Marketo Forms 2.0 Functionality and New Advanced Use Cases

Forms 2.0 was released to the public yesterday (1/24/2014), offering the first major update to the “forms” functionality since its original creation within Marketo. Forms 2.0 has been an enormously popularly voted idea as a product enhancement, spearheaded and championed by Eric Hollebone.

For those not in the know, forms have been difficult to change within Marketo without the availability of a web developer and some custom JavaScript. In order to make any aesthetic (or functional) adjustments, you mostly need a web developer on hand, which Forms 2.0 addresses. This is great for small-shop marketers using Marketo. 

The extra value that Forms 2.0 brings, in my opinion, is adding new building blocks for advanced uses. While all of these are possible with Forms 1.0 and extensive custom coding, the return on that custom development isn’t great, and it creates non-robust, non-scalable results. Forms 2.0 adds in functionality that makes the following advanced use-cases not only attainable, but justifiably profitable.

The building block functionality that is new to Marketo Forms 2.0 (not exhaustive):

  • Create double-column forms in the editor
  • Conditional field display
  • Placeholder text
  • Fieldsets (grouping fields into their own box)
  • Style themes you can choose from
  • An area to apply your own custom CSS
  • Setting error languages
  • Ability to set locales (e.g., MM/DD/YYYY can become YYYY/MM/DD)
  • Ability to choose default follow-up pages
  • Font selection for the form
  • Ability to add rich text fields to the form

Lots of good stuff! I know many people have been waiting for some localization (or, “localisation”) efforts, and Forms 2.0 delivers on that. What I’m really interested is advanced use cases here, so let’s dig into some areas of potential.

1) Conditional field visibility:

* If “Country” is “USA”, show “State” picklist.

* If “Country” is “Mexico”, show “Mexican States” picklist.

* If “State” is “Arizona,” show “cities” picklist.

Of course, the Marketo product development team already thought of this. The normal process for adding picklist options is pretty tedious, and definitely not scalable. For adding picklist fields in Forms 2.0, there’s an “Advanced” option in which you can copy and paste pipe-delineated, return-separated values. Ready to grab every country in the U.S.? There are lists for that. City? Lists.

Just hide the states picklist by default, then make it show conditionally.


2) Fieldsets + conditional visibility:

You can show/hide entire groupings of fields based on one condition, and they’re grouped logically and in code! Wow, cool. This one has enormous potential.

Okay, realism. Actual uses. Here we go.

Making forms less daunting. This has been a huge problem if you have a lot of fields in your form. If I go to a page and see a form with 10 fields, my palms start to sweat. That’s way too much detail required for an unknown company and website. On the other hand, if I were to see “First name, Last name, Email,” I wouldn’t worry too much. Then I’d fill those out and a “Company” fieldset appears with a few more fields. Okay, I can do this, I can do this. Fill ’em out, only three more. Etc.

Showing fields relevant to that user based on known information. I want to show different fields to a Customer versus a Partner versus a Prospect. How do I do it? Make an always-hidden field, populate it based on lead information, then set a conditionally-displayed fieldset based on that hidden value. Now the Customer can get to see upsell/cross-sell qualifying questions, whereas the Prospect can get to see base qualifying questions, and the Partner can referral-qualifying questions.

Changing the call-to-action with JavaScript, attached to your form in the rich text field. Once we have the information about demographically-disqualified leads, we don’t need more information. We know that their company is five people, and there is no way they’ll afford your solution. Trying to extract money from them directly won’t be effective. Obviously your sales people won’t try, so why should your marketing automation try? It’s time to pivot to a call-to-action that actually helps. What helps? Expanding your reach so that they can spread the word—social media. “Follow us on your choice of social media so you can get our free e-book! +1 this page for the ebook!” So long as the CTA is appropriate for the person’s familiarity with your company/product/solution, you can work toward results.


3) Rich text fields in Forms 2.0

The new use here is being able to attach text/HTML/CSS to a form instead of just a landing page or template. Because custom JS might be applicable to only certain types of forms, this is a cleaner approach. The real intended use here is basic, trying to add a line or image to a form, such as being able to add a link to terms and conditions. The potential lies beyond that basic use though:

Attaching JavaScript conversion codes to forms only when they’re necessary. A great use case is creating a Google AdWords form, which has the conversion code attached in JavaScript. When you want a form-submission with a built-in conversion, you can throw in a rich text field into a new conversion-triggering text token. These can be defined on campaign folder level or program level, whichever makes the most sense in terms of your folder/program structure.

Using landing page A/B testing based on Form UI. Another type of form you could experiment with is a multi-step, sequential form experience. This was a key conversion-enhancing UX decision for the Obama donation campaign. Create the JavaScript that takes the grouped fieldsets and turns the form into sequential fill-out. Here’s an example of what this means for the Obama donation group, from Kyle Rush:

Then you can create an A/B Landing Page test in Marketo, have identical landing pages except for separate Forms 2.0 with different sequential UI experiences. Bumping your conversion rate is the goal, and now that’s measurable.

These are only the first things I’ve considered with the new release of Forms 2.0. What are some other advanced use cases that you can see?

Pin It
  • Grant

    Thanks for the writeup Edward – I can’t wait to play with Forms 2.0 myself. If I find some cool advanced use cases I’ll report back here :)

    I have to say I’m pretty excited about the “sequential” form capabilities. I think that’s going to have an impact for sure!

  • bahadiry

    What’s unfortunate is that the “sequential” form does not save the fields until the entire form is submitted. This is an issue for us as we would like to send nurture emails to those that abandon our multi-step forms at any point.

  • Trask Rogers

    I’m liking it so far. The conditional visibility was something we’d started to implement using javascript, but the management was a hassle when you had to make tweaks. No I can just copy and paste and make specific changes as necessary. I’m interested in testing more around the sequential approach.