Tag Archives: marketo

Don’t Let Bots Dirty Your Data

In many ways, robots are one of the foundations of modern luxury and comfort. From heavy industrial manufacturing to something as commonplace as vacuuming our homes, robots have been incorporated into nearly every facet of our lives. Despite their general utility, robots do pose a particular problem for email marketers. Bot traffic clogs up our databases and can interfere with the expected actions of our own attempts at harnessing the power of automation using the Adobe Marketo Engage platform.

Automated Interference

B2B marketing frequently runs into a problem where email service providers “test” links in emails as part of their efforts to categorize spam. Out of the box, Marketo lacks the ability to automatically tell the difference between an ESP testing links and a human click. Without the ability to properly discern actual, actionable clicks, your records can end up improperly triggering the actions you have spent so long planning and building in your Marketo Engage instance. 

One of the most obvious impacts occurs in the realm of scoring. Since scoring is one of the most impactful connections between Marketing and Sales, keeping everyone’s trust in the system is paramount. The false positives from the spam testing performed by email service providers could push more records into a MQL status which could in turn increase the amount of records Sales team members reject as not actually qualified. Similarly, email alerts and interesting moments generated by click throughs could be negatively impacted by common bot behavior.

Automated Protection

Marketo Engage has an option to enable bot activity filtering. However, this option is not activated by default. As a Marketo administrator, it falls on you to toggle this useful feature on. If you find yourself inheriting an old instance, we would always advise you to take a look to see if the feature is enabled, and immediately turn it on if it is not. 

Adobe recently released an update to the bot activity filter. Marketo Engage now allows two different kinds of filtering behaviors. You can either use the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) bot list or use proximity matching. Proximity matching identifies when two activities, such as two clicked links, are taken in under two seconds and considers that proof of bot activity. We recommend turning on IAB filtering in nearly all cases. Proximity matching is more aggressive in its filtering. Therefore, we typically recommend only activating proximity matching if bot activity continues to be a problem after you enable filtering by the IAB list. 

When using the IAB list, you are able to completely filter any bot activity identified by the list from being recorded by Marketo at all, but be prepared to see possible declines in your open and click rates in your reporting. Either method allows you to have Marketo log the noted bot activity in lead records. If you keep the activity logged, you can use smart filters and their constraints to filter out the bot activity from your intended audience. 

Human Intelligence Beyond the Automation

Leadous has years of experience dealing with bot activity and its deleterious impact on the Marketo Engage Platform. We would be happy to explain to you in greater detail why you should care about and how you can mitigate the problems that bot activity can introduce. While we are certainly happy that Adobe now includes native support for identifying bot activity, we have actually been helping our clients deal with it for longer than that feature has been available. If you find yourself in a place where the automated filtering still does not bring your bot activity in line, you can trust Leadous to provide you with other options and solutions.

Reach out to see what Leadous and our team can do for you.

Hire a Local Guide to Help Navigate Your Marketo Instance

Even under ideal circumstances, navigating unfamiliar terrain is a challenge. Depending on just how far out of your element you are, you can end up in a situation where even basic observations can become guesses. Is that a harmless patch of vines or is it a bunch of poison ivy? If you are wrong, you could be dealing with the uncomfortable consequences for weeks. Even someone generally knowledgeable about nature can still make mistakes if they venture into areas they have never been. To avoid making mistakes, you can hire a local guide that will make sure you avoid any rash decisions. The same is true of your company and its business decisions. Consider Leadous and its team of Marketo Certified Experts to be your local guide for your Marketo Engage platform.

Getting the Lay of the Land

Perhaps internal staffing changes mean your in-house Marketo expert left without anyone to truly take over in their absence. Whatever the circumstances, you might find yourself in charge of a Marketo instance and not know everything you should about it. An inherited Marketo instance can have a lot of moving pieces interacting with each other. Before you get overwhelmed, you can have the Leadous team perform an in-depth review of your instance. 

Our review starts from the ground up, beginning with a check of your technical setup. Did you get Marketo’s Munchkin tracking code installed on your company’s website? How about using branded domains to send your emails and host your landing pages? These might seem like very basic questions, but we make no assumptions during our discovery. We want to make sure that the foundations are sturdy for whatever advanced lead gen initiatives you have planned.

We will go on to more generally familiarize ourselves with the instance looking through the programs and campaigns in your instance. We also check in on the general state of the records in your database. We work with Marketo customers across all industries, both B2B and B2C, so we can help provide industry-specific best practices suited to your particular use case.

Producing a Detailed Map

If you want to figure out where you are and where you want to be, often the first step is to get a map. As we gather our information, we start mapping the path for your instance. Are your folders and programs named and structured consistently? Does that consistency conform to typical best practices? Do you have a center of excellence and what does it look like? What do your data hygiene practices look like? We have a standard set of areas we know are important to chart, and we will make sure to check all of them for you. Of course, if you have any specific areas of interest, you can let us know, and we will add that as a focus during our discovery.

As we begin to clearly see everything, we can start to make some recommendations about what would make your instance better. For instance, think of your folder structure and naming conventions as the trails on your map. If you are trying to hike on overgrown, unmarked trails, you can easily get lost. However, if the trails are properly maintained and have legible signage, getting around the area becomes much easier. Establishing and sticking to a standardized folder structure and naming conventions is how you maintain those trails in Marketo.

Looking Toward the Unknown

Maybe you are looking for more than just discovery. You know you need an expert’s help because you want to venture out into entirely new territory. Once we become familiar with your instance, we can recommend new initiatives that companies in your position typically implement to further leverage the power of the Marketo Engage engine. Whether you have a particular goal in mind or a more general drive to continue building out your marketing automation, we lay out a plan that gets you ready to expand your operations.

Marketo is an incredibly versatile and powerful tool. It is very capable of driving a global, omni-channel marketing strategy that gives you very granular information about your prospects’ journeys through your revenue cycle. However, that endgame relies on smaller initiatives and campaigns that build on each other and themselves. Leadous has developed a next phase marketing automation progression model audit with benchmarks that show you how to build from simple email blasts to a top of the line, best in class Marketo instance.

