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Hey there #MKTGNation!

 

You're talking about it, your boss is talking about it, and you're clutching your purple swag to your heart as the shadow of the big red machine looms overhead. Adobe has acquired Marketo for a cool $4.75 billion as of September 20th - but what does this mean for you, your company and our beloved Marketo? We got the gang back together to discuss our take on the acquisition and what this will mean for Marketo and us as B2B Marketers. I cannot emphasize enough that we don't have any insider information that you can't access on the internet, this is just our take on what we've heard so far.

 

Overall, we are all really excited about what this change will bring, and looking forward to seeing Marketo invest more and more into its core platform!

 

Watch on Youtube

 

We want to hear from you! What is your take on the acquisition? And more importantly, what swag are you hoping to snag from Purple Select before it's gone!

 

Joe Reitz Andy Varshneya Geoff Krajeski Jessica Kao

This post details some of the tactics I presented at the Marketing Nation Summit this year, the slides can be found here: Cut me some Slack! Leveraging The Slack API With Marketo Webhooks And Bots

 

Slack is a powerful tool for communication and collaboration. I think it's safe to say that the most of us have at least used Slack at one workplace if not on a daily basis. With the many useful integrations built by other tools we use, we have access to all useful information in one place and it's great at replacing tedious email threads.

 

A couple years back, I discovered the Incoming Webhooks integration from my previous colleague Henri Syvänen at Avaus and it gave an amazing opportunity for sending relevant lead alerts to Slack channels where teams could monitor the most interesting touchpoints Marketo was processing.

 

Starting with a fresh Marketo instance last year, we quickly got to setting up relevant alerts for marketing & sales to keep people in the loop of what Marketo helps us with how we can track high-intent conversions in the funnel:

 

marketo-alerts-across-funnel.png

Overview of Slack alerts across lead lifecycle stages

 

Although very insightful with alerts split up in different Slack channels, it was easy to miss/forget interesting leads in MQL alerts. I was setting up a few API integrations with other tools we use and got quite interested in how Slack apps work and the possibility of creating smarter alerts that were interactive to push data back to Marketo from Slack - the way an "integration" should work.

 

How the Slack API works

I'm not going to get into the Incoming Webhooks setup too much except for the fact that Slack gives you a "hooks.slack.com..." URL to POST to using your Marketo Webhook and Slack handles the rest, basically as a static message in Marketo.

 

incoming-webhooks-post.png

Incoming Webhooks post with a whole chunk of formatting in text field and "ok" response from Slack

 

Now, using the Slack API to post a message allows you to specify which channel to post to in the payload along with the opportunity of adding interactive components like buttons, menus and (quite recently) custom actions. This is how it flow of data looks like:

 

 

slack-marketo-flow-of-data.png

Payload, Slack post and Response using API

 

 

What's interesting about this setup is that when Slack receives the data it responds with the whole message and some other parameters like the timestamp/id (ts) of the message, that can be mapped to a Marketo field in the webhook's settings. The ts value would allow Marketo to interact with the original message, for example adding a thread comment with more data:

 

 

thread-comment-slack.png

 

Creating your own Slack app

What you'll need for this setup is to create your own Slack app and the great thing is that you can keep it in your internal workspace. Once your app is created, what you'll need is to set up is a bot user + permissions to post using a Bearer token in the header of your posts.

 

I have covered a detailed guide on this part here: Configuring a Slack app for use with Marketo

 

Posting using the Slack API

With all app settings ready, the app will be able to post to Slack through its bot user. This is basically the same as a normal Slack user posting, the bot needs to be invited to the channel it posts in and the channel ID needs to be specified in the payload as attachments.

 

The two part post from above is created using two webhooks and a wait step where the ts value is used to refer to the first webhook's posted message:

 

 

two-part-webhook.png

Using Marketo for formatting data

 

For those interested, I have put together a detailed guide on structuring webhook posts: Structuring Marketo webhooks to post via Slack API

 

It's quite easy to get into a disaster use case of either having (1) too much text in alerts with default values or (2) creating 20 different webhooks. Marketo knows what data is available and can be told what to actually post before calling a webhook.

 

One method that works quite well is creating a webhook template that is tokenized and defines all relevant data on the program / campaign level:

 

 

slack-payload-template-1.png

 

This webhook defines the Slack Channel ID and the title/pretext of the message using My Tokens and uses a custom field called Slack_Contact Details for preparing data before posting to Slack by running through a whole list of Change Data Value flow steps with choices:

 

 

Slack-post-flow-steps.png

 

What this can translate to in Slack is either using one webhook for multiple types of posts or simply removing fields when they're empty:

 

comparison-two-different-posts.png

 

Interactive components and passing data back to Marketo

When first testing this, I was tempted to use one button next to MQL alerts, but it seemed a bit risky if people get tempted to press it. Instead I opted for putting in a bit more work and adding a menu with three different choices to start: Disqualifying, Adding as contact (claiming) and Creating a deal/opportunity.

 

Adding interactive components to Slack requires a URL for Slack to post to. Contrary to "hopeful beliefs", you can't really configure so much from Slack's end and it's up to you to decide what to do with the data. This underlying process of sending data back to Marketo is configured with a tool called Integromat that I personally prefer over Zapier. Both tools work great if you're not very technical and posting to your own server.

 

How this type of setup looks like:

Slack-Qualification.gif

 

 

Underlying workflow for passing data back to Marketo

 

Integromat's webhook URL is added in the Slack app's settings and once a request is made, the JSON is parsed to grab the important values:

 

  • The ts value for updating the originating message
  • The action value from the drop-down menu for sending to Marketo
  • The lead's attributes for knowing who to update
  • The ID of the Slack user who took action to know who claimed/disqualified the lead

 

api-workflow-slack-marketo.png

The integromat scenario for receiving data from Slack

 

 

Integromat authenticates through the Marketo REST API and receives an authentication token. The lead's information is retrieved from Marketo using the token and Integromat syncs the data (points above) on the lead. After this is done, the originating message is updated with three different values based on what the action was that mentioned (1) What the action was, (2) Who took an action (3) Who the lead was.

 

For a more detailed guide on this part, I wrote up a post here: Sending data back to Marketo from Slack

 

 

marketo-triggered-workflow.png

 

Once Marketo receives the data, this triggers flow steps to update the revenue cycle stage along with details on the lead owner before running more actions to sync the lead to CRM and as a final step... Comment on the original slack message's thread mentioning the user and attaching a link to CRM to the Contact or Opportunity depending on what was chosen - in best case scenarios this takes 15 seconds to run through the whole flow.

 

I hope this was insightful and helpful for anyone interested in building something similar!

 

Best,
Erik

Hey, #MKTGnation!

 

Summer's (kind of?) over, the PSLs are flowing, and the gang got back together to answer the top questions we hear every day on the job. I may or may not have ranted just a little.

 

Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Why is Marketo broken? (ie: the one that makes my eye twitch)
  • How mature is my Marketo instance?
  • Why does it take so long to change a template? (spoiler: we have different definitions of "templates")
  • Do I actually know how to troubleshoot? (Okay, this one isn't a real question but we cover why it's crucial to understand troubleshooting in our jobs)

 

 

What are the most common questions YOU receive about Marketo (or your job)? Are there common ones you've been able to stop from popping up time and time again? Any pet peeve questions?

 

Sydney Mulligan Enrico Deleon Juli James

3rd and final part of this series!

