Q&A from the August Champion Office Hours – Part I

Marketo Employee
Marketo Employee

Recently, we launched the Marketo Engage Champion Office Hours – a monthly virtual series where Marketo Engage Champions answer 60 minutes of live audience questions. 


Unfortunately, there were some technical issues during the August Office Hours, so the Champs will be answering all pre-submitted questions from the August event in a series of posts here on Community. 


Below, Champion Chris Wilcox, Assistant Director, Strategic Marketing, at Hartford Funds answers our first set of audience questions. 


Are there best practices in determining the scoring threshold for passing off leads to sales? (asked by Danielle)

Typically, most firms start with a scale 100 for a MQL. There are most definitely plenty of use cases and scenarios when that doesn't make sense for a firm, but basically starting from 100 gives you a scale to come up with the actual values that contribute to your lead's score. If you know you want someone to have done X amount of stuff before we hand them off, you have a good place to understand how many points those activities (or lead attributes) should be worth to get those good leads over the 100 threshold.


We build a dynamic e-newsletter with 3-6 content modules based entirely on segmentations. What's the best practice? Known issues? Anyone else doing this? (asked by Jane)

Using segmentations to power dynamic content is absolutely the best practice, so long as you're not using segmentations to specifically define what content type someone should get and that's a static attribute. What I mean is that since you have only a limited number of segmentations, don't use one to just have a "true or false" type grouping as to whether someone should get a piece of content. For that, you'd be better off using fields on the contact paired with using velocity script tokens to show/hide content. If that's too technical, absolutely segmentations are the way to go since they don't require any code, just know you might be chewing up extra segmentations and you can only have a limited number running in your instance! (P.S. – I just wrote a blog piece about getting started with Velocity script tokens, and one of the examples I used was a dynamic newsletter so check it out!)


What is the best way to become Marketo literate and train for the certification exam? How long should we prepare for and what segments does the test cover? ex. Marketing Activities, Design Studio. What are we responsible for to learn? Is the test fully multiple choice? if so, are the questions more theory or practical? (asked by Alon)

The test is fully multiple choice, yes. Questions are almost entirely practical, giving you a scenario in which you need to execute a program, report, setup, tag, etc., in Marketo, and asking you on the correct way/method/etc., to do it. Here’s the hub that I used when studying. https://www.marketo.com/education/marketo-certification/marketo-certified-expert/preparation/.  Basically, I went through the list of topics and read each and every line item to make sure I had a solid understanding of the idea and the detailed execution of that aspect within Marketo. I will say, I find it to be super specific. “Name the report filter you would use when…” etc.  Topics covered can be found on the official MCE page here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/5mFIv2owp7cgi/. Personally, any areas I found myself with a lack of knowledge (implementation was the big one for me since I have never implemented an instance), I went through the program fundamentals sections and tried to search for videos / discussions on the board about it so I could get a better understanding. Good luck!


How often should I look at my always-on smart campaigns and nurture campaigns? (asked by Yuen)

I'd say it depends on the cadence at which they run. Programs or nurtures that execute very often (daily, weekly), I would check more frequently than programs that run monthly, quarterly, or annually. My process is typically that I try to create centralized reports that tell me what's running and how many people are qualifying or are being sent emails via triggers/smart campaigns/nurtures and keep a more frequent eye on those kinds of reports. Typically, my team tries to do a quick once-over on our always-on campaigns at least quarterly, but obviously that depends on how many you have to review as well!


Why doesn't the email dashboard reflect all emails within that program? (asked by Jonathan)

The Email dashboard will only show whichever email was sent via that Email Program, of which there can only be one. If you're sending out multiple A/B whole-email tests, there is a drop down at the top of the dashboard that lets you show the Test Results dashboard, or show all email data. If you're running emails out of a Default program using Smart Campaigns to do your sending, an Email Performance report is the way to view performance across multiple emails. To select which emails to show, go to the setup tab of the email performance report, drag over either the Design Studio Emails or Marketing Activities Emails filter from the right, and check the box next the email assets you want to show in your performance report.