The audit  goes a long way toward understanding where your company fits on that model. It also identifies the steps you need to take to reach the next phases. As your company advances through the phases, they will find increased personalization for their targeted audiences, more robust reporting, and generally better returns on their marketing budgets.

Leadous Brings Expert Support

Whether you find yourself completely overwhelmed or just want an independent opinion about your Marketo instance, Leadous and its team of experts will meet you where you are. Whether that is extra man hours, access to our deep pool of specialized knowledge, or to get some training for your staff, we can help your company fill any of its present gaps. Reach out to have one of our experts talk to you about an instance review and see how you can better leverage your Marketo instance to support your marketing strategy. 

Get in touch with an expert today to review your current setup!

The 2022 Trends in Staffing for Email Platform Expertise

The approach to staffing marketing resources has always toggled back and forth between hire or contract.  Budgets and resource requirements have steadily drove the decisions of which, in 2022 that is no longer the case. With the use of marketing technology exploding and the connection between creative and technically savvy intertwines it is often hard to find the right generalist that can provide a depth of technical expertise to help initiatives accelerate. Many times those generalists teach themselves how to use platforms and end up getting things to move forward, but by necessity instead of best practice, leaving large messes for the next to clean up as soon as they can market themselves with that specific technology experience and move on.

Although the marketing technologies have done tremendous jobs at building out certification and training programs, many companies and individuals are not willing to make the investment to ensure the technology can be fully utilized and don’t understand how to evolve from a foundational approach to one that is more advanced.

We have watched the market for automation platforms over the past 8 plus years, and this is what we know.  First, it is hard to have experience in one platform and move to another without a ramp period – the platforms are not the same no matter what they tell you. Second, the companies that believe in a cross discipline approach of having marketing and technology on the same team excel. And lastly, there is no comparison to the speed of trying to troubleshoot and figure things out on your own versus seeking the advance of an expert.

So how do you accomplish this? Staff for the generalist that can help push the strategy forward, the one who understands your industry and how to connect the dots between data, content, messaging, and technology.  Next if headcount is open, staff for the email campaign and social execution resources due to sheer volume and associated cost.  Then augment for the detailed expertise. The resource you need to do the one time things and/or provide a flux of help when needed and an expert that can align with your team so if resources move on your progress won’t take a hit.

Managed services options allow clients to control the amount of expert support they need to augment their teams and drive initiatives to success.  These services include everything from troubleshooting support for execution teams, to feature enablement, to custom integrations, instance administration, and just sheer extra hands when the team can be overloaded. Usually, organizations that offer these types of staff augmentation resources offer flexible plans for hours and volume pricing to make the investment worth it, letting organizations throttle up or down based on the support needed at any given time. 

The biggest challenge in this approach is knowing  how to partner with an organization that is top notch. This list is the top 5 must haves:

  1. They are an official part of the ecosystem of the technology provider, whereby they receive advanced training and insider updates to keep their joint clients happy.
  2. They are certified.  This is often overlooked by someone who has ‘experience’ but you can’t trade experience for the breadth of best practice training that a certified consultant has experienced.  
  3. They have a long term vision or methodology of how they help their clients evolve and have customer references to back it up.
  4. They are a cultural match and easily fit like a puzzle piece with the other resources you have.  Almost to the point you feel like they are on your team and not a partner resource.
  5. They have a track record of flexibility so they can morph to what is needed at any given time and have a history of going above and beyond.

At Leadous, we refer to our managed services offering as Campaign MentorTM. These services offer support in any area that touches the automation platform. We are a 8+ year 100% certified Adobe Platinum partner for Marketo Engage and leverage the Marketing Automation Progression ModelTM to help our clients realize the value of automation.  

To learn more about augmenting your staff with the dedicated expert support of Campaign MentorTM services or to learn more about the Marketing Automation Progression ModelTM feel free to download our informational one pagers or connect with us

Preventative Maintenance for Your Marketo Instance

Everyone knows you need a trusted mechanic. We all trust this person to diagnose and maintain the vehicle we use to navigate our lives. We can often take for granted how complex the machine we depend on daily actually is. Everybody can relate to the frustration and helpless feeling when your car breaks down unexpectedly leaving you stranded. So, you go to your trusted mechanic for preventative maintenance to try to make sure you are not caught stuck on the side of the road, right? Speaking of complex engines we too often take for granted, when was the last time you had a Marketo Certified Expert audit your operation? Let Leadous take a look under the proverbial hood.

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

Just like with your car, you need to make sure your Marketo instance is running efficiently. It’s worth the time and effort to catch a problem before it becomes a mess that needs to be dealt with. So, a platform audit starts from the bottom and without assumptions. From the basic technical setup to the general state of marketable records in the database, the Leadous team wants to make sure the foundations of your instance are sturdy and ready to support your lead gen initiatives. This includes checking that your website uses Marketo’s Munchkin tracking code, making sure you are using custom domains for your landing pages and emails, and analyzing the health of your database. 

From there, our experts will familiarize themselves with your instance. That means looking through your workspace(s) at how your programs and campaigns were built and how they currently operate. We can analyze how your habits compare to industry best practices. Even if you think everything is running well, an engine can usually use some form of tune up.

A Full Diagnostic Check

Does your instance have a center of excellence? Do all of your programs follow a best practice folder structure? Do you even have a consistent folder structure, much less one that follows industry best practices? A Marketo instance has so many moving parts, it can be difficult to make sure everything everywhere is working at its top capabilities. 

Leadous will look your instance over from top to bottom. Any area where we see room for improvement, our team of experts will lay out a plan to get your company to the top of its potential. We will then take all those various recommendations based on immediate, short-term and long-term priorities and the benefit they would bring, and work with your team to refine everything into an action plan tailored to you and your goals. 

Upgrading the Engine Parts

Maybe you are looking for more than a tune up. You decided you need an expert’s help to increase the power of your machine. Once we know what’s going on in your instance, we can recommend the typical next steps to continue leveraging the power of the Marketo Engage platform. When we compile our list of recommendations for improving your current build, we will include new processes you can introduce that will enhance your marketing efforts.

