Marketo Tips – Our Holiday Gift to You!

It’s holiday time and we are in the gifting spirit so we’re giving you all some Marketo tips that will help you with your end of year productivity. Enjoy!

Tip 1 – Take a Break from Lifecycle Holiday Alerts

Sales and Marketing love alerts that trigger when key events occur. For certain activities, you might want to consider putting a hold on some of those.

For example, if your organization is utilizing a No Lead Left Behind process, it’s unlikely Sales will follow up with active leads over the holidays in a timely fashion. You’ll probably want to disable alerts for some of the following activities.

  • Overdue MQLs. These alerts usually hit reps and their managers after a certain amount of time if the lead is not reviewed. You don’t want these hitting Christmas morning. There is enough friction between Marketing and Sales without having reps log in on a holiday morning to prevent uncontacted MQL alerts from firing.
  • Leads Not Called. If a Sales rep puts the lead into an active stage such as Attempting Contact stage but fails to log an activity, this alert can trigger depending on how your system is setup.
  • Stagnant Leads. Here, leads are sitting in a certain stage for too long which can trigger notifications to management.

How to Put a Hold on Marketo Alerts

Think of this method as the master switch to your lead alert system. Yes, you could get more accurate but here are a few quick and easy ways to make sure alerts don’t go out.

Option 1 – Turn off the Alert

Go into the alert campaign in Marketo, Salesforce or your platform of choice and disable it before the holidays. Then reenable it after the holidays.If you have a simple flow step or workflow that only sends the single alert, this might be your best bet. Obviously, keep a running list of campaigns you adjusted so you can go back later and reenable.

This method can get tricky if other flow steps like Sync to Salesforce, Increase Lead Score, etc are part of the campaign. Additionally, people may already live in the flow step from a few days ago meaning alerts would still fire. That leads to option #2.

Option 2 – Create a Vacation Removal Campaign

For many companies, #1 won’t work because their alert system has multiple flow steps timed to occur over several days. In this case, create a campaign that removes members daily. This allows you to keep the original alert system in place but ensures the alerts never get sent during the holiday time period. Follow the steps below to prevent those alerts from happening.

Tip #2 – Pause the Nurture Conversation

Ever try to talk to someone and the person is just not listening? Why  continue sending email when your audience isn’t hearing you?

A study from Hubspot found a 42% drop in opens on Christmas Eve and a steep 72% decline on Christmas. The same study showed that the following Monday and Tuesday also had lower open results (33% and 35% respectively).

It’s holiday time and we are releasing a bite-sized, stocking-stuffer Marketo tip each day this week to make you a little more productive.  Today, learn how to pause your nurture conversations during the holidays.

While your B2B audience is enjoying time with the family, you might want to consider pausing some of your communications. Unless it’s a holiday list, you probably will want to hold off on announcing the latest ebook or case study. There is no rocket science here–we see most of our clients hold off on major announcements during the holidays.

What about your evergreen nurture communications–the content that keeps on giving automatically? The good news is that if your organization has set up your nurture communications using engagement streams, the turn-off process is very easy.

How to Pause an Engagement Stream

If you are leveraging Marketo’s engagement programs, one of their many benefits is the ability to quickly suspend communications. Like unplugging your Christmas tree, simply turn the program off to suspend communications. This will stop Marketo from sending out any content. When you return from the holidays, simply turn the setting on and your casts will resume where they left off.

Alternatively, you can adjust the cadence schedule of an individual stream if you prefer more granular controls. If you aren’t using engagement programs, your life will not be as simple. Consider a New Year’s resolution to convert to engagement programs the coming year.

Tip #3 – Gain Intelligence from Your Holiday OOO Replies

Late December is one of the most popular times for out-of-office (OOO) emails. With all of that intelligence sitting in your autoresponder inbox, wouldn’t it be great to make that data actionable to your marketing and sales teams?

It’s holiday time and we are releasing a bite-sized, stocking-stuffer Marketo tip each day this week to make you a little more productive.

In the tip above we talked about a strategy to hold off communications during the holidays. In Tip #3 we take the opposite approach of why you should consider sending an email when your audience is away.

The Opportunity to Collect Intelligence from OOO Email

What if you could generate new leads through OOO autoresponders while also enriching existing data? According to email mining company LeadGnome, normal mailings generate an approximate 3% autoresponder rate–a rate that almost triples during the holidays.

With rich intelligence sitting in the autoresponder like updated job title, new phone information or referred lead data, the autoresponder provides a wealth of insights.

A Holiday Campaign?

Sending an email on Christmas or New Years is against conventional wisdom as those are two of the biggest OOO days of the year.

Sure, the engagement/open rate will most likely resemble the Cleveland Browns winning percentage (very low) but, sending emails over holidays can help your company boost new leads while enhancing existing contacts. More reply emails over the holidays = larger opportunity to mine your existing data for more intelligence.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to sift through thousands of messages to filter out the information. Several reply email mining solutions like LeadGnome and Siftrock automatically grab the intelligence from those OOO messages and populate the information into a database. And yes, both integrate with Marketo and other solutions–you’ll probably want to wait for the full integration until after the holidays as there is some strategy to work through.

The Quick Win to Generate New Leads Over the Holidays

Get the gift that keeps on giving with little effort. How would you like to come back into the office after New Years and have hundreds of new and enriched leads?

If you have some free time to get a quick win over the holidays, signup for a trial of LeadGnome which takes about ten minutes. Setup is a matter of creating a forwarding rule so the solution can go to work mining the intelligence when the holiday email is sent.

Or, reach to Siftrock and request a demo. Siftrock can set you up with a trial after your conversation.

Your next step is to create your holiday email or card (e.g. Webbycard) and deliver it to your audience like you normally would. Either solution will use the OOO autoresponder intelligence to start creating new leads while enriching existing records.

Good luck mining.  And of course, if you need any help getting started, send us a note.

Tip #4 – Backfill Intelligence and Data

The calendar can’t be put on hold when midnight on New Year’s rolls around. If your data isn’t right, use the end of the year to put together the data puzzle so the new year’s reporting is cleaner. We have several active projects where we are cleaning up data in the current calendar year so legacy membership will show up in December, not the new year.

The Approach for Backfilling Intelligence

We recommend putting a strategy in place to build your intelligence system–most of which ties into your reporting needs. However, you might find a few quick hits in this article. Prioritize any activities where dates and membership are important. For example, if you want to run reports on events in the current year, make sure to backfill that membership prior to January 1.

1) Assign a Marketo Acquisition Program if One Doesn’t Exist

The Marketo acquisition program provides insights into which activity acquired a lead. Many times, this data is blank because there is legacy data in the system or because programs are not setup in an ideal way. Use this time to populate that acquisition program intelligence.

How? Run a Smartlist in Marketo of records without an acquisition program and decide how/if you want to backfill. Then develop some logic to begin backfilling acquisition credit.

Additional Resources: 

2) Associate Misc Members with Programs

We all have seen examples where leads are put into the system improperly–especially if Sales is importing leads into Salesforce. Or maybe you have been waiting around to move a sponsored list of names to a program for proper tracking. Leverage the last few weeks of the year to adjust Marketo program membership accordingly.

As a double win, connect that program to the equivalent Salesforce campaign so the membership date is consistent between both systems in the current year.

How? Create your programs (if you haven’t already) and then associate members to that program with the appropriate status. Doing so before the year’s end will associate membership in the current year.

Additional Resources:

3) Adjust Lifecycle Stages if Needed

If your lifecycle needs some adjusting, consider adjusting your inventory so your future year is fresh. Keep in mind that lifecycle management is one of the most complex business processes so proceed with caution.

For example, if you have a bunch of legacy MQLs that should actually be in a Nurturing or other stage, move them now. I’ve seen clients carry hundreds of MQLs in their reports for months because no one cleaned them out.

Let’s say you made the mistake of importing in 1,000 trade show leads as MQLs. That’s inventory you’ll probably want to adjust. If Sales isn’t going to followup with them because the leads aren’t actually MQLs, move em now and let Sales start fresh in the new year.

How? Go run an inventory report of your current lead stages. Then adjust the records to the proper stages.

Additional Resources:

Tip #5 – Delete Bad Data Before the New Year

Out with the old and in with the new – now’s the time to think about deleting obviously bad data out of your system so you get better results in 2018! In tip #5 we talk about a quick win to purge some of your bad data.

Clean out Your Data Closet

Did you know that a bad record can cost as much as $100 to maintain?

Sirius Decisions estimates that between the tangible and perceived costs, organizations spend an average of $100 to maintain every record in their database – including the dirty ones. Even if you disagree with that figure and go conservative at $10 per record, 10,000 bad records costs $100,000. Doesn’t it make sense to get the delete key ready?

Data cleanup should done be in conjunction with a data retention policy. We call the process of creating the strategy and executing on it the Gold Nugget Data methodology.  This six-step best practice data retention policy methodology is quite literally like panning for gold; leads pass through different filters, slowly sifting out the dirt while leaving shiny nuggets of clean data remaining at the end.

Here, we talk about one of those steps.

The Quick Hit – Records without Email Addresses

For this tip, we dive into the quick hit you can evaluate deploying before the new year (this is one of the six Gold Nugget methodologies mentioned above).

In your marketing automation platform, records without email addresses are virtually useless. You can’t email them, you can’t track their activities, and they increase the possibility for future duplicates because Marketo only de-dupes on email address. At this point, they’re most likely just taking up valuable space that could be used for viable records.

Start by: Dumping people who don’t have an email address is one step that’s easy to adopt. As a first pass, focus on Salesforce Lead records. Contact records are more complex since they may have Opportunities associated with them. Check out the below screen shot for one way to accomplish in Marketo.

#realtalk: We saw one client upload 10k+ names to its database without email addresses, which spiked the database limit and triggered a letter from Marketo about the overage; however, once we identified records without email addresses, we were able to delete them to save space and money.

Then, over the long-term: You’ll want develop a process with sales that prevents them from adding SFDC records without email addresses. You can also work with your SFDC admin and Marketo to set up a special filter that prevents empty email addresses from syncing to Marketo.

Wrap Up

Bad data is bad news. Not only does it clog your database and hike up your costs and software subscriptions; it makes your marketing efforts ineffective, which costs your organization in more ways than one. The above is only a sample of year-end data cleanup programs. Email us at and let us know what special things you do to get your data in order.

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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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