The #1 Forgotten Thing in Marketo That Could Compromise Marketing’s Impact

Chris Johnston

For years, marketers got away with creating beautiful advertisements, amazing copy, and that was about it. There was no way to know what worked, and sales took the credit for closing the deals. 

Of course, times change, and now marketers can prove their value with attribution. There are countless blogs and articles on attribution, why it’s important, and if multi-touch, last touch or even first touch makes the most sense for your business. Today, I want to focus in on Marketo and Acquisition Program.

The Missing Piece

As a consultant, I get to work in a lot of different Marketo instances, and when I get into a new system to complete an audit, build a campaign, or even just poke around to… understand a client’s setup, one of the first things I do is look at some of the System Smart Lists in the Database section of Marketo, including “No Acquisition Program.”

Inevitably, I find that 30-80% of the database makes it on to that smart list. I think about how those names got lost and can’t be used by the marketer to prove that they are doing their job.

Without the Acquisition Program, reporting is compromised and can’t be used by the business to know where to invest more money into marketing, because there is no way to prove what worked and what didn’t.

The Solution

So how does one avoid this list? Well, it is simple, yet easily overlooked as at times, Marketo automatically sets the Acquisition Program for you. If you read through the Marketo Product documentation for Understanding Program Membership, it states that: “When a new name enters the system as a program member, Marketo automatically sets that program as ‘acquisition.’ This establishes credit for First-Touch attribution.”

The issue with that statement is that it isn’t always true. And there are several cases where you, in fact, need to create a program to set a program acquisition as new leads and contacts enter your database. Those scenarios are:

  • Embedded Form – As the name suggest, this is a Marketo form that is inserted onto your website

  • CRM Inserted Lead – A lead that comes from your CRM instance, like Salesforce, first

  • API Inserted Lead – A lead that comes from another system via an integration

  • Post to Marketo Form – A lead uploaded directly on aMarketo Form on a Marketo Landing Page

  • Manually Created Lead – A list Upload

It is often the first two scenarios that trip people up the most. When you switch from creating a form on a Marketo Landing Page to embedding it onto your website, creating a program to set acquisition often gets overlooked as one of the crucial steps. And if you send BDRs or other sales staff to work event booths and allow them to upload the lists for follow up directly into the CRM for them to sync over to Marketo, you have just lost out on getting your credit when those deals close.

And so Marketers, it is time to remember, when you are doing anything to earn names into your database, ensure that you will set your Program Acquisition, and keep your “No Acquisition Program” reports at bay.


About the Author

Chris Johnston

Chris is a martech solutions architect with a decade of marketing and sales management experience. He holds more than a dozen marketing certifications, including Marketo Certified Solutions Architect, Google IQ, American Marketing Association Certified Marketer, and HubSpot Inbound Marketer.

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