Marketo building blocks that everyone should know, but they don’t!

Programs and channels (and their subsequent status values, step numbers, successes, members, tags, costs…the list goes on) are arguably some of the most teeth grindingly difficult concepts in Marketo to master. So of course, it stands to reason that they are, by extension, one of the most critical components of Marketo.

Programs, their members, and the data tracked when those members are pushed and pulled through different marketing efforts are at the crux of Marketo’s intricate web, and therefore they are essential components of a foundation on which to build an intelligently run and managed marketing automation platform. Without well-built programs, scoring, lifecycle, revenue influence, nurturing…(this list, too, goes on), a Marketo instance would falter.

What this means for you and your team of fellow marketing gurus is that it’s critical for all to have a detailed discussion of each marketing tactics (aka channels), and the unique layers of engagement (aka statuses) that your leads (aka members) will pass through on their journeys. You’ll also want to define the goal (aka success) of each of these efforts so that you have something to measure their performance against.

Let’s do some role-playing here. This is what I imagine the conversation will look like:

Marketing Guru Numero Uno, “What kinds of marketing tactics do we do?”

Marketing Guru Numero Dos, “Webinars!” Resident Cynical Marketing Guru: “Ah, yes, we all love sitting in a room nervously waiting to broadcast our voices, hoping that the building facilities manager doesn’t launch a surprise practice fire drill in the middle, while 85% of the audience asks if the webinar is being recorded.” Marketing Guru Numero Uno, “What does it look like when we host a webinar, from the lead’s perspective?”

Marketing Guru Numero Tres, “They get invited, they can register, then can attend (or not), [cue Senor Cynicalo, “…and ask if it’s being recorded”], and if they don’t attend we can choose to send them said recording to consume on-demand.”

Marketing Guru Numero Four (my Spanish counting skills stall at 3), “And what is the purpose of a webinar? Is it to get registrants or to get people to consume the content?”

The question posed by guru four is rock solid – it’s important to define the purpose or goal of each of your marketing efforts so that you can define which channel status is the “success” step.

My recommendation is that, while it’s lovely when someone registers for a webinar, they can still ghost you and not show up. Therefore, it’s most ideal when someone consumes the content of your webinar, either during the live event itself or post-event with the on-demand recording.

This fun exercise should be repeated for every single marketing effort you do: all events, online campaigns, paid advertising, social promotions, (oh look, another list that goes on), until you’ve create a list of channels, their specific member statuses, and the success step(s).

In addition to the channels, this is a good time to come up with a tag strategy. Program tags are ways to categorize your programs for more filtered reporting views.

For example, perhaps you want to tag your tradeshows by region so that you can run a report that only shows EMEA Events. Other tagging options are product line, marketing manager/owner, and audience type (customer vs prospect).

Once these are all agreed upon, you can update your channels, and their statuses and successes, in the Tags section of admin, as well as create new Tag types and values. Then you can be off on your next tradeshow adventure, during which you may hear Senor Cynicalo spewing off some version of, “The booth visitors just want the fidget spinner giveaway for their kids…”

Don’t worry, when you return from this fab getaway in conference-center-heaven, you can catch up on the next post in the series, “How to get the most from your Marketo instance? Train, train, train.”

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At Digital Pi, we use technology to connect revenue to marketing efforts. We fuse marketing strategies, processes, data and applications to make marketing technology solutions work for clients' businesses.

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