The Marketo Engage system is a hugely powerful and expansive tool. Leadous has developed a phased progression model with benchmarks that build toward a full Marketo implementation for a true global, omni-channel approach that is tracking and analyzing your contacts’ journeys through your lifecycle. Think of it like putting higher and higher performance parts into the engine getting more and more power out of it. 

Our platform audit goes a long way toward understanding where a new client is on that model and what steps they can take to reach the next phase. As a company works their way up the progression model, they will see greater personalization in their campaigns, more thorough reporting, and improved return on marketing. 

Everyone Needs Some Help Sometimes

Even the most savvy at-home gearhead eventually runs into a problem that’s better solved with some professional help. Maybe the shop has an expensive tool that is not worth personally purchasing. Leadous and our staff of experts can be your trusted answer for when Marketo requires more resources than your team can currently bring to bear. 

Sometimes a company just lacks a resource for a specific project. Leadous can certainly help finish out whatever project you have planned. Other times, your company needs to learn a new set of skills. The Leadous team is well equipped to train your staff with the knowledge they need. Even a very Marketo-savvy company sometimes just needs some reinforcement of man hours for a large project. Whatever we uncover in our platform audit, the Leadous Team can help your company get the most out of your Marketo engine.

Click here to reach out to a Leadous expert today.

The Best New Year’s Resolution? Marketo Engage™ Training

With the new year right around the corner the whole office is going to be filled with folks making resolutions to ‘Sharpen the Saw’ as Steven Covey would say. Whether you call it sharpening the saw or just practicing self-care, people commonly vow to drink more water, eat better food and get more sleep. One of the more challenging dimensions of being your best self is keeping yourself mentally sharp. A great way to do that is take a course or learn a new skill.

Leadous offers plenty of ways for you and your team to freshen up knowledge, build a deeper level of understanding in a specific area or even get certified as a Marketo Certified Expert (MCE) or Marketo Certified Specialist.

  • MCE Certification Support – In 2022, Adobe’s most rigorous MCE test becomes the only route to certification. Leadous has helped people from all departments and across the country to gain certification.
  • Workshops – Give your entire team the gift of  Marketo Engage™ training in one of our signature workshops that dives deep into your company’s specific roadblocks and plans for success in 2022
  • Custom Courses – Start where you are and let our Marketo Certified Experts answer questions, provide context and advise on best practices. You determine the subject and we bring the resources and training assets you or your team needs.
  • Specialization Courses – Especially interested in strengthening knowledge in a certain area of Marketo Engage™? Currently there are 11 specializations and we can provide resources that are focused on your specific goals

1. Account-Based Marketing
2. Analytics Attribution
3. Analytics and Reporting
4. Customizing Creative Assets
5. Email Deliverability
6. Events and Webinars
7. Nurture and Engagement
8. Programs and Campaigns
9. Setup and Configuration
10. Social Marketing
11. Web Personalization

End 2021 with training that renews your team and brings recharged attention to the power of marketing automation. Let Leadous share our creative knowledge and training assets with you today. Contact Us for More on Marketo Engage™ Training

This Holiday Season Give Your Company the Gift of Sales and Marketing Alignment for the New Year

The end of the year is an ideal time to revisit your lead lifecycle definitions or build a company-specific model that brings together management, marketing and sales with the hopes of more revenue for everyone in the new year.

The lead lifecycle model is a valuable tool which is enhanced using a Marketing Automation platform to better understand how a person goes from a lead to paying customer. Each lead’s process through the lead lifecycle reveals valuable knowledge for both the sales and marketing teams, as well as management. Sales can see how many leads are in each stage and marketing can see where lead scoring and email campaigns are positively affecting a lead’s movement through the lead lifecycle. Management is able to more easily identify bottlenecks in the process that require additional resources. Let’s discover what building a basic lead lifecycle can teach.

THE BEGINNING OF THE LEAD LIFECYCLE TELL US WHO LEADS ARE
Before a lead enters a company’s Marketing Automation platform, the lead usually arrives with the minimum of data – a name, a company and (hopefully) a valid email address. To learn more about who they are, marketing starts a group of basic leads in the lifecycle by adding the leads to an outreach campaign. Marketing teams spend time focused on what channels and tactics get leads to engage and connect with sales teams. Tactics can include lead scoring and nurture campaigns which help determine more data points on who this lead is, how the lead engages with the company  and how close the lead is to becoming a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).

LEAD LIFECYCLE MODELING SHOWS WHAT WORKS
Effective marketing messaging is efficient at moving leads throughout the entire lifecycle. Marketing can use targeted messaging to help  eliminate bottlenecks in the lifecycle funnel or help leads in a sales stage to get engaged and moving again. As leads move through the marketing funnel the movement from one stage to another can be tracked to show what combination of marketing messaging works best at converting customers. For example, offering case studies of companies in similar industries to leads who haven’t yet engaged or to those that are stuck in the sales process and a reference would help move them forward.

LEAD CYCLE MODELING DETERMINES WHEN A LEAD MOVES TO SALES
Building a lead lifecycle requires that marketing and sales teams more tightly align to determine when a lead is qualified to move from a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). This conversation to define all stages of the lead lifecycle process helps marketing and sales see how they are connected and how those teams can work together to get better results and more revenue from closing deals and keeping customers satisfied.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN LEAD LIFECYCLE MODEL
A quick search will show that there are many different stages to include when creating a lead lifecycle model that works for your company. Leadous recommends that a lead lifecycle is envisioned as two connected parts – Marketing and Sales. Best practices for the marketing lead lifecycle includes stages like ‘Added to Campaign’, ‘Engagement’, ‘Connection’ and ‘MQL’. For the sales process, lifecycle stages are often defined in the following terms – ‘SQL’, ‘Qualified’, ‘Has Proposal’, ‘In Negotiation’ & ‘Closed Won/Lost’. By bringing marketing, sales and management together in Q4 a highly specialized lead lifecycle model can be created before the new year.