 

Building nurture programs can be a daunting task. But with the right guide, you can turn an afternoon into an email experience your prospects will never forget! Before we begin, we need to define a few terms:

 

  • An Engagement Program is a specific kind of program that allows a marketer to send content to a specific audience based on an ongoing basis.
  • A stream is a category of content that lives within an Engagement Program. Marketo users can set up rules to tell an Engagement Program which stream members of their audience should be in.
  • Casts occur when Engagement Programs send content to a qualified audience within a nurture stream.
  • In an Engagement Program, each stream has a cadence. The cadence is the predetermined schedule for each cast.


If you only have one Engagement Program, this will be relatively simple. But don’t fear, if you plan on having multiple engagement programs, we’ll also walk you through the process of setting up a Traffic Controller so you can manage all of your nurture subscriptions in one place. Let’s start by building our first nurture program.
First, we need to define a few components of our Engagement Program:

  • Who are we emailing?
  • When/how often are we emailing them?
  • What are we emailing them about?
  • Bonus: What is the journey we want to walk them through?


Now we can start building! In this example, we’ll answer these questions with the following sample information.

  • Who are we emailing? People in our Lead Lifecycle
  • When/how often are we emailing them? Once a week, on Wednesdays at 9am
  • What are we emailing them about? Our brand, based on their place in the Lead Lifecycle
  • What is the journey we want to walk them through? The buyer journey: from TOFU to BOFU

 

To start, create an Engagement Program. For a detailed setup process, see Marketo’s Engagement Program implementation guide.

 

Within this program, create a new Email Send Default Program for each email that will live in the nurture program. Each Email Send program should have the following assets:Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.15.19 PM.png

 

Sometimes, it will be necessary to prevent certain people from receiving emails within a stream. For example, if John Doe has already downloaded the Education Whitepaper, he doesn’t need to get the Education Email pointing to that whitepaper. Here’s how to keep John from receiving that email.

 

Find the Default Email Program Channel in the Admin section. Edit this channel by adding a “Nurture Excluded” program membership status:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.15.37 PM.png

If a lead is already a member of a nested program, Marketo will skip that program and go to the next one in the stream. We will use this fact to exclude John Doe from the Education Whitepaper send.

In each nested program, add an _Excluded Smart Campaign.

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.16.39 PM.png

The Smart List of the _Exclude campaign identifies anyone who should be excluded:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.17.18 PM.png

 

By making viewers of this assets members of the nested program, they will be excluded from this email:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.17.45 PM.png

 

And that’s it!

 

 

Setting up multiple engagement programs? Consider building a Nurture Traffic Controller to help leads get the right content.

Create an operational Program - this will be your Nurture Traffic Controller. In this program, build a Smart List with which you will define your Nurture Target Audience. This generic list should include any leads who qualify for any Engagement Program. Think marketable leads.

 

Additionally, create a new Smart List for each Engagement Program target audience. For example, an Engagement Program targeting software companies might have a target Smart List for leads with Software as their industry.

 

A new Smart Campaign will add new qualified names to the correct nurture program:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.14 PM.png

 

To build the Flow, reference the the Smart Lists for each nurture target audience to tell Marketo which Engagement Program to use.

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.33 PM.png

 

Schedule this to run regularly before each nurture cast.

 

Sometimes, our nurture strategies rely on having sparsely-populated data. Think about our industry example. If Jane Doe is added to the system without an industry, she would go into a generic Engagement Program. But two months later, when her industry is identified as Software, we want to add her to the Software Engagement Program.

 

First, define transition rules: what criteria determine whether someone is qualified for a new stream? Luckily, we already defined this earlier, when we built our Engagement Program target audience smart lists! These can be used to migrate leads into the correct nurture programs.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.51 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.18.55 PM.png

 

What is going on in that first flow step?

 

The Smart List referenced in Choice 1 determines whether someone is in a different Engagement Program already. If they are, we need to pause them! Here’s how to know:

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 3.19.28 PM.png

 

Schedule the Smart Campaign to run on the same schedule as the first campaign.

 

Now your traffic controller is complete, and you can rest assured knowing your leads are getting relevant content.

Marketo says companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost.
That is reason enough to kick off a nurture strategy!

 

With personalization the new norm, we have a brilliant opportunity to engage prospects way beyond the unimpressive “Hello, [first name].” In this day and age, tokenized emails tell the recipient, “we have your information in our database,” and nothing more. Instead, show your prospects that you care about their interests by delivering content specifically chosen for them.

How?

Step One: Identify your most impactful topics.

Start with the people that have already engaged with you in the past, and determine what pieces of content they engage with the most? Once you identify your most engaging pieces of content, determine the commonality amongst them. Define categories based on subject.

For example, a company that sells marketing software might have pieces that revolve around Account-Based Marketing, Sales/Marketing Alignment, and Inbound Marketing, while a company selling household appliances may have content focused on small appliances, major appliances, and energy-efficient products. If you don’t have a content matrix already defined, this is a great opportunity to develop one!

Step Two: Determine behaviors that indicate interest in these topics.
Create a chart of all your landing pages, emails, banner ads, social posts, and direct mail pieces that correlate to topics identified in Step One. This information allows us to segment our audience based on interest. For example, if someone clicks on an advertisement for a dishwasher, we can add them to our “Major Appliances” segment

Step Three: Develop your content.
Now that you know which topics perform best, you can develop or repurpose content based on these subject matters. The more topics you identify, the more personalized you can get. When writing new content, keep in mind that just because someone may have clicked a link in a email, they aren’t necessarily ready to buy. Start out with educational pieces, and work your way up to more aggressive CTAs.

If you’re repurposing content, run a report to highlight which pieces of content perform the best and deliver those assets first.Quick tip: you can change the subject line in an email and re-send it to anyone who hasn’t opened it and double the number of emails you have in a nurture stream!

Step Four: Build the Marketo program.
Build a Marketo Engagement Program and add your new emails. Build a different stream for each topic, and add your content accordingly. Next, adjust your smart campaign to add anyone who exhibits behaviors identified in Step Two (also consider creating a global nurture controller, which will identify which leads belong to your various nurture programs). Now we can set up our transition rules to automatically shift someone’s stream as they exhibit qualifying behavior.

 

In our next blog post we will cover a technical deep-dive, stay tuned!

Please join Kevin Weisenberger and me as we kick off the Healthcare Virtual MUG in September!

 

Join us using the event link here: https://nation.marketo.com/events/2557-healthcare-mug-meeting-920 and be sure to share with others who could benefit.

 

Suggestions and recommendations for what you as a community would like to see are always welcomed.

Also, if you would like to be an upcoming speaker let us know.

 

We will try to keep a quarterly or bi-monthly cadence.

 

When done correctly, lead nurturing is a simple method for engaging leads by delivering content to prospects and customers in a way that optimizes engagement and leaves everyone happy. From an operations point of view, “nurture” is defined by a standard set of emails delivered to a lead. Emails are sent regularly and are intended to accelerate brand awareness and engagement. Marketo’s Engagement Programs are designed for this exact purpose.

Before kicking off a new nurture track, it needs to be backed by an engagement strategy. These days, marketing is personalized, and prospects expect everyone to be on the personalization bandwagon. Don’t know where to begin? Start by looking at your buyer journey.

