decided that Dynamic Content was the way to go. Building out our segments was very challenging. We found originally that our data wasn’t as clean as sales thought it was, so we had to do a clean up campaign in SFDC and then we set up standardization for country & language across all areas of SFDC as well as within our Marketo forms. We still do periodic audits to ensure the data is correct and have had to expand our standardization to other systems that simply touch SFDC or Marketo (finance system, implementation system, etc.)

 

Q9: What advice would you give to Marketo users who are considering implementing Dynamic Content for localization purposes?

Think through your segments. You have to remember that no person can be a member of two segments so if there is any chance of overlap, you may need to diagram it out. And start small! Pick one type of item to do dynamically. For us, it was geography. As soon as you have that first one worked out, the ideas will just flow and you will find so many uses!

 

We hope you enjoyed reading about how Applied Systems is leveraging Dynamic Content to make the lives of their marketers easier.

Hello Marketing Nation,

 

This week Marketo reopened the gates to the Marketo Champion Program and we wanted to extend the invitation to all of you in the Marketing Nation Community. Many of you have been impacted by a Marketo Champion in one way or another. Whether you've seen some of their content here on Community or you've attended a Champion-lead Marketo User Group, the Champions are deeply devoted to helping our customers win with Marketo. The application will be open until November 30th.

 

For more details around becoming a Marketo Champion, check out the Champion Info page listed here: Requirements & Benefits of the Champion Program

 

If you're ready to apply today, you can find the application here: https://engage.marketo.com/championapplication2019.html

 

If you have any further questions about the Champion Program’s Criteria & Requirements, please email customermarketing@marketo.com

 

Good luck to all the 2019 applicants!

Will Harmon

Adobe to Acquire Marketo

Posted by Will Harmon Employee Sep 20, 2018

As you may have heard, earlier today Adobe announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Marketo to widen their leadership in customer experience. Marketo CEO Steve Lucas published a blog that highlights both Marketo's and Adobe's joint vision to empower marketers to deliver exceptional end-to-end customer experiences:

 

"I am thrilled to announce that Marketo has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Adobe. Adobe and Marketo both share an unwavering belief in the power of content and data to drive business results. Together we will deliver an unrivaled solution that will place customer experience and engagement at the heart of digital transformation. This announcement is a momentous occasion for Marketo, as it signals the next phase of our company’s growth."

For more information about the pending acquisition, please read Steve Lucas' full blog and Adobe's press release below.

 

Blog from Marketo CEO Steve Lucas: Adobe to Acquire Marketo to Place Customer Experience and Engagement at the Heart of Digital Transformation
Adobe Press Release: Adobe Expands Customer Experience Leadership with Addition of Marketo | Adobe Blog

In the August edition of the Fearless Forum, we're diving deeper into the topic of marketing attribution. In a recent challenge on Purple Select, a lot of Marketo users signaled they struggled with proving marketing's impact to their organization. In order to shed some light on how the experts are successfully proving their marketing impact everyday, we asked Libby Koebnick of PitchBook to help us understand how she's leveraging Marketo + Bizible.

 

Q1: Can you describe how marketing attribution works at your organization?

Web visits and form fills are captured via Bizible’s tracking scripts, and offline activities, including prospecting, are tracked via Salesforce activities. Our model takes all these touchpoints, connects them to and normalizes them in the buyer journey, and attributes a percentage of revenue back to them. This allows us to see how marketing and sales are contributing to our bottom line.

 

Q2: How did you manage your marketing attribution efforts before implementing Bizible?

Before Bizible, we were using a siloed last touch attribution model. This means we would attribute an entire contract to a single action of a single individual on that account. Since we’re a B2B SaaS Company with enterprise subscriptions, that model doesn’t make much sense for us. Now we use a custom Bizible attribution model that takes into account all the touchpoints of all the individuals involved in the conversation of the sale.

 

Q3: Can you share a specific benefit you’ve seen from implementing marketing attribution?

Our Bizible attribution models have showed us that over half our potential clients’ early interactions with us are via pitchbook.com. Citing this data, we successfully petitioned leadership for the resources to redesign our entire website.

 

Q4: How do you use Bizible with Marketo?

The way we get Bizible to see Marketo campaigns is to tag all the links in our emails with UTMs that Bizible will parse out when it captures landing pages from web visits. We just have to make sure all our links direct to our website or other pages that have the Bizible tracking script on them.

 

Q5: What are some unique ways you’re using Bizible with Marketo?

We started using in-platform forms in social media, which are super effective, but they don’t allow us to add Bizible tracking scripts. We found a workaround by using a Marketo campaign triggered by the form fill that creates a Salesforce activity task with the appropriate medium, source and campaign values. Bizible then turns those activities into touchpoints under the correct channel and subchannel.

 

Here's a closer look at how Libby leverages a campaign trigger in Marketo to turn activities into touchpoints in Bizible:

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Q6: What was the most challenging part of choosing/implementing/building out your attribution model?

