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15 Posts authored by: Will Harmon Employee

Update: The voting deadline has been extended to Wednesday, December 11th at 11:59 p.m. EST! 

Hey Marketing Nation!

Last week the Marketo Customer Marketing team applied to win Advocate Marketing Program of the Year at Influitive's 2019 BAMMIE Awards. This award globally recognizes outstanding Customer Advocacy teams and the work they've done this year. Today, it was announced that we were selected as a finalist!


We stood out amongst other applicants in this category not just because of our work in Influitive, but because of our full suite of advocacy programs. From Purple Select, to our global Marketo User Groups, all the way up to the Champion Program and more, we're honored to be in a position to empower our advocates at every step of their professional career and customer journey. 


The winner will be chosen by popular vote. All voting will take place within our Influitive hub, Purple Select. It would mean the world to us if you could join Purple Select and vote for us daily, or as often as you can. Advocates can vote once per day between December 3rd -11th.


What is Purple Select?

Purple Select is one of Marketo's Customer Advocacy programs designed to facilitate engagement, networking opportunities, and best practice sharing, all in one virtual hub. All Marketo customers can sign up for Purple Select. Once inside, you gain access to a series of challenges that range from highlighting top-performing posts here on Community to exclusive speaking and interview opportunities. Completing challenges nets you points that can be redeemed on a wide array of rewards, making Purple Select the premier destination for earning amazing Marketo swag and apparel!


How to join: If you already have a Purple Select account, just log in and the voting challenge will be the first available challenge. If you or your peers don't have an account, sign up using the following link:


When: Tuesday, Dec 3 - Wednesday, Dec 11


Direct link to the challenge: If you're already logged in, the following link will take you directly to the voting challenge: 


The winner will be announced on Thursday, December 12th at the Influitive Virtual Award Ceremony. Again, none of this is possible without the outstanding support we've received from our customers and advocates year over year, especially here on the Marketing Nation Community. Thank you for your consideration, and if you have any questions about Purple Select, the signup process, or program benefits and rewards, feel free to let me know in the comments below or reach me directly at

In this edition of Marketo Master Class, we're partnering with Marketo Champion Ann Marie Gastineau to demystify best practices around scaling a nurture in Marketo. In this article we'll take a look at the time and place to implement a nurture, best practices around applying a tokenized strategy to nurtures, and more. If you have additional insight for running a best-in-class nurture program, let us know in the comments!


1. Why nurture? (How do you determine if a nurture is the right strategy for your business?)


Nurture is the right strategy for any lead who isn’t ready to buy from you immediately – which will be most everyone. Certainly, there’s bound to be a few sales-ready leads who fill out your Contact Us (or Get a Quote, or Free Trial, or whatever) form the first time they visit your site, but they’re rare. More likely, your target audience has no idea who you are (depending on how strong your brand is), or what you have to offer. They may not even realize they have a need.



66% to 90% of a Buyer’s Journey today is self-directed (Forrester) – which means your prospective buyers are out there right now roaming around the internet trying to decide what to buy and who to buy it from.



The goal of lead generation campaigns is to get as many people in your target audience into your database as cheaply as possible. This means offering something valuable for very little (an email address). Conversely, the goal of lead nurture is to convert them into sales-ready leads.


            2. What’s the most important aspect of a successful nurture? 


The key to nurture is to present the right type of content at the right time. Having campaigns in place that address each stage of your buyers’ journey is crucial. Then, use demographic and behavioral data to move leads or customers between campaigns at the right time.  



The easiest way to visualize your campaigns during planning is in a linear email flow, where leads receive each email at a set cadence in a set order. But a good nurture strategy isn’t just limited to email. Once you have a nurture campaign built, you can easily promote that content in additional channels, driving traffic into the nurture flow.  You could boost engagement experience in a mid or bottom-of-funnel campaign by remarketing to your audience in SEM (search engine marketing).



3. How would you execute a simple drip?

The simplest form of nurture is one email touch leading to the next in a series. Some may be gated (behind a form) and some ungated. Stringing together a series of email touches in a linear layout is a drip campaign, one after the next with no change in cadence. This is where most “nurturing” starts.



Drip campaigns are a great way to begin building your nurture. No matter how complex the structure eventually becomes, the first few pieces were probably built in a linear progression. And frankly, sometimes you just need to get stuff in market! A drip is a place to start.







4. What are the essential building blocks of a nurture?



Content Sets: Many marketers seem to like 3-touch nurture programs (a series of 3 emails) - I’m not really sure why. I suppose it could be aligning to the 3 stages of the funnel (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU), but you cannot possibly address the buyer’s journey in 3 touches. That said, you can think of these small series as a “set” (though it doesn’t have to be 3, it could just as easily be 4, 5, or 6 depending on you resources), a starting point. Build in chunks like this with each piece of content flowing into another like a conversation.






Persistent CTA: Now let’s make the flow more interactive. We already know buyers want to navigate their own journey. If you give them the opportunity, they will continue clicking and consuming. An important step to capturing that interest  is to introduce a “persistent” call to action – a hander-raiser CTA somewhere that’s always available. This way, buyers don’t have to wait for you to “lead” them to the bottom of the funnel, they can self-select their way there.



