Alternatives to a long wait step

Level 2

Alternatives to a long wait step


Putting records in a 3 month wait step for some reason kind of makes me uneasy (maybe I'm overreacting), but is there a good alternative I could use instead?

Maybe I could do something like set a date field for {{}} + 90 days. Then have something run based on the date that field shows?

So for instance I set a date of February 7th in a date field and then a smart campaign reads that field and on February 7th and it does something like update somebody's person status to recycled. Could be a trigger or a batch, but I suppose I prefer a batch. Any ideas?

Level 4

Re: Alternatives to a long wait step

I personally have no issue with long wait steps, but that would be a viable workaround. You could do a batch campaign off of your custom field that says "[date field] is in time frame today" and run daily.

You could also date stamp the initial action for {{}} and then set up a daily batch campaign with filters for [date field] is not empty AND [date field] is in past before 89 days AND [date field] is in past 90 days.

Level 10

Re: Alternatives to a long wait step

Hey Jason,

Your instinct on this is good - there's plenty of good reasons to be wary of long wait steps especially months long wait steps. If you've got smart list filters that check qualification criteria, and it's possible that circumstances may change in the wait period, the flow step action after the wait will still run - because smart list qualification will only happen at when the smart campaign starts processing, and not again after the wait period has ended.

A simple & arbitrary example - say you're running an event and allow people to register for one of two dates. Say you run your smart list criteria in two separate smart campaigns for each date, with flow steps for a registration confirmation email send, a 30 day wait, and then an event reminder after that wait period. There's a reason why this isn't a best practice set up: because you're basing the reminder send activity on 30 day old data, without revalidating it. Ideally, you wouldn't want the reminder to send to anyone who cancelled, or who changed the day they were attending - but this set up wouldn't recognise those changes, and would send that reminder anyway.

Ways to handle this may include custom field options, like you've suggested (which is valid in certain circumstances) and date filters on activities (which are also valid in certain circumstances, you'll want to check the data retention period on the action - see here: Marketo Activities Data Retention Policy - Under the Hood​).

Level 10

Re: Alternatives to a long wait step

Hi Jason

You are right to be concerned. Many things can happen in between and the fact that leads in wait steps can be easily forgotten there makes it dangerous.

We prefer to use static lists. We add leads to static lists and remove them from the list when the wait period is over.

For durations in the range of a few weeks, the "was added to list" filter works well.

For durations that are above 90 days, you will need date fields, as "add to list" activities get erased after 90 days.


Not applicable

Re: Alternatives to a long wait step

Hi Jason,

I agree that a long wait step is cause for concern given that the full qualification criteria will not be run at the time wait period ends.

There are many scenarios I can think of where another department may now be engaging with that lead and having your program automatically change the person status would not be accurate and could be detrimental eg sales person is in midst of engaging with the lead via phone calls and having the person status change could affect how the lead appears in a SFDC/ CRM lead queue and now "out of sight" the sales person fails to conduct next followup with the lead. In setting up program you need to consider any possible engagement lead could have had with other departments in the wait timeframe and ensure any lead updates and field updates (be they in Marketp or SFDC/ CRM are part of the smart list criteria.