Executing a Marketing Strategy with Pardot
Executing a Marketing Strategy with Pardot

Executing a Marketing Strategy with Pardot

08/20/2019 by Samantha Safin
One of the most in-depth sessions that I go through with clients is helping them plan, step-by-step, how they will execute a marketing strategy in their Pardot instance. Here’s how we do it.

“We want Pardot to make our marketing better.”

I have nightmares about that line. I hear it sometimes from organizations looking to expand to marketing automation. The sentiment I understand, but one of the first things that we’ll discuss is that Pardot is not a marketer. It doesn’t understand people, in the same way that an X-Ray machine doesn’t understand people. It can show us all of the key indicators that someone is engaged, ready to make a purchase, willing to volunteer, etc. But it doesn’t know what any of that actually means.

This is actually an important distinction, especially in marketing, where sending more of a bad email does not count as better marketing – only more marketing.

After our training sessions about how to make Pardot do the things we want, we bring it all together in a workshop that reviews the organization’s marketing strategy, their goals, their common messages, and we break that down into sizeable steps using the tools at our disposal. 

We Start with Questions

If you’ve read our previous Pardot posts, you’ve probably seen a lot of questions that we encourage people to ask about their marketing in preparation for an email send or similar. It should come as no surprise that this is no different.

Some organizations have entire marketing teams who have put together sophisticated marketing plans for the fiscal year; they have brand guides and a messaging calendar, goals, metrics, and they can probably articulate this very well. 

Other organizations have small teams that fulfill many roles, and they just need to get the messaging out to the right people – the rest is what it is.

Regardless of size or level or amount of documentation, we start with questions that will help us draw the map from What We Want To Do to How We Do It. These questions may be answered multiple times, as we work with different segments.

We break down these questions into two major categories:

  1.  Who do we want to reach?
  2.  How will we identify these people?
  3.  What data do we currently collect that can help us identify them?
  4.  What data are we missing?
  5.  Who should we NOT communicate with?
Communication Method
  1.  Emailing one-off messages?
  2.  Providing a cadence of emails that they receive over time?
  3.  Special, custom pages with bite-size data or access to special content?
  4.  Inbound communication, from forms?
  5.  Social media posts, to meet our audience where they are?

With Pardot especially, it’s also important to frame these questions as they may also relate to Salesforce. Which of this data is going to be shared with Salesforce? And which system should serve as the source of truth?

We Draw a Map

As we answer questions about our strategy, we start to mark some milestones – these translate, if you will, into actual things we can do with the tool. This takes the form of checklists most often. Other times, we start building as we go, especially if we are using the guide for a one-time thing. 

For the most part, the building blocks are obvious: 
  • Audience questions will lead to custom fields for long-term tracking, lists, segmentation, or automation rules
  • Email questions will lead to templates, list emails, maybe Engagement Programs
  • Inbound communication might look like landing pages and/or forms

After a few times using the map, it becomes second nature, and I find that after a while these exercises are no longer necessary. But for starting out, or just to help focus when a lot is going on, breaking it down like this can really help.

Let’s See an Example

The local animal shelter recently had their AC unit go out, just as we’re heading into Summer. They needed to put together a capital campaign to raise enough funds to get it fixed, so their staff and animals could remain comfortable. I don’t know if they use Pardot, but if they did, this is how they might use this guide to plan their capital campaign. Bonus: having an easy-to-use guide to draw a map helps make this go a lot faster.

  1.  Reach a broad audience of anyone who has donated or adopted before.
  2.  Prospects with donation or adoption history.
  3.  Donation history is available via Opportunity records and rollup fields. Adopters are in the database with or without donation history.
  4.  No data is missing.
  5.  Communicate with donors who have given over $100 this year, not include those who have opted out of appeals.
Communication Method
  1.  Have an email blast to go out ASAP
  2.  If we don't raise enough in a week, send follow up emails every couple of days to people who did not open earlier emails.
  3.  Special, custom pages with bite-size data or access to special content?
  4.  Include a Newsletter subscription checkbox to the donation page
  5.  Post to our Facebook page that we need to raise these funds, as well.

They know what their strategy is, so the next step is to break down what they need to grab from their Pardot toolbox to make this all work. Here’s what I came up with:

Strategic Tools   
  •  One new folder in the current Fiscal Year folder called “2019 Capital Campaign”
  •  One new campaign in the new folder called “2019 Capital Campaign”
  •  One new list called “Capital Campaign Appeal” for future email recipients
  •  Three existing lists based on data from Salesforce
    • “Donors All Time” list
    • “Adopted a Pet” list
    • “Major Donors This Year” list
  •  One new Segmentation Rule to populate the "Capital Campaign Appeal" list
    • Include people from either “Donors All Time” or “Adopted a Pet”
    • Do NOT include any in the “Major Donors This Year” list
  •  One new List Email called “Capital Campaign Appeal”
  •  One existing Appeal template that is kept on hand
  •  One new Engagement Program called “2019 Capital Campaign”
  •  Two new Email Templates – one for email #2 and one for email #3
  •  One new list of Prospects similar to "Capital Campaign Appeal"
    • Do not include those that have donated
    • NOTE: This may be unnecessary, so it’s less urgent
  •  Short messages to send along with email content and create Social Posts
  •  One donation page built with the donation management platform
    • No additional work needed here

And here we have a list of direct actions to take and what to create. Each of these steps may be done in a matter of minutes, with some taking longer than others, but we can check them off as we go. These tasks could be assigned to individuals and followed up on directly, or a single person can simply go down the list.

The more sophisticated the strategy or the newer the team, the list may have more or less detail, but the goal is the same: use Pardot as the instrument to execute your plan. Your marketing will definitely be easier.

What are some questions your team asks when planning a new marketing activity? Tell me all about it in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community or chat with me on Twitter @thesafinhold.