Follow-on Content: Next, build in routes to more content using follow-on content. This is the reason for building in “chunks.” If you build 4 touches (see: Content Set) at once, the assets in the first touch can include thumbnails with links to the next 3. I like to include these on the thank you pages and thank you emails rather than before the form – in this way, your gated page can remain still be streamlined and uncluttered with extra content.



Connected Content: Each piece of content that buyers engage with should lead to more content. If nurture is a game of chutes and ladders – consider building in as many chutes as possible.






5. What is layering?  



Once you have a few nurture tracks in place of decent length (depending on your buyer’s journey and time-to-buy, begin routing between them and creating more intricate flows. For example, let’s say you have a top-of-funnel nurture campaign in place that uses the follow-on content approach described above. Mid-way through your campaign, begin placing follow-on content from your mid-funnel campaigns on your thank you pages and emails. Set up trigger campaigns that move leads from one engagement program to another based on consumption.











Set up scoring campaigns that watch for buying signals on your site and with your content. If a lead interacts exclusively with content from one solution – route them to a bottom-of-funnel campaign focused on that.







6. Are you leveraging tokens in your nurture? If so, how do you connect your token strategy with your nurture strategy?



Building this many campaigns, each with multiple touches, and each of those having 2+ assets (emails and landing pages) a piece, is a seriously heavy lift. Using tokens makes building more manageable as well as consistent across multiple users.



A few tokens that I like to use when mass producing nurture touches are:


  • Persistent CTA copy and URL – this is the hand-raiser call to action in the footer of emails and landing pages (get a demo, free trial, contact, etc.); this one lives at the Engagement Program level to carry through each nested touch program
  • Banner images – a gated touch will have 2+ emails and landing pages each, a token saves you from adding it in 4 places, or worse, missing one
  • Primary CTA copy and URL – this is the button copy and link for whatever piece of content you’re highlighting in the touch
  • Follow On Content images, descriptions and URLs – tokenizing these components streamlines the follow-on content set up process







7. What different kinds of nurture do you use?



General Nurture: This is the place to put everyone you don’t know what to do with. This nurture would contain top-of-funnel content that’s highly engaging. There could be a great length of time where the right people just aren’t ready to buy, so this is an opportunity to keep them engaged until they are – all while establishing your brand as a trusted source in your space.



Persona Nurture: Once you’ve established who someone is, you may move them to a campaign focused on their pain points. This still isn’t the right place to sell – but you can start honing your message.



Bottom-of-Funnel Nurture: This nurture may be product-, service-, or solution-focused. This is where you finally get to talk about yourself. You’ve had lots of time to lay the groundwork – proving your authority, laying out resolutions to their pain points at a high level – now you can spell out just how your solution is the best choice.



Recycle Campaigns: Direct leads that have been rejected by sales here, it may be worth having one for each reason they may be rejected, aligning to BANT (budget/authority/need/timing) or closed lost for any number of reasons – competitor-focused campaigns fall under this category.



Onboarding Campaigns: Campaigns for new customers – training, adoption, etc.



Cross-Sell/Up-sell: Campaigns for existing customers, especially if there’s particular value in having a combination of multiple offerings. These can be created by adjusting the messaging in your bottom-of-funnel campaigns.



8. When do you use one nurture with multiple streams vs multiple nurture programs that function as a singular marketing strategy?


Typically, one Engagement Program with multiple streams makes the most sense if you’re marketing to a single defined audience that’s moving through stages. A general nurture top-of-funnel campaign, for example, might have content stages that you want leads to progress through. You’d build multiple streams and create transition rules that move them from one to the next as they engage.


When you learn something new about a lead – their persona, or their product of interest – it’s time to route them to a new nurture track that caters to the segment they’ve just qualified for.






9. Results: Integrated Nurturing ecosystem



Pulling all of these components and tactics together results in an integrated nurture ecosystem. A place where your prospects can move through your content at their own pace - as quickly, or slowly, as they like - like chutes and ladders. Where triggered routing smart campaigns move them between nurture tracks to address their needs and pain points.


Keys to success – integrated nurture ecosystem:


1.     Build in “chunks” rather than all at once



2.     Create routes to continued consumption with follow-on content



3.     Use triggered campaigns to route leads between engagement programs. Trigger on:



a.     Content engagement



b.    Persona and interest scoring



4.     Include a persistent CTA to harvest sales-ready leads faster






In this edition of Marketo Master Class, we're teaming up with Marketo Champion Chris Wilcox to get into the weeds of Lead Scoring. Our aim was to break down the complexities around Lead Scoring and provide the Marketing Nation Community with actionable insights into best practices. Are you leveraging Lead Scoring in other innovative ways? Let us know in the comments!


1. What are the attributes of a successful lead scoring model? What are some factors that have resonated well with your Sales org?


