Anatomy of the perfect Marketo Admin


Written by Justin Yopp

May 9, 2016


10 Key Skills and Traits

Marketo marketing automation skills are in demand! If you run a quick LinkedIn Job search for Marketo, you’ll find a list of more than 1,300 job openings. That’s a huge number. But Marketo expertise can be a sliding scale and there are a few factors that determine whether an applicant has the right profile to be a true Marketo expert.

Whether you’re an HR recruiter, manager, or current or future Admin, it’s essential that everyone is working off the same page.

Most organizations deploying marketing automation don’t have the luxury of employing a purely execution-focused Marketo resource. They need Marketo Experts that bridge the gap between marketing strategy and execution within the tool. Their role is part architect, part builder, part project manager and part advisor.

To fit this mold, consider the following 10 attributes and skills as the framework for a Marketo Expert profile. Attributes are not easily trainable and reflect how someone approaches their work and how they think. Skills can be trained and are proficiencies related to specific tasks or actions and can be trained. Broadening the definition beyond skills better fits the realities of being a  Marketo Admin and the value they bring to the organization.

Download Marketo Guide

First, The Basics

Attributes should be considered baseline for Marketo Admins. These reflect more about a person’s approach to their work than specific skills that can be trained. If any of these attributes are missing, effectiveness is going to suffer.

  1. Exceptional Marketo Admins aren’t button-pushers. They see the bigger picture – the business objectives and marketing strategy – through the lens of Marketo. They don’t simply execute a campaign, but instead advise on its design and structure to help achieve the best results for the organization. They’re constantly scanning the market and your organization’s results to proactively suggest new approaches that will improve marketing effectiveness or generate greater growth from your current investments.
  2. Marketo Admins are great self-managers. They’re able to independently balance their work and manage production schedules. They can coordinate resources and hold others accountable for delivering on-time. Often, they do this without formal authority.
  3. Effective Marketo Admins are doggedly results driven. Admins don’t care about vanity metrics (looking at your opens and clicks). They constantly push their peers to evaluate their marketing against business and marketing objectives, both retroactively in assessing performance and during planning phases, ensuring that current activities are directly linked (at least in intent) to moving the business forward.

Now, The Trainable Stuff

Using Marketo is largely trainable. The skills necessary to operate the platform can be learned and honed with training and consistent application. Having the following skills, in combination with the above attributes, often yields an incredibly effective Admin. The list is straightforward, though certainly not simple.

  1. They are HTML / coding savvy. There are many ways to learn HTML code. On the fly, sites like Stack Overflow and W3Schools offer immediate assistance. More formal education through Codecademy is another great way to enhance HTML skills. Regardless of how the skills are acquired, understanding and leveraging code is critical for effective UX, another must-have skill.
  2. They understand the need for data governance and architecture. Admins need to understand the long-term implications of the data architecture and data quality. They need to be able to define an architecture that supports business requirements and facilitates effective integration with a CRM. This is both a technical and strategic skill set.
  3. They are analytically inclined. As masters of the platform and experts in the data structure, Admins must be able to build reports that answer business questions; and they should be able to analyze those reports to provide extra insights relevant to business users. They should be obsessed with, and curious about, measuring business impact.
  4. They socialize best practices throughout the org. Once reports are built and insights extracted, Admins must share best practices with their teammates and the broader organization. They should be able to catalogue these practices for future team members to leverage. This way, the entire marketing automation team has a consistent process and message when advising the rest of the marketing organization.
  5. They are translators between strategy and technology. Marketo Admins must have the ability to translate campaign and program strategy into executable programs in Marketo. This often involves taking broad definitions of an audience and identifying the specific fields and values necessary for effective segmentation. Similarly, Admins are called upon to review and digest engagement strategies and create program structures within the platform.
  6. They are UX Sherpas. Again stepping into an advisor role, Admins must guide marketers in the creation of emails, landing pages and campaigns that effectively engage their audience and offer exceptional user experiences. This means considering the impact of screen size, context, past behavior and other factors on messaging and content.
  7. They think in multi-channel terms. Nothing happens in a single channel any longer. Modern marketing requires consistent messaging and experiences across many channels such as email, digital ads and social media. Coordinating these messages isn’t always the responsibility of an Admin, but Admins should be versed in these channels to understand how they operate and what the technical considerations are when it comes to deploying content within them. This knowledge is essential to ensure Marketo picks up and consumes user data and behavior from them.

Download Marketo Guide

Time to Wrap it Up

Clearly, Marketo Admins are much more complex, and consequently valuable, than simple platform operators. Effective Admins connect the marketing strategy and technology into a mutually beneficial ecosystem. They serve as both architect and builder while simultaneously advising their internal clients on approaches to maximize their returns.

Perhaps Admin isn’t really a sufficient enough term any longer. Any thoughts on a better one? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

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