Smart List Logic - How many people do you want in your club?

Community Manager
Community Manager

Recently, I've had a number of cases caused by customers getting themselves tangled up in Smart List filter logic, so I thought I would do a blog post on how AND/OR logic works in Marketo.


It's not surprising that people would be confused, because "and" and "or" are used differently in English than they are in filter logic.  For instance, if I say "Don't go to the liquor store or the casino," I mean that I don't want you to go to the liquor and I don't want you to go to the casino.  I want you to stay away from both of them or you will be in trouble.  However, if I say that to Marketo, the OR logic works like this


IF Not Went to Liquor Store = True (whether or not you went to the casino), THEN Not in trouble

- OR -

IF Not Went to Casino = True (whether or not you went to the liquor store), THEN Not in trouble


AND logic works differently in English as well.  If I say "People who do yoga and people who lift weights are physically fit," I mean that people who do either activity are physically fit.  However, Smart List logic interprets AND this way


IF Does Yoga = True AND Lifts Weights = True, THEN Physically Fit.


With the AND logic, only people who do both yoga and weight-lifting are physically fit.


So, counter-intuitive as it may sound, in Smart List logic, we use AND to exclude people, and we use OR to include people.  To illustrate this, let's pretend I want to start a club.  The traits I want in my club members are


  • Red hair
  • Green eyes
  • Female


If I use AND logic (also known as ALL logic), then the only people who can join my club are people who are women AND have red hair AND green eyes.


Since there aren't that many red-haired, green-eyed women, my club is pretty exclusive.


But let's say that I want more people in my club, so I change my logic from AND/ALL to OR/ANY.  Now my membership includes


  • All women regardless of hair or eye color
  • All green-eyed men, regardless of hair color
  • All red-haired men, regardless of eye color


With ANY/OR logic, my club has a lot more people in it. 




Maybe that's too many people.  AND/ALL logic gave me too few people, OR/ANY logic gave me too many.  Advanced logic gives me the ability come down somewhere in between.  In this case, let's make the club ladies only.  Since I want to exclude the guys (sorry guys!) I am going to use AND logic with the gender requirement, but since I want flexibility on hair and eye color, I will use OR logic there.


My filters would be


#1 - Gender is Female

#2 - Hair Color is Red

#3 - Eye Color is Green


and my advanced logic would be: 1 AND (2 OR 3).  My resulting club members are all women who have either red hair or green eyes, or both.


I use OR to include women based on hair and eye color, but I use AND logic to exclude people whose gender is not female.


So if you are working on a Smart List and it seems to be pulling in too many leads, check the OR logic you are using.  If you don't have enough leads, check the AND logic, and adjust accordingly.

Is this article helpful ?


Not applicable

The conventions for filter logic in Marketo are ANY filter, ALL filter or ADVANCED which is a bit different to your post? Any smart list that I have created has not worked with 3 filters and ALL filter. I have no idea why but seems to ignore at least one of the filters! Frustrating.

Community Manager

Hi Jennifer,

'ANY' in Marketo is OR logic (1 or 2 or 3, etc) while 'ALL' is AND logic.  If you have an screenshot of a Smart List you would like me to look at, let me know.

Level 4

The "plain English" examples you created I found very helpful. I'll be sharing this with colleagues. Thanks, Roxann!

Level 2

Very helpful, thank you!