Save Time with Marketing Automation and Marketo
Updated August 24, 2019

Save Time with Marketing Automation and Marketo

Josh Hill | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Marketo Lead Management

Overall Satisfaction with Marketo

I use Marketo at Perkuto, but mostly for our clients where I implement their lead lifecycle and marketing programs. Most firms are using this tool in Marketing and Sales departments. The service helps B2B marketers manage large volumes of lead records, report on the sales funnel, and provide rich behavioral data to Sales. With Marketo (and with other marketing automation tools), it becomes easier to automate the sending of emails, email lead nurturing, and data management. The goal of the tool is to have an automated, fully reportable sales funnel.
  • Lead Management - Marketo has a variety of tools and workflows to adapt to your business process.
  • Salesforce Integration - Marketo has a tight SFDC integration that helps marketers manage leads and align with the Sales process.
  • Revenue Cycle Analytics - with this add-on, Marketo provides full visibility into ROI and sales funnel metrics.
  • Implementation - Marketo is a powerful system, but it comes out of the box fairly blank. Marketers need to plan out their lead lifecycle and workflows well in advance of signing a contract or turning on the switch.
  • Basic Reports - these are helpful, but limited. The sales funnel is not fully or automatically reported without the RCA package.
HubSpot is ideal for smaller firms, although it is targeted at SMBs and even enterprise. The content creation functions are excellent, however, it lacks many of the lead management tools and nurturing tools Marketo has. If you are going to be serious about nurturing (beyond drip), Marketo is a better choice.

If your team is focused on PPC and SEO and is part of a smallish firm, HubSpot is probably your best bet. If you are part of a larger firm with a fairly large database (over 30,000), and you are preparing to ramp up nurturing and lead lifecycle, then Marketo is more likely to help you. As I tell everyone on Twitter, it’s about what you need more than “which one is better?” Which one is better for you?

Remember to use your brain during the RFP process. Don't rely on vendor materials (and I mean all vendors). Think about your business process and sales funnel first. Think about Marketo as a catalyst for change and prepare that in advance of any vendor selection. Then go to the vendor and ask them about all the features you need and how they would build out your process. Be prepared to do the heavy lifting or to bring on a consultant to build out the first phase.

Marketo is well suited for B2B firms with more than 30,000 records that are moving toward, or already doing, content marketing.

Adobe Marketo Engage Feature Ratings

Learnings & Advice

  • Automating replies to inbound leads.
  • Screening trial requests and routing MQLs to Sales or Nurturing
  • Automating data cleaning
  • Saving 1900 man-hours/yr with just basic automation.
  • Scaling up nurturing systems for drag and drop updates
  • Scaling up footer and script changes for emails and pages.
  • Automating webinars
  • Lessons: have a plan before building anything.
    • Walk through everything with your sales team to get buy in.
    • Always build in scale to avoid rebuilding things later.
    • Take advantage of the APIs and plug in tools to handle things like email reply management and data management
    • Batch campaigns > Triggers == you don't have to do everything immediately.
    • Scoring - does everything need to go to Sales? Think hard about this and the methodology for determining someone who is ready to go to Sales.
    • Add Ons - best add ons are API Calls, Sandbox.

There are so many!
  • Use engagements as a set journey (doesn't matter if it is by Stage or Segment) to pour leads into Streams and let them run. You can do this with ABM or Prospecting, or just nurturing. Watch it when you replace emails with new assets as it will reactivate leads.
  • Manage Privacy Rules - you do need to be creative with marketo. Totally possible to setup cookie opt out as well as GDPR compliant processes.
  • Custom Objects and SFDC Custom Objects - if you have a complex system or add ons, these objects can extend your ability to segment your lists and send more targeted emails. Manage people by Product, Opps, database linkages, or even survey results.
Plan everything before you sign the contract.
Have your funnel mapped out and ready to go.
Don't use this to batch and blast. Use it to scale and automate.
Start small: don't try to achieve full funnel channel-offer attribution on Day 1 - it will NEVER happen.
Make sure executives understand this is a 1-3 year journey to build a great system.
As the first Level 10 (300k pt) contributors, I can say that the Marketo Community is THE BEST place to search for advice on how to achieve a marketing system or goal. Someone has done it before and you should check and the Nation before giving up. Marketo CAN do almost everything you want if you think carefully and leverage it as a workflow processor and not just an "email tool".

I have definitely learned how to manage unique data transformations, token scaling, etc from reading articles here.
  • Data Management: good for small size databases, consider more scalable tools with the API if you want heavy duty deduplication and data enrichment.
  • Continually reduce triggers - does that email HAVE to go out in 4 seconds?
  • Use batch flows to manage your list to clean hard bounces, left company, etc.
  • Connect tools like Drift and Siftrock and automate the data to flag Customer depatures to CSMs, and clear bad data, as well as push highly engaged leads to an SDR in seconds.
  • Don't use it for Surveys - use Survey Monkey and take advantage of Custom Activities and Objects
  • Events - with Sky's improvements and scalable marketo program templates with tokens - YOU CAN absolutely run almost every kind of event, including 1-1 meetings with just out of the box Marketo. Yes, it takes some thought and skill. There are great examples on the Nation and on blogs of agencies like Etumos and DigitalPi, and You do not have to buy Eventbrite or Cvent unless you need payment processing or are running multi-day, multi session user conferences. You would be surprised what I've done with the right coders and planning.

