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Avoiding Marketo mistakes

Marketing Automation

Top 7 Marketo Mistakes to Avoid – Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of our blog series, “Minimizing Mistakes in Marketo.” In this post, we’ll uncover the remaining 4 Marketo mistakes you should avoid and we’ll share tips to help you steer clear of them. Let’s dive right in and unlock the secrets to executing flawless Marketo campaigns.

4. Lengthy and Faulty Subject Lines:
Subject lines riddled with typos or excessive length can plague our inboxes. Automation managers often overlook subject line best practices when pressed for time. To avoid lengthy subject lines, keep an eye on the character counter within the email editor, which sets a limit of 50 words. Remember that not everyone reads emails on large screens, so be mindful of this number. Always preview and review email content and subject lines, ensuring that special characters and emojis render correctly. Also, don’t let your preheader pull empty tokens from the first paragraph.

5. Missing or Incorrect Progression Statuses:
Progression statuses provide essential insights into campaign influence, revenue, and member success, making them vital for reporting. Make sure that clear and concise progression statuses are defined for each program before using them. This approach will result in more accurate and transparent reporting.

6. Missing or Incorrect Tags/Channels:
Tags and channels are often referenced together, but they are each distinct, critical elements of a program. Channels represent your engagement methods with prospects and customers, including outreach, offers, and operational programs. On the other hand, tags provide additional granularity in reporting, such as business units or program managers. By leveraging proper tags and channels, companies gain the insights needed to identify relevant trends or issues in their marketing operations.

7. Failed Logic Statements:
Smart Campaigns are Marketo’s workhorse, used to initiate an action or “flow” for a specific audience, such as sending an email. They are powerful tools, but they can also be complex, with many opportunities for errors. A Smart Campaign is comprised of a Smart List and a flow. Smart Lists identify the audience using triggers and/or filters. Triggers bring members into a campaign based on engagement, while filters set conditions on audiences using data. Logic operators apply to filters (not triggers) and can introduce added sophistication to audience selection. Consider the following when creating a Smart List and using logic operators:

  • Consider Marketo’s processing bandwidth when designing filters. Did you know that the <Contains> operator is resource intensive? Choose alternatives to limit the scope of the query and help Marketo operate more efficiently.
  • The order, grouping, and operators of filters (BEDMAS, OR, TRUE) directly impact the result. Always check the size of the Smart List results, align the audience correctly, and inform stakeholders of any unexpected audience sizes.
  • Running campaigns using a test audience or seed list can ensure that the logic is built correctly. You can also set up alerts for notification when emails are dispatched (i.e. set up a webhook alert that notifies your Slack).


Making mistakes is inevitable, and catching those mistakes is essential. Using a cheat sheet, having a peer review your work, and testing your programs will prevent a marketing disaster.

Want to learn more? Check out Part 1 of this blog series for additional common mistakes to avoid in Marketo. Contact us to discuss how we can streamline and optimize your Marketo instance or learn more about our Marketo services!

Maria Hortua & Wolmar Hernandez

Marketing Technology

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