The most challenging part is getting our entire organization to correctly and consistently use UTMs. Web visits are bucketed into channels by building rules around landing page UTMs. Every time someone uses a new UTM (such as a new channel) or has a typo in their link, I have to create a new rule in Bizible.

 

Q7: How did you decide on the particular attribution model you’re using?

We are using Bizible’s Full Path model that attributes 22.5% of the revenue to each of the following buckets:

  1) First touch

  2) Lead creation

  3) Opportunity creation

  4) Close

The remaining 10% is attributed to the other touchpoints prior to the closed deal. Our old last touch attribution model was attributing 100% to the opportunity creation touchpoint. The Bizible model gives us context to the sale, more like account based marketing. We can see how the account first learned about PitchBook, how we warmed them up over time, and what eventually contributed to the win.

 

Q8: What advice would you give to Marketo users who are considering more advanced attribution?

Start collecting Bizible touchpoint data now! Bizible will naturally collect touchpoints, so by the time you’re ready to build your model you’ll already have your data. It takes a long time to build up historical data, and you don’t need an attribution model to start tracking touchpoints.

 

No attribution model is going to be completely right or wrong, and you can always adjust as you go. The model we went with was the most logical, considering our sales process, and the output passed the gut check.

 

When you put it all together, here's what attribution data looks like in Bizible Discover:

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We hope you enjoyed reading about how PitchBook is setting themselves up for success when it comes to proving their marketing impact. For even more tips and tricks on best practices, check out our brand new edition of the Fearless Forum which features a special video by Marketo Champion Juli James!

In the April edition of the Fearless Forum, we received a lot of questions about how to use Marketo Engagement Programs. So we sat down with Chris Saporito of Paycor to discuss how he executes successful engagement programs within Marketo to onboard new clients.

 

Q1: What led you to develop an engagement program?

A: We decided to revamp the way that we are onboarding clients because we had a gap in the quality of the current process. Our service organization wants to combine automation and personal touches to make the process as seamless and easy as possible. By adding sophistication to the automation and mixing in personal touches we hope to improve the efficiency and quality of the onboarding process. The ultimate goal of the project is to reduce the number of no-starts that we have, meaning the clients don’t make it through onboarding and we lose the business.

 

Q2: Could you describe the engagement program you created for onboarding new clients?

A: Our engagement is a series of emails that are triggered throughout the onboarding process for new clients. We created a new custom object in SFDC and synced the object to Marketo so that we can key off of the values. There are 7 emails in the series that we use the custom object for to tell Marketo which dates to fire the emails and which versions of the emails to fire. Most of the emails are standard for all clients, where we do some tokening within the emails, but the fourth email in the series is critical for onboarding. The custom object that we created has a field that we can populate with the information that is needed from the client. So, when the email is triggered, we are dynamically sending a specific email based on what the client has or has not given us yet. This is important because the data and documentation are critical to have before the client can process payroll. Also, within the series of emails our client service department has a specific cadence where they are mixing in emails and phone calls with the client to ensure that the client is on track and has a good user experience.

 

Q3: What was the process like to build out the engagement program using custom objects to trigger emails in Marketo? How long did it take?

A: The entire process for the project took about 3 months due to some internal prioritization. It took some Salesforce development work to build the custom object and to dynamically populate it to meet the needs of the business. Also, during the process we were able to get a temporary Marketo Sandbox to test out these processes, which had a learning curve in itself. Once we had the custom object built I was able to easily sync it to the Marketo sandbox and begin QA’ing the processes. Within a couple of weeks of QA’ing and working out the kinks we were ready to pull the trigger on the program.

 

Q4: Before using the SFDC custom object, had you tried to create a similar engagement program in Marketo only?

A: We have an email series that we ran out of Marketo for a few years to help client onboarding. The issues that we ran into were that it was difficult to customize the process due to some nuances of our business. By creating a custom object and doing some of the complex decisions in SFDC, it made it possible to pass that information to Marketo and create a better experience for the client.

 

Q5: What was the most challenging part of building and executing the program?

A: The most difficult part of this project was figuring out what all was needed to build this out. There was a learning curve since this was the first time that we had built something like this. Also, with the customization there was definitely some trial-and-error to get it to where we wanted it. Anytime that you have multiple organizations within a business working together for the first time it can be difficult but overall, I think it was a great success.

 

Q6: What advice would you give to Marketo users who are creating engagement programs?

A: I would recommend with any project and especially projects of significance, understand what the ask is. Truly understanding what the project needs to accomplish before determining how to build it is critical to creating the best product that you can. Something else that is crucial to projects like this is to give yourself plenty of time to QA. Test everything and then test is again, that’s the best way to make sure these projects have the smallest chance of error when they launch.

 

We hope you enjoyed reading about Paycor’s new Engagement Programs. To start building your Engagement Program today, check out Josh Hill's 5 step guide to building a successful Engagement Program in Marketo.

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