What I learned this week about: Pardot Responsive Layouts

I built my first responsive email template in 2014 when I was just coming into the MOPs/Salesforce Admin portion of our programming and realized that my company’s marketing emails were NOT responsive.

Me being me, I ended up sitting through a free webinar put on by Litmus to gain the basic understanding of how responsive emails worked, and from there I was the go-to on the team for all things HTML and CSS. I fumbled my way through enough to ensure that our emails and custom landing pages would look good on mobile.

Side note: I did all of this because I had reviewed the open rates based on device and found that approximately 30-40% of our emails were being opened on mobile. That’s a pretty sizable chunk of people having to squint at tiny print on a small screen.

I am not an expert on this stuff at all, so I’m not about to sit here and break down how to do this – there are much better resources out there for that. All you need to really understand about this is that responsive emails are based on tables, as in:

<table>

<tr><td></td></tr>

</table>

That at least I understood having been big into building strangely elaborate personal webpages when in school. I wish I had screenshots of some of the work I did back then – it wasn’t terrible, all things considered.

For responsive emails these are important because you end up with nested tables – tables inside of table cells inside of tables. Tableception, if you will. (Is that joke still a thing? I use it a lot.)

And then on top of that, there are some special little tweaks you can make to the CSS itself to ensure that when the size of the screen shrinks, those tables all shift around into place, so instead of squished, you get stacked.

Screen Shot 2019-10-29 at 1.17.34 PM <– Like that.

So what does this have to do with Pardot??

In a few implementations clients have used one of the prebuilt responsive templates in Pardot and found that instead of stacking, their template just shrank down into a smaller version of the same layout.

For whatever reason this didn’t seem to happen in previews or even with all template layouts, but for this client it did, and I wanted to fix it. It took some digging. And by digging, I mean rewriting the code almost line-by-line to find the issue, but when I did find it, it seemed a little silly.

The key to that fancy table action above working is in the CSS that exists for that email, so before we even start adding our tables and rows and cells and tables inside of cells…we have our CSS classes defined. Think of those classes as references; later in the HTML tables, I can reference my CSS via the class name, and that is used to display the info according to that reference.

But what I found was a table referencing a class that wasn’t there. Simple mistake and simple solution – we just had to drop the appropriate class name (reference) in the CSS, and BOOM! We had a nice, stacked template.

So what happened??

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s possible that the client made some small change during editing that removed that class. It’s possible that on that particular layout, the class just wasn’t included. I don’t know, but what I took away from that was to just check.

This is true no matter the platform. Any time you are using work or designs created by another source for mass consumption and reuse, just take a minute and review it. Become familiar with it. In a way, the HTML/CSS of your email templates is like a manual for a new gadget you’re putting together. It’s tedious to go through it, and wouldn’t we rather just slap the thing together and be done? Sure. But if you take that time at the beginning to introduce yourself, you’re more likely to find little hiccups. You know, before you start putting any real weight on the thing.

 

What I learned this week about Pardot Business Units

Okay, listen.

I started out with Marketo. I cut my teeth with it, learned what marketing automation was, re-acquired some HTML and CSS skills to make email templates better, and I yelled a lot about how important it was for us to be segmenting our content. So much power.

I say that because now I work with Pardot. Pretty much exclusively.

And it’s different. Different.

There are parts that I have really enjoyed learning, things that I think it maybe does better. There are things it doesn’t do as well. But I’m not talking about that now. Just sort of setting the stage here.

What I want to talk about today is Business Units. Because I’ll tell you…over the past few weeks I have learned a LOT. Almost exclusively through trial and error because the documentation is thin on the ground.

What’s a Business Unit?

I have two very distinct teams – a US-based sales group and a UK-based sales group. I don’t want them touching each other’s data, but historically when I bring them into Pardot, they get all blended together.

Business Units.

Marketo had a similar function back in the day that my at-the-time company considered, but it wasn’t necessary.

Business Units create two distinct databases within a single Pardot instance. Or more. I’m using two because it’s simple.

What are the prerequisites?

Hooo boy. Hold onto your pants for this one.

Pardot changed their connector in February (2019). In theory, if you purchased Pardot any time after that, you’d be using the Version 2 Pardot Connector – this is a prerequisite for business units. It’s also not entirely true? I definitely had clients onboard in April who didn’t have the Version 2 connector.

But that’s the first prerequisite.

Also you need to, you know, pay for them.

Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, you need to read, re-read, and re-re-read the documentation. Plan this out. Know your business units ahead of time:

  • What will the name be? You cannot change it in Setup after the fact.
  • Who will be the admin for that Business Unit? If you purchased BEFORE April 25th, you will be UNABLE TO SWITCH BETWEEN THEM.
  • Which users will be assigned to which Business Units? (see note above)
  • Which Contacts and/or Leads will be assigned to which business units? Like users, a Contact/Lead can only be assigned to ONE Business Unit.
  • How will you identify the appropriate Contacts/Leads for each Business Unit?

Go over that list of questions more than once. I promise if you think you have it in your head and are ready to go, it will not hurt you to 1) go over it one more time and 2) write it down.

Know what you have available

In one year alone we’ve had all of these changes to options. If at all possible, figure out ahead of time which version you have. If you have the earlier version of Business Units, again, you cannot switch between them. That means duplicate user records, if you intend to have users in more than one business unit.

Plan Ahead

If this theme hasn’t been made clear enough, it is so important that you plan through this ahead of time. If you encounter an issue, it could take weeks before it is resolved.

Ultimately the idea is a good one – we have multiple corporate entities that share a Salesforce instance, but their marketing efforts are different, and we need to keep them separate. Once upon a time you would have done this by potentially purchasing multiple Pardot instances and connecting to them to your shared Salesforce org, but with the way Pardot’s connector behavior is changing, that would no longer be possible.

Thus Business Units.

It’s a good idea, and with the most recent updates to the product, they are moving in the right direction. Just be diligent. And plan ahead.

Marketo v. Pardot Cage Match: Round 3, Administration

If you’re wondering “why are we talking about administration, if the last round was emails?” Well, frankly, because it was the next thing I thought about. I kept trying to think of a logical order to do these in and just came up short. Then I remembered that this is my blog, and I can do these in whatever order they come to mind.

So let’s talk about what Administration means here.

A lot of marketing automation functionality focuses on marketing (true story). And a lot of comparisons and ratings focus on that. That’s good; it matters. But if you’re responsible for managing the platform, there’s more than email templates, campaign managements, and calendars. There are integrations to consider, user management, and what-have-you.

Round 3 of our cage match focuses on common administration functions: user management, integrations, system maintenance, and certification.

User Management

How easy is it to create users and control their access to the database?

Marketo

If you can read and click on checkboxes, then you can manage users and permissions in Marketo.

marketousers

Users and Roles that can be assigned are managed in the same place, under the Admin section of Marketo.

marketoroleRoles should be set up first, and editing or creating them is simply a matter of checking off the items that the role should have access to. Access and abilities are provided in handy sections – you can check the global setting or get granular, if need-be.
Easy as that.

Adding users is about the same. Simply click on the New button, put in the email, select their Role, provide an access expiration if necessary, and boom – the new user is emailed.

Access to Marketo is not controlled by license, but some functionality – namely the Calendar – is. Keep that in mind.

Pardot

Maybe it’s because I just handled issues surrounding this, but one thing that you must understand about Pardot users – if you want sales reps to see Pardot info in Salesforce, they MUST have a license. And if you want it to be easy for them to access, you MUST turn on SSO for each of them. Not doing so can cause issues.

Point, Marketo.

Other than that, it works much the same. Create  a user, send them an email, and there is no user license cost.

Integration

Beyond integration to a CRM (which is important. I did a session about it!), which is important, how easy is it to integrate with other services?

Marketo

LaunchPoint. LAUNCHPOINT.

For the uninitiated, LaunchPoint is basically a big book of available integrations that just require you to sign into the thing you want to integrate. They have a pretty good list of things that do this.

Is the integration that you need NOT on LaunchPoint? I bet they use REST or SOAP API, in which case you can access your endpoint, userID, and encryption directly in the Admin area of Marketo. They have a host of partners out there that can be setup and integrated in 15 minutes.

As far as Salesforce integration goes, it’s easy to set up and maintain. Create a Marketo user (with its own Profile), put in that user’s information in Marketo, and that’s it. Ok, that’s not it. There’s other setup – creating the fields that are needed, making sure to hide anything you don’t want Marketo to have access to, etc. But essentially that’s it.

From there on out, every 5 minutes there’s a sync. You can sync Leads, Contacts, Campaigns – it all fits together really well.

Your Sales reps can see Marketo information via the AppExchange packages Sales Insights. This creates Visualforce pages that you can add to the page layout (now Lightning compatible), as well as a custom object where ALL Marketo information can be found. Reps do not have to have a Marketo license in order to use these features.

Pardot

Pardot calls them Connectors – a series of pre-built integration between Pardot, certain CRMs, and other marketing software types (webinar platforms, social media platforms, etc.).

They have a pretty good list of options.

pardotconnectors

But if you use something else, you need to know how to create some API integrations.

