Audience Segmentation – Beyond Demographic Breakdowns

Recently a colleague requested help in making sure that they are not overwhelming their audience with emails. He is running a combination of one-off drip campaigns, full engagement engine programs, webinar promotions, in-person live event, promotions for new products,  newsletters, and major product updates.  He has applied communication limits but is there a way to automate this further?

Identify your leads and customers

It is very important to classify the different groups of individuals inside your marketing/CRM software.  Some lump the groups together at an account level and decision maker level. My suggestion is to actually focus on account engagement level. To do this we will map out the different potential groups based on account demographics, SFDC type (lead/contact), Engagement Level, Sales Stage, and Age of Lead.

Building the Groups


  • Not opened email in 90 days
  • SFDC type Lead
  • Account name is not = key account names
  • Opportunity no closed/won


Unengaged Past Clients

  • Not opened email in 90 days
  • SFDC type Contact
  • Account name is = Key account name
  • Opportunity is not open
  • Lead Stage is not greater than MQL


Lookalike Client Audience

  • Not opened email in 90 days
  • SFDC type is Lead
  • Lead Stage is not MQL or greater
  • # of employees – (similar to accounts)
  • Industry is (similar to accounts)
  • Region is (similar to accounts)


Engaged Prospects

  • Opened email in 90 days or Visit web page any in last 90 days
  • SFDC type Contact or lead
  • Account name is = Key account name
  • Opportunity is not open
  • Lead Stage is not greater than MQL


Prospects/Clients in Process

  • Lead Stage is great than SQL
  • Lead Stage is not “In Conversation”
  • Opportunity is not closed/won
  • Opportunity is opened in last 90 days


Recent Customer

  • Opportunity is closed/won
  • Opportunity is updated in last 7 days

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Managed the content strategy per group

Now that you know where the individuals are in their purchasing journey you can build a content plan to help move them further down the funnel. I recommend digging deeper into each group’s different personas. This will help to create the 1to1 conversation that will continue with your sales team. To get to this data look at the channel the individual came in through, what offer did he or she take action on, what have he or she has done since then?

*Always keep in mind the leads are individuals especially when you pursue Account-Based Marketing.  You will need to build secondary groups for net new names to key accounts and build unique content nurtures for these individuals. This is a high-value client, and each new person from the organization is important for the final approval of the product/service. As best you can try to get as specific to the individual’s focus, for example, Senior Finance executives will want to know more about the cost, the success of the organization, future funding, what type of risk will this purchase have beyond monetary. 

Each group is important including individuals who recently closed. To combat buyer’s remorse the nurture of new clients must be transparent of your products and services. Use this opportunity to put your product in its best light and provide the client with the confidence of the recent purchase. Provide them a channel for feedback or questions. 

Automate the distribution

Now that all the different groups have been identified you can start with very basic engagement engines which to promote all programs/content. Transition rules can be applied to these engines to move individual starts to engaged with the sales process you can move them into the appropriate stream.

By leveraging a nurture stream you can promote to these groups all relevant content (newsletters, ebooks, webinars, events), keep it automated and prevent over communicating to these individuals. Individuals can only be in one stream. If they do receive the email outside of the engine they will not be sent the same email again when inside the engine.

Assign individuals to different streams as they are entered into the system will allow you to better manage communications to individuals and not cause over-communication. All relevant product and offerings can be communicated to your audience at the correct point in their journey.
Please keep in mind this is a very simple version of identifying the different stages your clients might be, drilling in deeper to specific needs, and wants can add more personalized offers and communications. Always strive to get as niche as you can without losing repeatability of your process.

Prepare your data for advanced email compliance

Disclaimer – This post is meant to help marketing professionals prepare their data for future audits. This is not an official recommendation on how to manage your data going into GDPR, but a suggestion to supplement your data with additional date/time information, in the case of an audit. 

About GDPR

The EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will be going into effect in May 2018, now is the time to start preparing for this new regulation. GDPR will affect any organization that is doing business/engaging with prospects inside the EU. This does not necessary mean the individual has to be EU citizens, he/she just is located within the EU.

The GDPR is more than CAN-SPAM for Europe. In addition to email permission, this new regulation will require more clarity into how an individual’s data is being used/transferred for digital advertising. Organizations must provide clarity into the use of site tags, cookies permission, and any advanced marketing tracking technologies on its web property.

To learn more about GDPR visit here.

Clear Permission

As with any good practice, GDPR will require double opt-in your subscribers for any marketing communication. This includes customers of your services/product. The new regulation makes it clear that individuals who purchase a service or software will not allow companies to automatically opt the individuals into the promotional database.  If you currently are using an opt-out process there is a need to update your data permission flags and create an automated method to collect individuals unique subscriptions.

Net New Names – Automating Subscription Process

Below is a step by step example specifically for Marketo system, both the New New Name Trigger Smart Campaign, and Historic Name Batch Smart Campaigns should be within on default program folder. This will allow you to use all the same forms. You can also keep all reports within this one operational program.

