I had a Marketo client ask me recently if there was a "best practice" on whether or not to use Marketo for internal (employee) communications. Here's what I told her: There's no best practice on whether or not you should have employees in your database other than for seed list testing but I do believe there is a best practice for how to manage them if and when they get in there.
There are Marketo users who strongly believe that the only people in your database should be customers and prospective customers. I know some who will go so far as to ONLY include prospects, not existing customers, viewing it very much as a MARKETING database only (customers remain in the CRM only). I also know Marketo users who proactively use our platform for internal communications as well as communicating with prospects and customers. Depending on your organization, your markets, your data requirements and your business needs, ALL of these can be the right choices in my view.
But what I do encourage Marketo users to do is to plan for employees in the Marketo database and build accordingly:
1. First, create a custom field in Marketo - something like "Is Employee"
2. Then create a basic data management smart campaign that marks everyone with your company's email domain as "Is Employee" (for example: If email address contains "@marketo.com" change data value "Is Employee" to TRUE. You can schedule it as a recurring batch (with an "only go through the campaign once" constraint) to catch any new employees who might come in through form fillouts, imports, etc. over time
By taking these two steps, you now can easily filter out - or in - your employees as part of your smart lists and smart campaigns as you desire. Some clients will even use this criterion to do periodic, batch automations to delete employees from the Marketo database. It depends on your data concerns and your business use.
For nearly all clients, I will recommend that "Is Employee" is smart list criteria you use to remove employees from lead scoring and lead lifecycle programs and from various analytics reports. Except in a few cases, most organizations would not view employees as people they want to track for revenue modeling data and certainly don't want employees handed off to sales for followup as prospects. You can also use the "Is Employee" criteria to separate out their email performance and web page performance.
How about the rest of you? How do you feel about employees in the database and do you have different ways of dealing with them?
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