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This post is the second one of a 3 parts series, stating with this one: Testing the email editor 2.0: Great features, a few glitches and the strong need for a v2.1, which dear reader, you should read first in order to understand the reasons of this migration path.


You should also read this Email editor 2.0 is leaving room for a v2.1 in order to get a grasp on the remaining limits of the products and avoid to look features that are not there yet.


From all the testings in the post above, we have designed a migration path that we will apply to our customers in order to make sure that everything runs smoothly and no key content get lost.


Table of content


0-Define your strategy

The very first thing you need to do is to define your strategy. You current templates will have to be divided in 2 categories:

  1. CAT1 will be candidate for an upgrade. For these, you should undertake the series of tests described in the rest of this post. If you have any email that may have to be edited in the future, then you should assign its template to CAT1.
  2. CAT2 templates are not candidate for an upgrade. This can be because their are obsolete on a graphical standpoint, or because the first tests below makes it obvious that they will break and you consider fixing them is not worth the effort. For the CAT2 templates, the best is to remove or approve any template draft and email draft and archive the templates. Then make it explicit to the users that they should:
    1. No longer try to use these templates and use some CAT1 or some brand new v2 templates instead.
    2. No longer try to edit the emails based on these templates as these have not been tested on v2 and there is a risk of content loss.


At the end of the upgrade process, you will end up with 3 types of templates:

  1. Non upgraded templates. They should all be archived.
  2. Upgraded templates. These will work as they used to be in v1, with the same level on functionality, based on mktEditable elements. We recommend that you do not try to introduce v2 Variables or new element types on them, as it would cause compatibility issues on you existing emails
  3. New templates. These can be created either from clones of the v1 templates, from Marketo starter templates or from any other sources. They will potentially benefit from all the new features, including the modules.


1-Before you activate the v2: Test and prepare

Before you activate the new editor, we strongly advise that you take these preliminary steps:

  1. Delete unused tests and development trials
  2. Get rid of all remaining templates drafts and email drafts. Approve them or discard them, but let none of them in your design studio nor in your marketing activities. These draft will collide with the upgrade and you will have to delete them anyway.
  3. Archive the CAT2 templates and alert the users on not using them any longer.
  4. Rename all your existing CAT1 templates, adding a v1 to their names, to be able to distinguish them easily when you start creating new ones or upgrading templates
  5. Important: Review the CAT1 templates for the following undetected mistakes and fix these mistakes (and approve the template draft and the related emails drafts that are automatically created when you repparoved the template):
    • Any unclosed HTML tag
    • Any missing ID in a mktEditable element
    • Any duplicate ID
    • Any nested mktEditable elements
    • Any line breaks inside html tags
  6. Once you have corrected these templates, review all the emails that were based on these templates. Especially if you had some nested mktEditable, the corrected email might look weird. Edit the emails, check them, correct if necessary and approve them (leave no draft behind)
  7. Make a copy of the code of all the CAT1 templates that you have checked/corrected above in a backup storage (a text editor file on your computer will be perfect)
  8. If you have the courage and the time, rename all your emails you plan to upgrade, adding a v1-t1 (meaning email in v1, template in v1) to the name. The naming convention will evolve to v2-t1 when you will edit and approve the emails in editor v2 without an upgrade to the template and the to v2-t2 (or simply v2) when both the template and the email are upgraded.
  9. Important: clone the CAT1 templates, name the clones "[mytemplate]-upgtest" and approve them. Then create v1 emails from these upgrade tests templates, name them "[my email]-v1-upgtest" edit the content and add real content to these emails (in other words, replace the template default/dummy content with yours), then approve them. There will serve as a preliminary test just after the activation and before upgrading all the production templates.


2-Tests to be done just after the activation

Just after the activation of the feature, and before you authorize anyone to start using the editor, you should run this series of sanity checks:

  1. Clone your v1 templates, edit the new clones and approve them. These clones will be v2 (name them accordingly, it impossible to distinguish them in the email or template list without a proper naming convention Have the editor version to appear in the email list). This will act as a test and will also create the same template as the source v1, yet in v2. Then create test emails from this new v2 templates and test everything is alright. Send drafts, create a dummy email program targeting yourself. In case you encounter an error at this stage, better disable the v2, return to the v1 editor and fix your v1 templates or ask support to help you find out why these templates would not upgrade. You may also find that some of your templates have too many bugs to be worth the work and reclassify them to CAT1 (and archive them). Make sure all your templates are clean and "upgradable" before going further and start upgrading production emails.
  2. Upgrade the "upgtest" templates you have create before activating the v2 editor (edit them as a draft, and approve them). Go to the v1-upgtest emails. They should have a v2 draft attached. Edit these drafts and check that all the content is there. Check also that all the editable zones ARE editable. Approve these drafts, send samples. At this point, you have proven that your v1 templates do upgrade well and that the upgrade of the related emails went also well. If your email content is not there, signal it to support and revert to v1. If the content is there but the mktEditable zones are not editable, use the workaround in 1-3 in this previous post and signal it to support.
  3. If everything went well so far, then you can safely consider upgrade the production templates and the attached emails in v2, but remember that you are not technically obliged to do so. This would be done editing and approving these production templates. This will create in return a v2 draft on all emails created from the template you have upgraded, which you should edit and review before approving them. In case anything wrong is detected here, deleted these drafts and call support in.


