By Michelle Miles June 13, 2016

Marketo Nurture Mechanics 101

Time and time again, I see companies spend hours creating beautiful, targeted nurture content, only to fail to leverage Marketo’s capabilities in running and reporting on this investment. Below are some mechanics of a solidly built nurture program. marketo nurture mechanics 101 perkuto

Create default programs inside your nurture stream instead of individual emails


  1. marketo programs inside nurture streams perkutoOrganization of related assets and flows: This is an easy way to organize related assets and Smart Campaigns, such as landing pages, forms and auto response emails, alerts for your sales team, progression status flows, QA, and allows you to better leverage tokens.
  2. Additional reporting details: Why give up a host of reporting available for programs, particularly MT attribution reporting visibility, and the ability to associate period costs and tags with individual programs?
  3. More control over membership: You may have content appropriate to most, but not all of the leads in your program, and individual Smart Lists allow you to customize this and send to a subgroup of your nurture program or send different emails to these subgroups. You can also more efficiently manage assets promoted through multiple channels with exclusions.

Manage nurture suppressions with program exclusions

Marketo engagement programs automatically skip content a lead has already received. If a lead has a program status in a default program already, the nurture content will be skipped. Therefore, you can create a central Smart Campaign in each child program to automatically suppress anyone who has received content through another channel outside of the nurture program. First, you’ll want to edit your channel in the Admin Tags section, creating a status value of ‘exclusion.’ Then you’ll create two Smart Campaigns to populate this status. One will be a batch update for all past activities, the other a corresponding trigger campaign. The Smart List pulls in leads that have consumed the content. Common ways of doing this are form fills, web visits, and changes in program statuses to the success status where this is already promoted. The flow step will change the program status to exclusion. Just remember to update your trigger campaign if you start promoting this via a new program, landing page, etc.

Leverage handy nurture program reports

There are a handful of Smart Lists and reports I keep in my nurture program template to clone and use as local reports for every program. Helpful Smart Lists include:

  1. Members of the nurture program
  2. Engaged/Success members of the nurture program
  3. Members with MQL status
  4. Members with an opportunity
  5. Members who exhausted all content

Frequently used reports include:

  1. A company web activity report filtered to members of the engagement program
  2. An email link performance report
  3. An engagement stream performance report detailing email stats
  4. A landing page performance report detailing form conversions

My favorite nurture report: A lead performance report essentially detailing the lead funnel by company for the nurture program. To set this up, select a ‘lead performance report’ type. Then in the Smart List, filter to members of the engagement program, and, if desired, target accounts. In the setup, group leads by company name. Then, include the Engaged, MQL and Opportunity Smart Lists above as custom columns, and show the desired opportunity columns. Then, this report shows a mini funnel by company for all leads in the program. If you want to include additional stages in your lifecycle, simply create a Smart List and include it as another custom column.

Set it and forget it – the overall nurture build that is

By leveraging a Marketable Records segmentation, you can prevent junk data from entering the nurture program and programmatically remove leads that are no longer viable. Similarly, you can manage nurture content delivery through the use of segmentations. For example if you segment your leads by persona, you can trigger nurture membership and pause the cadence of delivery as leads move from segment to segment, ensuring leads are only getting the content best suited to them. Another option is to programmatically pause the cadence for leads who are in a particular lead lifecycle stage, such as contract negotiation, if the sales team wants to be in control of all communication at that point. If you have questions around nurturing programs, we invite you to contact us to see if we can be of assistance. Additional Resources The Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing Creating an Engagement Program Add a Program to an Engagement Program Lead Performance Report  

Michelle Miles

VP of Consulting Services at Perkuto | Marketo Champion

Marketo Certified Solutions Architect and MBA. Passionate about solving marketing automation challenges and process optimization. Two energetic children.

2 Responses to “Marketo Nurture Mechanics 101”

  1. Arthur says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Great article! I have a question regarding the triggered exclusion program you’ve outlined:

    Do you set that up to qualify anyone/everyone in the database that engages with that content? Or do you restrict it to only those in the Engagement Program that houses that particular Program with corresponding content?


    • Michelle Miles says:

      Hello Arthur, thanks for your question!

      It depends on the database size and number of exclusion campaigns needed. If small, I set it up for the database. If not, I modify the smart list to trigger when a new member is added to the program and filter accordingly.

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