It’s a lot easier than it sounds! Think about buying a car. You’re going along with your daily life and suddenly your transmission blows. Or your best friend rolls into town n a bright, shiny Lexus and you think to yourself, “I’d look pretty good in one of those.” Maybe you see a commercial for the 2019 Jeep Wrangler and the thought of off-roading in the countryside with your pup by your side makes your heart beat just a little faster. This is what’s called the Awareness stage (or in marketing terms, the top of the funnel).

When leads are in the awareness stage, it’s prime time to send them emails with information that makes them think, “yeah, I could use that!” Content in this stage should focus on pain points, brand awareness, and thought leadership. In this phase, potential buyers are just learning about who you are and what you do, and it’s essential to make a good impression.

Next we get to the fun part – the Evaluation stage. They’ve decided they want to buy a car, but now they’re trying to decide which car to buy. Now it’s time to say, “our car is the best car, and here’s why!” Send them stories of other customers who bought cars and loved them. As a follow-up, send a calculator that demonstrates how much money they’ll save in gas if they switch. This phase is grounded in information that makes your product stand out among all of your competitors. Here’s where to send case studies, product overviews, and interactive tools.

Now that they’ve bought in, it’s time to get them to seal the deal. This is the bottom of the funnel – the Decision stage. They’re going to drive to the dealership and test drive the car. They speak to a salesperson who tells them all of the really cool features that make this car unique. But they’re not fully convinced that this investment will pay out. For clients to be happy, sellers need to help them to make the most informed decisions. So here’s where we jump in and help them decide whether the investment is worthwhile. At this stage, content gets more aggressive. Instead of sending “feel-good” messaging, focus on direct CTAs such as “Watch a Live Demo,” “Sign Up for a Free Trial” or “Schedule a Meeting.”

Now it’s up to sales to close the deal, and we can rest assured knowing that we’re leaving our prospects in good hands.

Follow along for more in this series!

When building out various components of a demand generation strategy within Marketo, testing is an area that can often be overlooked. It’s tedious and time-consuming and not always the most exciting task, but the more complex the logic is within a component, the more important testing becomes. Something as simple as a missed flow step or incorrect trigger may have downstream implications that impact the accuracy of your team’s reporting, sales processes, or even external user experience. It’s much easier to catch and fix errors prior to going live than to attempt to trouble-shoot, fix and clean up data within live programming. A solid testing plan will help you do this.

 

What Should I Be Testing?

The answer here is – everything you build. This may include (but is not limited to) lead lifecycle programming, lead scoring, lead nurturing, channel tracking programming, data management programming, email compliance (CASL/GDPR) flows, integrations, and user-facing assets such as emails, landing pages and forms.

 

Testing Best Practices

Creating Scenarios

When you're testing a piece of programming, you'll want to make sure you're testing all possible scenarios that could happen to a record within that flow to ensure nothing is falling through the cracks. The best way to do this is to create a spreadsheet that lists out all of these scenarios, the starting attributes a record should have for each scenario, the test steps or updates you'll need to make to a record to simulate a scenario, and the end result that should happen if everything works properly. Include columns where you list the test record you used for each test, pass/fail, and any notes for failures. Remember to include edge cases, and not just perfect path scenarios.

 

 

Test Record Format

A standard naming convention for your test records is useful for several reasons. First, you'll want to be able to easily differentiate test records from live data if you're doing you're testing in a Marketo production instance rather than a sandbox. Second, for documentation purposes it’s good to have a way to quickly associate a test record with a particular scenario, especially if you're testing complex logic that requires multiple rounds of testing, fixes and re-testing. Our team uses the following standard format for our test records:

 

First Name: [tester first initial][tester last initial][yyyymmdd]-[numerical designation]

Last Name: Test

Email: [tester first initial][tester last initial][yyyymmdd]-[numerical designation]@test.com

Company: Test

 

So, for example:

 

Be sure to take into consideration any required fields as well as starting data attributes that are needed for your scenarios.

 

Testing in Production

Sometimes it will be necessary to test programming in a Marketo production instance rather than a sandbox. When you do this, you'll want to be cognizant of the fact that there may be live data, reporting or routing in place. There are a several measures you can take to mitigate the impact of your testing in a production instance:

  • When you build your Marketo programming in your production instance, add an extra filter to all of your Smart Campaigns so that only records with email addresses ending in @test.com can flow through, ensuring live data does not enter your flows before you're ready.
  • If your programming contains wait steps or time-based actions, reduce these to be a shorter amount of time if needed, to expedite testing.
  • If you are testing programming that lives completely in Marketo and is separate from any programming or processes that live in an integrated CRM, it may be useful to keep your test records within Marketo and not sync them to your CRM, if possible. If you have a centralized Smart Campaign that syncs records to a CRM either at creation or when certain attributes become populated, you could add a filter here for “Email Address NOT contains ‘@test.com’”.
  • If you do need to sync test records over to your CRM, consider suppressing @test.com domains from any lead routing or alerts you have built. If this isn't an option, communicate your testing plan to the users who are at the receiving end of those lead assignments or alerts.
  • Consider adding filters to reports or dashboards that your team leverages, to suppress records with @test.com domains.

 

Documenting Test Results

Documentation is an important part of the testing process. It helps you keep track of your progress, and down the road if something breaks you'll have a documented history of when it was working, which can help with trouble-shooting. As you go through your test scenarios, mark off each pass and fail. For the failures, make note of what went wrong. When you complete your scenarios, go back to the failures and determine what fix is needed, then re-test afterward, indicating the passes and failures for the additional rounds within the same spreadsheet. If you're testing programming that was built by someone else, look for trends around what’s failing to summarize for the builder, to help them identify where an error might have occurred in their programming.

 

Testing Tips for Common Components

Below are some testing tips for common components that you may have built or are planning to incorporate into your Marketo infrastructure.

 

Lead Scoring

When you design and implement lead scoring, it’s a good practice to test out your scoring model itself prior to building it in Marketo. This is particularly important if you have score thresholds aligned to certain stages of your Revenue Cycle Modeler. Run some tests to make sure that if someone does a certain amount of activities, or submits your progressive form a certain number of times, they accumulate enough behavioral points from the activities and demographic points from data entered via form submission to reach the score threshold for the stage you consider them to be in. Check your math. If you document your scoring model in a spreadsheet, you can create Excel formulas to quickly sum up a person’s score when you simulate various activities.

 

Once you finalize your scoring model and build it in Marketo, you'll need to test all of your triggers and flows. Ensure the correct amount of points are being appended to your demographic, behavioral, and total lead score fields as defined in your scoring model. If you're building multiple scoring models, ensure the correct score fields are leveraged throughout each build.

 

Revenue Cycle Modeler

Before you build your RCM, it’s a good practice (and not just for testing purposes) to document the criteria a record must possess to move into each stage – scoring thresholds and any field attributes. When you're creating your RCM test scenarios you can use this as a guideline. You should test every trigger and flow step within each Smart Campaign that is leveraged in your RCM logic. Consider any skip or turn-back logic you have incorporated, where a person can move from one stage to a non-subsequent stage. If your RCM listens for contacts to be added to opportunity records in your CRM, then you'll want to simulate this behavior within your CRM (if you're testing an RCM in a Marketo production instance, be aware of implications this will have in your CRM production instance). Testing an RCM is often more time-consuming than building it.

