Screen Shot 2016-12-11 at 2.36.40 PM.png

How to Set Up Nurtures so Folks Don't get the Same Content Again

Level 7 - Champion
Level 7 - Champion

You already know that Marketo isn't going to send the same email to the same person via the Customer Engagement Program. BUT. . . those aren't the only people that you want to exclude when you are running a nurture program.  You might be promoting a piece of content across 5 different channels and using multiple different emails.

What if someone attends a Webinar on “How to Snag Cool Marketo Swag at Summit” and you want to offer the recorded webinar in your nurture stream, how do you make sure that the person who attended that webinar doesn’t get that offer AGAIN.  Here are 4 steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Here's what we are going to build:

Screen Shot 2016-12-11 at 2.36.40 PM.png

Step 1:  Set up a Content Program for each piece of content that you are also promoting via nurtures. 

In this program "Content - Webinar Cool Swag", anyone who attended the live webinar, or watched the recorded webinar already needs to be added as a member in order to exclude them from receiving a nurture email with this webinar as the offer.   This would work the same way if it was a white paper.  Anyone from any channel that has downloaded a specific white paper would live in this program.  This program can be operational or not depending on your reporting needs.  But the important thing is that everyone you want to exclude for this specific nurture email resides in this program. 

Step 2:  Set up a Nurture Library

This step isn’t actually required to make the above happened but it’s more of a best practice and helps you keep things organized.  In this operational program, you can keep all your nurture emails here so that if you choose to use the same email (by email ID) in multiple streams or multiple programs, you will guarantee that folks definitely won’t get the same email twice. 

Step 3:  Set up your Smart Campaign to send the Nurture email from the Content Program

Hold up. What!?!  Yup that’s right.  Create a Smart Campaign (ie Nurture Send) in the Content Program, the same program where the members reside where you want to exclude folks from receiving the email.  This is the part where marketo logic just got flipped on it’s head.  Just stay with me.  Smart List must be Member of Engagement Program = True, Nurture Program Name. Add another filter to exclude Member of Program = False, Content - Webinar Cool Swag.  In the flow step, Send Email - email is choose your nurture email from the Nurture library.  You do not have to turn anything on.  You do not have to schedule anything. 

Screen Shot 2016-12-11 at 2.37.21 PM.png

Go to the Nurture Stream where you want this email to go out and click Add, select program, select the campaign “Nurture Send” and voila that’s it. 

Screen Shot 2016-12-11 at 2.35.45 PM.png

What will happen is anyone who is a part of the Content - Webinar Cool Swag program will not receive Nurture Email 1 offering this very cool webinar, but will get the next email in the stream all is good. 

You may be tempted to drag other filters in the smart campaign smart list. Resist the urge.   They will not work.*  When you use other filters, member of list not in XYZ (and these folks are not members of the Content - Webinar Cool Swag program,  those people who you want to exclude will be excluded from the nurture email, BUT they will not get another email.  They will be stuck in email nurture purgatory.  You have to turn the cadence off then back on for them to leave purgatory.  There have been lots of articles written on this. 

Step 4: Test the Nurture Program

Screen Shot 2016-12-11 at 2.35.57 PM.png

I mean really test it, not with just the test cadence (shown above) where it just sends out an email like send sample email.  Here’s a way that I came up with to quickly test whether the right people are getting the right email and being excluded from the right nurtures. And you don’t have to wait for Marketo to send out a cast.  The shortest amount of time that the program will cast is 24 hours.  I don’t know about you but I don’t have that kind of time to just sit and wait around. 

Say for example you have 4 nurture emails. 

Create a test list of leads that are new to the database.  This ensures that there aren’t any gremlins that are going to mess up your testing.

Screen Shot 2016-12-11 at 2.42.04 PM.png

I have 5 test leads.  The first will proceed as normal through the flows of all 4 emails.

Each of the others, I will add 1 lead to each content program for them to be excluded.

So Jess1 will be in the content program for Nurture Email 1 so it will not get Email 1

Jess 2 will be added as a member of the content program for Nurture Email 2 so it will not get Email 2 and so forth.  The chart delineates which email will be sent to whom and it what order. 

Upload these 5 test leads.

Add them to the appropriate content program.

Add all 5 leads to the engagement program and nurture stream.

When you are ready to test, set the first cast for an immediate cast.  (Make sure you are not sending to actual real people.)  Wait for the emails. Once you’ve received the emails, you can go back in and set a new time for the first cast (ie within the next 15 minutes) and let her roll and voila you can test your nurtures pretty quickly.  

And there you have it. 

4347
23
23 Comments
Level 5

Great piece Jessica Kao​! I'm going to start using the Library operational program - that will solve an issue that could have become a problem for us.

