Have you been noticing slowdowns in your Marketo system?

Uncovering the exact reason why leads aren’t progressing through campaigns as quickly as they should be can be difficult (and frustrating).

This guide will walk you through specific actions you can take to troubleshoot campaign backlogs and streamline your Marketo instance.

Understanding the Problem

Campaign queue backlogs in Marketo occur when multiple processes stack on top of each other, especially in large instances.

For example, if you’re doing a large email send (let’s say 500,000 emails), you not only have multiple sends firing off at once, but you likely have several tertiary processes being triggered in the background as well.

You might have a smart campaign that changes the program status of a contact, triggered when the email is delivered. Then you’ll have another smart campaign that marks something else, triggered when the email is opened – and so on.

These processes, including email sends, lead scoring, lifecycle campaigns, and Salesforce syncs, among others, create a cascading effect that slows down the entire system. Marketo can only do so much to a particular lead record at a given time.

Identifying the Issue

First, we need to understand what’s happening in your system. Marketo’s campaign queue feature, found in the marketing activities tab, is an essential tool for this. It shows all ongoing processes and their priority levels. A lead usually runs through one campaign process at a time, so high-priority campaigns that take too long can cause lower priority ones to stall and backlog.

Regularly check the campaign queue to identify high-priority campaigns with a large number of leads processing in the “Status” tab. If a particular process shows thousands of leads in the queue, for example, it’s likely the backlog culprit.

Troubleshooting & Prevention

Once you identify the backlog culprit, more often than not you’ll have to let it run its course. In extreme situations, however, remediating it may require removing it from the campaign entirely. Neither of these solutions is ideal and can ground campaigns to a halt for days.

Which is why the real solution to a backlog like this is through preventative measures. You need to set up your smart campaigns and segmentations in a way that is optimized for efficiency so backlogs can’t occur in the first place.

Here are best-practice tips and considerations for you to follow:

  • Every single smart list rule in a segmentation becomes a smart list trigger in your campaign. With this in mind, it’s important to simplify your segmentations as much as possible, using fewer fields for differentiation to reduce the processing load.
  • For each campaign and segmentation, ask yourself if the triggers and criteria have been set up in a way that could unintentionally cause a backlog – part of this is ensuring your filters and flow steps are accurately targeting the intended leads.
  • In line with the point above, map out exactly what a smart campaign will trigger and where things will end up in the system as a result. Always double-check your campaign logic. You want to avoid setting up campaigns that could loop, causing infinite processing cycles.
  • Use batch campaigns for large-scale processes when possible, as they tend to clear out faster than triggered campaigns.
  • Be sure to test campaign and segmentation triggers before pushing them live, referencing Marketo’s campaign queue as you go to continuously identify snags. From there you can reiterate the campaign until the processes are as efficient as possible.
  • Use the “Everytime” campaign qualification rule as sparingly as possible. Consider if you really need someone to go through every time, or if once per hour/day is enough.

(As a side note: when we say segmentations, we mean the smart list buckets that contacts get filtered into, as depicted in the screenshot below)

pink line

Troubleshooting campaign queue backlogs in Marketo doesn’t have to be daunting. As you gain more experience, your understanding of the underlying causes of backlogs will become more refined.

Just remember that the best solution to backlogs is prevention.

If you follow the best-practice preventative measures listed above and use the campaign queue to proactively identify and diagnose issues in a timely manner, you’ll be well on your way to a more streamlined Marketo experience.

And we’re happy to chat about this in more detail and answer any other questions that you might have.

You can book a free 30-minute call with one of our experts here.