At this point, you are done with the upgrade and you can benefit from the new UI.


In large orgs, you may want to deactivate the starter template library, in order to avoid your users starting to create emails that are far from your corporate guidelines.


3-Quick wins to look for after the upgrade

Your upgrade went well, here are some quick wins should you look for in order to get rapidly some more value from the editor, through new or cloned templates. We recommend that you do not try to introduce v2 features in upgraded templates that have production emails attached to them and rather create new ones.

  1. Edit your CLONED v2 templates again (do not do this on upgraded ones if there are some prod emails on them) and replace the zones supposed to contain images with new mktoImg elements. Also, replace the zones supposed to contain snippets with mktoSnippet elements. This is a simple way to make your user's life much easier. Be aware though that if you used to use tokens to indicate which image should be displayed, you should not perform this change (see Email editor 2.0 is leaving room for a v2.1 for the improvements that would be needed).
  2. Also in the v2 templates, replace your text CTA's with variables. Do the same with all 1-line formatted items such as titles (mind the text version, though). Again, a limitations here: variables and modules do not go long well, so if you plan to make your template modular, do not do this change.
  3. Approve these new v2 templates and test them extensively, again (send sample and smart campaign).
  4. If you are happy with the result, you can put them to use by your users, archive the old v1 ones and let your user know they should now use the v2


4-Longer term gains

On the longer term, invest in the new possibilities offered by the new features

  1. Set Background images with the image variables (we still have to check this works even in a <--!if mso context)
  2. Use the new variables to completely reshape the functional behavior of the templates
  3. Start leveraging the new module capability to create flexible templates that your users will love. It will enable you to reduce the total number of templates you need in your instance. (Attention to the variables in modules, variables are global to the whole template and will therefore have 1 value for the whole email)
  4. Use the brand new Video component


Continue the reading here: Email editor 2.0 is leaving room for a v2.1



This post is the last one of a 3 parts series, starting with this one: Testing the email editor 2.0: Great features, a few glitches and the strong need for a v2.1 and this one: Upgrading to the new email editor 2.0: a recommended migration path


From the tests we have ran, we found out that some of the features where not complete and that some of the key use cases would not be possible yet. This part details the features that still need to be completed or that are yet missing and points to the various ideas to be voted for.


Again, the new editor is a huge progress compared to the previous one. The level of flexibility it now provides makes it an excellent tool that combine user effectiveness, adaptation to business needs and high level of compliance to technical standards.

Nevertheless, from our tests and the doc, we have detected a few additional features that would be welcome and the lack of which limits the usage of the new features. These missing capabilities establish, in our opinion, the basis for a v2.1 that will hopefully come soon after and make the product really complete.


Table of content


The strong misses (must have)

This first set of ideas are still limiting the usage or mitigating the user experience

  1. Enable the Search (Ctrl-F) function on the code. See Enable Search (Crtl-F) in the Email 2.0 code editor
  2. Text version of the email do not support variables, this reduces the possibility to use a variable as a container for text parts of the emails, such as a title. See Email editor 2.0: variables in the text version
  3. The new module feature seems very promising, although we have not been able to test it because of a strange limitation: it can be implemented only on a limited set of HTML tags and not on <div>. Our templates use divs as this is the only way to have them support all email clients on all versions of android. Email Templates 2.0: enable containers and modules on <div> tags, not only on table elements
  4. Manipulating images has made very significant progress. But using them together with tokens is still quite difficult. In fact it means that it is still impossible for the moment to set/change the images in an email with tokens only, without editing it. What a waste of time and a contradiction with the principle of tokens! See:
  5. It is impossible to make variables segmentable for dynamic content. In other words, if you use a variable to create a CTA, this CTA will have to be the same for all segments.  Guided LP and email 2.0 templates: make variables segmentable for dynamic content
  6. As detailed above, it's easy to replace CTA with 2 variables and make it unerring, but it will not be compatible with the module features. Text CTAs would be preferable. See Text CTA Elements for email and LP templates.
  7. The fact that variables have only 1 global value makes them very limited when combined with clonable modules, as it drives 2 modules to have the same CTA value, the same background image, etc... We really need to have variables to be able to get 1 different value for each module. See Email editor 2.0: module level values for Variables
  8. It is not possible in the 2.0 to have more than one container in a template. Therefore, it is not possible to control in which area of the email which module will go. SeeEditor 2.0: Have more than one mktoContainer per email template
  9. Controlling the number of modules that can be inserted in a template would be interesting to control that the modular approach does not turn into a total fantasy. See Controlling the number of modules in a container.
  10. In order to make sure that users comply to the corporate guidelines, we could also need to be able to restrict access to some of the functionalities of the Rich text editor toolbar: Restrict access to the Rich Text toolbar (Thx Alan Brown )
  11. Restrict the List variables values to the list values. See Email 2.0: List variables should only accept list values
  12. The need for some more advanced support of VML in order to be able to create templates that perform as well on Outlook as on any other client. See Email editor 2.0: Enable branded link for vml buttons


