Marketo Forms - Which application is right for you?

One of the biggest questions that we hear from our clients is how they should integrate Marketo forms onto their website.  There are several different options on how to do this, and each one of them has their own pros and cons. This post will focus on each option, so that you can make an informed decision on which one is best for you.

Marketo Landing Page + Form

What I really like about Marketo’s landing page editor is it enables Marketers who may not have HTML experience to be able to quickly and easily setup a landing page for their program. Some of you will be able to relate to this next comment, and those are the ones I would especially encourage to go the route of Marketo landing pages: no more waiting weeks for your web team to create a landing page for you, and then days for them to make edits once you’ve seen it live. I personally find that Marketo Landing Pages are the best option for any pages that require a form. They give you the most flexibility and control to do what you need to as a Marketer to succeed. They also give you the most benefits, like form pre-fill, conversion rate statistics and make it easy to integrate into scoring and triggers.

Marketo Form Embedded into iFrame

Now for some of you who have really great and responsive web teams, or who are running websites using WordPress or another user friendly CMS, sometimes this option can be just as good as Option #1. You don’t really lose a lot by using Marketo forms in an iFrame, other than A/B testing of your landing pages. So, you if have an awesome landing page that is optimized for conversion and its built in WordPress, then put a Marketo form onto this page using an iFrame and you’re good to go. There are a few customizations that you will need to make to make it responsive, blend into the parent page and open the follow-up page in a new window, but you can have Marketo forms up and running on your site in no-time.

Marketo Form Embedded using Embed Code

A lot of people, especially developers, were excited when the embed code came out as it made for an ‘easy’ way to post your Marketo forms directly into an existing webpage on your website. Although it makes the integration into your existing site fairly straightforward, it comes with several drawbacks. This includes the fact that your forms will not pre-fill with known prospects data, it is impossible to track conversion rates of your forms and equally as hard to track form submissions via smart lists. Until Marketo resolves these issues, I would not advise going down this path, even if it may make implementation easy.

Non-Marketo Forms Using Marketo APIs

Marketo has a number of API’s that can be used to either call or post data from. I have worked with some clients who will use these APIs to send data to Marketo when their non-Marketo form is submitted. This typically happens when there is another back-end system linked to the form that needs to spin up a trial account or send a confirmation email with third-party information. This can almost always be done using native Marketo forms and with the API’s pushing to these other systems instead of vice versa. Although the APIs are typically an option that are most sought-after when technical people are involved in the discussion, most of the time native Marketo forms with API’s calling information back and forth in the background can be used. Again, I typically do not advise using the APIs unless there is no other way to achieve the results required with native Marketo forms (and there is almost always a way).

Non-Marketo Forms

It’s one thing to use non-Marketo forms and then use API’s to send data into Marketo, and then it is completely another question when there is no communication method into Marketo. One client we work with did not want to use Marketo forms in case the Marketo servers went down or if they ever had to switch to another Marketing Automation vendor. However, they made sure that all data coming through their forms was passed over to Marketo via API’s and clearly indicated the source of all leads. They also integrated the munchkin API into their forms so even the non-Marketo forms could pre-fill and we could grab all the inferred information. Unless you are taking your non-Marketo forms to these lengths, then I would not suggest using non-Marketo forms. It is a lot of extra work just to get them up to parity.

Salesforce Web-to-Lead Forms

Please, just please do not do this. I have yet to encounter a good use-case for this. This is a recipe for creating a lot of duplicates and losing out on all of the great benefits that come from Marketo forms.

Here is a handy cheat sheet that you can use when thinking about which option to select: