Top 10 Marketo Questions We Answered in 2019

You wear a lot of hats as a Marketo admin for your organization. You’re tasked with providing a personalized customer experience in an ever-evolving digital world; while at the same time, providing critical support to your sales, customer and product teams. No two days look exactly alike. However, day-to-day questions can make it hard to prioritize those high-impact activities. So, we rounded up the top 10 Marketo questions we answered in 2019 to share!

1. “I looked in Salesforce and don’t think this person received the right content, what happened?”

The first question to get answered is WHY is it not correct: Do they not fit the parameters of the campaign? Or does the content seem off? More often than not, we find that it is a content issue with Marketo Sales Insight acting as the culprit? Marketo Sales Insight will show the default version of the email, but not the exact version the person received. For us marketers utilizing dynamic content and tokens, the default version can certainly cause confusion.

2. I changed the date in my flow step, but the email sent anyway. What happened? 

If members of the campaign are already sitting in the Wait Step, Marketo will not recognize the change. If you need to further delay future actions, we recommend adding a non-actionable step after the Wait Step (such as changing your lead score by no points) followed by an additional wait step containing the later date or additional duration.

In the below example, an email was supposed to send 3 days later, but your product team asked you to make it 5 days later once the members were already in the wait step.

3. Do we need to keep every name we’ve acquired in our Marketo Database?

The short answer is no. Remember, the cost of your instance is based on record count, so don’t pay up for unmarketable records. We recommend developing a strategy for cleansing unneeded records from Marketo on an ongoing basis, perhaps monthly or quarterly. This will keep your database clean and keep you in compliance with Marketo.

Your removal strategy is ultimately dependent on your business, but unmarketable leads (junk, tests, bounced, and unsubscribed) are a safe bet. You can also consider removing competitor domains and inactive leads.

Be aware: You will lose all activity data on people who are removed from Marketo.

4. We’re trying to get a campaign out the door and it’s taking forever to run, how can I improve processing?

Hopefully this is an isolated incident caused by a heavily engineered Smart Campaign. Here are some best practices to consider when building your audience parameters:

  1. Try not to build a Smart List that references several other Smart Lists or “nest Smart Lists”. Instead, reference static lists or create segments.
  2. When choosing your qualifiers, try to use “Is” as much as possible. From there, “starts with” is better than “contains” and “contains” is faster than “not”.
  3. Limit activity history filters and keep the date range as short as possible.
  4. Keep things simple. The more parameters, the more processing time.

If you’re experiencing frequent and ongoing issues, you may want to check out Omega to help you take a deeper look under the hood and clean up your instance. You may be syncing unnecessary fields from your CRM, or have a build up of complicated campaign logic.

5. I’ve activated my campaign and no one is qualifying, what’s going on?

Let’s test it! Fill out the form and find your test record in the Lead Database. Compare the data on your record to that in the Smart List. You may have created the Smart List utilizing the visible value for a field, rather than the recorded version. Make your tweaks, double check those Smart Campaign filters and test again.

6. Uh oh, now the opposite happened! I just sent an email out to 1000’s of extra people, how do I prevent this from happening next time?

We ALWAYS recommend checking the Schedule tab of a Default Program or the Audience section of an Email Program. No matter how long it takes to calculate, it’s worth it to make sure the audience is the size you expect before sending.

Default Program: Schedule tab

Email Program: Audience section

7. A member of your sales or customer team says, “Why didn’t X person get X email?”

The answer to this question is often the root of what keeps us Marketo admins up at night. We build audiences based on database segmentation, making it critical to reference a clean and standardized database. To answer this question, you’ll want to compare the person record with the audience parameters to identify discrepancies. A mis-typed email address, out-of-date Revenue Stage or extra space in the Lead Source value are all it takes to cause issues in your Smart List.

8. A member of your sales team contacted a lead and thinks the Lead Score is too high, how can you help her provide more actionable feedback?

Marketo Sales Insight (MSI) can be a salesperson’s best ally. Encourage ongoing feedback on the Lead Scoring Model by showing sales where they can find the components of a given score. The MSI Score tab will show each lead score description, value change and date of activity.

9. How do I decide which Program Type is best for my campaign?

Marketo offers 4 program types and each one has different benefits.

  1. Email Programs: These are your standard one-time blast campaigns. Define your audience with a list import or Smart List, pick your email, schedule and approve. Looking for the best A/B test functionality? Choose an email program.
  2. Engagement Programs: These are your nurture programs. Set up a stream of emails to deliver content on a specific cadence. Looking for ultimate content flexibility in your nurture programs? Choose an engagement program.
  3. Event Program: For online or live events, these programs have a set date and time. Need to manage the process of an event end-to-end including invitations, registrations and follow-ups? Choose an event program.
  4. Default Programs: This is going to be used for, well, everything else. They are great for trigger-based delivery of a piece of content, such as an auto response email.

10. We have a ton of duplicates in our database, help!

First, get a handle on what is creating the problem. If you are using Marketo forms and all data is flowing into your Marketo instance first, Marketo will de-duplicate on email address. If you are syncing over new leads from your CRM into Marketo, Marketo will create a new lead. This is also true if you manually create a lead in Marketo. Understand all the ways that new leads are being created and try to establish one source for originating leads.

Your Possible Duplicates Smart List will show you potential duplicates. This will help you understand the scope of the issue and take action. You can merge two or more records by selecting them and choosing which data should persist in the event of a conflict.

For more Marketo tips and tricks you can catch our webinar recording here. And, tell us what we missed in the comments!

As always, reach out to us at for more questions.

Your marketing technology experts.

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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