The features that would be welcome (should have)

This series of ideas would enable to push the usability and functional level a step further

  1. Enable the text editor to wrap text instead of horizontal scrolling. See New email editor 2.0: wrap template code
  2. Adding a token to a variable is still not convenient, as in LP's: you need to know the token syntax or copy and paste it from another part of Marketo Token picklists for Guided LP or email 2.0 template string variables
  3. Making a whole module dynamic in order to reduce the risk for errors. Email editor 2.0: Make whole modules dynamic content
  4. It is too easy to add an image which dimensions are not compliant with the way your responsive template is set up, which would cause some issues on some platform. You can force the image dimensions with some new attributes, but it is not a recommended way if you want it to adapt to really all email clients and devices Editor 2.0: Set Min and max dimensions for image elements and variables in Guided LP / email templates
  5. Editing the email code is not a right that should be given to anyone. SeeEmail "Edit Code" (a.k.a "Replace HTML") permission
  6. Variables should display in the order set by the designer, as this order is usually more functionally logical. Guided Landing Page or email 2.0 variables should display in the order set by designer
  7. Finding out which email is upgraded and which is not requires to browse each of them one by one. Not convenient. See Have the editor version to appear in the email list
  8. Activating the starter templates is currently an ON/OFF setting in the admin. So either every one can access it or no one. It would be much better to make it more granular through a permission role: Editor 2.0: access to the Starter Templates to be controlled through a role permission
  9. When setting a variable in a template, if this variable is a number or a string, the user may leave it empty, which would break some of the behaviors in the template. See Required attribute for guided page variables
  10. A series of needs posted elsewhere by Courtney Grimes :
    • Would it be possible to offer overriding image thumbs for modules? If not, can we please get modules thumbs to render better? I use a lot of webfonts with fallbacks for emails and it seems Marketo likes to fall back...on sans-serif. Which I know is going to freak a lot of people out.
    • When dropping a module into an email, can the drop hover box scale to fit the bounds of mktoContainer's width? I can see this becoming confusing quickly.
    • For the "mobile" preview, would it be possible to allow for custom width scaling? While I realize 360px is the most common mobile width, it'd be nice to do quick checks without having to run to another email platform.
  11. The support for Wistia in the mktoVideo elements. See Email video element wisita support (Thx Matt Tunney)
  12. Better manager of the pre-header, especially in context where we need to make it dynamic. See Email editor 2.0: enable dynamic content in the preheader  and Email 2.0: enable to disable the preheader feature
  13. The possibility to crop / resize images on the fly from the editor: email 2.0: Crop/resize images on the fly
  14. And also:




As you gain experience with Marketo, you will build increasingly complex flows to manage leads as well as to nurture them.


Marketo, in essence, is a rules engine. You decide the rules for your system and your audience. As with all computers, the rules you decide on are executed faithfully and without question. Thus, if your rules are not properly setup, they will go ahead anyway (if they are logically correct). For example, if you set your Smart List to ANY instead of AND, you will likely bring in many more leads than you intended, possibly ruining data or worse, sending out 100,000 emails to the wrong people.


Fortunately, there are ways to build workflows and test processes to avoid disasters. If you follow these principles and any other policies your firm has, you can reduce the error rate greatly.


Technique 1: Pay Attention

When to Use: all the time

Time Involved: 1 minute

Level: All

Paying attention seems like an obvious way to avoid mistakes. It is also prone to many human biases such as “Glossing over work you just did,” and “I’ve done this a thousand times before.” Be careful and follow a few of my rules when I operate alone.

