One thing I have noticed when creating a more complicated nurture in Marketo, you have to be creative to make things work the way you want them to and the great part about Marketo is that you have a whole arsenal of features available.
This hack works with a lot of use cases, but the specific way I got to making it was when a client wanted a specific nurture for free trials for licenses from their website that would be sending on specific days of the trial.
I've seen a lot of questions about variable cadence on the community. I was overjoyed seeing Marketo's announcement of this feature (screenshot above from summit slides) on the Summit this year. There is still some time remaining until that so I figured I will share this method. This has been tested for a few months and is proven to work given the right setup.
I will also share some learnings from setting up this a few different ways which I would strongly not recommend .
If you're looking to nurture leads who signed up for a product trial during a fixed amount of time for the trial, you would probably want to deliver some content on specific days of the trial to try to convert/activate them on milestones. Multiple products will be tougher to nurture as managing dynamic content in one stream can become a lot of work.
Using similar naming conventions for different products, it allows you to globally maintain sendouts, making it easier if you want to add new streams or make changes on the days you want to cast.
Adding one stream per product and emails for each in the same order will allow for maintaining your casts from the same place. This is of course if you want to be sending the same amount of content and on the same frequency for your products.
In order for the setup to work, casts should be set to recur every day at the same time, in this example 10 am. The space between the days for casts will be maintained by scheduled batch campaigns.
Another point to note before continuing, this can be applied on normal nurturing streams with longer spaces (let's say 2-3 weeks) where you want new leads in nurture to receive content immediately instead of waiting 2-3 weeks if they just missed the last cast. In this type of situation where you don't want to send out on numbered days, you can just choose the weekdays for when to cast, e.g. Tue, Wed, Thu with the same weekly repeating cadence.
In the example above, a Custom Object has been added for Trials and the trigger for entry to Stream 1 is being added to a trial for Product 1. This works great if you have an external database that confirms a new trial and is scheduled to import daily at a specific time to Marketo.
Once the lead qualifies for the flow, they will be added to the appropriate stream (in this case Product 1).
This is also a great time to send out a welcome to trial email directly. If you're using a Custom Object for the trial you can add information from it by using Velocity Scripting with $TriggerObject values, more on there here: http://developers.marketo.com/email-scripting/marketo-objects/
Here is an example of the first batch campaign applying for the first email sent on Day 3, looking almost identical for all days, you set up the first one and then clone and adjust from there.
*The positive aspect of using filters is that there is a sent choice as opposed to triggers that only have "Is Delivered", this is important because if you would use the was delivered option you risk sending your emails daily.
Once a lead qualifies for the flow, their cadence will be paused for a fixed amount of time.
Flow steps explained:
Every batch campaign for maintaining cadence will be scheduled to recur daily at the same time. In this case, every cast is scheduled for 10 am and the batch campaigns run at 11 am (after). The Smart Lists specify the email (e.g. -Day3-) delivered in the past 2 hours, so this will ensure the right batch campaign runs.
Once the first campaign is set up you can clone it and:
When the nurture is done on the last day, leads can be added to a separate stream without cadence. The main reason for this is that with daily casts setup and no more content to send, you will get a lot of notifications in your Marketo top menu. Also it is better knowing that those inside of a stream are currently in the middle of a trial.
When a lead purchases a paid version of your product you can set up a trigger to pause trial nurturing, add them to the purchased stream (ensure Success Program Status is set up) and send a welcome email or whatever you choose.
One great use case for globally managing your trials is sending a general survey to request information on what the lead thought about the trial. I have configured custom Marketo based surveys with a rating scale of 0 - 5 composed of Image links to the same Marketo landing page with URL parameters for tracking response on the email click and then asking a couple general questions (picklist it) regarding the product.
If you configure the entry campaign with a Change Data Value flowstep to update the product name, you can personalize one email with tokens.
To keep quality you will need the following:
As mentioned above, this does not need to be a fixed day nurture for a trial. You can use this method when you have a 2-3 week nurture where you want to include leads every week so they don't have to wait too long if they have missed the latest cast (they're all run at the same time). So if you were to name all your nurturing emails like NUR-01-, NUR-02-, ..., you can set a weekly cast on a weekday but set a wait step for 2-3 weeks with cadence paused, and of course Schedule set to run every time.
From previous experience I have tried a couple different methods that don't work so well and have come up with this custom solution to get a scalable workaround. Some of the things I tried which did not work so well in the past years:
As always if you want to know more feel free to ask and I'd be happy to help. Also if anyone has anything to add here, do it!
For more tips and tricks, feel free to check out debros.se
Thank you! Regarding your question, you can for sure set up transition rules in the streams to keep it simple, of course you would want to have a Smart Campaign with trigger/batch for adding people to program first.
Only reason I've used Smart Campaigns for moving between streams is so that the whole process is more accessible and primarily if you have many rules for moving between streams you don't want them to clash or to include the wrong people. If you have one (or even two) exact triggers that should move someone from Stream 1 > Stream 2 then transition rules work fine!
Appreciate the quick reply.
Yea, I ended up going your route of putting everything in smart campaigns as I built out the program. Just felt simpler and better visibility when all the flow and smart list logic were grouped in a single location rather than split between transition rules vs smart campaigns.
Anyways, thanks again for your help!
Hi Erik Heldebro - Great hack for variable cadence! I set up our engagement nurture exactly the way you outlined but ran into a problem. Leads in our cadence smart campaign never resumed back to 'Normal' after the waiting period is over, so they never received the second email.
You should open a question and describe in more details what you have done, including screenshots of your smart campaign smart lists and flow.
Hi Erik Heldebro. Great article and hack on incorporating the variable cadence. I have setup my engagement program and followed your steps to test. We are kicking it off with some test emails over the weekend. I will update you on my progress. I am sure I will have some follow-up questions.
Thanks again for sharing!
Erik Heldebro Thank you for sharing this. It's been amazingly helpful.
Just wanted you to know that the blog version that you have published (Custom and variable cadence in Marketo - Debros ) is missing the screenshot for the 01-Sent Day 3 Email>Smart List so some of this gets lost in translation when reading that version.
Hey Stephanie! Glad to hear you liked it Thank you for letting me know, I'll check into it!
Does anyone know when the wait cadence screenshotted at the top of Erik Heldebro's post will be released?
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