For assistance building a lead lifecycle model that utilizes marketing automation best practices  to effectively move leads to customers Contact Us.

Our Marketo Certified Experts can help Marketo users leverage Marketo Engage features such as the Lead Lifecycle or the Revenue Cycle Modeler.

Lead Scoring – It’s Spooky

A quick search for ‘Lead Scoring’ tells you all about the methodology of assigning leads points for their demographic and behavior data to better qualify people for sales teams.  Adobe has ‘The Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring’ and countless other docs to tell you what and how. They all agree and so do we, that without automation and CRM integration lead scoring is a nightmare! This spooky season I want to share more eerie, spine tingling stories of ghostly lead scores that decay, scoring models brought back from the dead and leads that never die, they live on as lifelong customers.

Ghosts and Decay
A simple first step for implementing lead scoring is to initially grant points for specific demographic and firmographic data. Marketing teams are often stuck at this level of scoring and scoring models are abandoned because a solid scoring model needs more data. To build a robust lead scoring system a company needs to account for behavioral data as well. Marketing Automation platforms allow for tracking how the lead interacts with company communication. It also allows for tracking when a lead stops interacting with the company and how long it has been since the lead showed interest. In other words – how long have they been ghosting you? If a lead hasn’t interacted with the company, hasn’t opened emails or visited your site it’s time to implement score decay and begin to subtract points from their lead score. This insight helps sales teams filter which leads are responsive and which are unresponsive.

Leadous Brings Scoring Models Back From the Dead
Many companies have some version of scoring in place but lead scoring is a dynamic process; it requires constant attention or it dies.  Refreshing your existing lead scoring process produces the most current and effective lead scoring model. It allows marketing and sales to collaborate on the Ideal Customer Profile and strengthens alignment between the teams as they work toward a common goal.   Leadous will help you maximize your efficiencies, develop a strong lead generation strategy and build out your lead scoring capabilities to bring your current system back from the brink of death or help you iterate your model so it works for today.

Leads that Never Die (They Just Live On as Customers)
Lead Scoring models are built to qualify leads so that sales can start conversations with the most qualified leads and eventually turn those sales accepted leads into opportunities, but often these leads are lost to marketing once sales is involved. By utilizing marketing automation and CRM integration in lead scoring, marketing teams can track the quantity and value of their work from the first moment a customer raises their hand throughout the entire sales process. By tracking the amount of MQLs that turn into SQLs, marketing can prove their effectiveness and provide efficiencies for their sales team or uncover opportunities to redefine the Ideal Customer Profile or the entire scoring model. The best leads don’t die, they live on as your best customers.

Want more information on starting or re-starting your company’s lead scoring program contact us now or visit our Resources page.

The Customer Is Always Right, Especially If You Overcommunicate So They Can Never Be Wrong

The Role of Marketing Automation for Customer Service Teams

As you know Marketing Automation plays a crucial role in the sales and marketing world, and automation in the customer service space can be a way to drive new value from your investment in a marketing automation platform like Marketo Engage. Since this business function is key to driving overall growth and developing deeper relationships with customers and other partnerships within your organization we have highlighted some areas where you can optimize your marketing  automation platform to increase customer service response and deepen engagement.

  • ConsistencyAs we all know it can be a challenge to constantly engage in a meaningful way with customers.  Marketing Automation facilitates an overall cohesion across all communication which increases brand trust and builds customer loyalty. 
  • PersonalizationBased on how people are engaging and where their interests are, Marketing Automation can personalize content, trigger product suggestions, suggest solutions and customize an experience based on each individual’s preferences or areas of interest. 
  • MeasurementBuilt in reports and key measurements that tie back to the success indicators help build a story and create deeper customer engagement opportunities.
  • ResponsivenessMarketing Automation makes it easy to be more responsive so customers are not left unaddressed with their questions or changes in interests.  Triggers can be set up accordingly to respond throughout a customer’s lifecycle.  
  • GrowthAs organizations grow, attention to each customer is key.  Marketing Automation can scale with your growth and become increasingly adaptive to the changes your customers experience with their unique needs.  

Have any questions about how to leverage Marketing Automation to drive Customer Service and take your success to the next level? Contact us.

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The Marketing Automation Progression Model: Phase 0 – Experimental

In our last blog post we covered the Marketing Automation Progression Model, detailing the phases advancing marketing teams go through when leveling up their marketing strategy. 

For this post, we’ll dive into Phase 0, which often starts before any automation even comes into play: Experimental. 

Often organizations come to us with a vision and a reality check. The vision is marketing dominance, with a clear dotted line showing the influence of a specific marketing campaign to closed business. The reality? Something far murkier. 

Sometimes it’s misaligned sales and marketing teams getting in the way. Other times it’s processes that do not tie into systems across the full MarTech stack. Sometimes it’s simply a lack of clarity around strategic direction or a lack of understanding of the tools and tactics to get you there. 

Whatever the challenge, in order to progress to advanced marketing automation, you need to get your teams aligned under a more efficient, strategic approach. That means your marketing leadership needs to commit to moving beyond batch and blast campaigns, aligning goals with sales leadership, and investing in the technology you need to drive demand.

Once that commitment is there, you’re ready to get started with the experimental phase of the model. You’ll start by outlining 6 items:

              1. Goals
                Your team needs to align, across marketing and sales, with what success looks like for your marketing automation campaigns.
              2. Belief in the Possibilities of Automation
                Automation is going to power your more advanced marketing campaigns, so you’ll need to make sure you have the internal commitment (in budget, time and resources) to get the foundations built.
              3. Team with Technically Curious Marketers
                The people behind the process and technology are arguably the most important piece to successful marketing automation. Without the expertise and muscle to drive your strategy and tactics, you won’t be able to bring advanced marketing campaigns to life.

              4. Campaign Initiatives
                Start with an idea of what you want to achieve in your marketing programs on a campaign level for more detailed campaign KPIs.
              5. Content Strategy
                In order to fuel the success of these campaigns, you’ll need to map out content that aligns to your sales funnel and overall goals.

