When do you need a developer to help with marketing automation?

November 6, 2014 | by

NOTE: This is a guest blog post. Josh Hill is the Marketo Practice Lead at Perkuto, a marketing automation agency. Josh works at the intersection of marketing, sales, and technology to deliver revenue generation systems. He writes about marketing automation and demand generation at MarketingRockstarGuides.com.

Marketing automation platforms are tremendously powerful out of the box and in the hands of an experienced operator. Platforms, by definition, allow the use of extension applications to make the system do even more amazing things for your team.

You may think Marketo’s logic engine is capable of so much (and it is), but there are limitations. Marketo cannot do everything for you, nor should it. There are other tools out there that perform their function better than Marketo could build it.

Marketo’s platform is very open, enabling the LaunchPoint ecosystem of applications to exist. You can also use this openness to expand the capabilities of your site and Marketo to match your business needs.

The great thing about a platform like Marketo is it allows the typical marketer the ability to build pages, emails, and routing logic without being a full-fledged programmer. A marketer these days does need to understand logic, but actual programming is best left to the experts. So how do you know when you need to call in a developer?

I have a few basic rules, or heuristics, to decide when a programmer should get involved:
– When Marketo doesn’t have an obvious filter, trigger, or feature for the need, it can often be done with some Javascript or jQuery.
– Will this be too complex for Marketo by itself?
– Can Marketo even do this?
– Is this a website customization not easily supported?
– Does Marketo need to talk to a website or other database?
– Does it sound like something a computer can do, but Marketo doesn’t have a function for it?

Remember that while Marketo may not offer an out-of-the-box function, it does connect to many third-party integrations as well as custom connections. Take a look at a few of these categories at the LaunchPoint marketplace:
Analytics Tools
Data Appending
Content Management Systems

Some third party applications provide intuitive control panels and setup tools right within the platform (GoToWebinar). These are “native” integrations where the most work you need to do is setup the login and then use it in Marketo. Other extensions, however, require the use of the more complex API that must be programmed more directly.

Marketo’s Integration Options
– LaunchPoint Integration – usually a login or easy settings.
– API Integration – requires setup of API and programming:
(3) Webhook Integration – requires setup of special code, but fairly easy.
(4) Email Scripting (Velocity)
– JavaScript and jQuery:
(1) Forms 2.0
(2) Lead Tracking (Munchkin)
(3) Social JS
(4) RTP JS

Here are a few use cases for using a developer to extend the capabilities of the Marketo platform.

Marketo use cases where developer is needed

Do you have any of these use cases? If so, it might be time to speak with a developer. Visit the services partner section on LaunchPoint.