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How to use Requested Campaigns to Streamline Data Standardization in Marketo Engage

What are Requested Campaigns in Marketo?

Have you ever clicked the Flow actions tab in a Marketo smart campaign and been overwhelmed by the amount of flow steps? I’m pretty sure one of the first smart campaigns I built when starting my Marketo journey consisted of 25+ flow steps. Boy, did I learn quickly why that wasn’t best practice and to avoid that at all costs. But what was I to use instead?

That’s when I was introduced to Requested Campaigns. Requested Campaigns are called, or requested, via another smart campaign in your Marketo instance. It’s a little confusing to hear at first, but trust me, it will make more sense soon. I’ll provide an example to help visualize.

Let’s say you have two separate processes, housed in two separate smart campaigns, that fire every time a record is created in your instance. One process could be evaluating logic to determine the seniority level of the record based on job title, while the other process could be evaluating logic to standardize state values (super quick plug for using picklist values instead of free-text!)

While you could run both processes in the same smart campaign, the number of flow steps in that single smart campaign can start to climb, especially if you keep incorporating additional processes. This can make it difficult for new and existing users in your instance to navigate around and troubleshoot issues because the smart campaign titles aren’t fully indicative of what’s occurring with them. Additionally, it’s possible you want certain records to run through a single flow step within that smart campaign, not all of them. Since you don’t want the record to run through the rest of the flow actions you would need to create a separate smart campaign – what chaos!

With Requested Campaigns, however, you can keep each process separate (so long 25+ flow step smart campaigns) and request the smart campaign only when it’s necessary. A common use case for Requested Campaigns we like to use here at Etumos is within our Initial Processing framework. This framework ensures all of the business-critical fields on a person record are populated before they initially sync to the CRM. In particular, one business-critical process is standardizing state and country values to avoid validation rule errors housed within the CRM, which ultimately allows for a clean and timely sync to the CRM.

Why should I use Requested Campaigns to standardize my data?

I got a little ahead of myself in the previous section (I just love Requested Campaigns so much), but here are two of the main reasons why I find Requested Campaigns beneficial in standardizing data:

They help you maintain organization of your data standardization campaigns.

We at Etumos like to follow the SCRIM methodology when building out our frameworks. The “C” in there stands for “clear”. You want your smart campaign names to be descriptive of what is occurring in each smart campaign. This will not only help new users who join your organization become knowledgeable about your instance, but for you too!

They reduce the amount of processing your system takes on.

As I mentioned previously, not only do you want to run processes when they need to be run, but you also want them to run in the most efficient manner possible. While we could implement a bunch of choice steps within a single flow action, we know that’s not best practice because that advanced criteria will have to run every…single…time. Using Requested Campaigns, however, allow you to have better control over what you run and when you run. Make Marketo work for you, not the other way around.

Which data points can I standardize using Requested Campaigns?

Every Marketo instance is different, but here are some of the main examples we come across as consultants:

  • Country data
  • State data
  • Region data
  • Industry data
  • Department data
  • Seniority level data

Ideally, you would want to prevent incorrect data values from entering Marketo in the first place (another shameless plug for picklist fields on forms!), but sometimes it’s not possible. This would be the case if you leverage an enrichment service connected directly with Marketo. While the enrichment service may provide helpful data, it may not always be in the format you and your team have decided to use. That’s where Requested Campaigns come in.

How can I implement Requested Campaigns into my existing data standardization program/any new standardization programs?

I will continue with the example of standardizing country data, as I think many of us can relate to that scenario. Regardless of how the data came in we need to ensure it aligns with the values we have designated in our CRM. If we don’t, we run the risk of lead and contacts not syncing over properly to the CRM and either a) not getting assigned to the correct owner or b) not getting into the CRM at all.

Within an initial processing program, you can call your enrichment service to determine if it can fill in any of the data points on your record, in this case the country field. Once that process finishes, if it needed to run, you can then requested a router campaign that does two things: 1) determine if the country value is already an accepted value, and can sync to your CRM without issue, and 2) if the country value is not an accepted value you can request an additional smart campaign to append the value accordingly. We call this concept “daisy chaining” here at Etumos. In the example below you’ll see we use choice steps within the Flow actions to determine which standardization campaign should be called (our framework separates out the different campaigns by the accepted values first letter).

The reason this configuration works so well is that it ensures only the necessary smart campaigns are run. You could imagine if you had every single accepted country value, along with their common misspellings and incorrect formats, how that would easily complicate your operations. We wouldn’t just be talking about 25+ flow actions. Not only does this keep the instance more organized, but it also allows your standardization processes to run faster. Music to my ears!

One thing to note is that you may not need a separate folder and Requested Campaign for each letter of the alphabet, as it really depends upon how many choice steps are evaluated in each campaign. Evaluate the accepted values for the fields you need standardized and see what makes sense to implement from there.

And don’t just stop at country values! A great place to start is looking at your notifications in the Admin section in your Marketo instance. Start to understand where sync errors are occurring, why they are occurring, and slice and dice up your own standardization campaigns using Requested Campaigns.


Requested Campaigns, when used correctly, can eliminate a lot of the hassle when trying to clean the data inside your Marketo instance. Not only do they make sure your sync is clean between Marketo and your CRM, but they also keep you sane as an admin with a clean instance. They are one of those things you wish you had been doing a long time ago, so take a look into your instance today and see what data processes you can daisy-chain today by using Requested Campaigns.

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