              6. CRM Database and/or Target Accounts and Customer Lists
                Without an audience to target, you’ll have no one to send your campaigns to, so a clean CRM database and/or target accounts list is key.


If you are new to marketing automation or lack marketing automation experience on your team, make sure to secure a partner to navigate through the experimental phase so you can lay a strong foundation for the rest of your marketing automation journey.

In Leadous’ Marketing Automation Progression Model, we support your team through this phase with key services including Campaigns On-Demand and Automation Evaluations to give you the strong foundational components and data driven metrics to build a strong case for the investment in automation that will measure the success of your demand generation efforts and create ROI. 

For more information on our Marketing Automation Progression Model, contact Leadous

The Marketing Automation Progression Model: Going from 0 to 100 Digital Marketing Execution

Every business needs to start their digital marketing journey somewhere. Maybe you’re just dipping your toe into marketing automation by procuring a tool like Marketo. Or maybe you’re on the opposite end, with too many tools, and too much complexity across marketing systems. 

No matter where you are on your journey, Leadous has put together a Progression Model to help you increase efficiencies and drive opportunities in your pipeline.

Successful businesses know that in order to execute with focus and effectiveness, you need to know two key things about your marketing journey:

  • Your base level marketing performance (where you’re coming from).
  • Your strategic marketing and sales goals (where you’re going).

By establishing these two things, you’re well on your way to more strategic, efficient marketing campaigns. We call this journey the marketing automation progression model, and here’s more about what that looks like. 

The Leadous Marketing Automation Progression Model

PHASE 0 – Experimental – Prior to Adoption

The journey to leveraging the power of marketing automation always starts here. Have you been only doing batch and blast emails to one huge email list? This is the place for you.  Make your budget dollars go further by driving efficiencies across programs. You’ll need to start by laying the groundwork for automation with your technology stack, scheduling out time to measure and adjust regularly based on the findings, and outlining a strategy for your long-term marketing goals and processes. 

PHASE 1 – Foundational – Single-Point Engagement

The next key foundation of your marketing automation progression is integrations. If your CRM and marketing automation tech stack aren’t talking to each other – you’re still relying on manual processes and the whole “automation” piece of marketing automation will fall flat on its face. By building out your foundational CRM integrations, you can then start to build out repeatable basic programs and campaigns leveraging more comprehensive automation technology.  

PHASE 2 – Expanded – Multi-Touch Nurture

Once you’ve got the automation machine humming, it’s time to solidify marketing and sales alignment to make sure you’re all marching toward the same goals. Once you’re speaking the same language you can get to work planning, building, executing and managing complex multi-channel campaigns to increase revenue and marketing results. 

PHASE 3 – Advanced – Predictive Engagement

After your multi-channel campaigns are in place, you can start to use that information for more advanced, predictive campaigns. Advanced automation takes time and patience to reach. You need to have a solid marketing and sales funnel with data you can trust in order to make actionable decisions. From there, you can optimize your revenue acceleration model using advanced reporting and predictive data to fuel advanced strategies like ABM and predictive web and email content. 

PHASE 4 – Global – Omni-Channel

Finally, truly omni-channel marketing programs tie marketing spend to revenue to show the full lifecycle of marketing attribution in your funnel. This phase enables you to use predictive modeling to forecast marketing-influenced pipeline, and better adjust and track marketing KPIs globally across all multi-touch and predictive campaigns. 

Next Steps 

So how do you go from phase 0 (or maybe even phase -1) to phase 4 in your marketing automation programs? Well, it takes people, process, technology and patience. 

  • People – The right staff with the right mixture of competencies to support the technology and process.
  • Process – A clearly outlined process for the handoff between your MarTech stack systems and the different teams that support those systems.
  • Technology – The right technology to support your company’s ever-expanding needs.

At Leadous, we take care of the people, process, and even the automation technology to get you all the way to marketing automation dominance. Contact us for more information on how we can help your organization level up through our marketing automation progression model. 

5 Engaging Email Examples from Marketers Meeting the Moment

As the world turns increasingly digital, we’ve seen marketers pivot their plans to meet the moment. In our last blog we covered in depth how marketers are pivoting from in person events to webinars, and why the need for virtual events will likely never go away from here. 

We’re also seeing an increase in email marketing over the last few months, which isn’t surprising. Email is a direct line of communication to your subscribers. Whether you’re talking to prospects, customers, or even employees, your emails allow you to get front and center in the inbox for the chance to have their full attention. 

How you take advantage of that position to engage and serve your audience is what we’ve been watching closely. Across businesses, email marketers are rising to the occasion to create communications that provide value to their subscribers, with empathetic messaging, creative and engaging designs that capture attention. 

Leveraging our knowledge on email deliverability and marketing automation as a service, we at Leadous are passionate about sharing tips and tricks with our audience to better the digital experience. 

Here’s 5 of our favorite recent engaging email examples from savvy email marketers.

1 – Feather uses creative design to offer a WFH solution

Source

Feather is meeting the moment by providing a very relevant business offering – rentable home office furniture – and packaging it in an easy to digest, fully 100% mobile email that’s downright pretty to look at. 

Their email ticks the boxes of empathy and trying to highlight their business offerings that will appeal to subscriber needs. They make a point of highlighting contactless delivery, a discount and the need to serve in the email, making sure that they’re leading the message with care. 

2 – SurveyMonkey leads with listening

Source 

In this email, SurveyMonkey is leading with an empathetic message that focuses solely on resources related to the pandemic. 

By cutting out any superfluous content and sticking straight to the point on how to stay informed about public perceptions, get templates to survey your own audiences and even receive discounts for customers who may be struggling, they’re making it simple to follow the call to action, while increasing brand loyalty by not coming across as tone deaf. 

3 – InVision re-engages customers with helpful product tips

Source

A part of speaking to the moment is making sure current customers understand how to best utilize your product or service during a changing environment. That’s what InVision understood when they sent out best practices and examples on how to use InVision Freehand to collaborate remotely. 

Of course, the email is also well structured, full of examples and custom product imagery that tells a story, and short, concise content with simple calls-to-action that also help keep it engaging. 