Can you share your best practices in optimizing newsletter open rate? (asked by Yuen)

Open rate is going to be affected by two things – your from name/email fields, and your subject line. You should be A/B testing like crazy in those fields to optimize against open rate. Try punctuation in your subject line (ask questions, etc.), try short vs. long subject lines (short will probably win), try seeing if you can personalize your subject lines to include the contact's name. If you're able to personalize the email itself to come from the contact's sales rep instead of using your brand name, try that. Lots of levers to pull before the user even opens the email. One thing to be aware of – if you're a B2B business, be wary of open rate. SO MANY spam filtering technology falsely trigger that open flag, so just know that.


What are your suggestions for creating winning email campaigns? How do you use data insights to inform your marketing efforts? (asked by Beth)

My suggestion is ALWAYS BE TESTING. Every business and set of customers is different and what works for my firm may not work for yours, but test like crazy. Test subject lines, test personalization in the from name/email fields on your emails, test your design elements, test having a single CTA vs. having 2 or 3. Test using images or not using images. I always use data to inform what's working and what's not. It really depends on your business, but if you're trying to drive conversions on your website, be sure to tag all of your emails with analytics tracking code so you can track which emails or versions of emails are driving better engagement or conversions on your website. I always say go as far down the conversion funnel you can to test effectiveness. Just because email A got more clicks doesn't mean it's better if it's driving more of those clickers to fill out your demo form on your website than version B. Go as deep as you can, and tag/track your emails so you can get to the answer to "which of these emails is doing more for our business," because that's the winner at the end of the day.


Do you recommend setting up a smart campaign for batch sends and reusing this smart campaign as a template moving forward? (asked by Brannon)

I definitely think it depends on what you're sending. If, for example, you have some kind of reminder or recurring email where the content never changes, and it just needs to go out to a set of contacts on a periodic basis. Yes, that's 100% just set it and forget it. Something I've done where we have something very similar to that, but maybe a small update to a link or the body of the email needs to change before it can trigger it to yes, schedule it go out, but ALSO create a reminder email for the content owner that gets sent to them a few days before the trigger will fire. Basically, remind them "Hey just a reminder, that automated email is going to send in 5 days so be sure to make your edits." We like this because it automates it the 95% of the time those contacts are able to get their updates into the email on time, and they only reach out to us if there is a delay. If it's something where the email requires lots of updates and rebuilding each time, I would not schedule it if it were me. I'd just run it each time as a scheduled "run once" type of email.


I would love to learn about segmentation best practices.

Segmentations are awesome. They are basically ways to group your contacts into different groups so that your marketing team can quickly use those classifications to send out marketing communications, use for lead scoring purposes, or for dynamic content. Typically, they get used for classifying people into things like Region or Vertical. Segmentations are kept up in real time, so as a user's data changes in the CRM, the Segmentation will basically check each time a record is updated to make sure they're still in the right group. Segmentations are also mutually exclusive, so all contacts can only be classified in a single group within each segmentation you have running. Something I love to use them for is creating "emailable" lists of advisors.  If your business organizes itself around, for example, verticals (i.e. you sell differently to people in the Education vertical vs. Finance vs. Technology, etc.), you could create a single segmentation that both classifies those people into their various verticals, but also overlays the things that make them a contact who is able to be marketed to and that their email address is valid. This can come in handy if, let's say, your sales and marketing teams decide that when someone opens an opportunity in your CRM for a lead, they get removed from marketing communications for a few weeks so that the sales team can really offer personalized service while they close the deal. You could include the filter "not added to opportunity in last 30 days" to your emailable Segmentation rules, and since your marketing users would be using that emailable in their vertical as as their first smart list filter in their email programs/nurtures, you'd automatically be pulling those people out of marketing messages without additional work or knowledge from your marketers. That was a super specific and long winded response, but check out community for more answers as Segmentations are extremely powerful!


Stay tuned to this blog for additional posts with Q&A from the August office hours! If you have additional questions for the Champions, register for the September office hours.