Mistakes happen. Let’s be honest…Marketo isn’t exactly easy to use. And, who hasn’t made a mistake?

I remember my first day as a Perkuto employee. It was late in the day, and my team and I were rushing to get one last message out the door. (sound familiar?) In our haste, we accidentally deployed a promotional message as an operational message, so we had no opt-out in our communication. (And did I mention, the message was sent to fellow marketers?) Ugh — queue the complaints. So here I was, a brand new employee, crafting an apology to deploy to 6,000 message recipients, which by our company policies, also got copied to our executive team. Way to make a great first day impression, right?

Costly Errors, Valuable Learning

When mistakes happen, brand reputation is at stake. There’s also the loss of time to fix, the personal agony that goes along with it, and in extreme cases, jobs may even be on the line. Many times, the errors occur from going too quickly, others are as innocent as simply clicking the wrong button or setting a filter to “is” vs. “is not.” Whatever the cause, a Marketo mistake is sure to result in a knot in your stomach followed by the arduous chore of picking up the pieces and moving on.

In hindsight, my mistake seems rather minor compared to some of the Marketo horror stories I’ve heard. Joe Reitz, AWS Marketing Automation Program Manager, is no MOPS rookie, but still has some past missteps that he’s learned from. In fact, during his early days in Marketo, he remembers a smart campaign that he was working on in tandem with a colleague and moving a little too quickly. Unfortunately, the send didn’t exactly work out the way they had planned.

“What I missed was a logic change. What was supposed to be an email to about 9,000 people inviting them to a special dinner at a trade show, ended up sending to our entire database, which was about 250,000 people at the time – globally,” Joe said. “I’ll never forget seeing the replies from that campaign, and one guy in London saying ‘So when are you paying for my flight, should I be expecting my ticket through email?’”

Ouch. We feel your pain, Joe.

Taking to heart the proverbial phrase, “make lemonade out of your lemons,” that’s exactly what Joe did. In this case, his mishap resulted in a better process. “The take-away was that we should always have a dual-custody process and there shouldn’t be two people building and manipulating the same thing. One person should build, one person should QA, communicate feedback, and deploy” Joe said. Overall, a great example of a strong process created from a weak moment.

Marketo: Foreign Territory

Like’s Joe’s story, many tales of Marketo blunder occur as users are getting accustomed to the platform. Senior Consultant Anna Leary (painfully) chuckles as she thinks back to when she first started using Marketo and didn’t know about program templates. “I cloned a program but forgot to check the corresponding email— it was in a different language so I deployed a message that was completely foreign and not understood by the recipients,” she said.

Here again, it’s oftentimes the mishaps that help put good checks and balances in place for the future. After all, what better way to error-proof your work than by creating documentation to prevent what you already know has gone wrong?

“Take your time and implement a process,” Anna advises. “It’s the best way to circumvent mistakes and avoid future mishaps and potential disasters.”

Of course, we’re all human and mistakes happen, especially if you’re newer to Marketo or have lesser experienced users accessing your instance.  I recently met with Elise Parachio, Director of Digital Engagement at a well respected public research institution, who talked about the day a message was sent on accident to all one million names in their database, including their president and alumni. Her example highlights the challenge of having many users with varied skill levels creating campaigns in a complex platform. But then again, who of us hasn’t pushed “send” only to regret it moments later?

Own Your Mistake

It’s how you recover from a mistake that matters most. “We’re always going to have humans at the helm. We can’t automate humanity away, and if we did, the marketing would suffer. So, when you do make a mistake, the idea of having ownership comes into play,” Joe emphasizes. “You can’t just extend trust freely,” he adds. “It has to be earned.”

The processes you put into place, the safeguards you implement, learning from the blunders of others — it’s all part of how we continuously improve. And, how we as marketers earn our stripes.


Want to learn more about common Marketo mistakes, and how to prevent and fix them? Sign up for our next webinar, Error-proofing Your Instance, on March 11 at 1pm ET to hear our MOPS experts talk about some of the best ways to safeguard your instance from errors. Alternatively, if you prefer to discuss your situation in more detail and learn about your options, get in touch with us now.