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Marketo Engage

To Delete or Not to Delete


When it comes to your brands’ databases and handling deletions, we typically encounter fear of deleting. In our last virtual discussion, we reviewed the concept of deletions and how they lead to successfully creating an actionable and lean database. An actionable, lean database is where a majority of the database has recently engaged with you and is marketable.

To avoid deletions giving your organization major anxiety, don’t wait to start thinking about them when your marketing automation platform, like Marketo, is breathing down your neck. This can lead to rash and dramatic decisions that could seriously impact your database. So, when determining deletion criteria, make sure to run the general criteria by your sales team. This will ensure you don’t have any surprises once the deletion is complete. It is also important to keep in mind that you should handle deletions regularly, like monthly or quarterly. Below, we will review “to delete or not to delete” criteria.

To Delete or Not to Delete Criteria

  • Good Idea:
    • Unmarketable records – If any of the following are True, Marketo won’t send a marketing email:
      • Unsubscribed = True
      • Marketing Suspended = True
      • Black Listed = True
      • Email Invalid = True
      • Email Suspended in the past 24 hours (Note: After a person reaches email suspended status, there is no way to clear the email suspended checkbox. However, the person will still become mailable 24 hours after the initial suspension. More information here.)
    • Inactive in the last X days (you determine what makes sense for your organization)
      • Note: Pay attention to Marketo’s Activities Retention Policy and take archived activity timelines into account. More information here.
    • Records that have been rejected by Sales, typically indicated in the Person Status field in Marketo.
  • Bad Idea – records that fall into any of these categories should be excluded from a deletion:
    • Tracking unsubscribe rates – retain unsubscribed records so your reporting isn’t inflated.
    • Records that are Marketing Qualified or being worked by Sales, typically anything between the Middle-of- and Bottom-of-Funnel.
    • Records attached to an Opportunity – Salesforce won’t let you delete these records.
    • If you’re about to launch a wake the dead nurture – you don’t want to delete the records before you launch them.
  • It’s complicated:
    • One-directional integrations – a process has to be set up to ensure the deleted records in Marketo don’t get recreated.
    • Tracking non-Marketo activities – if that data is represented in Marketo somehow, make sure to take that into account in the inactivity criteria.

Getting Started

Deletions can be scary, especially for an organization without a clear criteria for handling it. However, purposefully thinking through the process can help you create a database that is actionable, lean, and ultimately drives a better, more effective marketing automation strategy. Don’t forget to check out the full recording and contact us if you want to learn more about managing your Marketo database.

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Kenzie Caldwell

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