Storing Activity Data Beyond Retention Policy



Lead records have two primary components – lead attributes and activity logs.

  • Lead attributes are the fields and field values within the lead record. For example, Job Title is a lead attribute. Lead Name is a lead attribute.
  • Activity logs record the actions Marketo or the lead themselves have taken. For example, sending an email to a lead is an activity that would show in the activity log. If the lead opens the email or visits a tracked page, those activities would show in the activity log as well.


Activities in the activity log are only retained for 25 months, or 37 if you have purchased the premium data retention option. The main way to store activity data beyond the Data Retention Policy timeframe is to use the Bulk Extract API. There are two other ways you can keep a reference of these activities after the end of the Data Retention period, and they can be referenced within the Marketo UI. This article will show you how that can be done.



Add Leads to Static Lists

Static lists will retain lead membership even if the activity of adding the lead to the list has been removed. This will let you have lists dedicated to specific criteria that would otherwise be removed after the data retention time period has been passed.


For example, Smart Campaign membership history is not retained after 25 months. If you are searching for members of a Smart Campaign, but a lead first became a member of the Smart Campaign more than 25 months ago, the search results would not include that lead.


An easy way to work around that is to add your leads to a static list as part of the flow of the campaign. When creating your Smart Campaign, create a new static list with the same corresponding name (makes it easier to identify later). When building the flow of your campaign, add the "Add to List" flow step so that all leads going through the campaign will be logged on the list.


add to list.PNG


Campaign Priority.PNG



Use Custom Fields

Lead attributes and their field values are not affected by the Data Retention Policy. Use Smart Campaigns to populate custom fields with values based on activities your leads take. This will allow you to filter leads by these lead attributes that are not affected by the Data Retention Policy. A side benefit to this is that it is faster to search by lead attributes than by searching through lead activity logs.



This approach can work for many different activities, but let’s use form fill outs as an example.


Let’s say you want to be able to identify leads who have been very active and have filled out more than 5 forms over their lifecycle. You could use the filter “Filled Out Form” with the “Min. Number of Times” constraint set to 5. However, if one of those forms filled out occurred more than 25 months ago, the filter would only be able to access 4 form fill activities in the activity log. Therefore, the lead would not pass the filter.


Instead of using the “Filled Out Form” filter, set up a Smart Campaign to write to custom fields that show you how many forms they’ve filled out, and when the first one was. Here’s how to do it:


1. Create two new custom fields in Marketo, one Score Field, and the second a Date Field.


2. Create a new Smart Campaign


3. Add the trigger “Fills Out Form” set to “is any” to the Campaign Smart List


Fills out any form.PNG


4. Add these two Flow Steps to the Campaign Flow:

  • Flow Step 1: “Change Score”

Score Field Name: your score field name

Change: +1


  • Flow Step 2: “Change Data Value”

Add Choice to Flow Step

Choice 1: If “your score field name”  “is empty”

Attribute “your score field name” New Value: {{}}

Default Choice: Do Nothing


Campaign Flow.PNG



This campaign will listen for any time a lead fills out a form, add +1 to your score field, and if it’s the very first form they’ve ever filled out, it will log the date of when it was done. If the lead has ever filled out a form in the past, there will already be a date value in the date field, so the flow choice would just skip over it and do nothing.


Campaign allows every time.PNG



Results You’ll See:

With the original goal of identifying leads who have filled out more than 5 forms you’ll be able to filter for leads that have filled out at least 5 forms. In addition, this campaign will let you search for leads based on when they had filled out their very first form, regardless of how long ago it was. Since it’s stored in a lead field, it’s a lead attribute that is not affected by the Data Retention Policy at all.


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Dont create too many custom fields.PNG