It was rewarding in the end – we felt we were finally getting Marketo’s full value. Click To Tweet

Our client, a private university in New York, runs an annual giving day campaign to fuel scholarships, financial aid, and critical resources for students. To drive awareness and ramp up donations for the event, the university’s direct marketing team utilizes three channels: phone, web, and mail.

As you can guess, a large portion of the mailing efforts consists of central emails and school-specific emails (School of Medicine, School of Law, and so on) that are created and deployed in Marketo.

When Perkuto stepped in, the university was on its sixth annual giving day. Historically, they had worked with a third-party vendor but adopted Marketo in 2020 to supercharge their marketing efforts and accommodate their tremendous growth in recent years.

The Problem

When Perkuto evaluated the university’s Marketo Instance, they noticed that the university was using nested smart lists from 2021. By not operating according to best practices, they were unknowingly causing a strain on Marketo’s processing power.

One reason why we recommend Marketo audits is to guarantee your Instance is set up according to best practices. Health checks are crucial in maintaining the integrity of your Marketo instance and ultimately ensure maximum ROI on your Marketo investment.

This was the exact case for our client. The way their instance was set up had originally made sense, yet it was not built strategically and as a result, was not efficient.

How did this impact the success of their campaigns?

The 2021 giving day experienced a few glitches. They had numerous suppressed emails which caused a delay in delivery. The campaign was scheduled the night before, but resulted in delays due to a strain on Marketo’s processing power.

In efforts to be leaner with their systems and fulfill processing ahead of time, the university called in support from Perkuto.

Perkuto jumped in as a really helpful partner. They brought in their expertise in how they’ve seen their clients experience success. Seeing other ways of doing things has been extremely helpful in our growth. Click To Tweet

The Solution

The Perkuto team began by building segmentation and lists.

Segmentation can be complicated – and the university’s annual giving day required Marketo to send 50+ emails to thousands of people – with many emails scheduled for the exact same time. This was asking for a lot of processing power from Marketo.

The solution included creating a suppression list, meaning if an alumnus has reached a certain threshold, it would warrant a more personalized email from someone they know at the university.

There was a daily program running that declared “if a user is eligible, add them to the university’s solicitable list.” The system would run every night. From here, segmentations were run through all individuals on the solicitable list.

This cut down Marketo’s processing power exponentially – Marketo only had to look at three lists. By the end of their annual giving day, every single email program was completed in 4 minutes. Nothing broke and all emails were delivered, a massive improvement from the year prior.

This solution freed up the university’s marketing team’s bandwidth immensely – on the afternoon of the giving day, the team was able to add an additional email program. Historically, they would have never had the bandwidth to do so.

Perkuto acted as the problem solver who helped us navigate our Marketo Instance. Click To Tweet

The university also leveraged Jeto to simplify its campaign approval process. Since they had department-specific emails, they tapped into the simplicity of Jeto to streamline the campaign efforts.

Now, departments are able to submit campaigns through Jeto, where they can drop in content, images, and CTA’s. Requesters are able to preview what final assets will look like and can even send themselves samples. Even better, collaboration is a breeze through Jeto’s on-asset commenting feature.

The Results

We’ll let the client take this one:

We had smooth execution on the day of our campaign. Better yet, we also gained Marketo skills that were transferred to our team. We could see a difference in both our experience and the campaign’s effectiveness. I felt like I could celebrate and focus on the excitement of our accomplishments rather than putting out fires all day!

In addition to the calmness of what would have been a chaotic day and increased confidence in Marketo, the university had its most successful giving day to date:

  • The university surpassed its goal of 6,000 gifts with a total of 7,211 gifts
  • 50+ emails sent with some list sizes over 200,000 records
  • All emails were processed within 4 minutes of their scheduled send time. This was the university’s primary technical challenge during 2021’s annual giving day when their Marketo instance was bogged down and experienced significant delays in emails being sent throughout the day
  • Alumni, staff, and students received personalized messages from each school and department thanks to advanced Velocity Script developed by Perkuto’s creative team
  • All web pages and third-party API feeds functioned properly throughout the entire day, as evidenced by Stack Moxie’s ongoing monitoring of the university’s key systems and Perkuto’s diligent analysis of key metrics throughout the event
The 2022 annual giving day was our most effective cross-university collaborative campaign to date. We think this year’s campaign has pushed the envelope for what we can do year-round. Not to mention, more departments want to partner with… Click To Tweet

Above all, the university gained peace of mind and increased Marketo confidence.

We feel like Marketo is working for us – rather than us fitting into it. Click To Tweet

Final Takeaway

We asked our client how Perkuto has helped the way they leverage Marketo:

Our expectations are finally being met in Marketo. It’s our first marketing automation tool, and when we first started using Marketo, we didn’t understand the processing power capabilities.

Moving into the list mentality, while more work upfront, has given us more security. Now we know the exact number of email recipients. Our expectations are essentially always met, and stress levels have decreased.

Lastly, we have now started implementing velocity scripting – Perkuto wrote a couple of scripts for us to reformat data fields.

And some final words from our client?

Perkuto helped us manage the increasing scope and scale of what we’re able to accomplish in Marketo. Click To Tweet