I find the most important attributes of a successful scoring model are that they are both practical and scalable. From a practical perspective, your model needs to be designed for your business, your leads, and your pipeline. There is no one-size-fits-all lead scoring model. Of course, many concepts translate from business to business, but your organization needs to understand who are the best prospects for your product or service, and what actions those leads are taking that indicate that they may be primed for a sales conversation. Designing a model around your business will ultimately drive better success as you’ll be funneling the right leads to the right people.


Secondly, you can’t design a scoring model that requires every touch or action be monitored and scored by your marketing team. It needs to be designed and implemented in a way that works at any scale, and this can mean getting creative with the way your teams organize around certain engagements like conferences or live events. Making sure there is visibility into those actions in Marketo in as real-time as possible can be a (fun) challenge.


I have found that by including your sales organization’s leaders in the discussions around what factors feed the leads being passed over to your sales team can help build organic support from within. Many times lead scoring can feel like a black box from a sales perspective, but by bringing them into the conversation and revealing the “man behind the curtain” so to speak, it can really help them better understand that a lead scoring model’s purpose to put the right people in front of your sales organization at the right time to drive better success within their sales pipeline. Getting their perspective and input on what helps them do their job better is a great way to drive adoption and alignment between your marketing and sales organizations. 


2. What are some of the more sophisticated/non-conventional lead scoring strategies you have implemented in the past? 


Most lead scoring models are for identifying the best prospects, but an interesting use case is to build a scoring model for servicing existing customers.  To do this, build a scoring model to classify your existing customers using the relevant attributes just like you do for prospects. Contract size, subscription level, all of the quality indicators your firm uses to classify your customers. Another way to do this could be to work with your sales team to have them select target current customers that they want to keep a pulse on as well using a boolean field on the contact record that they can update in the CRM.


Bucket them into categories like low, medium, high value customers (get as granular as you’d like and is practical, I’ve seen upwards of 20+ levels of customer value J ). You can execute the classifications a few ways, by using a tiered score value (e.g. 10 for Low, 20 for Medium, 30 for High), creating a custom field to define with these smart lists, or even use a segmentation to maintain the contact’s category. Whichever process makes sense to you and for your instance.


In this example, I have a new score field of “Servicing Score” that will change based on the customer’s attributes. These smart campaigns would run periodically (weekly/monthly) to keep the score current.


Servicing Category Scoring Program Structure:


“High” Value Category Smart List:


“High” Value Score Change:


Servicing Score Token Values:


From there, I like to combine this with a custom field that date stamps a contact when Marketo sees logged sales email or phone calls with an existing customer. This can be tricky depending on how your sales team logs activities and how Marketo can interpret them. You may want to partner with your CRM admins if needed to get this field created and populated accurately.


Trigger to Populate “Last Contact Date”


Using these two things you can classify your existing customers into groups and overlay which customers have not has a sales contact in the last XX number days. Immediately that group of people (or at least the high-value subset) should be of interest to your sales team which you could communicate via alerts and/or Smart List subscriptions (or SFDC reports if your score values make it into your CRM!)


For the scoring piece, I like to combine the Servicing Score with a modified version of Engagement Score (webinar attendance, web visits, email clicks, etc.) to help the sales team identify a good time to reach out to that pool of customers. The reason I use a separate score value is that you will want to apply additional choice options on your change score flow steps for the servicing behavior based on the Last Contact Date which you wouldn’t want to do with your overall behavior score. You can build these right into the flow steps of your existing behavior score rules, and even use the same token values. You just add a choice based on your last contact date cutoff.



You might also have a window of time (90-180 days) where you watch for an activity to pass the lead over the sales, but then a cutoff where if the last contact date crosses you simply hand the lead off at that time.


From here, you have trigger programs watching for Service Behavior Score changes to contacts with a Service Score for whichever groups you want to include and either assign a task or push an alert to their sales rep for follow up.




This seems complicated, but it’s not!  Identify your best customers however you can, try to understand how long it’s been since a good sales contact has taken place, and watch for the activity of those customers to alert your sales reps. Also, whenever last contact date updates, make sure you’re resetting your Servicing Behavior Score value to =0!


To get started with something like this, you could do something as simple as watching for activity on things like the pricing page of your website, contract terms and conditions pages (if you have them) with your high-value clients to give your sales team some insight into that activity. You don’t have to start with the most complicated servicing model


3. What results did the above lead scoring models achieve that a standard model could not deliver?


Servicing lead scoring models can help your customer churn and retention rates, and give your sales team a leg up on taking care of clients that matter to your organization by systematically surfacing important customers that need a sales touch.


4. How do you strategically update your lead scoring model without having to reinvent the wheel every time? 


This all comes down to what attributes are delivering the best outcomes for the MQLs that are being handed off to sales. Make sure you’re properly populating acquisition programs to understand first touch attribution to identify the best lead sources.  I typically try to take a deeper dive into the best recent Close>Won opportunities to understand what about those opportunities made them such great wins (vertical? company size? industry?) to see if there are potential levers to pull to overweight those types of opportunities in the future, and to underweight those attributes that lead to more Close>Lose opportunities.


