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Tips to Clean your Marketo Instance

It is the perfect time to knock the cobwebs out of your Marketo Engage instance! If it’s been a while since you dove into your instance’s folders and programs, this might be the perfect time to start a Marketo Engage clean-up project.

Why should you clean up your Marketo instance?

Marketo Engage is a vast tool capable of performing many processes to organize and nurture your leads. However, it can be easy to let your Marketo organization slip throughout the year as priorities shift to getting marketing campaigns and operational processes up and running. Carving out a few minutes each day to review your Marketo instance, or tackling a clean-up project over the course of a sprint, is a great way to stay on top of what’s going on inside your instance and ensure that your database is clean and your processes are efficient.

Left unchecked, your Marketo database can sprawl out of control with messy or invalid data. You may find yourself in need of a database clean-up as you’re approaching your Marketo renewal and need to keep your database under a certain limit. If you notice that your Marketo instance seems to have slowed down, it may be bogged down with too many unnecessary processes and campaigns running. A regular review of both your database quality and campaign efficiency is encouraged to keep Marketo Engage spick-and-span.

How can you get started with a clean-up project?

1. Review database records for validity/marketability and purge unneeded records
A set of Smart Lists can help you quickly get an idea of how many records in your database could be safely purged. Searching for records with no email address, or the email address doesn’t contain @, or the email domain is or, will tell you how many invalid emails you might have. You could expand this list by including emails that are deemed unmarketable. By Marketo’s definition, leads that are not marketable are “people without an email address, people whose email has hard bounced, people that are blocklisted, people that have unsubscribed, people currently set to Marketing Suspended.” It is important to work with other stakeholders in your organization to determine if purging unmarketable records makes sense for your marketing strategy.

2. Review programs and campaigns from previous years and deactivate/archive
Chances are, that email send program you have from 2017 isn’t going to need to be referenced in any current reports or Smart Lists. Creating an archive folder and adding old programs to the archive folder can quickly clean up your Marketo instance’s organization without deleting information. Keep in mind that adding a program or campaign to an archive folder does not automatically deactivate any active trigger campaigns. If you have campaigns set up as triggers that are still active but don’t need to be, deactivate those before moving them to the archive folder. Marketo has an automatic trigger campaign cleanup service that identifies idle triggers (they have not had any records run through in the last 6 months) and will notify you and automatically deactivate them. This runs on a quarterly basis, and it is important to review the idle trigger notification when you receive it to make sure any idle trigger you want to be left on is not deactivated.

3. Review users and roles and remove or adjust as needed
Marketo has limits on the number of users allowed in your instance, depending on the level of service you have. Depending on the size of your team, you may be well below the limit, but if you have multiple users in your instance, an audit of who has access and who truly needs access is a smart step to take in your instance clean-up project. If there are any users for employees who no longer work for your organization, those should be removed. If you have users that haven’t accessed Marketo in a while, you might want to start a conversation on if that user’s access is still necessary. This is a great time to review your API users as well – if you’ve offboarded any of your tech stack that used a specific API user, you might want to remove those as well.

It’s time to break out the metaphorical broom and dustpan and get to cleaning your Marketo Engage instance! The initial clean-up process may be overwhelming if it has been a while, but once you get your instance and database to a manageable state, a quick review on a daily, weekly, or even quarterly basis can save you time in the long run by transforming your instance into a well-oiled, squeaky-clean machine.

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