Marketing Ops Survival Guide: 10 Marketo Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

May 16, 2018 | Rick DeCosta

Marketing automation is the engine behind modern marketing, connecting carefully crafted content to expertly orchestrated demand gen campaigns, all with the ultimate goal of funneling the best leads to sales.

While marketing automation is the glue behind successful marketing and sales organizations, the Marketing Ops person, responsible for keeping the engine running, is often working in an MA silo all day.

In between creating batch campaigns, working with data enrichment tools, and brainstorming new tutorial videos, there’s barely time to research new ideas to up your game, let alone find other marketing ops folks to swap ideas with.

Well have no fear, lonely marketing ops manager, we’ve got 10 hacks to help you optimize your Marketo instance to stay ahead of the curve and make your ops life less stressful.

1. Utilize the power of a static list

You have 6 separate emails coming up that you need to send out to different segments of your database within the next 3 days. How can you ensure that members of your database don’t receive more emails than they should’ve from your instance during that time frame? Enter static lists: your new best friend to make sure buyers aren’t inundated with messaging from your different campaigns all at once.

Using proper segmentation in your lists is key, but also using a static list could be your fail-safe if your communication limits are set at a high amount per week.

Using static lists in Marketo is invaluable on weeks where we have a lot of different email promotions occuring. It’s a way of giving us some peace of mind and satisfaction to ensure that members from different segments won’t receive any additional emails unless they’re actually intended to, protecting the relationship we are building with prospects that is built on only serving them information that will be most useful at the optimal time.

If you create a static list to add all email recipients to after the initial email was delivered, you can then use the “Member of list” filter in the smart list portion of your campaign to suppress those members in the list who already received an email within that time period.


Learn more about how to build and use static lists here


2. Use the results tab in a smart campaign

The results tab in a smart campaign is the marketing ops perfectionist’s best friend. When utilized correctly, it can ensure that your campaign members successfully went through all of the required flow steps within your campaign.

The panic of missing an issue within a campaign is common to most marketing ops folks, but the failsafe of the results tab can bring you some peace of mind.

At SnapApp we routinely realize an issue occured thanks to the results tab, and are able to address it efficiently and effectively. Sure, you can go in and track a lead’s individual activity through Marketo’s lead database, but if you’re looking for specific actions pertaining to an individual campaign, the results tab will be your best bet to get to the bottom of what’s going on.


Learn more about smart campaign results here


3. Create nightly batch campaigns to keep your data clean and up-to-date

Creating some basic nightly batch campaigns in your automation system is a great way to ensure your data stays clean. And the best part? They’re pretty much a set it, and forget it type of deal if you set them up correctly.

At SnapApp, we have nightly campaigns set up that change a member’s lead value for our country and state fields if they used abbreviations instead of the full name. We do this because if the member’s state information is abbreviated, it won’t sync over to our CRM (Salesforce) in our current setup, and we are losing the all of the value of future interactions as we work to efficiently nurture leads and personalize an experience for today’s buyers.


This is an easy way to help Marketo spot check your data and support your marketing and sales team in making sure that all the behind the scenes work that goes into nurturing a lead isn’t lost because of data issues.

Learn more about creating batch campaigns here


4. Use a data enrichment tool

Your marketing, marketing automation, and sales efforts are only as effective as your data is clean. If you feed in bad data at the top of the funnel, from broad marketing efforts and feed that into Marketo to ultimately share with sales, you are shooting yourself in the foot before you start.

Consider implementing a data enrichment tool like Siftrock to make sure that all the hard work your marketing team, you, and ultimately sales will be doing isn’t wasted by hounding a lead with cold calls who actually wanted to unsubscribe from your communications.

At SnapApp, we’ve been using Siftrock for about a year now, during which we’ve seen the platform have a huge impact on validating the data within our instance. Siftrock is used as a tool to cross-check email responses and validation from your automation system. If a member responds back to one of your emails requesting to unsubscribe, you can set up workflows that will automatically unsubscribe that member in your Marketo instance without you actually having to do any manual work. Here you can see the kind of data collected and shared between Siftrock and Marketo:


Armed with this kind of information working to support our Marketo instanced and ultimately CRM means we can spend our time nurturing the leads that actually want to interact with us!

Check out Siftrock and other tools like it to see what might be the right fit to help you keep your data squeaky clean here


5. Archive old assets

Your grandma’s reminders about cleanliness being next to Godliness were not only correct, but very applicable to your Marketo instance!

By archiving older assets in Marketo, you can clean out outdated programs, landing pages, and other assets within your marketing activities and design studio areas. This feature definitely helps if you have a lot of one-off campaigns hanging around, or if you need to do some general clean-up within your instance.