4 – Webflow stays short and to the point

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We love a good virtual event, and maybe even more, we love a good virtual event email invite. 

Webflow keeps their invite short and to the point with custom imagery that brands the virtual event experience – so you know exactly what you’re signing up for before you’ve even clicked the link. 

By connecting a topic that’s currently top of mind – remote work lessons learned – with a catchy webinar theme that also speaks to a need for connection in an increasingly virtual world, Webflow is making sure they stay relevant and interesting to engage their subscribers. 

5 – Asana stays relatable

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By leading off their newsletter with a personalized note directly from an Asana employee describing their own remote work transition, this email hits all the high notes on making a personal connection with the subscriber. They’re leading with relatability. Asana makes a genuine connection and then follows it up with helpful tips and tricks for remote work. 

From there, the email is bright, in brand, and concisely structured so you can skim for the high points and click through to their website. 

During unprecedented times of uncertainty, it’s clear that smart email marketers are leading with genuine, helpful messaging. 

Ignoring our current situation in your emails is only going to come across as tone deaf when the way we work and live has been turned upside down for the foreseeable future. Taking the moment and using it to deliver something good, or helpful, or just informative will engage your audience far more, and for far longer, than any other quick email fix could. 

For more guidance on how to build engaging emails that build community during uncertain times, reach out to Leadous, with our new badge accredited by Adobe as a solution that solves a strategic problem, we’re glad to help. 

The Impact of COVID-19 on Email Marketing

We’re well into months of remote work from the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all the uncertainty of what will happen next, it’s clear the old way of doing business, and really business globally, will likely never be the same. 

As we all shift to our “new normal” ways of work, one constant that our team has been relying on, along with the marketing teams we support, is email. As a platinum-level Adobe partner and a Specialized Marketo Certified Partner, we found ourselves leveraging email more than ever to  communicate, offer support, and simply connect with our existing customers in new, personal ways. 

After looking at some of the data that has come through on email marketing in the times of COVID-19, it’s clear we aren’t alone in our reliance on email. After digging in, here’s a few trends we found. 

Email sends increased during the early stages of the pandemic.

We’ve seen a huge spike in emails related to the coronavirus pandemic during the first few weeks of stay-at-home orders in the United States. Just look at this chart from Sparkpost showing the increase in coronavirus-related subject lines:

Email engagement increased. 

The good news is that mapping to that increase in sends, we saw an increase in email engagement. According to Grit News, some email marketers have seen anywhere from a 5% open rate increase to a 30+% engagement increase. One of our clients successfully sent  4X the number of emails monthly which has led to 300X the previous engagement level among their audience. 

Messaging has become an even more delicate balance.

With or without a pandemic, the golden rule of email still applies. Send relevant content to the right people at the right time. During times of crisis, there’s a lot more pressure on what relevant content (and good timing) will mean to your audience. In recent research from MarketingCharts, they found that 79% of marketers were somewhat concerned (52%) or very concerned (27%) about “making missteps that may harm their brand image.” 

No one wants to be the brand sending tone-deaf messages to an audience already going through impossible circumstances because you forgot to turn off a smart campaign or didn’t adjust next month’s newsletter content to fit our current realities.

Thankfully, we’ve seen some great examples of thoughtful, engaging communication in the last few months. They’re empathetic and clearly composed, and they offer real value to the audience.

Deliverability challenges were rampant.

Understandably with uncertainty, some businesses overshot and sent too many messages to audiences they may have not communicated with in a long time. Marketo and other providers did send out helpful guidance on managing your reputation and inbox placement during unprecedented times of email volume.  Much of this was spurred by quick changes in team members and emails hard bouncing.

Depending on whether you are on your own or shared IP, there are risks in sudden spikes or dips in email volume. Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with your email deliverability situation and make sure you have a strategy and are staying consistent. And as always, you should have an email strategy to weed out people who have not engaged with your email content for some time.  Leadous does offer a special program focused on this process specifically.  

What’s Next

As we enter the next phase of the pandemic in the U.S., we’re likely to see new trends in email and marketing as a whole. However, it’s reassuring in a time where not much is certain, that email is here to stay and the guiding principles remain the same:

  • Be empathetic in your messaging
  • Understand who your audience is, what they’re looking for from you, and how that aligns with your brand goals
  • Don’t overstay your welcome in the inbox

Keep those in mind through every campaign to make sure you’re providing shared value to your audience. And as always, if you’re looking for more insights into developing your email strategy now and in the future, contact Leadous

Three Key Components to Accelerate Growth with Marketing Automation

According to Forrester, marketing automation spend will reach $25B by 2023. With more than half of all businesses already using marketing automation, and the other half planning to, It’s clear that marketing automation is a mainstay for the modern marketer. Particularly growth-focused marketers. 

In order to scale operations, at some point growth marketers’ need to automate some of their work. As your business grows, often so does the workload on your marketing and sales team. 

Whether it’s working to automate lead qualification, nurturing prospects, or cross-selling and up-selling into an existing customer base, marketing automation makes those processes more efficient and effective. 

But marketing automation is more than just the tools that power it, it’s about the people and strategies that govern those tools. In order to truly accelerate growth – you need all three components in your business to reach success. 

The Right Marketing Automation Toolkit

A carpenter is only as good as his (or her!) tools. And in the carpentry of marketing automation, this couldn’t be more true. Without the tools that make sense for your business case, it’s going to be difficult to get your marketing strategy off the ground, no matter how brilliant your strategy or your team really is.

Marketing automation tools can be extremely powerful, or extremely cumbersome, depending on what your goals are, and how you want to get there. One of the reasons we work exclusively with Adobe + Marketo, is for its power and ability to scale from small and medium businesses up to huge enterprises.

Marketo marketing automation allows you to efficiently streamline and automate personalized one-to-one experiences for your business use case, from email to social media to digital ads to website content experiences to SMS text messaging, the list goes on!

