How to use Marketo tokens

  • Nick Donaldson

    Nick Donaldson

    Director of Growth Marketing, Knak

Published Jun 13, 2024

How to use Marketo tokens


Boost your marketing automation with Marketo tokens. Personalize emails, streamline campaigns, and automate tasks effortlessly with tokens.

Marketo’s token system is a robust feature set often overlooked when considering how to scale your marketing automation efforts. Tokens enable features such as web and email personalization, help effortlessly scale marketing campaigns, and automate routine data management tasks.

If you're not already familiar with Marketo tokens, you're in for a real treat. In this post, we're going to explore this feature and how you can use it in your Marketo instance.

What is a token in Marketo?

A Marketo token is a named property that allows you to instantly pull values from these properties into your emails, landing pages, and smart campaigns. Marketo tokens are similar to variables used in computer programming and follow many of the same principles.

Imagine working in a large warehouse and needing to retrieve items quickly from shelves. Instead of searching through all the boxes to find what you are looking for, you use a labeling system. Think of tokens as labels that name containers, allowing you to easily reference and retrieve the contents later.

In your Marketo instance, you have thousands of leads. Each lead is stored in your database with properties such as first name, last name, and email. You can access these properties using tokens. Although the name of the token remains the same, the contents can vary for each lead.

This is how personalization is achieved with tokens. By referencing a token, such as {{lead.firstName}}, in an email, Marketo checks the contents of the “container” or token at runtime to retrieve and display the correct value for each individual recipient.

a basic rich text token in Marketo

Marketo Token Format

Tokens in Marketo serve as reference points used to recall and use information about specific objects within Marketo. The format of a Marketo token is {{ category.attribute }}.

The format of Marketo tokens might initially seem confusing. This is due to their use of ‘dot notation,’ which facilitates the efficient scaling of the token system.

Let’s expand this analogy from the previous section. In our warehouse, labels describe the contents of each box, and shelves group boxes into similar categories. Marketo offers various types of tokens, including person tokens, company tokens, and program tokens, each representing a unique data category.

Dot notation in Marketo, shown as {{category.attribute}}, specifies precisely where to find the information. For example, using the token {{lead.firstName}} in an email personalizes each recipient’s email with their specific first name, drawn from the ‘lead’ category of data.

simple Marketo token showing the typical format

Types of Marketo Tokens

Marketo supports 8 different types of tokens:

  • Person Tokens
  • Company Tokens
  • Campaign Tokens
  • Program Tokens
  • System Tokens
  • Trigger Tokens
  • My Tokens
  • Member Tokens

Token Type

Person Tokens


Capture individual lead data.

Example Use Cases

{{lead.First Name}}, {{lead.Email Address}} for personalizing emails.

Token Type

Company Tokens


Related to company-specific data.

Example Use Cases

{{Company.Company Name}}, {{Company.Industry}} for B2B marketing campaigns.

Token Type

Campaign Tokens


Specific to marketing campaigns.

Example Use Cases

{{}}, {{campaign.description}} for tracking campaign specifics.

Token Type

Program Tokens


Used within specific marketing programs.

Example Use Cases

{{program.Name}}, {{program.Description}} to detail program-related content.

Token Type

System Tokens


System-level information.

Example Use Cases

{{}}, {{system.unsubscribeLink}} for adding functional elements.

Token Type

Trigger Tokens


Activated by specific actions within campaigns.

Example Use Cases

{{trigger.Name}}, {{trigger.Link}} for dynamic content based on user actions.

Token Type

My Tokens


Custom tokens created within programs.

Example Use Cases

{{my.event date}}, {{my.custom message}} for specific program personalization.

Token Type

Member Tokens


Used to insert unique values from integrated service partners.

Example Use Cases

{{member.webinar url}} for providing unique webinar URLs to attendees.

Using Marketo tokens in your assets

Now that we have a solid understanding of how Marketo tokens work, let’s take a closer look at how they can be used in your assets.

Tokens can be used in the following assets:

  • Emails
  • Landing pages
  • Smart campaigns
  • Templates
  • Webhooks

Using Marketo Tokens in emails

Tokens are one of the best ways to instantly personalize your email marketing content. Tokens can be used in subject lines and email bodies to add a personal touch to your emails.

You can also use “My Tokens” or local tokens to maintain consistent information across multiple email campaigns in the same folder or program. By defining the tokens at the folder or program level, you can then use them to scale content.

Marketo token used in email subject line

Using Marketo Tokens in landing pages

Similar to email content, you can use tokens in landing pages to personalize or scale content. One of the most powerful use cases for tokens in landing pages is using a template to create landing pages for similar campaigns, such as a webinar series.

For example, your webinar registration page template uses consistent elements such as a banner image, registration form, and information about the event. You can use tokens in the landing page, clone the page to another program, and use "my tokens" to define new values to fill out that new landing page.