 

 

Channel Tracking Programs

It’s likely that your team is leveraging Marketo Programs, channels and triggered Smart Campaigns in some capacity to capture content interactions across various engagement channels. A common approach to this also involves a URL querystring strategy so that a single landing page can be promoted across channels. Anytime you build a new tracking program it’s best to visit the corresponding URL with querystring, submit the form, and ensure the correct Smart Campaigns are triggering, and appropriate actions are then taken to the newly created record (depending on your architecture this may be data value updates, a confirmation email, and/or a Marketo Program status update).

 

 

One-off Batch Email Sends

Run a test record through each Smart Campaign used within your Marketo Program. Ensure Marketo Program Status updates, wait steps and re-sends are all happening as intended. If you're using filter logic, run some checks to ensure there are no errors here. Before you schedule your batch campaign make sure that the number of people expected to run through the Smart Campaign is in line with what you'd expect, and ensure your Smart Campaign settings are correct.

 

 

Automated Outbound Nurture

Whether you're leveraging Marketo Engagement Programs to house your nurture logic, or building “from scratch” with traffic cops, watchdogs, and wait steps, you should be sure to test all logic that moves people into, out of, and within your nurture program. Ensure that only the people you want nurtured are able to flow in, and make sure that if a person’s data profile changes then they are moved to the correct new spot within the nurture program, or out of nurture completely. Furthermore, ensure that the correct emails are being sent at the correct points in time, and that interactions with the promoted content in those emails are accurately tracked. You'll also want to test the emails themselves – send tests to designated people on your team to ensure links are correct, and everything renders appropriately.

Just when you thought the topic of GDPR might settle down, it’s still hot news. A little more than a month after the enforcement date, big names are reported for compliance violations, major US publishers block European visitors, and data privacy measures get a little closer to home.

Forced Consent Complaints

It wasn’t much past midnight on GDPR’s official enforcement date when the first complaints were filed. Apparently, tech giants make for easy targets with a slew of complaints filed against Google and Facebook, claiming forced consent. In other words, both platforms require users to give “all or nothing” consent in order to use their respective software vs. parsing data consent areas and allowing users to provide individual consent for each use. Similar complaints have since been filed against Apple, Amazon and LinkedIn. Are the violations legitimate? All are still pending; no resolution or fines have been assessed.

Blocked Media Sites

Some major US publishers have taken a different route to GDPR compliance by blocking EU visitors entirely. The Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune are two of the bigger media companies blocking EU visitors due to non-compliance of ad targeting practices. Other publishers, including USA Today, are displaying non-targeted ads while Meredith and The Washington Post have started asking permission to new site terms to view their sites, including an upsell ad-free option. Publishers—particularly The Los Angeles Times—need to get this figured out as the data privacy landscape is about to get even more complicated.

The Golden State Adopts GDPR-Like Legislation

Barely one month after GDPR went into effect, California Governor Jerry Brown signed The California Consumer Privacy Act, aimed at protecting the data privacy rights of California residents. Much like GDPR, California’s act seeks to give consumers more control over personal data usage, including the right to know how data will be used, what data is being collected and sold, and the right for complete data deletion. The bill, still in early stages, will likely be amended before the enforcement date of January 1, 2020. And if you think this is just hype or California making noise, keep in mind California was the initiator of anti-spam email statutes, later to be replaced by the federal legislation we now know as the CAN-SPAM Act. Privacy legislation is coming to United States—be prepared!

GDPR—Still on the Radar

In just the first month of enforcement, we’ve seen complaints filed, organizations suspending service to Europeans, and copy-cat legislation emerge. The bottom line in all of this is, best data practices need to be our baseline standard. GDPR’s enforcement date is just the beginning; taking proactive measures now will ensure you’re prepared for new legislation, without interruption to your business operations. Recommended reading:

 

How to Avoid a €20 Mistake with your Data: Tips for ensuring your database is clean, junk records removed, and country data normalized.

 

Requirements for Consent – What You Need to Know: Understand what GDPR requires for consent plus how it compares to CASL requirements.

 

And of course, leave your comments below and together, we’ll support each other through another round of compliance preparations.

 

 

As originally published on the Perkuto blog.

Sometimes I think asking, “Which attribution model do you prefer and why?” would be a great (marketing) conversation starter. From single-touch to complex regression-based analysis, some marketers are passionate about a particular method while others are still contemplating which is the best option. The topic sparks an interesting discussion.

 

Of course, all models are simplified approximations of an infinitely complex reality, and, no attribution model is perfect. Attribution models attempt to estimate the influence of your various marketing campaigns on human behavior that is unpredictable, irrational and fluid in nature. There’s no way of actually knowing that your white paper or webinar was responsible for 33% of the purchasing decision and therefore should receive a third of the credit. But, even with the flaws of attribution, applying the appropriate model, understanding the data it’s generating, and applying the directional insights will help you make better marketing decisions.

 

In this post, we’ll explore the different models and why you might use each one.

 

Getting Started with Attribution

 

Before settling in on a particular attribution model, assessing your needs and being realistic about what you want to accomplish will assist in your model decision.

 

  • What questions are you trying to answer? Contribution to revenue, pipeline value, understanding your sales cycle from the first touch to deal closed, which efforts are most impactful, why leads aren’t converting to sales—what do you need answered to sharpen your marketing plan and align reporting with your organization’s objectives?
  • Is your sales cycle simple or complex? Do you have a lot of marketing efforts or only a few?
  • What’s attainable for your organization? Do you have the appropriate tools in place? Are you just starting with attribution or are you more experienced?

 

Once you know what you want to achieve, then you can select a model that’s appropriate for you. (And I should note, unless otherwise stated below, all models discussed are as defined within Bizible’s platform.)

 

First-Touch Model

 

Stemming from the philosophy that a sale cannot happen if a customer doesn’t know you exist, a first-touch model applies 100% of attribution credit to the first tracked marketing interaction, which may occur before the person even enters your marketing database. The model itself is simple, and data analysis is less complicated. In a simple sales cycle with a quick or transactional sale, it’s very easy to see marketing effectiveness and contribution to revenue. The challenge with a first-touch model is data collection, because you need a way to capture and store the anonymous first touch and then associate it with the person when they eventually enter your lead database. You can solve for this challenge with custom tracking script and Bizible tracks this out of the box.

 

In more complex sales cycles, first-touch attribution acknowledges the brand awareness stage, highlighting which of your early marketing efforts were most successful at attracting new customers to your product or service. If you seek to gain insight into top-of-funnel activity, then a first-touch model can be useful in providing answers. If you want to know marketing influence in later stages of your sales cycle, a first-touch model falls short as it only tells part of the story by overvaluing early-stage efforts and ignoring subsequent campaigns.

 

Lead Creation Model

 

Going beyond brand awareness, a lead creation model attributes 100% credit at the point a customer is interested enough to provide contact information and essentially, becomes a “lead.” For example, if a customer visits your website three times and on the fourth occasion, completes a form for more information, the marketing effort that drove the fourth visit would receive 100% of revenue credit. The philosophy here is the campaign that converted a prospect to a lead is the most significant. Many organizations often start with a lead creation model because it provides an excellent introduction to attribution and the set-up is relatively straightforward.

 

Like first-touch, this single touch, simple model does not provide a good representation of longer and more complex sales cycles; for that, you need a multi-touch model.

 

Evenly-Split/Linear Model

 

A Linear or Evenly-Split model gives equal weight to every touchpoint with the rationale that every marketing effort is essential to moving a prospect through the sales pipeline. The challenge with this model is it oversimplifies the marketing process and fails to take into account the context of when the interaction occurred when giving credit.