Using Marketo's core features

  • Channels
  • Programs
  • Email Templates
  • Forms
  • Landing Pages
  • Smart Campaigns
  • Lead Scoring
  • Lead Sourcing
  • Segmentation
  • Lead Nurture
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Engagement Nurture programs are the best automated feature of Marketo. Once you set them up, they run by themselves and you can drag in content easily on a regular basis. Does take a bit of thought, which I've written about to make this easier.
  • Email Delivery reports (Email Performance Reports) - great tables of what occurred when sending an email or overall delivery rates.
  • Email 2.0 - the module system is a huge leap forward and if you can create a great Master Template, you can empower marketers to be self service and rapidly push out emails.
Guided Landing Pages launched a few years ago, however, I was unable to take advantage of them until I had a coding team. They function exactly how marketers imagined they should:
  • Module insertion as needed within the same design.
  • On/Off switches for modules and additional components.
  • Enables Multi Select pages in unique designs.
  • limits ability of marketer to break the page.
I'm usually the one helping others!
I'd say the Community is a great resource for all people. I've definitely learned hidden secrets from other Marketo pros.

Key things I've learned involve Race Conditions, Request Campaign use to manage Order of Operations, etc.

Others will find help related to Lead Source, Lead Lifecycles, and Setup.
From other demos and use of Email Service Providers, Marketo's workflow and nurture options are far more powerful and easy to use than HubSpot or Pardot. The marketer has much more control on how and when things occur, along with clearer Automation.

Marketo has a powerful lead lifecycle funnel system, but it does require a lot of thought and setup to provide the funnel transparency the CMO wants.
Tables. Everything you can do in Marketo can be summarized in a 4x4 table.
Journey Sessions

Benefits of using some of Marketo's core features

I used paired fields of First and Most Recent Lead Source. Then I managed those with SFDC Campaigns and Program Channels to build up the dataset to understand First Touch and Last Touch. This system is documented on my site and will also provide a set of touches if you have the right reporting tool.
List Purchase
Each organization is different. I use the Program Channel Statuses to do error checking, count review, etc. If you are using the full Lead Source/RCM system, then you will use those to manage Success touches and First Touch. I've done that too and it works well if you've taken the time to carefully setup each step.
It's great. I'd love it if Marketo's Segmentation feature did 250 segments, but 100 isn't necessarily a big issue.

Most people will use Smart Lists which function well if you know your database fields, values, and are careful not to make them 20 steps deep.
We created an Emailable Segmentation to rapidly run our campaigns against standard permission rules:
  1. Not Marketable (bad, invalid, unsubscribed)
  2. Verified
  3. Unverified
  4. Default
This could be a long article!
Smart Campaigns=Workflows. They are the core of making Marketo work for you. For example, Lead Scoring will have a trigger of Clicks Link in Email and it will let you choose all or some emails that are sent. I typically let that run 1x / hour to avoid over scoring.
Smart Campaign concept is common across MAPs. I would say that Marketo's Schedule options differentiate it from other tools because Marketo allows more nuanced scheduling as well as lets you easily see dozens of flows in the system at once. Other tools will tend to hide the running flows so you have a hard time seeing how each one works together.
Forms 2.0 are very easy. Very reliable. Largely block spam attempts as well for most B2B firms.
Forms allow us to scale quickly with standard fields and look and feel and then drop them in. We can change a form once across dozens of pages in many cases.

Adding hidden fields is a must for tracking lead source or unique situations.
Wow, dozens of course. Tend to create either a Master or scenario based:
  1. event invitation
  2. webinar invitation
  3. thank yous
  4. general promo
  5. customer promo
Templates empower marketers to create emails on their own without coding experience while staying within brand guidelines and email best practices.
They help us generate emails faster instead of coding from scratch.

Using Marketo

  • Webinar Automation
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Data processing
  • Email
I know Marketo well and it serves well. Marketo is always growing and is very responsive to its users for the roadmap.
  • Time Saved - my biggest wins are in the time saved routing leads, data deduping, data management, and reporting.

Evaluating Marketo and Competitors

  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Vendor Reputation
I've purchased or used Marketo at many organizations. Marketo has consistently provided a solid combination of features and usability for typical marketers to do their jobs faster. For example, while Eloqua has the process chart UI, Marketo provides single flow steps for each kind of campaign that are much more extensible because they can be used to do a lot more.
I might ask more questions about implementation and real costs of support.

Marketo Implementation

Marketo Support

Support Team cares about outcomes and will work to get the right thing done.
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Need to explain problems multiple times
Yes - When I ask Marketo Support a question, it is a highly advanced, engineering issue for the most part. I don't tend to have the same basic questions, so my experience isn't the same as a typical user.

I do pay for premium support to ensure fast response times (which are baked into each Support Tier) and the ability to go deep with the team.

I know there are some other Marketo users who likely say that Support isn't responsive, etc. That's not actually true at any Support Tier. I do think that a lot of useful knowledge is on the Marketo Nation Forums and that there are many custom options that users don't fully understand cannot be handled by Support Team (javascript, etc).
Yes - Yes, bugs once discovered are resolved.

Timely is open to interpretation here. Given the scale of Marketo's systems, I would say that bugs are resolved in a reasonable timeframe depending on the severity level.

Using Marketo

Most marketers can learn to use Marketo quickly for daily tasks like getting an email out or building a webinar system. However, there are a lot of steps involved, so people tend to say that Marketo isn't "easy" for that reason. A good Marketo Expert can take away alot of those steps for daily use.
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
Lots to learn
  • Basic setup
  • Webinars
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Landing Page Building
  • Data transformations
  • Complex lead routing