Getting the right capabilities setup in your marketing automation system can be difficult at first, with tools like Marketo, you have a lot of customizations to choose from depending on your business needs. Choosing a partner to help you onboard, implement and integrate successfully is key. From there, ensuring you have the support and reporting to tune up your instance will only further ensure your success. 

A solid, cohesive marketing + sales strategy

Once you have the right tools in place, or even before if you’re in the process of selecting the right platform for your business, you need a clear strategy in place for your marketing automation that aligns across marketing and sales. 

Without knowing your current state, and the direction you’re headed, you can’t prescribe the right marketing automation mix to get you where you need to go. Making sure that destination jives across both marketing and sales makes both sides of the house happy. 

Ultimately, both marketing and sales want the same things: more leads, more revenue. Agreeing on the plan and the way to get to that goal makes both of your jobs a little easier. This is another area where a trusted partner can step into help. As a third party advisor, they can look with fresh eyes at both sales and marketing operations, what’s working, what’s not, and help to nail down how the two can better work together to reach their ultimate goal of revenue growth. 

The right people to rule it all

Once you’ve got your tools and strategies in place, you need the right people to make it all work. This is where a lot of companies struggle. The marketing automation field is a hot one, and it can be difficult to find the right talent with the right skillset in your company. 

But without people to build, monitor, report on and adjust your marketing automation toolkit, your growth will be stunted. Technology without people can only get you so far. 

A partner with a proven track record in your marketing automation platform (or the ability to help you choose the right platform for your needs) is key. By working with a partner, you can scale up or scale down the support you need, whether it’s a full marketing automation team that builds and improves on your programs, just ongoing support, or a bucket of hours to focus where you need them. You can scale up or scale down the support you need when you need it, to ensure your programs stay fresh and are helping you grow. 

Overall, the key to any successful marketing growth strategy goes beyond the technology you need to make it all work. Of course you need the right technology that will give you the tools you need to achieve your plans. You also need an aligned strategy between sales and marketing. And you need the right people to manage and improve on it all. 

Leadous, an Adobe campaign and Marketo consulting partner, can help you optimize all three of these components in order to accelerate your growth. Check out our full suite of services designed to build the custom Marketo journey for your business, and let us know if you’re interested in learning more! 

Work Smarter, Not Harder, with Marketing Artificial Intelligence

It’s no secret that today’s marketers are constantly being asked to do more with less. As consumers get more and more savvy, the demands on businesses to provide increasingly personalized, tailored experiences continues to grow. 

But the hard truth is there’s only so many hours in a day. Marketers can’t be expected to create personalized experiences that will speak to the situation of every potential consumer. We need a way to work smarter, not just harder. 

That’s where Artificial Intelligence (AI) steps in. According to Marketo, Marketing  AI “advances and accelerates marketers’ ability to transform from one-size-fits-most marketing, to delivering value through deeply personalized communication at an individual level instead of volumes of interruptions that leave consumers exasperated.”

Here are three ways AI can empower marketers to better personalize your outreach, without taking up all of your waking hours. 

Bucket consumers into the correct programs

By inputting your criteria and goals, AI can bucket your broader consumer base into segments that fit their stage.

Personalize your content

AI can help to tailor the content themes and messaging to each individual, so the right message is being received at the right time on the buyer journey.

Maximize your data

By gathering, and learning from, your audience data, AI will continue to improve on personalized experiences. This means you’re continuing to optimize your marketing processes without all the manual work. 

As customer expectations continue to grow, marketers need a way to work smarter. AI takes the manual work out of campaign optimization to make sure you’re exceeding customer expectations by providing the right message in the right channel at the right time. 

So you can focus on providing insights and tracking campaign success, instead of the manual program tweaking that takes up much of the marketing automation strategist’s time. 

If you’re looking for more guidance on implementing Marketo AI in your marketing automation strategy, drop us a line! We can help make your Marketo campaigns work smarter for you. 

 

 

Rounding out the year (and the decade!) at Leadous

With only a few more weeks left in 2019, we’re taking stock of our whirlwind of a year as a preferred Adobe and Marketo Partner. 

In the last year we’ve grown bigger, and taken on more epic projects than we ever could’ve dreamed of just a few short years ago. We’re so grateful, especially during this holiday season to be working with the industry’s best and brightest. 

So in case you missed any of it, here’s just a few of our highlights from the last few months at Leadous.

Achieving Marketo Engage Specialization Partner

Our biggest honor to date was receiving the Marketo Engage Specialization from Adobe’s leadership team, an achievement given to the few who have reached the highest level of Marketo expertise. 

Marketo Acceleration Certification Partner

Leadous was also awarded the rare Marketo Acceleration Certification in our commitment to provide everything you need to design and deliver exceptional digital experiences for your end customers. These combined accomplishments position the team to be among the top Marketo experts in the world.    

Solidifying our Commitment to Customer Success

Specializations and certifications are not just great for our virtual trophy case, they also help us to better serve you, our customers. By highlighting our best-in-class Marketo solution practice, we’re better positioned to get you a direct line to the latest education, best practices and updates coming out of Adobe/Marketo. And you can always trust you’re in the hands of 100% certified experts architecting, configuring and managing Marketo Engage to drive results for your business.

Leveling up our Team of Experts

On that note, we’ve celebrated more Marketo certifications among our team of consultants this year than any other! With numerous MSAs, MCEs, and MCSAs added to our certs roll call, our team is leveling up to be able to provide you the best Adobe/Marketo experience you can find. 

Taking That Expertise on the Road

From donning our 80s best at the 2019 Business Excellence Gala, to talking all things #smarketing on the Twin Cities Startup Week Panel to the Adobe Conference and beyond, we’ve taken our special brand of Leadous expertise on the road to share best practices, and hear directly from you about what you’re prioritizing in your digital marketing.

It’s been a fabulous year, and decade, for Leadous. Thank you to our entire team of experts for sharing your time and talents with us, and to our customers for trusting us to transform your digital strategies, we can’t wait to see what next year brings!

Is Lead Generation as a Service Right for Your Organization?

Are you considering outsourcing a portion of your marketing automation operations? You’re not alone.

