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I haven't had a case on this in quite some time, so I was a little bit excited to get a "My Calendar file is doing something WEIRD!" case.


Here's the thing with .ICS and calendar files, they are incredibly simple creatures, they don't have any way of holding font/formatting, etc. As a result, Outlook looks for specific things to control the look and feel of things in the description area.


This can result in unintentionally hilarious results:

One of the key things it looks for is a colon followed by a hard enter. Anything following :

Ends up being bolded and blue.


The only way to fix it is to go back to the "hilarious results:" and change it to something else, say "hilarious results -" that would be fine.

So if you have a line in your ICS that says "Phone:" followed by a hard enter... yup. Bold and blue. You can also "escape" characters by preceding them with a backslash so \: would work as well.


If the first line of your ICS file starts with a capital letter, it will think you're trying to make it a header and make it also bold and blue.

BUT - If the first line ENDS with a punctuation mark, it will be treated normally and be read as text.


So Line 1: "Welcome to our Webinar"

vs. Line 1: "Welcome to our Webinar!"



There's another way that ICS files

Will trigger header formatting:

It has to do with line breaks.


Because .ICS files are just plain text files, line breaks are stored by a special character of \n (for "New Line"). If you have two line breaks in a row (\n\n), followed by 3 or more lines of text, again, it thinks you're typing header information and again, it converts to bold and blue. You can fix this by downloading the ICS file, saving it to your computer and editing it with a text editor like Notepad. You should be able to immediately see the \n\n characters and be able to fix it.


The case that popped up today which triggered this whole memory chain was involving my tokens. Back in the day there was a bug in emails where if you had multiple {{my.tokens}} in use, but one of them was typed wrong it would prevent ALL tokens from rendering in the email, not just the one that was bad. We fixed that, which is great! But it looks like the bug is still present in the calendar file rendering.


So if your description contains:






That will actually cause all 3 to fail, because it's token#3 not tokne#3. Correcting that one typo will make all three tokens work.


There really isn't a good repository of all the .ICS tips and tricks, these are just the ones I have encountered, I'm sure there are many, many more than this. If you know of other good examples, please feel free to list them in the comments!

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Before I came to Marketo I was a HUGE data guy. I loved spreadsheets, I loved databases. I even used to teach spreadsheet and database design. Yes, it is, indeed, a sickness.


So when a client asked me "How can I see the number of form fillouts? Not the leads, I want to see the total number of fillouts." My reaction was, there has to be a way.


And there is, but it involves taking data in Marketo and analyzing it in Excel.


The secret is the Smart List Filter "Filled Out Form" in conjunction with the constraint of "Min. Number of Times".


Excel 00.png


Let's say you take a particular form and tell Marketo "OK, show me everyone who filled out this form at least once." The smart list comes back with a number of 5289.


You then change the smart list and tell Marketo "OK, now show me everyone who filled out this form at least twice." The smart list comes back with a new number of 2254.


By subtracting the number of people who filled it out at least twice from the number of people who filled it out at least once, that will tell you how many times the form was filled out exactly one time. 3035.


Excel 01.png


So it stands to reason that if we find out how many people filled out the form at least 3 times and subtract that from the number who filled it out at least twice, that will tell us how many folks filled it out exactly twice.


Excel 02.png


Then you keep going until you find the highest minimum number that is not 0. When you put in a minimum number and get 0 leads back, you're done because nobody filled out the form that many times and nobody filled it out more than that. (The highest number of times I saw was 57, that was an internal lead who was testing the form and trying to break it.)


Excel 03.png


Now that you know how many leads filled out the form how many times, you can determine the total number of fills. Take the exact number and multiply it by the minimum number.


So those 400 leads that filled out the form 4 times each generated, on their own, 1,600 form fillouts(!)


Total up the "Total Fills" column and you'll find that this group of 5,289 leads managed to fill out that form 9,155 times.


Excel 04.png

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Back when I taught corporate training classes, there would always be someone in my Microsoft Front Page or Adobe Dreamweaver class asking "Awwww, do I HAVE to learn HTML?"


I explain the relationship between HTML and front end design programs like this: If you come to me to take a class on Microsoft Word, I'm going to assume you know how to read and write. If you don't know how to read and write, learning Word will not help you!


Front end editors such as what you see in Marketo and tools like Front Page and Dreamweaver are fantastic and they do a lot of the grunt work for you, but if you don't really know what's going on behind the scenes you can get hurt when things don't work out the way you expect. It's even more important now that Marketo features like Guided Landing Page templates pretty much require HTML knowledge to use and customize them fully.


I have to be honest, back in the early 90s I didn't know that I wanted to learn HTML either. I had done a lot with computers by then, the world wide web was just getting started and people were talking about this "HTML thing" and my reaction was "I don't know, do I really want to learn one more thing?" Now, here I am writing tutorials!


So how do you get started? Way, way back in the day I picked up an excellent book called "The HTML Manual of Style" by Larry Aronson. The fourth edition appears to be the latest and greatest covering HTML 5 and CSS. I'm not sure of the rules for posting external links here, but you can find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and most good physical bookstores.


If you prefer a free way to get started, the one we recommend internally to Marketo staff is the W3Schools:


W3Schools Online Web Tutorials


They offer a comprehensive program to take you through the basics of HTML, to more complicated stuff like CSS and all the way up to actual Javascript JQuery, Json, Ajax, all that good stuff.


For the W3Schools I always suggest start at the beginning! Don't worry about CSS until you finish the HTML stuff, it will only confuse you. Similarly do Javascript after the CSS section.


HTML Tutorial

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