Considerations for Using a Distribution List for Email Sends in Marketo

Marketo Employee
Marketo Employee


A common question that we come across at Adobe Marketo Engage Professional Services Consulting are around the feasibility of using distribution lists for email sends. The use cases we often have seen are for companies that use Marketo for internal communications and want to use an email alias such as team-x@my-company.com.


In order to create this alias, you would request your IT team to create the distribution list with all the internal seed list addresses and then send an email to everyone on the list to just one ID set by the team, e.g. marketingseedlist@<your.company.domain>.com. You would then need to create a single person record in the database using this distribution list email address. 


However, while this is possible to do in Marketo, there are some careful considerations to take into account:


  • The first is that Marketo sees the list as only one recipient – meaning that individual metrics (clicks, open rates, etc.) are not tracked individually
  • It also means that unsubscribes are blanketed – if one person on the list unsubscribes, it unsubscribes the entire distribution list. You could technically override this by making sure to mark each email as “operational”, but this leaves room for manual error and for some companies, this might also not be within their legal requirements for communications
  • Your IT team has to remove and add people manually – you are not able to manage the seedlist directly within Marketo or see who is a part of the distribution list within the tool
  • You would want to make sure the distribution list can accept outside emails by setting it to receive internal and external emails


In summary, while this is a possibility in Marketo, it is worth careful consideration and a special use case. We typically recommend customers manage distribution lists in Marketo by way of a static list instead, where we have full control over individual records (adding and removing) and their activity.

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