Marketo Doesn’t Expose Your Lead’s Birthdate

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Do you know your child’s birthdate? Or, the date of your anniversary? Out of the box, Marketo doesn’t time stamp the date a lead is created within any field (It is captured in an activity log). This is kind of like not recording the date your child was born. Or, telling your wife that you were married in the past five years when she asks you to tell her the exact date–good luck with that one.

Lack of an exact date can pose all kinds of issues for tracking leads through your marketing funnel. Luckily, there is a solution Marketo customers can implement in less than 15 minutes.

The Birthday Dilemma

Birthday Cake On Colorful Balloon Background With Other Birthday Decoration. Focus is on cake.

Do you say your child was born on January 17, 2006? Or do you say your child was born in the last 10 years but not in the past 9 years? This is essentially how Marketo tracks new leads out of the box. Here is a rundown of available Marketo fields and where they fall short. And yes, these are a little confusing.

  1. Created At field: This field tracks the date the person became anonymous in the system. This is NOT the date the lead was actually created (unless both happen at the same time). For example, if a person visits your site on February 1 and then fills out a form on March 1, the Created At date is February 1. This can be helpful in some cases but in most, marketers want to know WHEN the lead became known.
  2. Lead was Created filter: This is the date we want. This is when the lead becomes known to Marketo via a form submission, import or other method. Unfortunately, Marketo doesn’t capture this date. Instead, Marketo provides a Lead was Created filter that tracks the activity as a logged event. This filter works in 80% of the cases but it is useless when it comes to exposing that date in alerts, reports, tokens and other places.

    LeadWasCreated

    Example of Lead was Created filter

  3. SFDC Created Date:  This is the date of when the lead gets created in Salesforce. In many cases, this date is the same as the date that the lead becomes known. However, that’s not always the case because not all leads sync from Marketo to Salesforce.

The Simple 15-Minute Marketo Date Solution

Don’t worry, Marketo marketers can capture their leads’ birthdates on their own by creating a campaign that populates the birthdate (Called Known Date or whatever you want to name it).

The Benefit: This process allows marketers to use that Known Date for various filters, reports, and campaigns inside and outside of Marketo. You can also expose the data in alerts and within your Salesforce instance so reps gain more intelligence. This Known Date is also important for RCA users where the Lead was Created filter is not available.

Many businesses customize their reports within Excel and other systems. Having a date field populated like Known Date allows marketers to gain vision into how many leads were created by quarter by Lead Source.

Many businesses customize their reports within Excel and other systems. Having a date field populated like Known Date allows marketers to gain vision into marketing effectiveness like the number of leads created by quarter by Lead Source.

AlertExampleKnown1

Want to highlight when the lead was created in the system in alerts? Use the Known Date.

How to Create in Marketo?

  1. In Salesforce, create a mapped DATE or DATETIME field like Known Date on the Lead and Contact Levels.
  2. Then create a simple Smart Campaign in Marketo that populates that date with today’s date whenever a lead is created.
  • Smartlist: Lead is Created
  • Flow: Change Date Value: Known Date = {{system.date}}.

LeadisCreated

KnownDate

Looking at Historical Leads

The above addresses the need for all leads moving forward and takes 15 minutes to put in place. For historical leads, there is a little more work, as there are numerous approaches. For example, you probably want to create some backfill campaigns to approximate the Known Date. You’ll never be perfect so don’t drive yourself nuts. A few examples:

  • If SFDC Created Date is not empty, Known Date = {{system.SFDC Created Date}}.
  • If Created At Date is not empty, Known Date = {{system.Created At}}.

Note that you may run into a few DATETIME format issues so you may need to reformat the data in Excel and import back in rather that run backfill campaigns.

Good luck and let me know how it goes. If you have any great solutions for tracking the birthdate of your leads, please comment below.

Marketo Date Stamping Resources

It’s all about timing – Lead Creation Dates and how to use them (Marketo Community Login Required)

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