These changes should be small and incremental unless the current outcomes of the scoring model are extremely poor. We want to continue to push the right people down the funnel, and understanding what works and optimizing our scoring is the easiest way to do it, but we don’t want to constantly change who we’re feeding to sales without proper discussions and analysis. That can quickly lead to misalignment and confusion between marketing and sales.


5. How long does a lead scoring model need to be active to determine its success and what metrics do you consider?


I think this is entirely dependent upon the length of your organization’s sales cycle, but there are ways around completely succumbing to the (sometimes) lengthy cycles many organizations operate within.


For example, if your sales cycle takes 4-6 months, you might want to optimize your scoring to simply get more SALs instead of the best-case scenario of optimizing towards Close>Won opportunities. In most cases, it should take at least a few months to really prove to disprove the scoring model, but there are definitely cases where it should be shorter.


When evaluating the validity of your scoring model, a significant amount of analysis should be put into what activities are feeding the positive sales outcomes, which is where having a plan for attribution and properly ensuring acquisition programs are getting populated play a critical role in your ability to properly evaluate a scoring model.


6. When should you use a global vs. local program in your lead scoring strategy? 


In my experience, I have found using global lead scoring rules saves a ton of time and effort in the long-term from a maintenance perspective. Even if you have multiple scoring models in place in your instance, having those score tokens and trigger programs operating globally saves a ton of time when you want to make changes or adjustments to your scoring. Obviously, this can all be done at the local level, but there is a level of scalability and ease of maintenance of a global program structure that you can’t achieve with local program builds.


Typically, I see global scoring programs built off of program status change triggers, or using some interaction as a trigger point (fills out a form, visits key web page, etc.)


7. How do you leverage tokens to scale your lead scoring model? 


The biggest place where we leverage tokens is in the scoring values themselves. Simply to streamline the management of scoring change values for any given activity or engagement, creating all of those values as tokens puts all of your scoring values in a single place to manage and maintain which can save a ton of time in the long run, especially if you’re running multiple models or tweaking your scoring frequently.  I find it best to keep a single Scoring folder wherever you keep your Operational or Data Management campaigns and keep all of your scoring values in that parent folder.  This way, if you want to use the same score token across multiple scoring model programs, you can do so.


In the Servicing Score example above, you can reference the exact same token values for that score with no additional build, you’re just applying a choice to the change score to account for the servicing need.




8. Do you have any innovative plans for future lead scoring models?


The biggest innovations with lead scoring are all around predictive analytics and/or next-best-product type models. Maybe organizations are working with data teams to be able to better predict the next best product or offer for any given individual based on a variety of factors. You might have multiple demographic or quality scores running, one for each product or category your firm offers and having a model that would identify a contact’s likely best fit could drastically improve the quality of contacts that get handed off to sales as MQLs.


Email marketing is the foundation of a lot of marketing strategies. With the help of Marketo Champion Beth Massura, this edition of Marketo Master Class puts a magnifying glass on the role that tokens, templates, and snippets play in the creation of a marketing email to help you achieve actionable insights and greater efficiency.


  1.     What are the benefits of using tokens, snippets, and templates in emails?


There are a few different benefits to using these features. First, tokens, snippets, and templates provide consistency across email communications, which is really important from a brand standpoint. We want the recipients to recognize the emails as coming from a single organization, and having standardized templates and snippets helps with this.

These elements also make it a lot easier to manage global changes. I will never forget when we had to manually update our social media profile links across 400+ HTML email files (in a pre-Marketo system) twice within just a few months. What a pain! Now we can just update a small number of snippets and the updates will appear in all the email assets using them.


Templates can help increase confidence that the emails will render well. If the templates have been thoroughly tested across dozens of recipient browser/email client/device combinations, and users are working within the templates, it may be sufficient to test each individual email message across a smaller set of recipient setup variations instead of all of them.


Tokens, snippets, and templates also help users create emails more easily. It can be overwhelming to start from scratch every time, and would likely lead to errors. We have the most popular modules and snippets appearing by default in the template, so there is less work for users to set up their email.


  1.     What are different use cases for using snippets? 


Snippets are good for any block of content that you want to have standardized, but with multiple variations that can be substituted for one another: branding elements, contact information, executive bios, common product descriptions or disclosures, etc. You can set areas in the template that can be replaced only with snippets, or users can replace rich text areas with snippets.


We use snippets for brand lockups at the top of the email template as well as for the email footer content such as legally required links and information. We have a couple dozen different departments, programs, and research centers sharing our Marketo instance, and many of them have a variation of the main logo (for the header) as well as their own contact information (for the footer). The central marketing team manages all snippets in the Default workspace, organized into subfolders for each department. These subfolders are then shared to the respective departmental workspaces so they have access to only the header and footer snippets that they should use, and they don’t have access to modify any of the snippets themselves.



