How to Simplify Your Complex Event Programs Using Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation


The night our team put the final touches on our 2013 Marketing Nation JumpStart Tour program, I had a dream that I gardened with tokens.  I put tokens all over in my barren backyard, and updated them once with a beautiful pink flower – and suddenly my backyard was covered in flowers. Imagine planting a flower only once and seeing it everywhere – if only it were as easy for gardens as it is in our marketing programs!

So, What is a Token Anyways?

A token is a variable in your marketing automation platform–a shortcut to a specific value you want to use. They can be set at the program level, the campaign level, the lead level. They save time and help you populate your content with personalized info.

Program tokens are set at the program level, and can be used throughout your emails, landing pages etc.  They are very convenient because you set the value once at the program level and it populates everywhere you use the token.

There are also lead level tokens – ie, if we’re creating an email, we use a first name token, so we say Dear {{lead.firstname}}.  The highlight is the token, and it will look at everyone we’re sending the email to and pull in everyone’s unique first name in a mass send. We might have the sender of the email be the token {{lead owner}}, that way everyone’s unique lead owner will automatically populate, making the email much more personal.

The Marketo Roadshow Program

Now, back to roadshows. On the surface of it, the Marketo roadshow program seems a bit insane – across the 10 cities with separate customer and prospect tracks in each, we’re using roughly 250 campaigns, 160 emails, 80 lists, 24 different landing pages and 22 individual programs.  All of you marketers out there who have set up these types of campaigns for your event marketing understand how crazy this can be. Yet, putting the roadshow program together was actually surprisingly straightforward.  How? We used tokens.

Here’s how we do it.  Each program contains a registration page, a ton of smart campaigns, all those invites and reminders and confirmation emails, and so on. The basic processes and assets needed for each don’t change between programs. However, all those pages and emails obviously need to include details that are different across cities, like date, city, hotel, speakers, agenda, directions, etc.

So, we use tokens to capture the details that are different across cities. We even use tokens to format that information differently – for example, we have short and long versions of dates and locations, depending on where these are being used – emails vs. landing pages vs. ICS files.

Marketo Roadshow Token Examples

Here are the tokens we set up for each program:


Tokens can contain a lot of information – for example, here is the value for our Agenda token.


That agenda appears in multiple places throughout our program, including the landing page and the ICS file that people save to their calendar.  The best part about this is that if there are any changes (what marketer hasn’t had a speaker drop out last minute?), we just change the token, and the values change instantly everyplace the agenda is visible.

To give you a sense of how powerful this is, here’s what our registration page looks like.  We use tokens for all the city specific information:

We clone this page across all our programs, just like we clone the invite email, the confirmation email, the smart campaigns that mark people as registered or attended, and so on.

All we do is update the tokens in the program for each city, and instantly all the information is dispersed correctly through the many assets each program contains – three invitation emails, two reminder emails, a confirmation email, the ICS file, the registration page, and so on.  Here’s what the final registration page looks like:

Tokens enable your team to do larger scale programs than you ever dreamed possible.  Don’t market harder – market smarter!  (Now if only that worked in my garden!)

If you’re interested in seeing how this all comes together, check out our roadshow programs.