Connecting to Salesforce here is similar – you create a Pardot user in Salesforce and then use those credentials to create the connection. Then you have to individually map custom fields to Salesforce. Once that’s done, you can use Automation rules to sync the lists that you want, or you can sync individual Prospects. Syncing happens ongoing based on changes and automation rules.

In order for Pardot information to be available to Sales reps in Salesforce, those reps must have a Pardot license, as well. While not necessary, it is also recommended that those users be setup with Single Sign On, too. While this isn’t a big deal in Classic because it will just not load the Visualforce pages, if you’re using Lightning, and the sales rep doesn’t have Pardot access, the page will not load at all.

System Maintenance

I’m going to spare us all. This is the age of cloud-based platforms. System updates happen automatically in both systems – Marketo has 3 major releases and 3 minor releases per year. Pardot has them whenever they feel like. Just kidding! Monthly.

Certification

Getting certified in these platforms are fantastic ways to expand your career, so being able to do so is important.

Marketo

I took the Marketo certification twice. I took it twice because in order to re-certify, you have to take the whole the test again. And it even costs the same!

I don’t get to play with Marketo anymore. There are no training sandboxes or anything like that, so many of my screenshots have to come either from previous presentations or from their docs site. It makes it really daunting to consider re-certifying. There have been some big changes in the Marketo game, and I wouldn’t have the hands-on practice that I’d need to really get in there.

Pardot

I’m working on my Pardot certification right now, but I can tell you this – sandboxes and an entire certification track of training. There are so many resources out there, and recertification is like Salesforce’s process. Take a release exam. You stay up-to-date on those new functionalities and changes, and you are golden.

Salesforce, as a whole, makes certification a relatively painless process, so that the only really difficult part is the actual exam. Which is the way it should be.

Summary

Administering any platform application is going to come with some challenges, but those challenges should not be caused or exacerbated by the platform itself. Software is designed to make people’s jobs easier, and while being the administrator doesn’t mean using the platform to streamline our own job, it shouldn’t be hard, either.

Marketo and Pardot both provide easy ways to support users and customize the platform, with the exception of certification, Marketo wins this round.

 

 

Marketo v. Pardot Cage Match: Round 2, Sending Emails

Edited to include a note on Marketo’s Email Editor v2.0

First of all, disclaimer: Marketing Automation is not just for email automation. It does a lot more than that. However, for a small team that is just starting out with Marketing Automation, this is likely where you’re going to start, so that’s where we are now.

It also is something that should be considered as part of any and all marketing initiatives. It’s easy to think that “email marketing” and “sending emails via Marketing Automation” are the same thing, but they are not.

Email marketing is a channel of marketing.

Sending emails is the ability to send an email to a prospect – be that via email marketing, specifically, transactional emails, drip campaigns, or even internal messaging.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s how I’m breaking down this round of the cage match:

  1. Planning: this involves the process of planning what and when to send
  2. Designing: this involves the ease of creating the email – can you clone something you’ve built, how do templates work, etc.
  3. Sending: this is pretty straightforward. How easy is it to send the thing you’ve planned and created?
  4. What I am NOT covering: Dynamic content in emails – I will be handling things like this in another post.

These are exceptionally broad-stroke sections, I realize. A lot goes into planning. But since every team does planning just a little bit differently, I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty here. I’ll give examples, though, don’t worry about that.

Continue reading “Marketo v. Pardot Cage Match: Round 2, Sending Emails”

I’m Learning Pardot

I am taking the plunge.

When I accepted my new job offer, it came contingent upon my finishing a few more exams, including at least one for Pardot.

I thoroughly enjoy marketing, and I’m a big fan of marketing automation (if it’s not clear from my speaking sessions always including it), so I’ve decided to tackle the Pardot cert first.

I realize that doesn’t seem like a big deal. “Ok. A certification. Great. Don’t you have some of those?” Yeah, I do. And I’m not writing this to reinvent the wheel and provide a “how I passed” overview. First off, I haven’t taken it yet, so that would be premature and a little conceited. Second, those exist.

The only reason I felt this news needed any sort of nod is because I ran a Marketo shop, and I have at least one purple piece of swag in my possession. My backpack from Marketing Nation is pretty much my favorite – it is the perfect size for my work computer, and it carries more than it seems like it would.

The fact is, Marketo doesn’t allow re-certification if you’re not a customer. That puts me in a bit of a bind. When I left my last company, I knew that the day would come when I have to remove “Marketo Certified Expert” from my resume and LinkedIn. Frankly, that sucks. I earned that. Twice, in fact because Marketo’s exam maintenance consists of re-taking the exam every year.

My cert is up in December, so until then, I can call myself “MCE,” but afterwards…well, I need some feather in my cap.

And so it begins.