How to Make Your Marketo Emails Smarter

How to Make Your Marketo Emails Smarter


Are you using Marketo’s dynamic content functionality to personalise your email and landing pages? Targeted and customised content might sound time intensive; however relying on Marketo’s segmentation and dynamic content functionality can really eliminate a lot of the heavy lifting, making personalised content quite straight forward and simple from an execution perspective.

Why bother with personalised content?

Well, because “Hi {{lead.First Name}}” only gets you so far and hardly counts as personalisation these days. 🙂 Custom content is always better than batch and blast content and, honestly your emails shouldn’t be “one size fits all.” Make sure your content stands out and that it’s relevant to each and every recipient. If you’re wondering if this really makes a difference – think about your own inbox… do you bother opening, let alone clicking through emails that aren’t relevant to you? If you’re still skeptical, here’s some data around the lift of personalised content.

How to execute dynamic content, efficiently

Firstly, the goal is to create an experience that’s customised for your reader, at that moment. The key to the effectiveness of your content is it’s relevancy. So, start in your source of truth – your CRM, your data warehouse, or whatever you’re using and take a look into what you have to work with. Next, get this identifiable information into Marketo (crucial step!) and ideally – keep this in marketing’s range – you really don’t want to have to rely on IT each time you want to run personalised campaigns. For those using Marketo with Salesforce, or Microsoft Dynamics – huzzah! You can probably skip this step as Marketo’s already aware of what’s stored in your CRM thanks to native sync integration. 🙂

The example I’ll jump into below is quite simple; but don’t think you need to stop here! There are many ways to customise your content with Marketo, whether you’re using their out-of-the-box functionality I’ll describe below, or integrating dynamic content via Marketo’s APIs. However, when building segmentations – keep in mind the data/field values you’re collecting for new leads, ongoing. This will ensure your segmentations will be used for a range of campaign types and by a range of your Marketo users.

How-to build your segmentation and apply dynamic content in Marketo

Let’s say you’re keen to personalise your campaign assets by Job Role. With the identifiable data (fields) in Marketo, build a new Segment in Marketo’s Lead Database. NB: this functionality is not available for Spark users.

For role profiling, I’ve broken the possible segments as CEO, CFO, or CMO (based on the role types that exist in my database) and prioritised the order. Your prioritisation order is important in case members qualify for multiple segments – Marketo will assign a lead to the highest priority segment, not multiple segments within our Segmentation. You’ll note Marketo has added a ‘Default’ option which will apply for any leads who don’t fall into my defined segments.

New Segmentation

Next, build the rules which will qualify your database to be included in your segmentation. Hint: this is just like building a smart list in Marketo!

e.g. “CEO” segment: Job Title contains ‘CEO’ or ‘Chief Executive Officer’ or ‘chief executive officer’ and so on… 

When happy with your rules, Approve your segmentation’s draft and wait. Marketo recommends allowing 24 hours for the system to calculate/qualify your database. After your Segmentation is approved, you’ll see a green tick next to your segments and you can begin personalising your emails and landing pages via Marketo’s editor(s).

Approved Segments

From the email editor, select a static element of your email > right-click > choose ‘Segment By’ and select your (approved) Segmentation. This element will now be listed under ‘Dynamic’ on the right-side menu of the editor and you can now begin personalising content for each segment.

Dynamic elements in Marketo email editor

When you’re happy with your content changes – don’t forget to Preview a Draft and check your content for each segment as well as send sample emails. Tip: I usually keep a cheat-sheet handy for email addresses that belong to each segment I use on a regular basis so that I can send samples as these leads to confirm my content is indeed personalised and everything checks-out before I approve my email.

Handy, right?! One single email asset, personalised for multiple recipients. I’d love to hear how you guys are relying on segmentation & dynamic content currently. Or, if you’re keen to get started but looking for help with the planning or execution side of things – get in touch!

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