 

For example, let’s say a person enters your database, consumes a few blog posts and then - a few months later - attends a VIP dinner and soon after is added to a new opportunity. With an evenly-split model, the casual content consumption that did not occur in proximity to any meaningful funnel event would get the same amount of credit as the high-touch dinner that likely made a much bigger impact on the sale. If you relied on this model exclusively, you might easily draw some inaccurate conclusions about relative channel importance.

 

Nevertheless, a Linear model can still provide some insight into which marketing programs are impactful. If you are tracking attribution using Marketo and Revenue Explorer, this is the only multi-touch option available.

 

U-Shaped Model

 

U-Shape is a simple multi-touch model that distributes credit between the early-stage touches to provide a more balanced view of which channels are generating new names in your database. In this multi-touch model, 50% of the weight is assigned to the  first touch and 50% to the lead creation touch. The philosophy behind it is to emphasize lead generation while also sharing credit between the various touches required to grow your database. For this reason, I prefer it over either a First-Touch or Lead Creation single-touch model for evaluating lead generation activities.

 

W-Shaped Model

 

W-Shaped Model

 

A W-shaped model is very similar to a U-shaped model except it acknowledges a third milestone, opportunity creation. Each primary stage of the sales cycle, first touch, lead creation and opportunity creation, is attributed with 30% of revenue and the remaining 10% is split between the other touchpoints. A W-shaped model is one of the most popular attribution models as it gives marketers a well-rounded view of the marketing campaigns leading up to the opportunity creation stage.

 

What’s missing in a W-Shaped model is insight into any activities that occur after the opportunity is created. For example, let’s say you organize a special event for customers and later stage prospects and then several opportunities close soon after. With a W-Shaped model, the significant investment in this event wouldn’t receive any credit.

 

Full-Path Model

 

Full Path Model

 

Similar to the W-shaped model, a full-path model also acknowledges major milestones in the sales cycle, now extending all the way through the revenue stage. Each significant stage receives 22.5% of the credit with the remaining 10% spread across touchpoints in between.  The Full-Path model is obviously more complete than the W-Shaped model and is arguably more sensibly-weighted than an evenly-split / linear model, as the touchpoints that occurred in nearest proximity to important funnel events get a much higher percentage of credit. This can produce reports that better reflect the “actual” impact of these important activities while still giving credit to everything.  For businesses with a complex sales cycle who want full visibility, a Full-Path model is a smart choice and remains easy and simple to implement.

 

Custom Model

 

A more advanced multi-touch option within Bizible is the Custom model.  With this model, you can define custom stages in the sales cycle in addition to those included in the Full-Path model—a common one to add is an “MQL” stage. You can then define your own percentage weightings for each stage based on your unique business model. Notice in this example, that the product demo stage is now receiving 10% credit, demonstrating the perceived significance of this event in the sales cycle.

 

This model offers more flexibility and requires some extra configuration. Its relative freedom also brings a certain level of risk, as the marketer might have inaccurate assumptions about the relative weightings that the different stages should receive and thereby create misleading distortions in the model.

 

Companies may want to run a Full-Path model first, then as knowledge of their unique sales process deepens, transition to a Custom model to achieve a more tailored approach.

 

Custom model

 

Machine-Learning Model

 

This model uses the same stages as the Custom model, but in this case, the machine makes recommendations for weighting credit between the various stages, representing the relative importance to winning a deal based on three criteria:

 

  • Predictiveness: the correlation between stage progression and whether the deal will close
  • Ease/Difficulty: high conversion rate implies less importance in the customer journey
  • Uniqueness: if a touchpoint is shared with multiple stages, the credit is shared, too

 

The algorithm is not random—Bizible based it on millions of touchpoints and buyer journeys. You can use the insights from the Machine-Learning model to refine and alter your Custom model, ultimately producing a machine-learning influenced model that incorporates human insights specific to your organization.

 

Tactic-Weighted Model

 

In a Tactic-Weighted model, credit is allocated based on the importance of the specific marketing tactics involved. For example, attending a webinar may get more credit than downloading an e-book, and attending a prospect VIP dinner may get even more.

 

This type of model—or one that blends it with a position-based model defined above—makes a lot of sense to many marketers, who intuitively know that spending four hours at a high-touch event naturally carries more weight than casually perusing web content.

 

This is an advanced model that is not available out of the box in any platform I’m aware of, but is something an analytically-mature organization could engineer within a BI tool.

 

That’s a Lot of Models!

 

One of the nice things about Marketo’s acquisition of Bizible, is marketers now have more model options to choose from, single-touch to multi-touch, simple to complex. To some, the options may seem overwhelming. My advice: take an inventory of your needs and start with what’s attainable. Remember, you can always transition to a new model as your knowledge and understanding grows. No model is perfect, but attribution will help you gain insight into your customer journey and the relative influence of your marketing efforts.

 

In my next post, I’ll address how to leverage your attribution data to fine-tune your marketing strategy.

 

Want a deeper dive?

 

I'll be presenting a webinar, Bizible Essentials for Marketo Users on July 10 at 1:00 ET . We’ll explore the differences between Revenue Explorer and Bizible, the solutions Bizible offers and the impact on your daily operations. Reserve your seat here.http://bit.ly/2KRmXBF

 

And to go completely meta, here's a Bizible report showing the registrations by channel for the Bizible webinar so far. This offer-by-channel report is really easy to produce in Bizible, and I'll describe how at the webinar.

 

Bizible_Webinar_Reg_by_Channel___Salesforce_-_Enterprise_Edition.png

Now that GDPR is in full swing and hopefully most people have recovered from the May 25th Day of reckoning, I had a lot of questions about GDPR.  So far, I’ve been sat on the outside of the whole GDPR issue and I was interested to learn more.  I've read so many blog posts, watch videos, looked at infographics etc. etc. etc. but even with all the information that is out there I still had questions, and now that GDPR is in full flow I thought now would be a good time to see how everyone has dealt with it, or what they're still dealing with and what we think is going to happen next.  The discussion starts from the very basics up to how it should be dealt with in Marketo and what responsibilities MOPS have.  On the chat we had Joe Reitz, Jenn DiMaria, Sydney Mulligan, Digital Pi, Geoff Krajeski, Enrico de Leon, Jr.

 

Below are the questions I asked:

  1. What exactly is GDPR and how does it affect the use of Marketo?
  2. If a company doesn’t operate in the EU do they still have to be GDPR Compliant?
  3. Is it the MOPs team responsibility?
  4. Any quick tips?
  5. I’ve seen more and more GDPR emails coming through, how much will this affect people's databases as I imagine lots of people won’t ‘opt-in’.  What’s the expected response rate?

 

So take a look and see what you think, I learnt a lot in 30mins, more than I've probably learnt over the past few months.

If you have anymore GDPR questions, feel free to ask and I'm sure someone will be able to help, I might even be able to help a little now!

 

#KreweChats Episode 14: GDPR - A Recap - YouTube

 

I've also got links to lots of other documents/videos/presentations/blogs etc, so if anyone wants those I'm more than happy to share below.

Attribution tools are to a marketer what a compass is to a hiker—both provide direction in your journey and guide your next steps. We’re familiar with current Marketo compasses but now Marketo has embedded a new GPS: Bizible. How does Bizible compare to the Marketo compass you’re currently using, and more importantly, how will it impact your daily operations?

