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How To Scale Campaign Volume With Program and Asset Templates


Templates play a major role in maximizing the functionality and benefits of Marketo Engage as a marketing automation platform. However, not all marketing operations teams are leveraging Marketo templates in a way that capitalizes on their full potential. There are many components to building out the best types of templates in your instance, which can include emails, landing pages, Smart Campaigns, and reports, along with incorporating Tokens, clear folder hierarchies, and standardized naming conventions. Knowing some key best practices associated with creating templates and utilizing them effectively can help streamline your production process and scale your marketing efforts significantly.

What are the benefits associated with program and campaign templates and why do they matter?

The saying “time is money” comes to mind when thinking about the benefits associated with program templates and Design Studio asset templates in Marketo Engage. Every piece of content you build in your instance takes time. There’s the production process (build time), quality assurance process (having your team double check the content), execution process (scheduling emails, setting up triggers, importing lists, running campaigns, etc), and the follow-up process (analyzing the reports to see how well the emails performed). A lot of time and effort goes into these processes from start to finish. However, if there was a way to shorten the time frame a bit, your marketing operations team could:

  • Produce more content
  • Be more efficient in their roles
  • Reduce turnaround times across all projects
  • Help generate more sales opportunities

Sounds nice, right? Well it’s not too good to be true! Utilizing templates will save you time, which means saving money, and most importantly, may lead to producing more revenue for your company. It all comes down to how much you can scale your marketing efforts.

Leveraging program templates in conjunction with Design Studio templates will reduce your teams’ campaign execution time and efforts tremendously. Asset templates individually are great for email and landing page builds, while program templates benefit the entire campaign development process. Program templates are nice because they act as placeholders for elements like text and media. When tasked to build out a complex campaign that includes various streams and nested programs, the only thing you’ll need to do is clone the program and make the necessary edits specific to that program. Having a program template in place essentially negates the production process as discussed above and really becomes more of a refining process. In other words, instead of “recreating the wheel”, you’re now simply making slight adjustments to it.

Typically housed within program templates are the associated Smart Campaigns. Just like anything else in that program, having it templatized will make scheduling sends, activating triggers, and updating status campaigns much more simplified. Instead of building everything in these campaigns, you’ll simply make minor adjustments to make it be specific to your campaign (things like adding the correct email in your send flow step, adding the associated Salesforce campaign to your change status in SFDC campaign flow step, updating your Smart List with the appropriate information to reflect your target audience, etc.) With the framework established, making the campaign specific adjustments becomes very easy.

When should companies implement program and campaign templates to achieve their greatest benefits?

Implementing program templates into your Marketo instance should be done right from the start of your business (or as soon as possible thereafter!). Regardless of the size of your company, you’ll want to scale as much as possible so your team can take on requests both internally and externally. Especially in a client facing role, the quicker turnaround time you have, the more clients you’ll be able to successfully maintain and keep satisfied. At Etumos, the templates we’ve constructed are based on best practices and incorporate the SCRIM framework. SCRIM stands for the following:

Scalable: The solution must function equally well at 10x the scale.
Clear: The solution must be understandable and built in a way that reduces the potential for confusion and errors.
Robust: The solution addresses all the functional requirements.
Intelligent: The solution accounts for upstream and downstream processes and there is an avoidance of “silent errors” baked in.
Modular: The solution is designed to perform a specific function and can be maintained or decoupled if needed without causing harm to other componentry.

If your goal is to run a sustainable and growing business, you must have this type of framework in place!

How can companies implement program and campaign templates to reap all the benefits?

Companies will need to get organized first and foremost before they can build templates and put them to the test. This all starts with solidifying a standardized naming convention and Token strategy. The power of Marketo is really exemplified when well defined hierarchies are established. These hierarchies allow for elements below it to automatically inherit the characteristics above it and consequently, play a critical role in achieving scalability. When defining the parameters around your naming convention, you’ll want to think of key bits of information to include in it that will allow programs to be easily found while also clearly differentiating one program from another. When your program gets cloned, so will the naming convention, which is why it’s important to settle on something you’re confident in before proceeding. The naming convention should ideally include the following information:

  • An abbreviation of the program type (i.e. default, email, event, engagement/nurture)
  • Date element incorporating the year, month, and day (can be defined as the launch date or date of creation)
  • Asset type
  • Program or asset description
  • Program ID

Here’s what it could look like for an email program: EC – [YYYY-MM-DD] [Email Type]: [Shortened Email Name] [program ID]

Undoubtedly the most defining characteristic of any program is the Program ID, allowing it to be 100% distinguishable from any other program in your instance. The program ID is the four digit number present within the url of each program. Below you’ll see the unique four digit number highlighted towards the end of the url.

When searching for a program in your Marketo instance, using the program ID will bring up the only program with that ID, taking the guesswork out of determining whether or not you’ve found the right program. We highly recommend incorporating the program ID in your standard naming convention for this very reason!

In addition to establishing a naming convention, you’ll also need to come up with a Token strategy. You’ll have to embed tokens throughout the building process of your programs and know how they are applied across the program. There are varying types of Tokens which include the following: person tokens, company tokens, system tokens, trigger tokens, program tokens, and My tokens. Each token can be used either globally (across multiple programs) or locally (just within a specific program). Global tokens are consistent across multiple programs and are inherited by all programs below it in the hierarchy. On the other hand, local tokens differ from one program to the next and may not apply to all programs. Once both your token strategy and naming convention parameters have been defined, you’re ready to begin building out templates for each program type.


Utilizing program and asset templates are a necessity when it comes to executing tasks in a timely and efficient manner. It allows your marketing operations team to work more quickly, leaves less room for error, and will provide a long term scalable solution for your company. The power of Marketo is not fully unleashed unless templates are created and used effectively. If you need assistance building out your own templates or simply want some expert advice, contact us today and we’ll show you how to maximize the full benefits of program and asset templates!

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