For the header logos, previously our central designers and developers edited the rich text section of an email asset to drop in a logo with the right dimensions and styling and just hoped that the group would remember to clone that particular asset going forward. Unfortunately this meant that if the group cloned the wrong email asset, they’d have to reach out to the designers/developers to replace the logo again. There were also a few users who deleted or replaced the logo in the rich text editor with one that didn’t meet brand guidelines. Offering a snippet “library” of the approved logos/lockups makes it easy for the user to select the one that’s appropriate for the context while maintaining the brand standards. We have set guidelines for the logo sizing, etc., so having the snippets centrally managed helps with that as well.


Example header snippet:


Additional header snippets are created for logo variations such as these:


Our footer snippets contain the contact information for the respective group, as well as the mandatory unsubscribe, preference, and privacy policy links for compliance and user experience purposes. Because much of this information is required by law, it’s imperative that we ensure all these details appear correctly on every single email. Using snippets helps us keep this consistent and avoid variance from the standard.


Example footer snippet:



  1.     What are some under-utilized tokens? How do you leverage program-level vs. folder-level tokens differently?


We use a token for the copyright year at the bottom of the email. Previously we had it as a text token on the top folder level for each workspace; we just had to update the values at the start of the year. But now we use an email script token (also in the top level folder) so the year is automatically updated:

#set($timeZoneObject = $date.getCalendar().getTimeZone())$date.format("yyyy", $date.getDate(), $date.getLocale(), $timeZoneObject.getTimeZone("CST")) 


It’s a system token rather than a program token, but program ID is added in small text at the very bottom of the email footer snippets. We found this would help us locate the associated program if we were forwarded an email and asked to troubleshoot why a person did/didn’t receive it or to create a similar email.


You would want to use folder-level tokens for items that should appear in every single program, such as copyright year. We also have a folder-level token for a tracking code with a default value that is then updated on each program; it is referenced at the end of every url in the email to tie into our web metrics system. We want a tracking code for every program, so even though the value has to be updated on each program, having the token there on the program by default is a good reminder to the user.


In the below example, the highlighted “20190610-WEB sample program” inherited tokens from the “BethM Marketing Activities” and “Web Content Programs” folders. It will not inherit tokens created on “20190615-EM sample program”.


Program-level tokens can be useful when it’s relevant only to a specific program type, such as “event registration url” for an event program. Because folder-level tokens are inherited automatically by all programs within that folder, it wouldn't make sense to have this type of token in a folder. If you did, it may appear in an unrelated newsletter program through token inheritance. While tokens can be deleted in a program, you can't re-inherit a token once it's been removed


  1.     How do you use tokens, snippets, and templates together to fit within a larger strategy? 


Tokens, snippets, and templates can be integral parts of a Center of Excellence! We created an all-in-one module-based email template to accommodate a wide variety of layouts for all kinds of emails: newsletters, event invitations, announcements, etc. The template also includes the two areas for the header and footer snippets as well as the tokens as mentioned previously. This template is then used for the email assets in our cloneable standard email send program and the nested email sends within an event program.

  1.     What are the most common pitfalls you see when people are trying to use tokens, snippets, and templates?


Make sure you involve stakeholders at the beginning of any initiative to develop standardized tokens, snippets, and/or templates - which ideally is part of the Marketo implementation - in order to gather all requirements before anything is executed. You don’t want to waste time developing a template module that no one will ever use, or to miss one that would be used frequently. While a template can be edited, it won’t push those updates to email assets already created from the template.


Creating a template involves HTML/CSS coding and Marketo-specific syntax to define editable areas. Make sure you are working with a developer who is familiar with this. Having HTML/CSS alone won’t allow users to edit an email asset created from the template.


All snippets to which a user has access will show up in the Insert Snippet dropdown menu; you can’t select which snippets will be options for area A vs. area B. We use naming conventions to distinguish between header and footer snippets.



When making changes to a snippet, be sure to update the text version as well. Unlike an email asset, it won’t carry over the edits.


Consider whether a piece of information would be best served within a token or something else, like a variable within a template module or even just typing the content directly into the email asset. It can be confusing to enter some email content in tokens on the program level and then other pieces within the email editor. Tokens might be preferable when the content is listed in multiple places and is likely going to change, so all references can be updated at once.


It’s definitely possible to create an email asset that solely references program tokens so you don’t have to go into the email editor at all to customize images, colors, text, and links. This “Mad Libs” method can work well for emails that are straightforward and standard in format, such as form submission confirmations. But the moment you want to add in something special, you’re going to have to enter the email editor anyway. And the tokenized method may not be as intuitive to those users who would be more comfortable entering/selecting the elements in a WYSIWYG context. (We are not currently using the “Mad Libs” method, but one of our departments did in the past.)


Example tokens for a fully tokenized email:


The associated email asset’s editor view; it isn’t pretty!:


The preview of the above email asset:


  1.     Are you planning to try anything new with these features?


One next step could be for us to put dynamic content within our snippets. For example we have regional campuses/offices for some of the school’s departments. Instead of having separate snippets for each region, we could have the snippet dynamically populate the regional address based on the recipient’s region segment.