Marketo token used in button on landing page

Using Marketo Tokens in Smart Campaigns

You can use tokens in Smart Campaign which adds another level of flexibility to your enrolment criteria and flow steps. As one example, we've seen MOPs team use this for data management for something like tracking UTM parameters.

Marketo tokens used in a workflow step in a smart campaign

Using Marketo Tokens in Templates

Marketo tokens work well in your email and landing page templates. A common example is using a token to dynamically populate the current year in email and landing page footers. You may also choose to use tokens in reusable elements similar to how you might clone a webinar program and replace values on the registration page using tokens.

Using Marketo Tokens in webhooks

Webhooks allow for integration with external tools and are a useful automation tool in Marketo. Webhooks support tokens which can help enhance automation and integration activities. For example, lead tokens could be used to transfer lead details to customer support tools or CRMs, while campaign tokens could be used to customize messages sent through SMS or other messaging platforms.

Marketo token hierarchy and inheritance

As you master the use of tokens in Marketo, you will need to understand how token hierarchy and inheritance work. Don’t worry—it’s not as complicated as it sound

Here are four tips to help you understand this concept.

Organize Your Assets Using a Folder Hierarchy

Marketo’s folder system isn't just for conveniently organizing assets; it also plays a crucial role in the strategic use of tokens. By creating tokens at the top-level folder, every asset within this folder automatically inherits these settings. This is especially useful for extensive campaigns where many assets share common elements, such as webinar series or annual marketing initiatives.

Folders Inherit Tokens Automatically

Tokens created in a parent folder are automatically inherited by all child folders and assets within them. This feature enables you to apply common settings or variables consistently across all related assets or programs. For instance, a general ‘Campaign Year’ token set at the parent level ensures consistent date referencing across all campaign materials.

Tokens Can Be Overridden Locally

Local tokens, defined in a child folder or at the asset level, take precedence over those defined in a parent folder. This allows for significant flexibility and control. For example, while a general branding token might be set at the ‘Corporate Campaigns’ folder level, you might want to use a specific branding element for a one-off event in a child ‘Product Launch’ folder.

Understanding How Tokens Are Evaluated

Marketo evaluates tokens at runtime in a specific order to determine which value to use, starting with local tokens (My Tokens). From there, Marketo checks applicable inherited folder tokens, then moves onto system tokens if required. Lastly, if no token provides a value, Marketo will use the default value. This evaluation process ensures that the most specific and relevant token value is always used.

Templates and Marketo Tokens

One of the best use cases for Marketo tokens is templating programs and assets. Tokens allow you to scale your content because you can update a single token and have that value appear anywhere it is used. Let's walk through an example of a webinar program.

Example: Templating a webinar program with tokens

Webinars are a great use case for Marketo tokens because many organizations run quite a few each month. Keeping up with webinar scheduling, content creation, and coordinating everything in between can be quite the challenge. With tokens you can scale content creation for webinars to dramatically improve your productivity.

templated marketo webinar program

Set up a basic template

Start by creating a basic webinar template that includes standard elements like webinar title, description, date, time, and registration links. Each of these elements will be set up as a token in Marketo.

Create your tokens

In your template program, create tokens such as the following:

  • Webinar Title Token ({{my.webinarTitle}}): Used in emails, landing pages, and social media posts to ensure consistency across all promotional materials.
  • Webinar Date and Time Token ({{my.webinarDate}}): Automatically updates the date and time across all assets, reducing manual updates.
  • Registration Link Token ({{my.registrationLink}}): Centralizes the registration URL, making it easy to update if changes occur.

It's important to note if you're using a registration partner like GoToWebinar, the process of maintaining links may be automatically taken care of for you.

Design assets with the tokens

Including tokens in your asset templates is the key ingredient in saving time. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Use tokens to stylize a "Speaker" module that displays the webinar presenters
  • Use tokens to create a standard design for webinar date and time
  • Use a tokenized reminder email 24 hours and 1 hour before the webinar
  • Use a token to send out webinar recording links

Using a tool like Knak, you can design beautiful emails and landing pages, while utilizing Marketo's token system.

Clone and modify

Once you have a base template, you can clone the program and modify the tokens to fully customize the webinar assets. This is how you create a repeatable process in Marketo!

Using Marketo tokens to scale your marketing automation

Marketo tokens are a versatile and powerful way to scale your marketing automation activities. They allow for personalization, content scaling, and can be used to effectively generate asset templates like emails and landing pages. Tokens also allow you to manage the quality and consistency of your marketing communications.

When it comes to scaling your marketing, using tokens in your Marketo templates may be the most effective choice you can make. You can design a beautiful template, then use tokens to allow end-users to fill out the content—without having to directly edit the content.

This is where Knak shines! Knak is a no-code email and landing page template creation tool. If you're looking to scale your Marketo processes, then you should watch our video demo today.

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  • Nick Donaldson


    Nick Donaldson

    Director of Growth Marketing, Knak

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