Before you build the actual program lets make sure the groundwork is complete:

  1. Build new fields – You will need several date fields. For example:
    • Date of Opt-in Stamp,
    • Confirmation of Opt-in Stamp
    • Confirmation Date of Opt-in Stamp
    • Date of Expiration,
    • Date of Renewal,
    • Date of Opt-Out
  2. Build Field Opt-in History field – Stamp the date of opt-in and the opt-in field data to this one field
  3. Forms – Subscription Center that has clear terms and condition policy, no pre-check permissions

Once the fields have been created, let’s focus on the stamping program. This will require a smart campaign with:

  • Smart list Logic:
    • Filled out form trigger (this can remain empty until you build the form)
  • Flow step is
    • Data Value Change – Date of Opt-in Stamp the new value is system date token and time
    • Send Confirmation Email – Verifying their subscription
    • Wait
    • Data Value Change – Confirmation Date of Opt-in Stamp the new value is system date token and time


Within your forms there must be a Country field. Add the condition if they select any EU member country the opt-in fields appear. These fields can not be prepopulated with a checkmark.

When the form is submitted the action is to send a confirmation email and to a confirmation landing page, thanking them for filling out the form.

Historic Subscriptions -Reconfirm

Identify the number of leads you have in the EU. This group will need to have confirmation to subscribing and dates supporting their subscriptions. This group will receive a batch program inviting them to opt-in for communications from your organization.

Depending on the size of this list, I suggest you break the list down to 3 to 4 groups. Spreading out the email sends will help you make adjustments to the communications, hopefully, improving the performance of the campaign as you.

Here is the suggested program set up:

  • Smart List
    • Country is – Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Spain, etc
    • Unsubscribe is false
    • Email Invalid is false
    • Black List is false
  • Flow steps
    • Send Email
    • Wait
    • Data Value Change – Date of Opt-in Stamp the new value is system date token and time
    • Send Confirmation Email – Verifying their subscription
    • Wait
    • Data Value Change – Confirmation Date of Opt-in Stamp the new value is system date token and time

These programs will need to continue to run. There will need to be period check in similar to CASL which will confirm the lead is still interested in receiving communications. A best practice is every 9 months.

Privacy Policy

An extremely important part of GDPR is the privacy policy. It must be clear what individuals are signing up for. To just putting a clause such as “By completing this form I agree to the privacy policy” which will hyperlink to a page written in league jargon. It must be 100% clear what you will be doing with the individual’s  information.

For example, if an Individual enters their information for a contest, but the purpose was to add them to your marketing database. You must state by submitting to this content you agree to be marketed to by xyz company.


The final element is cookies/ad tracking.  I  suggest you include a lightbox on your website that appears at the top of the page. Within the lighbox, clearly, state why you are collecting their data via advertising/marketing tags with a hyperlink to a page that allows them to understand how to turn off cookies while they browse.  Make it clear by turning off specific aspects the user experience will change.


First Time Marketing Automation Technology – Check List

If your experience with technology is similar to mine you will find that consolidating some of your marketing technology is important. For me, I was trying to replace my ESP (Email Service Provider), move my database in-house, and be able to perform basic list churn reports.

So before you go too far down the MAP research rabbit hole answer:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • What are the most important features of the software?
  • What are you trying to measure?

Once you have answered these questions it is time to start requesting demos. This process seems to be the same across all software technologies and can take up to three weeks. If you have a list of requirements, and send that to the vendor, double check through a demo that the client does actual meet the requirements. This process can be frustrating because of the length of time it takes. Always remember that you control the conversation as you are purchasing the product.


Email communications in MAP are more powerful than ESP options. Understand before you decide on a MAP:

  • How do you plan on communicating via email?
  • Are you segmenting your list based on models of similar buyer persona’s or is this a “blast”?
  • Is the goal to do small nurtured drips for specific sales reps? Or long-term nurtures?

By knowing your intended strategy, this will help you identify the correct software. Some technologies are really great in the short term, traditional B2B sales nurture, while others are great for long-term/brand development nurtures.


MAP platforms do work off of a database, but the database structures change depending on the service provider. Make sure to keep in mind:

  • Is your database very simple?
  • Is your database very dynamic?
  • Will Marketing be managing data or IT?
  • Are you currently connecting your data to a CRM?
  •  If you have an existing CRM will the MAP integrate nicely with the system?
Understanding how your data is structured, and how you will continue to manage your data is very important in this process. Once moving onto a MAP you will be able to clearly see your data quality and identify bad data very easily. Making sure ownership of data is clear so you can improve and clean data as needed. This again will lead to better performance of your MAP.



Understanding how your marketing campaigns are performing, attributing lead to contact conversion to specific marketing initiatives, are all features that MAPs can provide. When it comes to analytics, keep in mind:

  • What information are you trying to learn?
  • What metrics will you need to measure?
  • What information is not relevant to measure for your organization?

Understanding what you want to measure and share with your organization is important. Some systems do not provide specific reports, in these cases will the platform allow to connect to other systems?

Once you have all of these questions answered you are ready to truly dive into all the Marketing Automation Platform research.



