Marketo has been busy in late 2017 adding new features and enhancements. Here are the ones I believe all MOPS pros should pay attention to as you build your martech stack in 2018.
Recipient Time Zone
One of the most requested features since 2010 (and one which many competitors have already), we are finally able to send an email at the correct time in that Lead’s Time Zone. Instead of sending that email at 4am PST to hope it lands in the New York box at 7am EST (ideal commuting time), we can just say “Send the email at 7am for that person’s time zone.”
Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Please be sure to read the docs carefully. Marketo hasn’t enabled this feature on all instances yet and is rolling it out over several weeks.
Time Zone Selection
The Lead’s time zone is based on the geographic fields listed and is recalculated if those fields are modified. This is unlike Mailchimp, which attempts to determine timezone based on Open and Click activity timing. Either option is a valid method. Marketo uses these fields, I believe in this order based on the documentation:
- Country [countries with 3 or more time zones may choose the “middle one”.]
- Zip Code
- Inferred fields
- Default: Instance’s chosen time zone.
Email Send Program
You must schedule this at least 25 hours ahead of the intended time. This is to ensure that Marketo can calculate the person’s time zone and send at each hour based on the earliest time (UTC+14). There’s a nice diagram of how this works in various scenarios.
Because the time zone send may have already passed by the time you press Approve, you should be flexible on the actual date of send. What can happen is that European Leads will effectively get the email one day later than you intended.
- Intended Time for All: Tuesday at 9am
- You schedule this at 8am Tuesday PST, so many Leads have already passed 9am in their time zone.
- Marketo can either send those people the email at 9am PST, OR
- Marketo can wait until the next day at 9am for that lead.
Using Headstart with Email Send works in a similar way where you should add 12 hours to your schedule, meaning you may need to approve a program 34 or more hours ahead of your intended launch time.
Marketo notes that since the Time Zone will queue up people to get the email well ahead of their real send time, they will get an email even if they unsubscribed during the 25+ window. They suggest updating any privacy notices to reflect a 1-2 day processing time. I believe most privacy and unsubscribe notices have a 1-10 day statement, but you may have to make this more explicit if you use Time Zone.
Using Time Zone with Engagements
To enable this on Casts, you must edit the Stream Cadence. Keep in mind that you should do this more than 25 hours ahead of your next Cast.
Marketo only supports Time Zone with Weekly Cadence timings.
Here’s some additional detail.
Sample Emails by Segmentation
If you are using Dynamic Content, you can more easily send a sample by Segment to see the full email sample. Previously, this was difficult to accomplish.
Custom Questions for LinkedIn Lead Gen
While the doc doesn’t show this yet, you can now add up to three custom questions for your LinkedIn forms. You can map those back to any field for:
- Single Text (String)
- Multiple Choice (Text box, perhaps boolean?)
This is a big win for heavy users of social media advertising and SEM.
API and Platform Extensions
There are a lot of new API options that should excite developers and people with a DevOps team.
- Email Preview API to remotely view a Marketo email outside of Marketo. This may improve viewing widgets in platforms like Kapost.
- Replace HTML in Emails enables Email 2.0 to have code inserted from another tool. This is a big change for those who want to integrate with HTML editors or create a special workflow tool to handle code approvals.
- Activity Record changes in Q2 2018. Developers should pay attention.
- Custom Object API is enhanced which may make stack building and special record creation easier.
- System Reliability – Backend improvements took place a little earlier in Q4. While I haven’t personally noticed the changes, Marketo has updated:
- SFDC Sync speed and queuing changes to avoid the dreaded backlog.
- Munchkin stability and processing.
- Analytics uptime improvements.
There are many other updates, especially to Account Based Marketing and Predictive Content (RTP). Marketo will continue to evolve and I look forward to 2018’s improvements.