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Making the Most of Marketo Smart Campaigns- A Definitive Guide!

Marketo Smart Campaigns

In email marketing circles, Marketo is a rather popular name. As the world’s largest marketing automation platform, Marketo helps businesses synergize the functionalities of their sales and marketing efforts in incredible fashion, thereby skyrocketing them to unchartered heights of success. From discovering leads to converting them into loyal customers, Marketo helps you achieve these lofty objectives with significant ease. 

However, to make the most out of this powerful tool, you must first develop a firm grasp of its myriad functionalities. One of its features that email marketers must look to command is smart campaigns. With this, they can accomplish a number of complex (and rather time-consuming) jobs sending emails corresponding to customer actions, updating field values, and scoring leads, among others. In this blog, we will dive deep into smart campaigns in Marketo and shed light on how email marketers can leverage it to supercharge their efforts. Ready to embark on this journey? Let’s go!

A Quick Introduction to Smart Campaigns 

Before we busy ourselves with dissecting Marketo smart campaigns, it is important that we first ask ourselves- “What is a Marketo smart campaign?”

Simply said, smart campaigns are “if this, then that” statements you formulate to manage the contacts in your database. Thus, in that sense, it can be viewed as a logic that instructs your Marketo programs regarding what they should do when one of your users effects an interaction. 

Keep in mind that a smart campaign springs into action only after you have defined your program’s “who”, “what”, and “when” factors. Now, what does that mean? Allow us to elaborate:

Smart Campaigns Areas

In this section, we will delve into the 3 aspects that are necessary in order to create a smart campaign. 

Smart Lists

In a smart list, you will add the contacts whom you wish to target with your smart campaigns. They are incredibly powerful tools that help you locate specific groups of people swiftly and easily. Smart lists comprise filters and triggers.

Since filters and triggers can be used in combination, bear this in mind: Triggers can only be set to on or off and cannot be scheduled. On the other hand, you need to schedule your campaign to run at specified times if you are planning on using just filters.

So that you can optimally utilize smart lists, we have compiled a list of best practices for your perusal.


It consists of the steps you wish for your smart campaign to execute. In other words, it is here that you choose what happens to the recipients of your smart campaign. Exercise utmost care while configuring the flow steps, for your leads will go through them in the exact sequence as they are defined in the tab. Here, you also get the liberty of setting choices within flow steps. This proves to be particularly handy when it comes to accomplishing highly specific outcomes.


Schedule governs when the wheels of your smart campaign roll into motion. With the help of the Smart Campaign Settings available here, you can specify the exact frequency with which you want contacts to flow through the campaign. In the Schedule tab, you’ll also come across the Smart List Status. The figure that reflects next to this parameter is an estimation of the number of people expected to be affected by your smart campaign. The Smart List Status should be particularly monitored when you wish to set up a batch smart campaign (we will shortly discuss the types of smart campaigns). This is because if there’s a considerable discrepancy between the number displayed here and your mental estimation, it might be indicative of malfunctioning filters. 

Creating Smart Campaigns

We can’t jump into the steps involved in creating a start campaign before first discussing its two different types- Batch and Trigger.

A batch campaign takes leads in bulk (otherwise known as a “batch”) and runs them all through the specified flow at once. The smart list section of batch campaigns contains only filters. They can be scheduled either for recurrences (daily, monthly, etc.) or run just once. Trigger campaigns, on the other hand, affect only one contact at a time on the basis of a triggered event. Unlike batch campaigns, these can’t be set up for recurrences; they can only be configured as active or inactive. 

Batch and trigger Marketo campaigns discussed, we can now finally go through the steps of creating a smart campaign.

1. To kick start the process, click the Marketing Activities icon.
2. Here, you need to right-click on the desired program. From the pop-up that appears, select New Smart Campaign.
3. Specify the name of your smart campaign. Then, click Create.

Next, let’s understand how to create a trigger:

1. Select the Smart List Tab of your smart campaign. 
2. Now, search for the requisite trigger and add it to the tab (in a drag-and-drop maneuver)
3. Select the operator from the dropdown and define the trigger
4. Click on the Activate button in the Schedule tab to conclude the process.

Removing the Hitches

To make sure nothing throws a spanner in the works of your smart Marketo email campaigns, take a look at the following pointers.

Smart Campaign Best Practices You’d Want to Jot Down!

The tips and tricks mentioned below will help you effectively optimize your Marketo campaign management. Take a look!

Wrapping It Up

Smart campaigns in Marketo is an extremely potent tool that can help you build nourishing relationships with your customers, empowering you to leave your competitors way behind in the race in the process. However, to do so, you must first acclimatize yourself to the various nuances of smart campaigns. We hope this article has been to help you take the first step in that endeavor. 

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