how many smart lists is too many?

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Level 3

how many smart lists is too many?

is it best practice to reference smart list(s) within a smart list?

we have a request from sales to build out lists for them, which will then go on to be referenced dozens of times. My fear is that this could cause slowdown or performance issues within Marketo. 

is it better to build out a bunch of pre-determined smart lists based on various criteria (vertical, region, business unit, etc) and then reference those in email sends?

OR

 is it better to use filters to create lists/audiences as new programs come up

From a sales perspective it would be ideal if I have a smart list ready for every conceivable combination, but I don't think that is realistic. 

3 REPLIES 3
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Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: how many smart lists is too many?

Hi Malik,


This is well covered in earlier discussions. But without knowing more about why Sales (??) is asking for the smart lists, it's hard to give you a good answer for your needs.

  • Nested Smart Lists, as a rule, should be avoided or at least minimized.
    • Yes, if you reference a lot of smart lists in a single smart list, it will slow down processing. If those smart lists ALSO have smart lists, Marketo will cascade this down, waiting for each lower smart list to complete in order to pull the right people.
    • Cross Tab Smart Lists - you have the right idea and you will need to take say a Vertical and cross it with "Emailable"
    • One of the key ways to reduce the overhead is
      • Smart Lists run from top to bottom. I always run smart lists LAST so that the dataset is smaller by the time it reaches the last filter.
      • Segmentations - if you have standard Vertical, Geo, and Emailable concepts, you can easily create a Segmentation and that will run a lot faster and allow you to build on top of those.
  • Standing Smart Lists like you propose are a GOOD idea. 
    • Yes, they will get referenced everywhere and you need to be prepared to carefully update any master lists because it will cascade. 
    • Be ok with thousands of these. It will happen. It's ok.
    • Organize your Lead Database in good foddering (lots of Naming & Org options in the Community here)
    • Watch out for multiple Workspaces.
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Re: how many smart lists is too many?

Hi Malik,

As Josh explained it very well. This will surely slow down the performance. Segmentation is faster than the Smart list. Try to use segmentation.

Harish Gupta
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Level 3

Re: how many smart lists is too many?

Thank you guys.

The problem with segmentations is that records can only qualify for one at a time. We often have records that will qualify for more than one segment, so we're finding smart lists to be more useful.