Discontinue your Status Team update Meetings

There are many types of meetings you can conduct with your team including: status updates, project meetings, brainstorming, or team building.

For a long time, I conducted my marketing team meetings as status updates to keep everyone up to date on what others were working on.

After conducting these meetings for several years, I realized we were using this time inefficiently.

Once the team was established and had clearly defined roles and individuals goals, I realized how inefficient the team status update meetings became. The team knew what each member was doing and they became driven to complete their objectives; frequently meeting in subgroups to make sure key projects and tasks were being completed. The status update meeting became more of a political meeting in that team members became less engaged with updates as they were already aware of the items from the subgroups. I frequently would see members of my team pull out their cellphones, which in my opinion is a failed meeting.

It will be harder to identify this with a virtual/remote team. If communication among the team is strong, they will lose focus and not pay attention to the virtual/remote call. We frequently found when presenting to the sales team, which was mostly remote, the engagement in presentations was less than 50% for some. These individuals would keep the call on mute and work on emails or search the web while key items were being presented.

How do you turn this around?

  • Clearly defined roles
  • Have clear communication between team members
  • Introduce new products or procedures
  • Request your team brings problems they are having so others can offer help
  • Use video to keep remote pariticipants engaged
  • Use this time for team building or group learning like:
    • – Inviting your staff to break up the stress by playing creative board games that require them to think, yet get them to relax and develop as a team

It doesn’t matter the size of the organization, meetings are a challenge. Just remember to keep the meeting goals clear to the team, and try to have some fun!

Marketo top add-on surprise features

Working as a consultant I have met with different clients who were not aware of some of the additional features they needed to purchase from Marketo. This post address the top add-on surprises features.

Dedicated IP Address vs Shared IP Address

What is your current email volume? If you are sending over 2 million emails per month it is recommended you purchase a dedicated IP Address.  Anyone sending below this volume you might want to use the Shared IP Address.

Dedicated IP Address warming

If you are moving forward with purchasing dedicated IP be advised there are two ways to warm them.  Either you warm the IP address yourself or pay Marketo for the additional deliverability team service. I have warmed IP address both ways, and if your team has not previously warmed an IP address, I would recommend hiring a professional to assist you, either Marketo Deliverability service or a consultant.

API Calls

How many API calls do you plan on using? When you move onto Marketo there will be a configured limited number of API calls. Before moving forward with Marketo make sure you discuss with your development/IT team how many integrations you will need to create, and how many API Calls will be made.

Workspace and Lead Partitions

Will you be needing to separate your database between business units, locations? A few little things to know. One if your databases across business units are independent and have unique data mapping, Marketo will hide the data values, but when building a smart list (either in a smart list or a program) you will see all fields available inside of Marketo.

There are no purposeful duplicates across lead partitions.


Measure your Content Marketing within Marketo – A Publishers Process

As a former marketer of a magazine publisher one of my responsibilities was audience development, which meant I was to increase content consumption from our audience and grow our editorial content reach. To increase content consumption I needed a better understanding of:

  • What content is performing by our core subscriber base?
  • What content is not performing with our core subscriber base?
  • What format is performing the best?
  • What format is performing the least for specific content?
  • Are there potential new ways to package our content so our core subscribers can consume more?

To answer these questions I needed to dig deep into our Marketo data.

I needed to be able to map all of our content the same way across all systems. As a magazine, there are”beats” top categories and sub-categories. By leveraging Marketo Folders and Tags I was able to replicate the CMS categories and tags.

Let’s look at an example:


The Top categories are:

  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Digital
  • Media
  • Agency
  • Data
  • B2B
  • Video
  • Superbowl

Within these categories are subcategories which are found as tags at the bottom of the page. Here is an example:


For simplicity, let’s just focus on the Top categories. When naming a folder you do not want the name to be very long as it will be hard to identify assets when building smart list and flow steps. So let’s make acronyms for all of these categories.

  • Marketing – *MKT
  • Advertising – *ADV
  • Digital – *DIG
  • Media – *MED
  • Agency – *AG
  • Data – *DAT
  • B2B – *B2B
  • Video  – *VD
  • Superbowl – *SB

Continuing with Marketo best practices lets make sure all marketing activities are coded. For example:

  • Webinar – WB
  • White Paper – WP
  • eBook – EB
  • Conference – CNF
  • Owned Event – OE
  • Tradeshow – TS
  • Web Traffic – WT
  • Newsletter – NL

For filtering reasons you want to start your folder with the year, followed by month, then day. This will help you keep your instance clean. It is also best to include the asset name or portion of the name, as well as the sponsor if applicable. Below is an example of a final folder name.

YYYY-MM-DD WB*DIG asset name

By building the internal folder names this way, we were able to:

  • Identify individuals who have engaged with specific content within smart list and lead reports
  • Identify specific content performance via email performance, email link performance, program performance, and advanced RCE reports.

By using these Marketo best practices, it enabled the Marketing team to answer who is engaging with what content, in what channel, and what type of topics these individuals were reading. This powerful information was shared with the content development team allowing them to plan what content to write, and we shared what content was consumption with the sales team to improve sales resulting in an increase in revenue.