You can find more insightful content in the June edition of The Fearless Forum!

Hi Marketing Nation! As you may have noticed, the look and feel of content within Community has changed. These changes were made during the release of a new build last week. Unlike former builds, we are unable to return to revert to the old layout. 


We wanted to communicate the permanency of these changes and work alongside our customers to ensure Community remains the best place for Marketo knowledge, best practices, and discussions.


If you have any questions about the new layout, feel free to leave a comment below.

In this edition of Marketo Master Class, Marketo Champion Chelsea Kiko takes a deep dive into the process behind building a Center of Excellence (CoE). Chelsea covers various considerations for building a CoE in both a fresh Marketo instance and existing instance, among other tips and best practices. Read on to discover how to build and maintain your own CoE, from implementation to long-term execution.


1. What are the benefits of setting up a Center of Excellence (CoE) within Marketo?


Setting up a CoE in Marketo is great for consistency, accuracy, and scaling your Marketo instance. CoEs typically contain programs that are often repeated and have the same type of operational steps. Users can clone these to create their own programs, which provides easy access to high-quality programs and scalability for your strategies. The other great aspect about a CoE is it can be built by an expert (either internal or external) and used by new users in the instance with the same type of consistency across the board. This also saves time and increases efficiencies for your team.


2. What are the essential components of a CoE? What are aspects will vary based on use case?



The first essential component of a CoE program or folder is a naming convention. This is one of the most important pieces in my opinion for CoE programs because when programs are cloned out, the naming conventions are automatically adopted. You should set up naming conventions for all assets, including emails, landing pages, forms, smart campaigns, programs, etc. Having uniform naming conventions for each program is vital to keeping the instance clean and consistent even when various users are working in Marketo. As you can see in the above screenshots, everything is ready to go, even sample email naming conventions. This is all pre-canned so you can clone, update, and have a program done much quicker than if you were creating from scratch.


Next, it’s key to build out templates for any operational programs you want to run. This could include programs to: change program status, increase lead score for specific programs, sync to your CRM, send alerts, etc. Once you have them built in your CoE, they are ready for you to edit or optimize for each program right away.


Finally, it is helpful to create templates or template styles for specific programs in your CoE. Once you clone the template program and the modules or email layouts are ready, all you have to do is edit tokens or change content/swap images. Even though modular email 2.0 templates are easy to use, it still saves time to have the right modules and layout of your email ready for cloning, especially if it’s an event or nurture program where you have several emails.


Be mindful of the fact that when you’re building your CoE you will probably be using different program types. In the screenshot below, there is an email program for a one-time send, a basic nurture program, a more advanced nurture program, and a live event.


The aspects of the program templates that will vary based on use cases will be your tokens, operational programs, list arrangements, and reporting. If you have the structure set, changing these aspects is quick and easy. You can easily adapt your programs by editing your CoE program templates, allowing you to scale your instance.





**Tip: If you are an agency or consultant, it really helps to have operational programs in the CoE. You can even create these in your sandbox and import the programs into any of your clients to help them with data normalization, lead scoring (customize it on the client), deliverability programs, etc.


3. What are some best practices for creating a CoE in a fresh instance of Marketo vs. building a CoE in an existing instance?


Creating a CoE within a fresh instance is definitely a different strategy than building one in an existing instance. Both have their pros and cons but let’s start with the fresh instance. When you are new to an instance, sometimes it’s hard to decide what your CoE programs will be. What we normally do for clients is:

1) Host discovery sessions to see which programs they are envisioning

2) Map the programs out beforehand

3) Show the internal stakeholders or clients to gain approval before we build


This helps us ensure they are on the same page. Also, having a visual of how your CoE operates is a great training and educational tool to those stakeholders outside of the system who don’t need to know the details of the Marketo instance, but need to understand how it works.


For an instance that is already in use, it is important to measure first then determine what the CoE will contain. For example, are there any programs that need to be refreshed or changed? If so, incorporate that in your CoE. Check to see what programs are built over and over again and standardize these for your CoE so people can just clone a single template program and update minimally. This makes the CoE useful for each Marketo user and guarantees you’re looking at real data in your instance as you build your CoE out.


4. How do you recommend aligning with key stakeholders when planning out the CoE?


When aligning key stakeholders for a CoE, you don’t necessarily need to dive into the weeds of how it will operate in Marketo. What I normally do is map out an example program for them to understand and align it to their business needs.


For example, the screenshots below show a template map I put together for a healthcare client where the stakeholders own the cancer service line. The first image lays out the process template that would live in the COE, including a landing page and three different email streams for three different messaging focuses they could include for that line. The second image lays out a customized program that was cloned from that process template. You have to alter your message for which stakeholder you’re educating. Normally if it is a marketing manager, who won’t be spending much time in Marketo, mapping out higher-level strategy is the best method to get them on board.



5. What is important to consider when rolling the CoE out to your teams?


Make sure you host trainings for your Marketo users. Usually I have the flow maps ready and then host live trainings where I go into the instance and demonstrate how to clone and update certain programs. For example, you don’t need to train an event manager (who owns the Marketo event programs) on how to clone a nurture template, because it’s not relevant to their work. Customizing your training to your users is crucial for the success of your CoE.


