Smart List Challenge

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Arm your marketing team with knowledge - implement a Smart List Challenge at your organization.

What? Smart List Challenge: a competition (usually with prizes) to build a smart list based on a given scenario.

Why? Knowing and understanding your database can be the marketing team's greatest weapon. Data might be messy but it doesn't lie. Once your team knows the underlying data, the possibilities of Marketo are endless. You'll have less mistakes.


  1. Onboarding all new hires. This is one of the best ways to explain your database to experienced Marketo users and to help new users understand the terminology.
  2. At least once a year for the entire team. Not only is it a team-building exercise, but a chance to work on new and common uses for your instance, plus a refresher of infrequent but useful scenarios.

Let's get started with 10 basic, mid-level and advanced scenarios that I recently discovered were easily transferrable from one company to another with minor tweaks for your internal processes. The scenarios below are based on an integration with SFDC and use common (standard) fields and terms. Keep in mind, in some scenarios, there is more than one way to get the same result.

SPOILER ALERT: the answers are included right after the scenario.


  1. Login to Marketo
  2. Navigate to “Lead Database”
  3. Find/create the folder in group smart lists “~Training”
  4. Add your own folder with your name ie Emily Training

Basic Smart List Challenge - the minimum basic fields such as Unsubscribed and Visited Web Page

(I use this a chance to work on naming conventions for group smart lists)


1. All marketable leads (this could be complex to meet your own requirements or the minimum fields to get an accurate send list)


2. Have been to our website


3. In Industry Non-Profit, Telecommunications, Retail (or select three industries best suited to your organization)


Mid-Level Smart List Challenge - working on common Marketo functions such as program success and inactivity filters


1. Select all those who have been to our web site sometime but not in the past 30 days and are in SFDC


2. Select all Leads who became the lead status of “Marketing Qualified” more than 10 days ago and who are still “Marketing Qualified”


3. Select all those who have reached success in a program in the last 90 days and have an opportunity created this year.


Advanced Smart List Challenge - it's time to introduce advanced filters


1. Any prospect who hasn’t opened or clicked an email in X program in the past 90 days. (This works best for an email program such as Webinar to use the "Starts with" filter for the email names)

2. All leads who’s Rating became A in January with a Behavior change in February

3. Random sample of SFDC Leads in QC, FL, Los Angeles (Ok, so this is a trick scenario as you cannot have advanced filters with Random Sample. But this serves a dual purpose as cities, states and countries are a common campaign request and learning the field value standardization is important and you can introduce "Member of.." filters.)

4. Leads created in the last 90 days that are SFDC Leads with an activity logged by a Sales Rep (one of my personal favorites for those with an SFDC integration is using Activity filtering)

If you have a challenge to share with the Community, please post it below!
Level 9

Love it, great post!

Level 3

Fantastic idea! This is really a great onboard/refresh training method and will certainly empower your users to succeed!

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Very nice.  To extend this to reports.

I create a report based on a smart list for a SFDC Campaign.


I adjust the setup to include the hidden opportunity columns:


Then I get a report that shows what opportunities are out there.


This campaign is targeted to Leads and when Leads are Converted the Lead Status is changed to Qualified.  By changing the Group by, it is easy to created other versions by Lead Score or SFDC Type, etc.

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Thanks Emily! We'll try these out.

Level 3

Great post Emily!

Level 5

This is great, thanks for sharing.

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Such an amazing interactive idea! I will share with the team! Thanks for sharing Who tried it out?

Level 9

Great idea!!

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Helpful...Thanks for sharing!