 

Attribution Review

 

If you’re accustomed to tracking attribution using Marketo and Revenue Explorer, Bizible represents a significant change. In my last post, I covered the primary functions of attribution tools: capturing data, modeling data and reporting on that data. In this post, I’ll focus on each function, to illustrate the variances of the tools as well as provide common applications to emphasize the impact on your operations.

 

Data Capture

 

The scenario: You want to track what marketing initiatives are bringing people into your database (ie, “Lead Source”).

 

The process with Marketo: Most marketers can track an offer (ex: a content asset) in Marketo fairly easily using a combination of the form and/or landing page. However, tracking a channel is much harder, especially when it involves digital channels.

To obtain channel information in Marketo you’ll need to use UTM parameters on your landing page along with web referrer data to deduce organic channels. For example:

 

  • utm_medium = paid-social: channel = paid social
  • Web referrer contains “google.com” and no UTM parameters: channel = organic search

 

Of course, you also need to ensure all links are tagged correctly.

 

Next, you need to get that data into Marketo. You might be asking, what about using hidden form fields to capture these parameters? Certainly possible, but what if people don’t fill out a form on the first page they visit?

 

To solve, you’ll have to implement your own tracking script to capture the data, convert it to cookies that persist as the visitor jumps from page to page, ensure all forms have hidden fields to capture UTM and referrer values and finally, pass these values to fields on the person object, which can then trigger adding the person to an appropriate tracking program. Moreover, scripts must be flawlessly written, to avoid failure in certain browsers or Marketo logic fails. Many marketing organizations use these methods very successfully, but there is, never-the-less, complexity and potential for error with this approach.

 

The process with Bizible: There is little configuration to start capturing data with Bizible. Since Bizible has its own tracking script, tracking is simplified, especially for digital activity.

 

What’s happening behind the scenes: when someone fills out a form, Bizible detects and logs the URL of the form completion page from which you would deduce the offer. Where Bizible excels is in tracking channels. Bizible automatically detects and stores the UTMs and web referrer data associated with the session, without having to set custom cookies or modify your forms. Finally, because Bizible has direct API connections with ad platforms like Adwords, Bing, and Facebook ads, it automatically pulls ad and cost detail from these platforms, without any manual tagging required on your part.

 

A Functional Comparison:

 

MARKETO

BIZIBLE

OVERALL

Munchkin tracking script captures web activity. Marketo also logs form fills and email interactions. Referrer/UTM data stored but only in activity log. Custom script required to make this data accessible at the field level.

Bizible tracking script tracks web activity and form fills as well as referrer and UTM data, which is associated with touchpoints for easy reporting. Tracks full clickstream data via Bizible Data Warehouse product, giving it the detail of a full-featured web analytics solution.

OFFERS

Easy to track; typically uses a combination of a form plus landing page to identify offer, which can trigger the addition of a person to the corresponding program.

Detects and logs the URL of the form completed; offer is deduced based on URL.

CHANNELS

Harder to track, especially digital; requires custom script to convert UTM/referrer data to cookies and form management to ensure data is mapped to fields on the person record in Marketo.

Automatically detects and stores UTM parameters and web referrer data, without creating custom cookies or modifying forms. Direct API connections with ad platforms capture ad and cost data without manual tagging. Platforms currently supported: Adwords, Bing, Facebook Ads.

 

Data Modelling

 

The scenario: You’re launching a multi-faceted marketing campaign consisting of many offers (blog posts, webinars, ebooks, etc.) across numerous channels and your boss requires a report showing which channels are driving the most engagement with particular offers. In your preparations, you must also plan for the “human factor”— people who interact multiple times with a single channel.

 

The process with Marketo: Your set-up revolves around Marketo’s unit of attribution, the program, which represents a single marketing initiative you want to track. You can create as many programs as you like, and stages indicate the level of interaction with each program and if that interaction was successful. Programs correspond to a Salesforce campaign (if you track this in Salesforce). How do you capture the relationship between offers and channels?

 

Your options are less than ideal:

 

  1. Create separate programs for offers and channels: This allows you to capture each marketing asset and traffic source the person engages with, but there is no connection between them. Also, if someone engages with the same channel (e.g., organic Twitter) twice, you can’t track the second interaction, because a person can only be a member of a program once.

  2. Create a program for every offer + channel combo. Ex: ABC Ebook + social; ABC Ebook + paid search…and the list goes on. Prepare yourself for a mountain of work and huge task list to maintain.

    programs set up to track offer + channel data

  3. Copy UTM values to the campaign member, which also moves reporting to Salesforce (as you cannot store this additional metadata related to a specific program status in Marketo). This option gives you a more flexible model but requires extra configuration and custom code in Salesforce. Additionally, there are some challenges to tracking costs for ROI and reporting by channels with this method, as you no longer have a distinct campaign to represent the channel.

campaign member example

 

The process with Bizible: Bizible uses “touchpoints” (or the marketing interaction between a person, offer, and channel) as the unit of attribution and captures every web visit, form fill, and offline touchpoint, grouping them into channels or subchannels that you create. Theoretically, unlimited touchpoints are possible.

 

The process is straightforward as Bizible creates touchpoints automatically with little to set-up or maintain. Also nice, all interaction data, both offer and channel, are stored on the same record. As a result, there is greater flexibility in reporting options, including changing channel groupings midstream and reprocessing of all data without information loss.

 

The downside? You’ll have less rich metadata about offers, because the form URL isn’t as precise as the metadata associated with Marketo programs. For this reason, I recommend that you maintain offer programs in tandem in Marketo, which you would likely need anyway to send fulfillment emails, etc.

 

Bizible Touchpoint Example

 

A Functional Comparison:

 

MARKETO

BIZIBLE

UNIT OF ATTRIBUTION

Unit of attribution is the program, a single marketing initiative which corresponds conceptually to a Salesforce Campaign.

Unit of attribution is the Touchpoint, a single marketing interaction between a person, an offer, and channel, stored in a single record.

DATA MODEL

One person can be a member of many programs, but only once per program or campaign. Stages indicate the level of interaction with the program and whether that interaction was successful. Program structure can be as granular as you want, but this becomes hard to manage when tracking offer + channel combinations.

Touchpoints are unlimited; touchpoints are captured for every web visit and logged in CRM for a person’s first anonymous visit, every subsequent form fill, and for offline touchpoints when synced from a campaign, even when repeat interactions with the same offer and channel occur. Channels are assigned to touchpoints dynamically based on business rules, eliminating the need to maintain a set of pre-existing campaigns for tracking purposes.

METADATA

A program can have various types of metadata to add additional dimensions, ex: region, product line, type of marketing initiative, etc. but program tags are limited to a fixed set of values, limiting their usefulness.

Touchpoint data is set based on UTM parameters, providing more flexibility to describe channels according to your prefered taxonomy. Channel and subchannels group touchpoints according to your configuration, which can be altered and data reprocessed. Metadata about offers is limited, as only the form URL is captured.

 

Data Reporting and Visualization

 

The scenario: You’ve completed your marketing campaign, and now it’s time for the fun part— reporting on the results. Your CMO is excited to see how each effort performed and eager to know which was the most profitable...

 

See how Data Visualization and Reporting compare on Perkuto’s website.