When you archive a folder or a program, it is no longer searchable through Marketo’s auto suggest feature — you’ll only be able to find the assets through a global search instead.

At SnapApp, we only keep assets live within that were created within the past year, anything older than that then we’ll stick it in our archive folder. This makes it much easier to navigate and locate current assets.

Learn more about archiving assets in Marketo here

6. Use proper naming conventions

It’s every seasoned marketing ops manager’s biggest pet peeve: always, always always use a proper naming convention with all of your asset types.

This holds true for emails, landing pages, programs, smart campaigns, engagement streams, and even images uploaded in the design studio. By using proper naming conventions, and maybe more importantly, educating your team on your naming conventions significantly reduces the time it takes to find something within your system.

If you’re currently using naming conventions by just calling something “Newsletter Email” then good luck finding it a few days, let alone weeks from now when you’re looking to clone it out in the future. Instead, try to stay specific with a time frame so it’s easier to remember for you and the rest of the members on your team who are using your system. Try “EM 2018-05-14 Customer Newsletter” to stay specific instead. It may seem like a tedious task, but it will be worth it in the long run.

You can check out what Marketo suggests for best practices here


7. Protect your sanity, train your team

All marketing ops vets have been there — the panicked calls, emails, and slacks from your team when you’re out of the office trying to enjoy your Caribbean cruise: We need to send this urgent email!! What do we do??

To protect your sanity and your time, it’s always best to train at least one other team member in your automation platform so you’re not going in solo.


You don’t need to do training with weeks and weeks of 8-hour long sessions, but it’s always helpful to sit down and show team members the basics like how to segment a list, or send out an email blast if needed. I like to use Camtasia recording studio to record my screen and share quick tips on how to do specific tasks within our Marketo instance. By recording a tutorial, you’re saving yourself the work of having to attend meetings and train new team members over and over again. Just send them the video file instead.

Over time, you’ll build up a library of video tutorials for your team that will not only cover yourself while you’re on the beach enjoying some sun, but will also serve as some very helpful content when you have a new member to onboard into your system.

8. Use the Marketo Events app to help check registrants in at events

You were just told the line outside the venue for your networking event is now backed up all the way down the street. You’re not planning on using that Excel list to check everyone in individually at the door, right?

For those that didn’t know, we’re about to make your life way easier with this magical Marketo hack: Marketo has a cool tablet event app to check people into your events that automatically syncs back to your instance in real time.

Instead of searching for individual names in an Excel sheet you can simply use the event app, find the registrant, and click the “Check-In” button to change their program status within your event program in Marketo. It’s easy to use, and totally change your event registration game. Plus, I bet you will be your events team’s new favorite person.

Learn more about using it here


9. Create a history field to append notes to a specific field

This is a great trick to make sure you’re not losing data through hard won via targeted content marketing.

Have you ever had existing values in a field that you don’t want to be overwritten? Creating a history field allows you to keep multiple responses for a specific field if your prospect interacts with the same piece of content more than once.

This solution is one that we use very frequently at SnapApp, especially when syncing new result answer values over from interactive content, where we are often asking deep qualifying questions that could be answered in many ways like the example below. Here you are looking at a question in one of our most popular whitepapers, What is Interactive Content?


As an important piece of anchor content, we often see prospects interacting with it more than once, therefore they will be answering this question more than once. It’s not hard to imagine why a sales rep would want to know that they had previously answered this question with a “no” and then in their most recent interaction instead chose “maybe”.

Elixiter has a great example showing how to get this useful feature set up in your own Marketo instance.


10. Try using tokens in email subject lines

Everyone wants to feel like communications were meant for them specifically, and using tokens in email subject lines are a great way to personalize a message.

While running some A/B tests with our emails, we found at SnapApp that we achieve a much higher open rate when we use the leads actual first name or company name. Even though the email is still clearly coming from an automated source, it makes the recipient feel like the email was actually directed towards them instead of just thinking it’s another marketing promotion email.

Learn more about using tokens in Marketo here


Improve your automation game

It’s no secret that a well-oiled marketing automation system can be a game changer for both marketing and sales teams. As the marketing ops person, you are on the front lines of this back and forth, and it can be tricky to keep all the balls in the air and continue to hone your skills.

Hopefully some of these Marketo life hacks will improve your team’s efficiency and outcomes–let us know what you’re excited to try in the comments below!

We know the marketing ops life can be lonely, so don’t forget to subscribe to get more real talk from your marketing ops friends here at SnapApp.

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