According to a study conducted by Marketo & Ascend2, 75% of successful marketing automation software users outsource a portion of their marketing automation strategy.

And it’s no surprise why. In today’s market, it’s difficult to find and retain top marketing talent. It takes serious skill to manage marketing automation operations, and not every organization has the time and budget to recruit and train for those skills.

That’s where Lead Generation as a Service (LG-AAS) comes in.

LG-AAS changes the way marketers look at the world. At Leadous, we partner with Marketo to bring best in class automation into organization’s hands, so you can see results from your lead generation strategy without the headache.

Our LG-AAS process takes a crawl, walk, run mentality. We give organizations the ability to fill all of the gaps, test, refine and plan for an expanded use of Marketo and its powerful features to drive digital demand generation.

What type of organizations see value from LG-AAS?

We work with organizations from B2B to B2C to maximize their marketing automation systems and drive results without the hassle of managing operations day in and day out.

  • Are you finding it difficult to recruit the right team in your budget to manage marketing automation operations?
  • Would you like to focus more of your time and efforts on results instead of processes?
  • Do you need to get tools setup quickly so you can start seeing results?
  • Are your revenue goals closely tied to your marketing demand generation?
  • Are you having difficulty scaling up your marketing operations to meet sales goals?
  • Do you often work with agencies or other vendors and have experience managing them?
  • Do you want to implement marketing automation, but need to take a methodical approach?

If you’re nodding to one of these scenarios, LG-AAS is for you! The key to success in marketing automation is driving results. So if your organization isn’t in a spot to drive those on your own quite yet, LG-AAS could be a fit.

Let us lead you to better lead generation. Contact Leadous today to learn more about our LG-AAS offering.

Transforming Consumer Engagement using Marketo (and Leadous!)

Today’s consumer is marketing savvy with high expectations for the brands they choose to engage with. Your business has a limited amount of time to make a good impression, and much of that impression relies solely on marketing.

Most of the research houses estimate that between 60% and 90% of the buyer’s journey is now completely digitally self-guided.

Marketing automation is really the one, efficient way to transform that digital journey and keep customers engaged with your brand. In this post, we’ll talk to Marketo’s consumer marketing solution, and how Leadous can help your business find, engage and retain consumers by implementing a smart, holistic marketing automation strategy.  

Find your people

Any good marketing campaign starts with a targeted list. You need to know who you’re marketing to, where they’re finding your brand, and how they want to interact with you. Once you can figure out where they are (and where they’re coming from) you can incorporate targeted messaging in Marketo to deliver meaningful experiences.

Omnichannel engagement with personalization

Marketo allows you to follow your customer from your website, to social media, through emails, on to content, the list goes on! If it’s a marketing channel, Marketo can track it. By connecting the dots between your various marketing campaigns, you’re able to make sure you’re providing a consistent, cohesive digital experience that your consumers will enjoy and not be annoyed by.

Create brand advocates to increase the lifetime value of the customer

Once your opportunities convert, the journey doesn’t have to stop! Continue the conversation with customer nurture programs to make sure your consumers are becoming loyal brand advocates (and hopefully being inspired to buy more products or services from you as a result!).

Track revenue driving metrics

Data is what keeps the marketing automation machine humming along. With a unified view of the customer, and the marketing activities driving consumer engagement, you’re able to also report on what’s actually working to drive acquisitions, and what the lifetime customer value really is, so you’re able to improve on results as you go.

Looking for more tips on improving consumer engagement and providing a holistic digital experience for your buyers? We’d love to help lead you to better, smarter, consumer engagement campaigns. Contact us today!

Your Next Easy Win with Marketo? Just Add Social.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy button to press that will instantly bring your organization more leads. However, there is a lead generation strategy with the kind of “just-add-water” simplicity that will make your marketing more effective… Just add social!

Social media is an easy win for any business today, especially those using Marketo. Whether you’re a B2C, B2B or even B2E shop, social is a foolproof way to improve lead generation effectiveness.

More than 2 billion people in the world are active social media users. If you’re not tapping into that audience, you’re missing out! Taking advantage of social is extending the conversation you’re already having with your subscribers into other arenas to reinforce your brand messaging.

So as Marketo users, how do you segment and tap into the billions of social users to drive actual revenue? Here’s a few tips and tricks from our social team!

1) Add your social channels to your Marketo instance & take advantage of Marketo reporting

The golden rule of marketing automation is measure EVERYTHING. Social is no exception. If you don’t have the data to look at to tell you where you are and what’s working, how can you determine what to do next? Luckily, Marketo easily integrates social metrics into your marketing reports. Make sure you’ve got yours linked up and are taking a look at the data so you’re locked in on just the activities that drive ROI.

2) (Re)target your social (both paid and organic)

In order to be successful in any marketing campaign, you need to know who your target audience is. Make sure you’re mapping out your target personas (and the social media platforms they use the most) so you can tailor messaging directly to their needs. And don’t forget about Audience Hub – which connects customer behavioral data to social ad platforms for more personalized messaging.

You can also retarget your social engagers with email to extend and reinforce your marketing messages across platforms for an omnichannel approach. Make sure you’re promoting your web and email content through social to get those audience members into your Marketo nurture campaigns and converting into leads.

3) Make it shareable

With social, you’re not only trying to reach and influence your followers, you’re trying to reach the coveted followers of followers. Make sure your content is shareable – try to balance out how much you are promoting your own brand with educational, fun, or other interesting content that’s irresistibly shareable. And don’t forget to add the built-in Marketo social media sharing buttons to all your content and campaigns, it’s another “just add water” easy win!

4) The “Just Add Water” mentality (AKA don’t be afraid to recycle content)

Social is a continuation of the conversations you’re having with your audience on other platforms. Don’t be afraid to recycle and repurpose bite sized graphics, quotes and other nuggets of content from your current library to extend the life of the content, and not add undue stress on your marketing teams. Keep it simple (and keep measuring) then retool from there.

Social media is an easy win for Marketo users to improve effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Are you using social with Marketo? We’d love to help you check off this easy win.  Contact us  today with your questions!