Note: Kudos to those who have reviewed and given me feedback on this list! Juli James Jenn DiMaria Christina Zuniga

 

Overview

The job of a Marketo administrator can be difficult to define. What are the primary responsibilities? What role should you play? Who should you work with?

Depending on the size of the company, the charter will vary based on the number of users, resources, and volume of campaigns and content. In a smaller organization, the Marketo admin may perform all of the responsibilities described in this post, while in larger organizations he/she will oversee and delegate responsibilities to individuals or teams. The following will cover the core areas that the Marketo admin should focus on to be effective.

 

Sync with CRM

The Marketo admin works alongside sales operations to ensure marketing and sales data are syncing between Marketo and the CRM.  This includes determining field mapping (which fields in Marketo sync to which fields in the CRM) and ensuring the right fields are being synced to support campaigns and reporting.  Here is the section of the product docs that covers SFDC Sync and Microsoft Dynamics Sync.

 

Check out:

Top 5 Marketo Fields and Enterprise Needs in CRM too
Marketo University Video: Syncing Marketo to Salesforce
Instructions for Creating a Custom Sync Rule

Resources for Learning About Marketo-Salesforce Sync

 

 

Email Deliverability

It is important that the Marketo admin oversees and/or delegates the responsibility of making sure emails are being delivered reliably. This includes incorporating SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) into your DNS settings (this is the “official” way of letting recipients know Marketo is authorized to send emails on your behalf). In addition, it includes setting up processes to ensure invalid emails are cleansed from the system and suppressed in email sends. You should consider using email deliverability tools such as Marketo’s deliverability tool (250ok), Litmus, and/or Email on Acid. These tools come at additional cost. Here is an example of an email Litmus test, which shows how your email is rendered on different email clients, devices and browsers.

 

Check out:
Setup SPF and DKIM in Product Docs
Blog Post: How to Manage Your Marketo Database for Deliverability

Blog Post: Boost Your Deliverability with DMARC - By Courtney Grimes

 

Lead Management

The healthy management of leads is a critical component to marketing automation and business success. This includes how leads are created, tagged, appended/categorized, where they are routed, and who takes action. The Marketo administrator will be instrumental in planning and designing the lead management flow, be responsible for operationalizing it within Marketo and the CRM, and fine-tuning the process over time.

 

Two important components of lead management are lead scoring and lead nurturing. Lead scoring is the assigning of points to leads based on activity, demographic/firmographic attributes, and other characteristics, in order to help prioritize leads for sales. The Marketo administrator should spearhead the process of developing the lead scoring model and operationalizing and maintaining the model.

 

Lead nurturing is the engagement of leads through educational marketing programs that span email, web, events and sales activities to drive the leads to a sales-ready state.

 

Check Out:
Marketo’s Definition of Lead Management
The Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring
Video: How to Set Up a Scalable Scoring Program
The Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing
Marketo University: Creating and Running Lead Nurturing Programs

 

Lead Lifecycle and Revenue Cycle Model

A key component of lead management that deserves its own section is the lead lifecycle. This is one of the pillars of revenue marketing, and refers to the process in which a lead enters the sales cycle and CRM, and how it progresses into a closed deal.

 

The Marketo administrator plays a key role in architecting this process and working with sales and marketing management to define each stage. While the concept of the lead lifecycle will apply across most organizations, Marketo’s proprietary “Revenue Cycle Model” helps marketers define how leads move in and out of stages as it pertains to the marketing system.

 

Check Out:

KreweChats Discussion on Lead Lifecycle and Revenue Cycle Model
Marketo University: Building a Lifecycle Program

 

Database Management and Data Governance

In tandem with sales operations and IT, the Marketo administrator is responsible for developing and implementing strategies and processes to ensure that accurate and complete data enter the marketing database(s). Data should be verified, enriched and/or appended to support ongoing campaign and reporting initiatives.

 

To be more specific, this includes any or all of the following: deduplication, contact data verification, list import standardization, categorization (demographic/firmographic information such as title and industry), and data cleansing.

Here’s a great resource on overall data hygiene from a past Marketo Summit.

 

Also Check Out:
Marketo University: Maintaining a Healthy Database
Blog Post: Deduplication: How it Works, and When It Doesn't
Blog Post: 6 Steps to Delete Bad Data - By Jeff Coveney

 

Reporting and Analytics

While reporting and analytics may be the focus of a specific person or team, the Marketo administrator is responsible for building processes and/or integrations to get the right data into the right reporting hands. This includes building and executing a plan for tagging and categorizing marketing efforts (such as campaigns). In addition, it’s important to establish an agreed upon timeframe (this may be periodically such as on a quarterly basis, or even in real time) and data format for the reporting handover.

 

Check Out:
Analytics that Matter: Recorded Session by Jessica Kao
The Definitive Guide to Marketing Analytics
Marketo University: Standard Reports in Marketo

 

User Management, Training, and Process Documentation

A critical piece in larger organizations, the Marketo admin needs to manage roles and permissions for all Marketo users and develop training and onboarding programs. Training programs should teach users how to use Marketo and ensure governance in campaign management, data management, and reporting best practices. This includes instance documentation (reference materials and guides on how the Marketo instance is structured), glossary of terms, and step-by-step guides, checklists, and videos.

 

Check out:
Product Doc: Managing User Roles and Permissions
Marketo Fu by Joe Reitz on Youtube

Blog Post: User Roles for Large Marketo Databases - By Rob Barret

 

Martech (Marketing Technology) Strategy

With the marketing automation platform being the system of record for most revenue marketing organizations, it’s important to have a plan for success with each additional piece of marketing technology that gets added to the tech stack. This includes determining how new technology integrates with Marketo, what data needs to be passed between the systems, proper lead source and campaign attribution, and regularly reviewing martech reports such as adoption, ROI, and competitive review.

 

Check out:

5 Steps to Master Your MarTech Stack by Christina Zuniga (her presentation starts on slide 27)

Blog Post: Working with Martech Vendors - Stop Doing it Wrong - By Josh Hill

 

I hope you have found this list useful. Have anything to add? Please leave your thoughts in the comments!

If there’s one area marketers get hung up on more often than not, it’s reporting and attribution.

 

Technology is an important part of the solution. But even with the right tools at hand, attribution efforts can fail for many reasons - poor/inconsistent implementation, lack of process, dirty data, and the list goes on.

 

Marketo recently acquired  Bizible, a leading marketing analytics and performance management software (see here for a recap of that), which fills a major gap in Marketo’s functionality. Bizible delivers robust and easy-to-use marketing attribution capabilities and I suspect will ultimately replace Marketo's RCE product (which is showing its age).

 

In a subsequent post, I’ll cover the unique features of Bizible, seen from a Marketo-centric perspective; but to lay some groundwork, let’s first define what exactly “attribution” is and how it works, because this term is often (mis)used in a confusing variety of ways.

 

Understanding Marketing Attribution

 

Simply stated, marketing attribution is the process of determining which of your marketing efforts is driving the outcomes you want, like revenue. As a byproduct, attribution tools also enable you to optimize marketing campaigns, resource allocations, and your marketing budget. How do they work?

 

Technology aside, all attribution systems essentially examine the intersection of three related datasets:

  1. Marketing Efforts: all the fantastic marketing campaigns you launched
  2. Audience Engagement: the people (prospects, customers, etc.) who engaged with your efforts
  3. Performance Outcomes: the results of your efforts. Usually, this is revenue or pipeline value but could also be a metric like MQLs.