6. How do you set up processes to maintain that CoE over time?


Setting up processes to maintain the CoE is important for the long-term health of your instance. Normally the Marketo expert/admin should bear the responsibility of updating and maintaining the CoE. For example, let’s say your Marketo users keep cloning a nurture template but are adding more operational programs and emails to it, that should denote a CoE change. Your CoE should always contain the most updated programs that are ready to be cloned for your team. Sure, customization is always going to be added, but if the same programs or emails or reports are being added time and time again, it’s time to refresh your CoE. Lastly, I recommend taking a quarterly look at your CoE – maybe you added a new reporting feature in Marketo that you forgot to take into account in your templates, or maybe you’ve altered your webinar strategy – all of those changes need to be audited and monitored in the CoE.


**Tip: when building out your CoE, always use the description field to explain what each program does. This ensures success and helps train Marketo users on each of your CoE programs. Example below.**


In this edition of Marketo Master Class, Marketo Champion Julz James took some time to share her expertise on the topic of forms and gated content. Specifically, she explores the best scenarios to utilize forms, gated content best practices, and leveraging progressive profiling to get the most out of your Marketing efforts. Read on to discover how Juli uses forms in conjunction with gated content to seamlessly gather data without disrupting the customer experience.


1. What are the benefits of Marketo forms?

The benefit of using Marketo forms is pretty simple. The forms are easy to create, plug into campaigns, and ensure that data is being captured for any of your content-driven campaigns, whilst also allowing you to monitor real time content downloads and report out on what content is getting the most engagement.


They’re also great to use for event registration as you can tie the form to your event campaign, put it onto the event registration landing page and the monitor real time registrations. I’ve also recently been playing around with real time content delivery at events.


The beauty of Marketo forms is that you can add any CSS you want to it, as well as add some cool Javascript to make the forms look and behave in the way that you want to, without needing to get developers or IT involved. And then you can use them to scale your campaigns.


There are obvious examples of when you must use a form, such as capturing event registration. Tracking of all event registrations is imperative, whether online or offline. Having the registrations via Marketo forms means that you can send out confirmations, reminders and updates automatically using trigger campaigns, rather than having to download registration information from somewhere else and uploading to Marketo.


2. What situations warrant global vs. local forms?

I will always lean towards global forms as much as possible. Purely down to a scalability factor. A bit like CSS for websites, if you need to make a change to a form and you’re using global forms, then you only need to make that change in one place and then bulk approve the landing pages from design studio. If you had only local forms then you would have to go into each campaign and adjust each form.



An example would be when GDPR was introduced. I’ve heard various horror stories of people having to go into 600+ forms to add the GDPR rules for opt-in, rather than just going into 1 form and bulk approving 600 landing pages, which takes minutes vs. hours.


However, there is sometimes a need for local forms. I would suggest using local forms if your program requires specific data to be collected. For example, say you have an event where you are required to ask guests their dietary needs, or t-shirt size, or your field marketing manager wants to collect specific interests that won’t be relevant elsewhere. A local form would fulfill that need.I would also suggest a local form if you have to do a specific campaign in a different language. I’ve worked on landing pages in multiple languages but they’ve only been created once or twice, so then I would only create local forms as its highly unlikely they’ll get used again. If I find that I’m using a form more than a few times, I’ll add it to the Design studio and start using as a Global Form, although I try to keep the number of Global Forms down as well.


3. What type of content do you leave ungated? What content is important to gate?

I try my hardest to not leave content ungated, but rather to use the ‘Known Person’ option on the form to provide a simple ‘download now’ button instead of a form, or I like to use a Marketo Partner such as Uberflip that will track content downloads without the need for too many forms.


The whole point of gating content is to track who is engaging with the content you are providing and creating. Moreover, having gated content will help with tracking which content is providing the most conversions to analyze which content is the most effective. If you left all content ungated (as is the suggestion of some industry experts), then there is no way to track and convert potential new customers. It also depends on the value of the content. I would not gate an infographic for example, but I would most definitely gate a whitepaper or analyst report.


4. How do you synchronize progressive profiles built from forms/gated content with your marketing campaigns at large?

I like to use progressive profiling forms to build up records user profilesto further segment and personalize the types of campaigns that are being sent out. For example, if I’m using ‘Industry’ on a form it’s because I want to further segment down the industries into Strategic Business Units using an approved segmentation. Having data segmented means that emails can now be sent out using dynamic content based on segments.


This is especially useful for Nurture campaigns if you work with multiple languages. You can set up your segmentation based on the country information that has been populated from the progressive profile form and then use those segments to create dynamic content to send the same email in the preferred language of each record.




5. What are some of the most underutilized features on forms?

Prior to GDPR I would have said the most underutilized feature on forms were the visibility rules. Having the ability to only show certain fields when other fields on the form are completed is a great feature! If you’re not using visibility fields for anything on your forms, and especially for GDPR you should look into it.



