Why We Only Score Demographics Once

Not applicable

For those who have gotten the best practice instance from Marketo, you may have noticed that the demographic scoring campaigns are set up to run only once, while the behavior scoring campaigns are set up to run once an hour, once a day, or every time. Inquiring minds might wonder why. After all, it's technically possible for demographics to change - someone might change location, get a promotion, or expand into a new industry.

This is mostly a case of the 80:20 rule. Out of your entire database, only a very small percentage is going to experience changes to the demographic criteria in a given timeframe. Often when those changes happen, they don't actually change the score someone would be given. For example, let's imagine that you have a campaign set up to trigger off a Job Title change and you have two tiers of Job Titles, one for C-level and one for Director level. Imagine you start standardizing your job titles from Dir to Director. This is a change that will trigger the demographic scoring campaign.  However, it will not impact the actual point value the person is assigned. It will just run a bunch of people through a campaign for no reason.

The second reason we don't rescore demographics is the complexity. Not only do I need to give you new points if your title changes, but I need to add or subtract the difference between the old and new values. So if you got 10 points before and now your job title is worth 15 points, I technically need to increase your score by 5 points. I can do this by analyzing the change to identify the difference, by subtracting 10 points and then adding 15, or by resetting your demographic score completely and reevaluating every demographic criteria. Whichever option you choose, you end up building a lot of extra campaigns that are, again, running with minimal impact. Just taking up extra processing space in the system.

You might wonder how big of a deal this really can be. Well here are some numbers from a client who shall remain nameless. They took the approach of resetting someone's demographic score completely any time a value changed and then rescoring the entire thing. In a 30 day period, they had 12,000 people added to the list for reevaluation who received no resulting change in their demographic score. They had 100,000 people 'change employee size' from <50 to 1-50, as the result of standardization from Salesforce, but which you can clearly see would result in no change to the score. Even worse, these kinds of campaigns tend to be triggered using Request Campaign, so every lead is running through individually in the trigger campaign queue, which is typically where you'd want your most important, time sensitive campaigns to be. Not how I usually describe demographic scoring campaigns.

Last, but certainly not least, the implications on your lifecycle. Let's imagine a record had just hit 50 points, our threshold for MQL. Then something gets updated and now their demographic scoring goes down by 5 points. They're now at 45 points. Should you claw them back and make them not an MQL anymore? Are we now saying they aren't qualified? What if sales is already working on them?

Long story short - scoring demographics once gives you the biggest bang for the buck, with the least amount of headache. That is why our best practice is to set those campaigns to run once per lead.

Level 3

I usually try to solve this issue by breaking out the scores into 4 fields, demographic, behavior, text eval, and total. So then whenever I need to update the demographic score, I can zero out that field and start the demographic scoring from scratch.

That being said, this also relies on a calculated field in Salesforce. that essentially just agregates the values of the individual score fields (demographic, behavior, and text eval) and use that aggregated field for the MQL status.

Level 10

Hi Andrew,

So do I and we always recompute the demographic score, since we can zero it and recompute based on additional data we get.


Level 10


Do you recommend doing a different set of demographic scoring based on product, or should that be left to the behavior scoring?  The current demographic scoring that we have appears to only apply to the highest price point of product that we have which is sponsorship.  But for the most part, we sell more of the ancillary products. 

Not applicable

In most businesses, I find that the demographic scoring doesn't really vary by business unit so I usually don't recommend putting much effort into it. But if you have a legitimate reason for doing it, absolutely.