Marketing Efforts, Performance Outcomes, and Audience Engagement

When people engage with your marketing efforts then take the desired action, such as buying your product, we attribute some of that credit back to the marketing effort with which they interacted. The attribution methodology can be simple or tremendously complex, but all are based on this underlying theme.

 

Understanding Attribution Tools

 

In order for attribution tools to tie the three datasets together in a meaningful way, three primary functions must take place:

  1. Capture data
  2. Model data
  3. Visualize and report on data

To expand further:

 

Data Capture

Behind the scenes, your marketing attribution tool is tracking your efforts, engagement and outcomes. Marketing efforts and outcomes are fairly easy to keep an eye on since they are commonly recorded in your marketing automation and CRM systems (e.g., programs and opportunities). Engagement tracking, however, is another story and is where many marketing departments have gaps. The biggest challenge? Marketers need to worry about tracking both channels and offers. To clarify our terms:

 

Channels are the marketing tactics that drive engagement: paid search campaigns, SEO, paid and organic social, trade show booths—you get the idea.

Offers are what people engage with: ebooks, white papers, videos, web forms, webinars—and the list goes on.

 

(These definitions are indebted to Josh Hill, who provides further insights into channels and offers in this post.)

 

Most companies do fairly well with tracking offers but stumble with tracking channels, and that’s not surprising. Tracking channels is significantly more difficult as it typically requires tagging your digital activities with UTM parameters, translating those parameters from website visits into cookies, and then incorporating that data into your marketing automation and CRM systems.

 

Even with Marketo, this process requires a fair amount of setup and skill and typically requires a skilled web developer. And unfortunately, many teams who try to track channels usually fall short—either the required configuration is not done effectively or it’s not done at all.

 

Data Modelling

OK—data captured...check. Now your attribution tool has to store your data in a way that allows for meaningful reporting. For marketing engagement, the simplest way to accomplish this is by adding fields to the person object in order to capture the data you want to report on—lead source is a prime example. The challenge, of course, is this is a “flat” data model, making it very difficult to capture and report on multiple interactions (and multiple dimensions of those interactions) with any sort of flexibility—the data model is simply too limited.

 

Let’s step our model up a notch—you could use another object to represent each of your marketing efforts and then connect people to that object when they engage with your marketing.

 

This is what the Marketo program (or Salesforce campaign) represents: a person is connected to the marketing initiative via a junction object. (ex: campaign member status or Marketo program status). This extension of the data model opens the door to true multi-touch attribution reporting, because you can now reflect multiple people, engaging with multiple marketing efforts, resulting in multiple outcomes. 

 

And while this model is quite flexible, it does have its limitations—for example, a person can only be added to a program once, but what if someone engages with the same channel multiple times? We'll address some of these limitations (and how to circumvent them) in another post.

 

 

Visualizing and Reporting on Data

An example data flow for capturing, modelling, and reporting on data in Marketo. This program structure is relatively simple but suffers from some of the limitations described above. 

 

Visualizing and Reporting on Data

 

Now we get to the fun part: the final step in the attribution process is to visualize and report on your results. This involves calculating credit for your performance outcomes (ex: opportunity revenue) and assigning it to your marketing efforts based on the marketing engagement of the people involved in that opportunity.

 

There are many different methodologies for calculating attribution, often called “models.” A few of the more common models include “first touch” (all credit to the very first marketing engagement),” last touch” (all credit to the most recent marketing engagement), and “even split” (credit divided equally amongst all touches.) We’ll delve deeper into these and other types of models plus why you might choose one over another in a future post.

 

Cross-posted from the Perkuto blog.

When I go to events everyone in the Expo Hall tries to shove a whitepaper in my hand assuming I'll take it home and check it out later, but most of the time it ends up in the recycling bin.

 

We faced this issue for the past few years and made the strategic decision to make some of our events paperless. This forces our event staff to have real conversations with prospects before deciding which piece of content (if any) the prospect wants to receive and gives us a more unique follow up post-event (Here's that content you requested! vs. Nice to meet you last week).

 

Using two extra smart campaigns, we were able to remove our typical heavy load of paper at our booth. How did we get there?

 

1. Gather Content Requests

I have an existing lead scanning phone app as part of my Tech Stack that I was able to easily add an additional field to, but you could go paperless even if you’re using spreadsheets to upload event data.

Start with a field to capture this information. I have a string field called “Content Bundle Request” in Marketo connected to my lead scanning app field "Request Info". You could create a drop down or multi-select option in your CRM and then tie into Marketo. Within the lead scanning app, my sales team can select the content they want to share and get verbal consent from the prospect. I offer three different types of content to deliver.

 

 

Note: I have a complex back end system that determines valid consent based off of applicable laws which impacts this content request. If you decide to set up a similar paperless content request system you need to consult a lawyer about ability to gather consent because I only took two law classes in college and one was about torts #IAmNotALawyer.

 

My lead scanning app sends information to Marketo one way and cannot receive information back into the app. If someone was previously unsubscribed my sales team has no way of knowing when they submit the prospect to my system and the information does not send back into the app after the record is saved. The only way they could know about an unsubscribed prospect would be to go into Salesforce separately, which is unlikely never going to happen.

What happens if someone requests content but they are unsubscribed? I need to manage that process and make sure the prospect still has the opportunity to receive content. Despite being 'requested', we do not consider a verbal, unverifiable request transactional, so this email is not set to operational and cannot supersede an unsubscribe (<--- at least not in my opinion, consult your lawyer). In the event that someone is unsubscribed but they requested an email with content, I’ve set up a notification that goes to the person in charge of our tradeshow events. The notification’s intention is to let her know what prospect requested paperless content and the name of the employee who submitted the prospect’s interest. She follows up directly with the employee so they can sync with the unsubscribed individual to help them opt back into communications with us.

By placing the onus on the event coordinator, I diffuse any frustration from the sales team later if the prospect can't receive an email.  It also gives them a chance to have another conversation with the prospect to opt back in that gives the company a chance to regain a lost contact.

 

This notification is an easy set up in Marketo.

Smart List

Flow

Depending on the size of your organization, this might be hard to scale.

 

2. Create Your Content Experience

You could easily create a number of different emails that each have one piece of content linked within the body, but theoretically that could send a dozen emails to one prospect after the event. What works best for me is having many pieces of content “bundled” based on interest. Then we can analyze which pieces of content resonate with people based on their interaction with the email.

Even though the prospect is sent to Marketo from the phone app immediately, we don't send the email out until a few days after the tradeshow has ended. After the prospect was scanned they most likely kept walking the Expo Hall and it's unlikely that they'll check their email right then, or even read our email during the rest of the tradeshow. If we were to send the content instantly, it would most likely be ignored or deleted and the content never consumed. If you're recording this information via Excel or some other means that don't immediately populate in your Marketo instance, this gives you time to complete an upload when you're back from the event before sending out your content.

 

In the past, we sent a follow up email to everyone who met with us at our booth. Now we’re able to send a more personalized experience to people with content bundles as a follow up, providing them with the content they requested. In a separate campaign we communicate with anyone who did not request any particular content; they receive the generic follow up.

 

3. Keep Sales in the Loop

Sales wants to know which content bundles people have consumed and they never remember which email was requested for a particular prospect. Create an interesting moment that shares which content bundle the prospect requested for easy communication with your sales team.