Intro To Marketo


I recently had the opportunity to work on Marketo which is a B2B Marketing Automation platform. Marketo came into existence around 2006. It’s a major player in the enterprise B2B space and it shares the space with similar tools like Salesforce Pardot and Oracle Eloqua.

In 2008, Marketo introduced its first product, Marketo Lead Management, followed by Marketo Sales Insight in 2009 and Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics in 2010. In April 2012, Marketo completed its first acquisition by acquiring Crowd Factory, which enabled the company to integrate social media marketing capabilities into its application suite.

Marketo was acquired by Adobe in 2018 for $4.75 billion.

There is a tremendous amount of consolidation happening in this space and Marketo’s journey bears a testament to that.

As someone coming from a Salesforce Marketing Cloud background which is more about individual customer journey(B2C), my journey into Marketo was slow and tedious 🙂 .

If you are coming from an SFMC background, hopefully, this blog will give you some quick insight.

If you do not have a martech background, I hope the intro should still give you a good starting point.

Getting into Marketo

The best way to get access to Marketo is through corporate alliances that your company may have. Once you get to access it’s pretty straight forward. It’s a cloud-based setup and you will access Marketo through a URL. Marketo does not provide sandbox access to individuals.

Marketo Administration

Marketo has standard user management features. It supports users and roles.

Along with that it also supports audit trail for assets which would be handy when working on assets as part of a team.

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Marketo starts with Leads

In the world of Marketo, everything revolves around leads. How do we get leads in Marketo?

CSV import or sync with CRM systems. Marketo supports syncing with Microsoft Dynamic CRM and Salesforce and a ton of other systems with appropriate connectors.

Microsoft Dynamic CRM and Salesforce are the two most popular CRM’s that are integrated with Marketo.

What is Synced-Salesforce?

The following objects are synced:

  • Lead
  • Contact
  • Account
  • Opportunity & Role
  • Campaign & Members
  • User & Lead Queue
  • Task/Event
  • Custom Objects

The sync with Salesforce is bi-directional with a 5-minute interval. A lead in Salesforce can be passed into Marketo and once the lead has gone through the campaigns and nurtured to a promising state it can be taken up in Salesforce through the lead sync.

Some terms to know in the world of Marketo

Lists allow a marketer to organize a collection of leads. There are two types of lists within Marketo, static and smart. A static list is a fixed set of leads that a marketer can add or remove as they choose. A smart list is a dynamic collection of leads based on a set of designated characteristics. An example of a smart list would be “All leads who have an abandoned shopping cart in a website.” This smart list will continue to grow.

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Campaign Folders are at the top level which can be treated as folders. Within campaign folders, we can have programs and smart campaigns. Leads are added to campaigns. Anything smart means dynamic and based on parameters it will update.

Remember the trio of Program-Event-Campaign. As it pretty much all the structures in Marketo revolve around this.

There is three types of programs.

  • Engagement
  • Email
  • Event

A stream is created within a program. We set cadence to each stream after associating an email or event to it. For example, we can create streams like an early stage, medium stage, close to conversion and in each of the streams we can create a cadence to send emails, have a certain wait time and trigger various actions.

Leads belong to a list

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What are the channels?

  • Email marketing is used for sending emails. Marketo has a dynamic content capability.
  • Support A/B testing.
  • Marketo natively doesn’t support SMS. Nothing similar to the mobile connector mobile push within the tool.
  • Marketo supports landing pages and forms. We can create custom Marketo object and use them to populate data through Marketo forms.

Design studio in Marketo would be very similar to the Content Builder of SFMC. Marketo landing pages and forms would be equivalent to cloud pages.

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Marketo Forms

Marketo supports a  simple interface to create forms. Intuitive and mostly drag and drop.

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Marketo Email Design

Template based email design.

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Channel Orchestration

Marketo Flow is the closest thing to Journey Builder. It can be used to

  • Send Email
  • Call Webhook
  • Wait
  • Take account based actions

We can create a flow within the Marketo campaign. Flow supports drag and drop of various activities from a panel. Where marketers can create a sequential set of activities for leads.

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Marketo API Support

Marketo exposes a REST API which allows for remote execution of many of the system’s capabilities.  From creating programs to bulk lead import, there are a large number of options which allow fine-grained control of a Marketo instance.

These APIs generally fall into two broad categories: Lead Database, and Asset.  Lead Database APIs allow for retrieval of, and interaction with Marketo person records and associated object types such as Opportunities and Companies.  Asset APIs allow interaction with marketing collateral and workflow-related records.

You will need access to the Admin menu and Launch point.


Marketo Analytics and Lead Nurture

Marketo provides standard email engagement metrics. It also supports filter based reporting. Reports can be delivered based on different frequencies. Users can subscribe to reports to find out how many leads are at which stage of the revenue engagement cycle.

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