Digesting Marketo’s latest feature-filled release will take time. I noted a dozen great new capabilities in this article but there are probably a hundred when you get into the details.
If you are a Marketo customer, you are familiar with some of the historical issues with forms. Marketers could collect data and get leads to Sales but any form customization generally required some advanced coding efforts.
Like a greatest hits soundtrack, Forms 2.0 streamlines the form creation process by bundling in several year’s worth of feature requests into a single release. At the highest level, marketers can now build more complex forms without involving coding experts.
Even with all of these great new capabilities, everything is not perfect. Forms 2.0 includes some legacy conversion tradeoffs that existing customers need to factor in before rolling out. See Marketo Community article (login required) for details.
Twelve Key Features
1) Navigate Easier with a Shiny New Interface
Things look and feel better in the new release as the 2.0 forms editor got a facelift. In simple terms, it’s just easier to navigate and get things done.
One great example is the revised picklist editing feature. Previously, users had to type the choices into a small box that fit a couple of words. Personally, I would copy/paste choices to notepad to perform edits and then paste back in—not an ideal process. Forms 2.0 simplifies the process of adding/editing picklist values by providing a full interface for the edits.
2) Rollout Advanced Capabilities without a Coder
Hate calling in favors to your JAVA developer to build semi-advanced forms? Or maybe you didn’t know some magical custom code existed to solve your forms problem?
3) Make Your Fields Conditional to Improve Visitor Experience
Expanding on #2, one of my favorite features is the new conditional field capability.
Marketers can display what shows up on a form page based on previous answers. Instead of displaying unnecessary fields on a page that could decrease the conversion rate, marketers can display the most relevant ones.
- Only show the State field if “United States” is chosen as a Country. On a more detailed level, only show states if “United States” is selected and provinces if “Canada” is chosen.
- Display a set of product related fields depending on the selection in the Desired Product field.
- Display fields based on Industry. For example, if “Manufacturing” is chosen, drop down a Sub industry field with appropriate choices.
4) Embed Forms on Your Own Pages
Don’t want to use a Marketo hosted page? Want to use you own site’s pages?
Forms 2.0 enables marketers to integrate Marketo forms within their own web pages. Marketers could do this in previous versions but Marketo has made the process easier by allowing marketers to drop the form code on the company hosted page.
5) Customize to Your Heart’s Desire to Boost Response Rates
Previous versions limited forms to a single column of form fields. Formatting was also limited.
The new editor gives marketers the ability to customize their forms’ look and functionality to increase results. Some examples include:
- Create multiple columns of fields.
- Add copy to layouts.
- Include images within the form.
6. Customize Followup Pages for Content Delivery
This feature is ideal for tailoring followup content to improve the user experience. For example, if you have a Enterprise and am SMB version of a whitepaper, send the visitor to a specific thank you page based on the Country field.
7. Build Field Sets for Data Organization and Layout
Field sets are great for organizing certain groups of fields and labeling them. The group helps break up the form visually to improve responses.
Shipping Address fields is a use case for companies that send physical product. Marketers can also make field sets dependent on a previous choice. For instance, if the Billing Address is Different checkbox is checked, the page could display the Billing Address field set.
8. Simplify Progressive Profiling
In previous versions, creating a form with progressive profile was a lot of trial and error. Custom code also sometimes conflicted with the fields displaying properly.
The new 2.0 version simplifies the progressive profiling process. Marketers simply add desired fields to the progressive field set and those fields will progressively display each time a form is completed. This dramatically decreases testing time and streamlines the progressive profile setup.
9. Bypass the Form to Improve Experience
Forms 2.0 provides the ability to add built in tokens to recognize existing and new visitors. I am actually not sure if this functionality is new but I saw it as part of the release webinar and had to mention its awesomeness.
The end result is marketers can send known users directly to content to improve the user experience. Here’s an example of how Marketo executes this feature.
10. Internationalize Forms for Better Regionalized Results
Do you know the French text for “Form Error?” Do your European customers get annoyed with seeing July 12, 2014 displayed as 7/12/2014 (as opposed to 12/7/2014).
With built-in error language support, forms 2.0 enables marketers to create localized settings. Simply choose one of nineteen languages and form error messages will automatically appear in the local language. Choose the form locale and you can set the format of date fields to match the region.
11. Enhance Data Integrity with Built-in Field Validation Rules
The addition of field validation rules is another example of where custom coding is no longer required. Marketers can also set input maximums on a field by field basis to reduce data input errors.
For instance, the phone number field type must contain numbers—if a lead tries to type in a letter, the input would get rejected.
12. Improve Look and Feel with Custom CSS
If you are looking to customize the theme, jump into the CSS editor and make appropriate changes. Advanced design skills recommended.
Bonus 1: Improve Data Quality with Hint Text
Make it easier for your user to type in the right data by giving an example of how you want the data to look. Once they start typing, the hint text disappears. Hint text improves the user experience and helps makes your data cleaner.
Bonus 2: Stylize Your Buttons
Marketers get a gallery of call-to-action buttons to choose from.