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List Membership and Program Membership - There's a Difference

Michaela_Iery3
Level 6
Level 6

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Consider a lead nurturing program for people who love basset hounds. (Anyone who knows me knows I would be the first person on this list.) Your sales team has given you a .csv file of customers that they would like you include in this nurturing program. So you import them into a static list within your engagement program. But they don't show up as members in your engagement program. What gives?

Something that often slips up even the most experienced Marketo user is the idea of what makes someone a member of a program. Many of us use static or smart lists as local assets within a program to identify whom we are going to include within the program. But just populating those local lists with leads doesn't make those leads members of that program. Marketo doesn't assume list inclusion alone makes someone a member of a program, as you might have any number of reasons for creating a list within it and end up not using some or all of the leads within that list in the program. The Marketo program must take action on the leads in the local list in a way that tell it these leads are members of the program.

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In this case, the easiest way to tell your engagement program that yes, these leads belong to this program as members, is to use a Lead Action to add the members to one of your program's engagement streams. Now Marketo understands that these leads in your list are members of your program – they are in one of its streams.

For other programs, like Default and Email Send, where you are using local lists, you’ll need to tell Marketo the leads are members by changing their program status. It’s that action that tells Marketo the members of the list are members of the program, regardless of whatever other action you may take on them.

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You can also use the Members tab of your program and import members directly into your program and set their status as members of the program - though in the case of engagement programs, you'll still have to take an additional action step via flow action or smart campaign to eventually put those members into streams.

Why use lists as local assets instead of importing directly into the program via the Members tab? It depends on the scenario. Sometimes using separate lists allows you to differentiate within the program between different sources of the members (sales-provided list versus people who attended a particular marketing event) or you'd like to keep a simple "snapshot in time" of who you originally brought into the program versus those who may come in later.  What other scenarios do you use local lists for?

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8 Comments
David_Gaible
Level 7

Nice article! The difference between list membership and program membership is super-useful. All of my program templates include a 'zDev' folder where marketers can go and create assets that may or may not be used in the actual program. A common asset found in these folders are smart lists that marketers create to size different additional segments that they might wan to run through the program. Often, these leads don't get added to the campaign, and it is nice that leads in these smart lists aren't automatically made campaign members.

Anonymous
Not applicable

This is a really helpful distinction. Thanks!

Anonymous
Not applicable

Michaela Iery​ I just took the MCE practice exam, and there was a question about which of the following doesn't make leads program members. The correct response was "Import into the program member tab." I had chosen "Import into a static list in the program" based on this article. Can you clarify?

Michaela_Iery3
Level 6

Hi, Amy:

As the article above states, membership on a LIST inside a program doesn't make someone automatically a member of the program: "Many of us use static or smart lists as local assets within a program to identify whom we are going to include within the program. But just populating those local lists with leads doesn't make those leads members of that program. Marketo doesn't assume list inclusion alone makes someone a member of a program, as you might have any number of reasons for creating a list within it and end up not using some or all of the leads within that list in the program. The Marketo program must take action on the leads in the local list in a way that tell it these leads are members of the program."

The correct response IS that you would import the members into the program tab, not the program LIST. It's a bit of a nuance in phrasing, but basically, importing into a static list inside the program doesn't make someone a member. But if you go directly to the program membership tab and select "import members" (from a list), you are making them members of the program. (In fact, when you do it this way, Marketo will ask you to select the members' "program status" as part of the import process, which is how you know they are actually being made members of the program versus simply being added to a list inside the program.

Does that make sense?

Gerard_van_den_
Level 3

Reading the above and from logical reasoning perspective, I'd conclude the 'correct' answer during the exam is in fact the faulty one. Amy, I think you gave the correct answer in the first place.

Dan_Stevens_
Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Michaela Iery​, I don't think you're following what Amy Connor​ is saying.  She specifically said that, according to the MCE answer, "importing leads into the program member tab" DOES NOT make leads members of the program.  Yes it does.  Alternatively, if you import into a static list within the program - which your very comprehensive article correctly states - then those leads are not automatically members of the program.  So Amy did select the correct answer.

Hopefully you can share this with the exam team - if it's indeed a question on the real exam - since many will be taking this during Summit later this month.

Another reason for your "static list" approach as well, Grégoire Michel

Grégoire_Miche2
Level 10

Hi Dan,

Yes, and this is exactly why importing in static lists does not create unwanted CRM Sync.

-Greg

Grégoire_Miche2
Level 10

You might want to read this: Why you should always use a static list to import persons in a program , as a complementary to what's written in this excellent post

-Greg