Digital Marketing, Marketing Automation


Maintaining a healthy database of clean, current records is a continuous effort for technical marketers. A best-practices data hygiene model includes a variety of tasks that you should execute in your Marketo instance on a regular basis.   []

In Part 1 of this blog post series on Data Hygiene, I identified the first 3 tasks that should be a part of your data hygiene model in Marketo. Now here are the final two.  [ ]

Identify and delete email addresses with hard bounces in categories 1 or 2

First, create a Smart Campaign to find the hard bounced emails with category 1 or 2 and delete the leads from Marketo.

Category 1 hard bounces are those emails whose servers have marked your email as spam.

Category 2 hard bounces are those caused by sending to email addresses that no longer exist.

Note: This Marketo community Q&A on hard bounce categories provides a more detailed explanation.)  []

After you have set up the Smart Campaign to identify hard bounces, set the action to delete those emails from Marketo. If your Marketo instance is sync’d with a CRM, consider whether these records are being deleted from both databases, or just from Marketo. You may decide to delete them from Marketo only, since there could be valid use cases for leaving those contact emails with hard bounces in the CRM.

For more information on configuring this Smart Campaign, see the image below.

Sample of Marketo Smart Campaign that identifies and deletes the category 1 or 2 hard bounces. 

In the image above, you will see a “Details” field, which contains such criteria as:

  • Invalid recipient,  unknown recipient, recipient rejected, recipient address rejected
  • User address, user invalid, user not, invalid user, user unknown, unknown user, invalid address, unknown address, unable to verify destination address
  • Mailbox unavailable, no such, no longer, non-existent, bad email, email bad

You can adjust the minimum number of times and date of activity field as per your company.

Sample of delete flow step in Marketo Smart Campaign.

Identify and remove expired, inactive leads

Inactive leads may go dormant and revive themselves at a later time, so it is wise to retain inactive leads in your database for a reasonable period of time. However, at some point, the inactive leads become “junk data” – outdated records that bloat the size of your database with little possibility of becoming an MQL.

The exact amount of time that you should retain inactive leads in your database depends on the speed of your lead nurture funnel and your industry. For that reason, you should work with your Sales team to determine how long you should keep inactive records in the Marketo database.

Once the timeframe is determined on, create a Smart List and Smart Campaign to identify and remove the leads that haven’t taken any action within the timeframe you’ve established.  The actions you can use as filter criteria for this Smart List include:

  • Did not visit a web page
  • Did not have a program status change
  • Did not click any link in emails
  • Did not open any email
  • Did not fill out form
  • No activity was logged

Sample of a Marketo Smart Campaign that identifies inactive lead in the database

Important marketing operations note: Always download a backup copy of the database before taking any delete actions.  This will allow you to easily import leads back into the database, if they were deleted in error. Also, download all columns for your backup database, or at the minimum, select all the columns that are mandatory for synchronization with the CRM and/or lead scoring. Typical mandatory fields are Email, Company, Country, State, Lead Source, Company Revenue, Number of employee, First Name, Last Name, etc. This Community page has more information about creating backup copies of your Marketo database. []

Don’t stop here – effective data hygiene requires creativity

Data hygiene models can also include use cases that result from your company’s unique mix of online and in-person marketing efforts. Common marketing tactics such as trade shows, free sample programs, point-of-sale drawings, and custom product demos, for example, all introduce inactive leads or “junk data” into your database.

This is an opportunity to be creative and have strategic conversations with your sales or business development team about how leads behave at these events, and how/when contact records from such programs effectively become “junk.” Expand your data hygiene model to cover these unique situations.

About The Author

Leave a Reply