  • Carefully create the smart lists. It is easy to drag, drop, and dash only to see the batch campaign send to 10 times the number you intended. When you think you are done, stop and look at the AND vs. ANY rules as well as the Counts.
  • Watch your Flows – I always check these three times. Remember a Flow step will run once for every lead that goes through.
  • Watch for red squiggly lines in Flow Steps and Filters. Even if it looks right, it means Marketo did not like something.
  • Watch the Schedule Count – does this count match what you thought? Did you subtract the blocked email count from the total? If something seems off, STOP.
  • Qualification Rules – Every vs. Once vs. something else. One of the most frequent questions on the Nation are related to this feature.
  • Scheduled Time – I always schedule a run for 10 minutes in the future because it is very easy to realize that the Email Subject Line is missing 9 minutes after you press Run.


Technique 2: Review Thrice

When to Use: always

Time Involved: 1 minute

Level: Any I use this technique in combination with Technique 1, cycling through the steps three times…or maybe I’m a little OCD about sending emails to thousands of people.

  1. Smart List x 3
  2. Flow x 3
  3. Schedule x 3


Technique 3: Paired Campaign Managers

When to Use: always

Time Involved: 1 minute to 1 day

Level: Any


A technique the Marketo marketing team uses is paired campaign managers. One person builds the Program, while the other prepares the creative. Then they switch to review each other’s work.If you have the staff, I highly recommend setting up this system as it helps to avoid the human ability to ignore errors and typos after working on something for 4 hours.You can go further and setup an entire approval process, even with just 3 to 4 team members:

  1. Build Program
  2. Add Creative
  3. Review Creative
  4. Review Program
  5. Test Program
  6. Approve by Director
  7. Launch


The one challenge with a full blown approval process is Marketo does not have an “approval system.” It may be possible for you to break out Roles according to the process above. For example:

  • Approver: can access all Marketing Activities
  • Program Builder: Marketing activities, but cannot send or approve emails or Pages.
  • Creative: Design Studio, Build Emails or Pages only. No Approval rights.


Technique 4: One Email, Multiple Leads

When to Use: Any system

Time Involved: 1 minute

Level: Any

This trick works on any email platform, although I tend to only use it on Gmail. You can create as many individual Leads in Marketo as you want and have them all go to the same email
  • Marked somewhere as a Test – IGNORE.
  • Fields values as you want them to be for the Test.
  • Qualification Rules set to Every Time. (otherwise, the lead goes through once regardless of test changes).

Once ready, be sure to copy the email address to a Form or notepad so you can keep using it. Then, make the change of value using any of the following steps:

  • Direct Edit
  • Edit in CRM
  • Fill Out Form
  • Change Data Value in Flow Action

Once your test is done, adjust your flow (if needed) and keep testing. To re-set your Lead, just undo the Data Value Change you made using the Direct Edit or another flow action.


Technique 5: One More Time…

When to Use: Basic Trigger workflows, Drip campaigns, Engagement Nurture, Lifecycle Testing, Lead Routing

Time Involved: 1 minute

Level: Any


This technique is just to modify the Schedule to use a Qualification Rule of Every Time. This way you can continually run the same set of Test leads.


Technique 6: The Brake

When to Use: Basic Trigger workflows, Drip campaigns, Engagement Nurture, Lifecycle Testing, Lead Routing

Time Involved: 1 hour to 2 days

Level: Any


This is by far the best technique and it is the most simple. At the end of your Smart List, add one of these two filters:Member of Smart List IN “Internal Test”

Email Address CONTAINS “”

Edit Wait Steps to 1 second or 1 minute – when you Clone, Brake, and Wait, you need to reduce all Wait Steps to 1 minute Any Time. Otherwise, you will Wait 2 days until Tuesday for the next email to go out. It can be a bit time consuming, which is why Cloning and Testing work better.

Technique 7: Software Style Testing Process

When to Use: Lifecycle Testing, Lead Routing, Very Complex systems

Time Involved: 1-5 days

Level: Advanced


This process involves setting up leads that meet various criteria to flow through your workflow. Each time you run each lead, you should have an Expected Result and an Actual Result. Once complete, you will have a clear list of potential flaws in the workflow and possible ways to resolve them.


Do not let “software” intimidate you. The test cases you setup will likely be a bit short of what a full Engineer in Test might do, but it’s close. Here are some terms you may come across:

  • Edge Case: used by engineers to discuss unlikely scenarios that could happen, but may not be worth the effort to test or fix. Be very careful that edge case leads do not bring the system to a halt.
  • Test Case: this is a planned test and lead that meets certain criteria we expect to happen. For example, the Lead is entered in Form X with State=CA and Country=Canada. What do we expect will happen? Test Cases may be called “Use cases” if created before the build.
  • Test Plan: The combination of Test Cases and materials to run through the system with Expected Results vs. Actual Result.


Portions of this post originally appeared on my blog and in collaboration with Steven Moody.

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