Level 8

Hi Jessica Kao​ -

If you set it up this way and the person has already received that piece of content then this would be a skipped cast, correct?  The person wouldn't receive content until the next cast. The Engagement Programs run each cast once and then wait until the next cast to run the following program.  So when it gets to this cast it would see you as not qualified to receive the piece so it does nothing. Since you were never a member of this cast, does it still push you forward to be eligible for the next cast?

Level 7 - Champion

Hey Robb,

Actually, if you got this content already and you are using the method described where your smart list is member is false program = content program then you will actually get the next piece of content right away, meaning every cast you will get something.

If you use the smart campaign and you are excluding them because they already got the content but they are not member of the content program, the same program that the smart campaign is in "Nurture Send" then it will skip the cast and get something the next cast around.  Find that documented somewhere.  I dare you.   

Level 7 - Champion Alumni

Baller. Love the idea of a nurture library and embedding programs with smart logic. I wish there was a way to add flashing neon lights around the paragraph that starts with "You may be tempted to..," but that's another story

Level 7 - Champion Alumni
Level 8

Add a Program to an Engagement Program Stream - Marketo Docs - Product Docs

Hey Jessica, maybe I'm just not getting it. I can be dense sometimes.

My first concern is that you're saying you can skip a piece of content by setting someone as a member of a different program.

In this program "Content - Webinar Cool Swag", anyone who attended the live webinar, or watched the recorded webinar already needs to be added as a member in order to exclude them from receiving a nurture email with this webinar as the offer. 

Marketo says that it doesn't care if they received the email through a program other than the one in your nurture stream. It needs to know that the program in the stream sent the email to disqualify a person from sending them the same email.

What happens when you use a program in a stream?

When using a nested program, the decision to send an email to a person is based on the Program membership and Program ID.

  • If you're not a member of a program, you will receive any emails that are part of the program once
  • If you're a member of the program, you won't receive the email
  • If you are no longer a member but received the email earlier through that program, you won't receive the email

When you use a program in a stream, it doesn't matter if you’ve gotten that specific email before. As long as the email was not sent out before in that specific program you can receive it again.

(emphasis added) My next point of concern is avoiding the infinite loop. Marketo doesn't look at program membership, it looks at Smart Campaign membership.

Jessica Kao wrote:

If you use the smart campaign and you are excluding them because they already got the content but they are not member of the content program, the same program that the smart campaign is in "Nurture Send" then it will skip the cast and get something the next cast around. Find that documented somewhere. I dare you.

I'm not trying to fight you, I'm basing my response off of this documentation. What it sounds like you're advocating is putting in a smart campaign for which a person will not qualify. If they're a member of the engagement program and they're been added to "Cool Swag" then they won't qualify for that cast.

You're creating a smart campaign that has a condition for which certain people won't apply, right?

What happens to people who don't meet the smart list criteria?

If the engagement program calls a smart campaign within a program, people who don't meet the smart list criteria won't receive the email. They also won't move on to the next program in the current cast or in subsequent casts. Essentially they'll be stuck in an infinite loop, where they never qualify. You may want to use choices on flow steps to filter people out instead of adding these criteria to smart lists when you nest programs inside of an engagement program.

So let's say that I do your method for 4 casts. I qualify for 1 and 2 but since I've already received Email 3 (per your SC rules) I'm not qualified to be a member of that program.

Am I missing something?

Anonymous
Not applicable

Thanks for putting together the article. Like the Nurture center concept---It's so important to use content programs rather than just a straight email asset.

Unless I am misunderstanding, Robb's comment makes sense.....if the Smartlist tries to limit the person from getting the content, the cast doesn't send any content for that week. One would think that Marketo would just go to the next piece of content but it doesn't.

The crazy workaround is to use an Exclusion status for a program. As long as someone is a member of that nurture content program like the above indicated Content - Cool Swag program, the cast will skip that content and go to the next one. @Edward_Unthank's Exclusion process is documented below.

Skipping Content in Engagement Programs

Level 8

Here's the method I've suggested that works well for skipping content too.  It's a bit more involved, but it does the job.

Length Matters: Engagement Programs that Don't Finish Too Quickly...

Hi Jessica Kao​,

Great piece, thanks for taking the time to put this together. We create a lot of webinars and this is a great way for stopping people receiving new content but with the same message or offer.

Level 5

I find it disturbing that this is in the documentation:

What happens to people who don't meet the smart list criteria?

If the engagement program calls a smart campaign within a program, people who don't meet the smart list criteria won't receive the email. They also won't move on to the next program in the current cast or in subsequent casts. Essentially they'll be stuck in an infinite loop, where they never qualify. You may want to use choices on flow steps to filter people out instead of adding these criteria to smart lists when you nest programs inside of an engagement program.

Why would this be engineered so that leads get stuck in an infinite loop? Why not engineer the product like most users would assume it would work?