Marketo 101

havas CX helia
4 min readNov 5, 2020


Marketo Certified Expert Jess Lewis gives you the lowdown.

Receiving a gift that feels like it was made for you feels good, and not just because you received a super nifty gift, but because the person who gave it to you paid attention to who you are and it feels like they get you.

Similarly, when your favorite store — let’s say Yankee Candle — sends you an email with an incredible deal on your favorite Jar Candle scent, you feel like they paid attention—which also feels good. After all, people like to feel seen. Moreover, because Yankee Candle “knows” you, they also know you’re going to hit the ‘buy now’ like it’s burning a hole in your inbox.

That’s email personalization.

But it’s not only email personalization: it’s also customer relationship management (CRM). And that’s where Marketo comes in.

To get down and dirty with the basics of Marketo, we sat down with our Senior Digital Strategist and Certified Expert Jess Lewis.

In your own words, what is Marketo?

Basically, Marketo guides businesses through the delicate dance that is the customer’s road to purchase.

But if you want the super technical, it’s an enterprise-level CRM platform that helps large scale businesses organize their databases, allowing them to collect and keep accurate records of their contacts to improve their customer journey.

What feature excites you the most about Marketo?

Definitely reporting capabilities, it’s very robust. I’ve used other CRM and ESP platforms, but Marketo is the most complex and impressive of them all. It gives the best insights and provides both large scale and granular data views.

You may be thinking to yourself now, “If Marketo does basically everything for me already, that means I can sit back and relax with a cold glass of whatever your favorite beverage is…”

Wouldn’t that be sweet? Unfortunately, nothing is ever that easy. You still need to woo your consumer.

When a consumer isn’t ready to buy at the moment, you have to take things slowly — take the time to nurture and build a relationship with them. Even emails promoting your social media, not just the sales-focused, can keep your brand or products top of mind for potential customers, so they know just who to go to when they’re ready to confirm their purchase.

But while social media and email are a very strong duo, don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that social media is the stronger of the two.

About 80% of internet users have at least one social media account — but 100% of these users have an email account. Marketers must consider the difference between the two communication channels and how they work together to promote brand awareness or purchase. With almost triple the amount of people who prefer receiving promo codes via email over social media, email is a very present contestant for the consumer’s attention. Social media is more vast but only produces a 12.5% purchase rate, while email is soaring high at 60%. It’s clear who the winner is here.

The moral of the story is, don’t underestimate any medium. Stay on top of your marketing techniques and be open-minded to many ways to reach the consumer.

How do creative and planning fit into Marketo? Does it matter?

Marketo can operate in two ways: either in a “plug and play” with creative and a modular template, or in HTML coding from scratch.

When asked what are some common mistakes made when using Marketo, because we assumed it couldn’t be that perfect (we were wrong), Jess responded, “Marketo doesn’t mess up. If your agency isn’t being careful, you’re gonna mess up.”

Most mistakes in an email are due to human error in data capture, interpreting data incorrectly, misusing a token, or just sending out the wrong email. So the quality assurance process is crucial to a successful send. And that’s why we have the experts here at Havas Helia.

What are some best practices when using Marketo? Any secret shortcuts or insider knowledge to use Marketo to its full potential?

From a Marketing Operations standpoint, keep your data clean and perform regular maintenance of your database. And from a practitioner standpoint, the QA is important — have a weekly meeting to monitor email metrics, measure performance against benchmarks, and note test winners.

Also, onboard with Adobe representatives and read the Marketo Product Docs (instructional manuals).

Marketo is a higher caliber of marketing, but knowing how to leverage the insights is still the key. After all, a tool is only as good as the operator. And while Marketo is the most robust platform, best practices aren’t platform-specific and can be applied while working in other CRMs.

Think Marketo or another CRM may be right for your business or want to learn more? Our Marketo Certified Experts, like Jess, are here to help you get the most out of your CRM. Get in touch at



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