By Caroline Graham

Tokens are part of the genius of Marketo, offering an incredible opportunity to streamline your marketing automation. Instead of having to edit every email in a program you clone, simply update tokens at the program or folder level and they will populate in your emails and landing pages.

“In one instance, I was able to use program tokens to reduce the time it took to get an event program out the door from four hours down to about 45 minutes,” shared 2020 Marketo Champion Brooke Bartos.

Marketo Token Strategy: A Bird’s-Eye View

Tokens allow you to set personalization at the email, program, or folder level. I asked Brooke how she decides what to tokenize, and she gave me this excellent rundown:

"Things I tokenize on the folder level are pieces of information I know will be relevant to programs housed within that folder. For example, my highest-level folder (Active Marketing Programs) will have a token for Copyright Year, because I know every program under that will use it and it allows me to quickly update the year on all assets", Brooke states. 

Below that, all our webinars for a specific product line are sent from a certain onboarding specialist. Thus, the “From” and “Reply To” emails of all webinars in that folder are tokenized to be from that person.

Tokens on the program level are unique and specific to the program alone. Examples include webinar titles and dates, an event location, or a speaker bio. These bits of information will be used multiple times within that same program (emails, landing pages), but the information itself remains the same throughout. 

This allows you to set the webinar date and time in one place (the token). The information will update across all assets that use that token. This way, a small change in one place could update countless assets, saving time that would have been required to update each individually.

Learn how SmartBug generated a 6,800% increase in email marketing traffic using  Marketo and inbound marketing tactics.

Types of Marketo Tokens

Within one event program, Brooke used tokens for copyright year, email sender information, and details like event titles, dates, locations, and speaker bios. With the possible exception of email sender information, all of these are examples of My Tokens. My Tokens are one of many Marketo token types:

  • My Tokens are custom variables that you create and store at the program or folder level.
  • Lead and company tokens pull in standard or custom fields from records. When you see “Dear (Your First Name),” in an email, this is what you are seeing.
  • Member tokens can pass personal webinar links from third-party tools.
  • System tokens include goodies like “forward to a friend” and “view as webpage” links. 
  • Campaign, Trigger, and Program tokens may be customer facing, but are more likely to do their heavy lifting behind the scenes. 

Most token types can be used to populate Interesting Moments, change data values, and more. 

Types of Marketo My Tokens

Within My Tokens, there are also a number of options. If you are using tokens to customize an event program like Brooke did:

  • You will probably use text or rich text (HTML) My Tokens for information like location or speaker bios. 
  • You might use a number My Token to share expected attendance or ticket price. 
  • You might also use a calendar file My Token so people can add your event to their calendar with one click. 
  • You might use an email script My Token, which uses a scripting language called Velocity to load custom content.

Other My Token types include date, score, and SFDC campaign

5 Marketo My Token Tactics to Try

Although tokens can be your best friend, you should be thoughtful about what you tokenize and how. If you frequently A/B test event email subject lines, for example, you may decide it’s not worth your time to tokenize that element just yet. And if you are tokenizing programs or landing pages that will be cloned by multiple stakeholders, make sure you take the time to get feedback.

Once you’ve built out the basics, here are five extra My Token tactics to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Use email script My Tokens to pull in and display a list of upcoming events. Your list will stay current based on the date.
  2. Put URLs in text My Tokens to more quickly update your email buttons. Just make sure you put the “https://” in the email instead of in the token for tracking purposes.
  3. Follow power user Edward Unthink’s lead and use email script My Tokens to reformat dates for global audiences (the U.S. MM/DD/YYYY format isn’t the global standard—here’s a handy map).
  4. Assign a task or send an alert to a sales rep. Use My Tokens to store and easily edit instructions that may be used in smart campaigns across multiple programs.
  5. Tokens within tokens! You can’t put other tokens inside text or rich text tokens, but you can nest tokens within email script tokens or calendar tokens

Creative options abound, but the most important My Tokens tactic is simple: Just use them! You will thank yourself later.


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Caroline Graham

About the author

Caroline Graham was formerly a Marketing Automation Manager based in Indianapolis. She is a Marketo Certified Expert focused on understanding how the digital age impacts consumer behaviors. Read more articles by Caroline Graham.

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