Don’t Get Trapped by These 3 Adobe Marketo Pitfalls

Don’t Get Trapped by These 3 Adobe Marketo Pitfalls

Every marketing automation platform has their really good points…and a few things that just kind of suck. Well, Adobe Marketo is no different. But by learning from others who have gone before you, you can avoid falling into some of the most common traps. This article aims to help you avoid three key Marketo pitfalls, all of which I’ve seen some pretty smart clients and colleagues fall into over the years.

1. Not putting solid processes in place

Ah, the ol’ catch-22: Adobe Marketo allows you a lot of flexibility with how you create things (i.e., programs, folder structures, file names) within the tool, and it’s really easy to build them quickly. And that’s great! But it also means that if you don’t have good processes and guidelines in place first, things can get out of control quickly. You might just end up spending more of your time cleaning rather than building for a while.

To avoid this trap (and ending up in MAP-cleaning hell), have a governance team and plan in place. Sound boring? Maybe. But without it, no one will be able to find anything, you won’t know which programs are triggering what actions, and any hope of brand adherence will be out the window.

As much as we might wish that all users are able to perfectly self-monitor and adhere to guidelines…well, you know reality. This is especially true for larger or decentralized teams. So please, do yourself a favor and plan for this ahead of time. The last thing you’re going to want to do is shoehorn a huge cleanup project into your to-do list.

2. Not utilizing tokens the right way

In other marketing automation platforms, tokens are contact variables like first name and last name, and you put them in emails or on landing pages to customize content. If you’re just getting started with Marketo, you may assume that’s how tokens work here too. But if that’s all you use them for, you’re missing out on a huge part of the value prop and you’re not fully leveraging the strengths of the tool.

For example, in Marketo, you can create tokens for a webinar date, webinar time, log-in URL, webinar title, webinar description, guests, etc. Then when you clone the program from the last time you held a webinar, you can just go to the tokens page and update all of those fields at once, all in one place, and now every email and landing page will be instantly updated for the new webinar. Magic!

This saves so much time because you don’t have to go into each asset, clone it, edit it, save it, blah, blah, and it reduces the proof burden and the risk that you’ll miss a single detail somewhere. And who among us hasn’t almost (or actually) sent an email with old info from a clone job gone bad?

3. Using default templates

Don’t assume that you’ll just be able to use the default asset templates to build your first email or landing page, no matter how easy your sales manager tells you it is to use the drag-and-drop editor. You’re not going to be happy with the results. Plan on working with a web designer to build beautiful emails and landing pages. You’ve already paid a pretty penny to get this awesome tool, so don’t cheap out now and throw it all away on ugly content.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of these Marketo pitfalls, you can go forth and market like a pro. Marketo is truly a very strong marketing automation platform, and you can get a lot done using this tool – once you’re doing it the right way.


  • Tyler Haire

    I am a marketing operations expert with a decade of experience working for startups, agencies and enterprise-level companies around the globe. After stints in Boston and Madrid, I've settled in an idyllic Vermont farmhouse with my wife and two rescue dogs. When I'm not at my computer, you're most likely to find me tackling a home improvement project way beyond my skill level or trying to find a new fly fishing spot in a nearby river. Say hello or hola on LinkedIn .

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