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2015

On Friday, Marketo launched 'Guided' Marketo landing pages (aka responsive). This was a product update that was created after a huge amount of people voted for the responsive landing pages idea on the community. Definitely a long awaited and popular feature request from the Marketo user base. After a few days of using the new editor, I thought I would share some feedback on it, from start to finish.

 

Making a Template

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 4.52.43 PM.png

 

When you go to create a new template, you'll select which type of template you want to make. There are now 2 options: Free-form (old) and Guided (new/responsive). If you've ever created a landing page using tokens, the Guided templates are a similar concept. You have a bunch of 'elements' and each element is fixed in its position. The difference with Marketo's new guided editor is that you don't have to switch back and forth between the editor and the program tokens. This is definitely a nice feature to be able to edit everything locally. Only downside I see is that sometimes there are benefits of having those program tokens. So far, haven't found a way to include tokens in the new landing page editor.

 

As a Marketer, I was not able to make my own template since I don't know how to code, but I had a developer on our team code a responsive template. So, I can't speak much to the coding aspect of this and what is involved there. I do know there is a new template syntax and a feature called Variables, but more on that later.

 

We also noticed there is an option to import a template, which could be used to bring in Marketo & other third-party templates. I'm pretty excited about the new potential for templates that this opens up.

 

Editing a Template

With the right template it's very easy to update responsive templates in Marketo using the new editor. Instead of having to jump from the LP to the tokens of a program, you can edit everything in the guided editor. It's different than what Marketers will be used to seeing with the 'Free-form' (old) editor, but similar enough that its a pretty intuitive UI. The biggest thing you'll notice is that the elements are locked in place. You can't re-order elements like you could in the mobile landing page editor. Whatever has been set in the template will be what needs to be used. There is a new feature called variables, which essentially updates the HTML code for certain things, like colors. This is definitely a huge improvement that will remove some of the need for Marketers to go into HTML.

 

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Summary

I think Marketo has done a great job on this new and critical feature. Much better than what was there before with desktop & mobile, where you had to keep two different versions of the template. Unlike before, Marketers can have a responsive landing page without using tokens, or using custom HTML elements, or necessarily going into the HTML. To see an example of a responsive landing page using the new editor, take a look at this page we made using the new guided syntax and editor.

The following is a drill-down on a portion of the Data Quality Bootcamp session that Inga Romanoff and I conducted at the Marketing Nation Summit 2015.  We'll provide more drill-downs in future blog posts.

 

According to a SiriusDecisions study, up to 25 percent of the data in the average B2B company includes critical data errors ranging from incorrect demographic data to a lack of current disposition1.  And in our experience, B2C companies may have an even larger percentage of bad data (as high as 50%), especially if e-commerce is the primary revenue channel. This affects both the numerator and the denominator in the ROI calculation.

 

Bad data causes your effective lead acquisition cost to increase

For example a 250,000 lead database with an average cost of $50/lead has a total cost of acquisition of $12.5mm.  However, if 25% of your leads are bad, your effective cost of acquisition is 33% higher and you fundamentally wasted over $3mm!

 

Bad data causes your revenue to decline

According to the same SiriusDecisions study, strong data organizations that actively manage their data quality have only 10 percent bad data and are realizing nearly 70 percent more revenue purely based on data quality.  This is the result of simple funnel metrics – fewer good leads in results in fewer won opportunities at the end.

 

Bad data impacts your job performance

Finally, 36% of marketers say that data quality is the biggest obstacle to MA success2, which for Marketo users can be a career limiting event.

 

Inexpensively ensure clean data

The least expensive way to ensure clean data is at the point of data capture and here are a few tips on how Marketo can help you be a strong data quality organization.

  1. When possible use Marketo forms (embedded or in an iframe) on your website.  You can use your own forms, but use the server-side form post method to send them to Marketo. Try to avoid using the SOAP or ReST API as they do not create a ‘Fill Out Form’ activity in the lead record Activity Log, which is much easier to use for triggering and filtering.
  2. Use Select Fields, Input Masking and Required Fields when possible to ensure consistent data and be sure that they are the same as those used in your CRM to ensure no failed syncs.
  3. Typos are easy to make and the result can be a lead with an invalid phone number and/or email address.  So use field validation rules or real-time email and phone validation services from third parties to ensure this vital data is accurate.
  4. Use field pre-population to allow returning leads to update incorrect data, but don’t allow the lead to directly change the value in their email address field or a new lead record will be created.  Instead provide a link to a different form that will allow the lead to enter the new email address in a different field.  Then you can have a smart campaign change the value of the email address field on the existing record.
  5. Restrict List Import role permission to only trained staff.  Create and use an import template and field aliases if necessary.

 

There are many other tips that will help you be a strong data quality organization that we’ll share in future blog posts.

 

1 Sirius Decisions - The Impact of Bad Data on Demand Creation (11/25/08)

2 Ascend2 Marketing Automation Benchmark Survey, July 2014

When you deposot a check at the bank, a teller stamps your check as it gets deposited (OK, I am assuming you actually go to a bank). The teller’s job is to stamp the check to ensure it gets deposited and tracked properly.

 

DateDollarollarphotoclub_61959548_200px.jpgIn the Marketo world, date stamping is essential for tracking the progress of important actions like lifecycle status changes. By default, you can’t rely on Marketo to track the dates when things happen. Sure, you can use filters like last 7 days but that doesn’t help your organization when you want to expose those insights within your CRM.

 

In this article, I’ll cover why it’s important to use date stamping and walk through some simple steps to get you started.

 

Leverage Date Stamping to Gain Insight into Your Lead Lifecycle

The goal of a lead funnel is to bring leads through the funnel quickly and efficiently to maximize revenue.

 

It’s a pretty easy concept to grasp but streamlined funnel management is one the top challenges organizations face today. According to the CMO Council, only 30% of CMOs have a clear process or program to make marketing and sales alignment a priority. Date stamping helps organizations put order to their lifecycle process chaos.

 

Why Date Stamp

 

Knowing the dates of your leads’ lifecycle events is key to gaining insight into your funnel process. If there is one tip to take away, date stamp everything related to your funnel. You know all the important dates in your life like your mom’s birthday and anniversary (hopefully). You should know when a lead hits an important milestone.

 

Ideal for Marketing

Date stamping offers marketers the ability to find aging leads that are stuck in the system and develop campaigns to move leads through the funnel.

 

You don’t eat stale bread–treat your leads the same way. By date stamping, organizations can see if leads are stagnating by running reports like below.

 

stagnatingleadsexample.jpg

 

Sales Intelligence

From a Sales perspective, lifecycle dates offer intelligence into the age of a lead. For example, Sales Management can create Salesforce.com lead queues based on the MQL Date equaling greater than two days.

 

Advanced Analysis

Dates also provide organizations with the ability to perform advanced analytics and cohort analysis. These reports also help organizations find operational gaps to ensure that Sales follows up with leads on a timely basis.

 

- How many SQLs were created last month?

- How many of last month’s MQLs converted to Opportunities?

- Last year, what was the conversion rates of each of our lead sources?

- Are leads stagnating in a certain stage?

 

Three Marketo Steps to Get Started

OK, enough strategy. Let’s dive into how to make this work.

 

The key to measuring success is to begin date stamping when the lead moves from one stage to another. I’ve seen that stamping occur on either the CRM side or on the Marketo side. Personally, I like to see the stamping occur on the automation side so it can tie into other lifecycle workflows. Plus, it provides the marketing ops team with the control so it doesn’t have to rely in Sales Ops.

 

1. Create date fields.

Create a Date formatted field for every status you want to track. If using Salesforce, make sure to map the fields on the lead and contact level. If you want to get granular, use the Date-Time format.

       Example: MQL Date, SQL Date, Won Date, etc.

 

2. Create separate lifecycle campaigns.

These campaigns listen for the status change.

       Example: If status becomes Open, then populate MQL Date with the current date.

marketolifecyledates.jpg

3. Time stamp the appropriate field using the date token.

If you haven’t used a date token before, welcome to the world of system tokens. The simple rule….when the lead status changes, use that data change as a trigger.

 

In the flow, populate the stage’s date with today’s date using the system token {{system.date}}. Don’t overwrite the existing date if a date already exists. These lifecycle dates should be treated as a first touch just like going through a turn style at a sporting event. If you want to get more complex, create a second set of overwritable date fields.

 

datestampflowmarketo.jpg

 

Fast Tracked Leads

One last thing to consider is how to deal with leads that skip stages and fast track through the lifecycle. For example, if John becomes an MQL and then jumps to an Opportunity after a Sales call, he will have skipped the stages in between.

 

There are numerous ways to handle fast tracked leads. The high level answer–like a daisy chain, give credit (date stamp) to all the stages in between at the time they are skipped.

 

Summary

Understanding when leads move from one stage to another is essential to gaining insight into the success of your lead lifecycle model.

 

Good luck with your stamping.

As someone who has been holding weekly sales and marketing check in meetings since 2010, I think I've learned a thing or two on how to make them go smoothly, and what not to do. Here are my top 4 tips on how to make these meetings successful for both parties involved.

 

1. Decided on the metrics you are going to report on and stick to those numbers

 

I learned this first one the hard way.  A couple companies ago we looked at different metrics every meeting from website traffic, sales call activity, MQL conversion rates. This made the teams unfocused and a bit scattered. Decide early on which numbers you want to look at every meeting and stick to that. Whether it is weekly inbound leads, number of requests for demo, website traffic, or untouched leads, pick the metric you and the head of sales want to look at week over week and do not deviate. Going into the meeting with a different set of numbers every week will only confuse matters. 

 

2. Communicate the marketing plan widely and openly

 

I once heard the adage that marketing lives 6 months in the future, sales can only see the present, and finance lives in the past.  Events book months if not years in advance. Typically marketing will put together their entire plan at the beginning of the year and know where they will be every single week. The thing is, sales is rarely privy to those planning meetings or checks the marketing calendar. Since sales lives month to month, it is up to marketing to communicate and champion the plan. Even if you feel like you are repeating yourself, tell them over and over what events are coming up, where case studies are located, what email nurturing means. It is always better to over communicate than to let a great marketing program go by without letting sales know it ever existed.

 

3. Be open to new suggestions to your

 

Building off point number #2, it’s great that you have a marketing plan in place, but be open and flexible to new ideas and suggestions.  If sales says they want to do a local event to feed a certain territory, take it into consideration. Sometimes speaking opportunities come up last minute.  If sales sees an ad campaign that isn’t making sense to them, be open to their suggestions; prospects are probably just as confused by the messaging.

 

This also means building in a bit of slush to your budget for last minute changes, with the caveat of communicating that if one project is added to the time table another project will have to slip.

 

4. Be your own cheerleader

 

Marketing events tend to rely heavily on active participation. To make the events successful, marketing needs to “sell” the event to the sales team and the ‘higher ups’. Convince sales that the event is the correct one to invite their prospects to. I prepare campaign briefs for events and big initiatives to explain through what we are doing it, why we are doing it, and what we are aiming to get out of it. Often I worry that I am repeating myself in weekly meetings, but it is always better to over communicate than to let an event go by without letting sales know it ever existed. 

 

What are your tips for making sales and marketing meetings a success?

Using Marketo Tokens to create more scalable, dynamic content

 

Program tokens are the best! Those are the the tokens that start with “my.” and they’re specific to Marketo programs and Marketo folders in the Marketing Activities section which hold programs (i.e., all folders except for local asset folders that are within programs).

 

We originally started venturing into tokenizing content back when I was venturing into making responsive Marketo landing pages, since the WYSIWYG had become so difficult to use. I had realized pretty quickly that you could bring in all content through tokens in programs, and it cut down the time required to make programs (landing pages, emails, and everything else) from something like 2 hours to 15 minutes.

 

Enter tokens, which still bring in all of the content—pictures, buttons, value propositions, titles, links, and text—except with tokens. You simply clone from your program template, edit tokens on the program, and all of the changes are populated instantly. We can publish tokenized responsive landing pages (hopefully becoming redundant soon with Marketo's next few releases!) while saving hours with each new program.

 

etumos-landing-page-tokens.png

 

We tokenize everything, and so should everyone. In fact, we don’t even use Marketo’s landing page WYSIWYG editor. We don’t even open it. Same with emails. When we make a Marketo program, we just clone from a template program and change tokens, and it takes about 10 minutes. Before, we would spend 45 minutes nudging elements left and right by single pixels to get it all perfect.

 

A Quick Tokenization Guide

 

Program tokens cascade. They can be inherited and overwritten. Ever had to go through yearly updating of the copyright year? Well this way you can save two days of busy work—plop that year into a Universal token.

 

Make a “Universal” folder in your Marketing Activities section. Put tokens in there that you’ll use everywhere. Here's a screenshot example of what we use on the Universal level:

 

 

And program tokens! Here's a screenshot of an email campaign template, one that fits in with our engagement programs:

 

Emails are a fun way to use tokens, because emails don’t actually have to reside within the program itself. They can be housed in the Design Studio and a flow step sending an email within the program means that the non-local email will have local program tokens. Best use? Universal Fulfillment Email.

 

There are generally three levels of tokens that we use: "Universal" level (on the top-most containing folder), "Folder" level (on any folder below "Universal"), and "Content" level (specific to the program). You can turn your programs into miniature content management systems through program tokens like this.

 

etumos-token-framework.png

 

Token nuances—the types of tokens

 

There are two types of tokens that we use everywhere: text tokens and rich text tokens. They have some nuances to them, which you can see in this table:

 

 

Text tokens containing full URLs will not be tracked in Marketo emails! That’s because the way email links are tracked for clicks is through shortening them specific to the user. Because text tokens aren’t filtered through normal processing, they won’t be shortened and you will therefore not find any link tracking to work.

 

Solution:

 

http://www.{{my.Email - CTA_URL:default=etumos.com}}” — now you have link-tracking tokens!

 

The best rule of thumb for determining if you should use rich text tokens or text tokens is this: do I want paragraphs? Because they’re going to show up whether you want them or not.

 

More questions you’ll need to consider:

 

Will a non-coder need to (and be able to) edit this? Will a non-coder need to change formatting on this?

 

Is this abnormal code that’s going to be filtered out when I don’t want it to be? JS? CSS? HTML with non-WWC-compliant attributes?

 

The final word on tokens

 

Note that you can’t put tokens inside tokens. The only exception is a Calendar token, which takes event tokens but not program tokens.

 

In text emails, rich text tokens spit out the full HTML. That means someone on a Blackberry (okay, probably just an old Blackberry) is going to see your raw HTML code output in the text-only email. Hence, in that case, we have back-up text tokens instead of rich text tokens.

 

Want to see tokens in action? It's easiest to see demos, which were luckily recorded during my session from Marketo Summit 2015: Architecting a Scalable and Robust Marketo Instance!

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