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Avoiding Marketo mistakes

Marketing Automation, Marketing Technology

Top 7 Marketo Mistakes to Avoid – Part 1

Are you looking to minimize mistakes in Marketo? In this article, we’ll guide you through seven common mistakes and provide valuable tips to help you avoid them. Let’s dive right in and discover the secrets to executing flawless Marketo campaigns.


Form Mistakes

Forms serve as the gateway to your database and can be used across various channels and initiatives. Their primary function is to capture new leads and update known users.

  • Missing wait steps: Some companies qualify leads and sync them with their CRM soon after someone submits a form. In such cases, it’s advisable to allow for a waiting period after a member changes their program status, as there might be operational programs running in the background that need to play out before they’re ready for the CRM sync.
  • Misalignment between audience lead stages and forms: Short forms generally yield better conversion rates. To avoid overwhelming your customers with lengthy forms, incorporate progressive profiling. This approach not only ensures cleaner-looking forms, but also allows you to continue collecting information from known users, enriching your contact data and enabling better targeting and personalization.
  • Field inconsistency: Remember the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”? This applies perfectly to forms. Avoid creating new custom fields for each program and ensure intentional form progressive profiling that consistently levels up your database.
  • Creating unique forms instead of global forms: Create unique forms sparingly and opt for global forms that can be accessed instance wide and can be shared across diverse campaigns. Having too many forms can become cumbersome to manage, as global changes will not apply to unique forms.
  • Launching without testing: Always create test leads and verify that they are correctly created and synced with the CRM (if applicable). In the test records, check for UTM parameters, hidden data, and GDPR fields. Lastly, test progressive profiling and form validation in incognito mode.


Token Mistakes

  • Empty tokens: How many times have you come across an email that starts with “Dear {{lead.First Name}}” or similar placeholders? This occurs when tokens are referencing fields without data. Since not all records in your Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) have perfect data, it’s advisable to use default values for tokens to avoid empty spaces or unsightly tokens in your recipients’ emails. When adding a token to a marketing asset, add a colon after the attribute and specify a default value to be displayed if the field is empty. For example: {{lead.First Name:default=there}}. As a user, there’s nothing more annoying than receiving an email with a token instead of your name!
  • Token shyness: Tokens play a significant role in Marketo and maximizing token use will improve efficiency as well as the customer experience. Here are a few examples of where to use them:
    • Program/Folder tokens: Calendar files, Date, Email script, Number, Rich Text, SFDC campaign, and Text
    • Person/Company tokens: Primarily used for personalizing emails and landing pages.
    • System tokens: Mostly used for unsubscribe links, forward-to-a-friend, and view-as-web-page options. They are also used in flow steps for Interesting Moments.
  • Careless moving or cloning of programs to different folders: Program tokens (those starting with “my.”) can be affected if a program inherits tokens from a folder and is then moved to a different folder. To prevent this, make a note of all tokens at the folder and program levels and preview emails to ensure they appear correctly to recipients.
  • URLs that aren’t tracked: When creating a token that will populate with a URL, ensure that the token type is set to “Text” and that the “https://” is not included in the token’s value. Also, remember to check the tracking checkboxes.


Failed Email Sends

Most email send failures occur due to human errors. These errors can stem from various reasons:

  • Incorrect delivery dates/times: Incorrect time zone operations can be easily rectified by knowing your Marketo instance location, which can be found under the Admin section > Location. Additionally, the Marketo instance’s time zone can be found in the “Schedule” box inside the email send Control Panel, which includes the “Head Start checkbox” – a useful feature for large email sends that require pre-processing before delivery. Just keep in mind that when this feature is checked, you may need to add an additional twelve hours to your email send.
  • Switched off programs: While most Marketo programs turn yellow when active and gray when inactive, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, nurtures have a green dot when active and a red dot when turned off, and nested smart campaigns in nurtures display a blue circle with an arrow if they’re called from a stream instead of turning yellow. Refer to the provided glossary table to help you identify all program icon statuses.


Wrong Smart List filters

Incorrect Smart List filters are a common cause of failed email deliveries, especially when there are fields with the same name but sourced from different Marketo objects. If you encounter such a scenario, go to the Admin section > Field Mapping and check which objects link to the fields. If the issue persists, keep an eye on the number of people captured by the Smart Campaign, double-click on the number, and review the dataset. Ensure that the audience aligns with expectations.


Want to learn more? Look for Part 2 of this blog series to explore additional common mistakes you can avoid within Marketo. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can streamline and optimize your Marketo instance or read more about our Marketo services.

Maria Hortua & Wolmar Hernandez

Marketing Technology

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