You can also set up field sets to be shown dynamically based on visibility rules too:


Another feature that really isn’t used enough and that Sanford Whiteman has recently authored a post about is the use of the ‘known person’ option in the Settings section of the Form editor. He talks about not just showing a button rather than the form, but also how to set up an Auto Submit for known users, which will help to provide an excellent customer experience for those users who are already in your database, whilst at the same time recording the ‘Form Fill’.


One last feature that I don’t see utilized very often but could be helpful is Input Masking, to ensure that values being put into certain fields are formatted in the correct way for data cleanliness:



6. What’s one tip about forms/gated content that you wish you learned sooner?

Over the last few months I have be working more with CSS and JavaScript on forms to manipulate them in a way to perform exactly as requested. For example, Sanford also wrote a post a while ago about adding JavaScript to forms:


And there are some great tips for form manipulation for embedded forms using JavaScript on the Developer Site too:

I really wish I’d learn that you could do more than just create a form and play with the CSS a long time ago.


I’ve also recently learnt how to add 2 forms to one page with some JavaScript, and that was a technique that I wish I had a long time ago. Below are how it looks on the Landing Page, the HTML on the landing page and the custom


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7. Are you planning to try anything new with forms/gated content in 2019?

For 2019 I plan on working more with Velocity Script in conjunction with Form fills so that real-time content delivery can happen at events. For example, having an iPad with a form on showing content related to that event, and then the users can select which content they find interesting and have that delivered in real time to them via email. This will save the need for a lot of collateral being printed, but it will also help to grow the database organically.


I’m also hoping to spend more time with form CSS to improve the customer experience and look of forms across various platforms. I think CSS alongside Javascript and Velocity Script can make for some really interesting user experiences for known and unknown records looking for content. For example, forms that auto submit in the background for known users so they get direct access to the content without having to resubmit the same information numerous times would allow for a more frictionless customer experience. Essentially, if less clicks are required between a lead and the content they are likely to consume, it’s much easier to move along the funnel.



We hope you enjoyed reading about how Juli James is leveraging forms and gated content seamlessly gather data without disrupting customer experience. If you have any examples of how you've used these features to better engage with your customers, please let us know in the comments!


You can find more informative content in the brand new edition of our customer newsletter, the Fearless Forum.

Hello Marketing Nation!


Today we are thrilled to announce the Class of 2019 Marketo Champions! Each member of this group has proven themselves to be a steadfast Marketo brand ambassador and a valuable asset to the Advocate Nation. Their expertise will be critical in enabling their peers to drive even more success with Marketo in 2019.


We also want to thank the hundreds of customers who applied to become a Marketo Champion this year. Your passion for Marketo made determining this year’s Champions very difficult. We are humbled by the turnout and look forward to your continued participation in Advocate Nation. Please join me in welcoming this year’s Marketo Champion class!


Also, Marketo CMO Sarah Kennedy would like to share a few words to the incoming class of Marketo Champions:



Ajay SarpalAryaka Networks
Amanda ThomasAlert Logic
Amber HobsonApplied Systems
Amy ConnorThousandEyes
Ann Marie GastineauOptiv
Ashley LangfordGreenSky
Bekah WaltersWorkiva
Beth MassuraUniversity of Chicago
Brooke BartosWalker Sands Digital
Carissa RussellCurrent powered by GE
Carrie ChandlerGenworth Mortgage Insurance
Chelsea KikoHileman Group
Chloe PottNexthink
Chris WilcoxHartford Funds
Darrell AlfonsoAWS
Devraj GrewalZuman
Elicia ChenLiveRamp
Grace BrebnerTourism Holdings Limited
Helen AbramovaVerizon Enterprise Solutions
JD NelsonSpigit
Jenn DiMariaDigital Pi
Jenny RobertsonANNUITAS
Jessica KaoDigital Pi
Joe ReitzAWS
Juli JamesSt. Edwards University
Karan HariWunderman\MSC
Kevin WeisenbergerDaVita
Kristy MurphyVerizon
Kyle McCormickPalo Alto Networks
Loren PosendeckDuo Security
Maarten WestdorpInnogy SE
Michelle TangCloudflare
Mike ChiuPanasonic Corporation of North America
Natalie KremerMcGraw-Hill Education
Omar Al-SinjariMcKesson/RelayHealth
Sean BissellSAP Concur
Sydney GordonCloudPassage
Sydney MulliganEtumos
TJ PerrinXylem
Trent CrossSolomon Solution


You can find all of their Community and LinkedIn profiles here!

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 perform better in North America while longer emails are better received in Europe.


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.

Disclaimer: Submissions to become a 2019 Champion are closed. We are currently accepting applications to the 2020 Marketo Champion Class here: 2020 Marketo Champion Applications are Open! 

Applications will remain open until November 28th, 2019.


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:


If you have any further questions about the Champion Program’s Criteria & Requirements, please email


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 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:

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 3.37.21 PM.png

Bizible Touchpoint.png


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:



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 Julz 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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