Types of Technical Development Needed for Marketo

One thing that took me a while to figure out when I first started with Marketo, being someone who does not have a technical background, was what are the different types of development that are useful for which Marketo project.

In this blog post I’ll try to break down what type of skills you should be looking for in each project.

One thing that is very common with Marketo is to want to push data either from Marketo to another system, or from another system into Marketo. Here are a couple examples to help explain:

Knak –> Marketo
At Knak we push data from our app into Marketo, to identify where people are in their trial. Did they just complete the sign up form? Did they create their first template? Did they use our Marketo integration? Knak sends our Marketo instance all of these data points so that we can better communicate with our trial users.

Marketo –>PFL
Sometimes, based on the information that someone does in Marketo, you want to trigger to another system to do something. For example, if someone signs up for a heli-skiing vacation through Marketo, you may want to take their data and send to someone like PFL (a printing/fulfillment company) to send them a thank you package. This would be an example of pushing data from Marketo to another system.

So, let’s take a look at the first example. In order to get data from one system, in this case Knak, into Marketo, we needed to develop REST API calls to push that data into Marketo. I know the word API can seem intimidating, but thing of it just as a bridge to get data from one system to another. In this case we had our developers write a call, or a piece of code, to trigger data at a specific point in our app and send that data to our Marketo instance into the proper fields. This kind of a process requires a bit of strategy, and then the technical expertise to write the call codes.

In the second example, we would use a Webhook, to push data from Marketo into PFL. The Webhook would contain a payload, which is basically just a term for the data we would send to PFL. This would include the person’s name, address to send the package and a note.

As a Marketer when I think of Javascript I think of magic. When you hit a wall with a campaign and you seem to have stretched Marketo to its absolute limits, Javascript seems to be able to come in and save the day. There are countless examples I can think of where we used Javascript but here are a few:

Auto-Play Videos
If you ever promote videos from your Marketo emails and you want to automatically play the video when someone lands on your page, you can insert a javascript snippet in order to do that.

Automatically change the colours of a template
For one high-profile client we had to change the colours on a landing page based on the segmentation that someone is in. Dynamic content was able to do most of this for us, but we used javascript to change certain page styles and colours to get the page exactly how we wanted it.

Auto-submit form
For a direct-mail piece we wanted to take someone to a PURL and then autosubmit a hidden form based on a URL parameter so we knew exactly who they were. This allowed us to accomplish this without the visitor ever knowing what was going on.

Emails and Landing Pages
So the last two categories, integrations and javascript, are more on the back-end side of things. For emails and landing pages you are actually looking for more front-end development skills. This is where HTML, CSS and all that good stuff come into play. In my opinion its best to get someone who actually specializes in email development to develop your emails. Email developers are a rare breed, and most web developers don’t know all the intricacies in order to develop bulletproof emails. Most good web developers can develop Marketo landing page templates, but for the best experience we would recommend a web developer who has specific experience with Marketo landing pages as there are quite a bit of nuances that need to be kept in mind.

Hope that helps! This is how I categorize it in my mind when I think about the type of job and who I need to work with in order to get the job done.