Engagement programs 101: How to create engagement programs in Marketo engage

James T Fletcher
CEO, Principal Consultant


In our blog series: Marketo engagement programs 101 we’ve so far looked at the benefits of engagement programs and when to use them. Now we’re going to look at how to create an optimised Marketo engagement program that will have your audience raving and your manager praising!

5 Steps to creating engagement programs in Marketo

Step 1: Set Goals

First things first – before diving into any campaign creation you should always set your goals and objectives, and KPIs you want to measure. Are you looking to generate leads, or nurture existing contacts through the buying journey, or upsell / cross-sell to existing customers? Define your goals clearly so you can structure your program accordingly.

Step 2: Map out your campaign

Whenever we embark on a new engagement program for a customer, we always insist on mapping out the journey on paper before diving into Marketo.

For example – who are you trying to target with each stream? How should you segment your audience? What criteria pulls them from one stream to the next? What exclusion criteria should you be using? 

Start simple and as you map out your program you’ll no doubt add more complexity. You may find you need more than one engagement program to fulfil your objectives, or that you need to use embedded programs to allow smart campaign filters to drive more targeted segmentation and personalisation. But best to work this out before you begin your program build!

Step 3: Plan and create your content

Your engagement program will only be as good as the content you utilise in your emails. So it’s worth taking time to understand each audience segment and define what messages you’re looking to communicate in each email of each stream. 

Often you’ll need a broad range of assets for your campaign (depending on its use) such as educational, promotional, and thought-leadership content.

Content creation is often seen as one of the biggest challenges to creating Marketo engagement programs. But when you start to review the assets you have, we bet you’ll be surprised and have more than you think – and don’t be scared to repurpose everything!

You can also keep adding and refining your content as you go – you don’t need masses of emails from day one. As leads make their way through your streams you simply keep adding new content that they will receive when the cadence dictates.

Step 4: Build your program

Now it’s time for the build! Define the channels for each communication and the cadence and transition rules for each stream.

Don’t forget – Marketo can be used as a multi-channel communication tool – don’t just stick to sending emails! Use Marketo’s multi-channel capabilities to communicate with leads through email, social media, and other channels. This will help you reach leads where they are and increase the chances of engagement.

Step 5: Optimise

Keep a close eye on the metrics and data and make any necessary adjustments to improve the effectiveness of your program. Use A/B testing to optimise your individual emails and improve their effectiveness.


In conclusion, creating an optimized Marketo engagement program requires setting clear goals and objectives, mapping out the campaign journey, planning and creating engaging content, building the program, and optimizing it by keeping a close eye on metrics and data.

Using multi-channel communication tools can help reach leads where they are and increase engagement. Embedded programs can provide more powerful segmentation capabilities, allowing for targeted content delivery.

Finally, the number of streams and content will depend on campaign goals and objectives, but Marketo provides a limit of 100 engagement programs to work with.

Overall, an effective engagement program can help in generating leads, nurturing existing contacts, and upselling or cross-selling to existing customers. Check out our engagement programs troubleshooting Q&A for more tips!

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