Scoring Categories and HML: The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Moment

BY MIKE MORRIS

Let’s start by saying that if you’re not using scoring categories in Pardot, you probably should be. If you offer more than one solution or service or have multiple topics represented on your website, scoring categories are for you. These little gems allow you to break down your total score and identify your prospects’ specific areas of interest. This is huge when it comes to tailoring your marketing messaging and directing your sales team’s efforts.

To get started with scoring categories, check out Erin Duncan’s post: Pardot Scoring Category Basics: What, How & Why.

Another super cool feature in Pardot that you may not be utilizing is Handlebars Merge Language (HML). HML, rolled out in August 2019, expands the personalization capabilities of Pardot well beyond Pardot Merge Language (PML) and introduces the ability to use conditional statements (among other capabilities).

To learn more about HML, check out Skyler Nakashima’s post: How Pardot’s New Handlebars Merge Language Improves Personalization.

Now for the peanut butter and chocolate moment!

Using Scoring Categories + HML to Power Dynamic Content

A client recently asked me if we could use the scoring category data we built into her account as criteria for her dynamic content. While there are lots of options that you can use to inform the variation of dynamic content out of the box, including score, scoring categories is not one of them. However, with a bit of ingenuity and HML, scoring categories can be used to fuel dynamic content. Here’s how.

The Process

Step 1 – Create custom prospect fields (checkbox) in Pardot that align to your scoring categories. I also like to use a standardized naming convention so the fields are 1) grouped together and 2) easy to identify.

Step 2 – Create automation rules to update the checkbox value to “True” based on the achievement of a defined category score. You’ll want to set the score to a value that is high enough to show significant interest in the topic. This number will vary based on your scoring model.

Step 3 – Create dynamic content for each of your topics. When doing this, you’ll also need to consider how you want the content to display in your message. If a prospect has an interest in multiple topics, do you want to display a block of dynamic content for each in the email or would you prefer to only show one? In this example, we are going to choose to prioritize our topics as 1) Dogs 2) Cats and 3) Birds and display only one piece of content in the body of the email. 



Note: The default content for Dogs is blank. This was done intentionally and is necessary to ensure the proper functionality of the “else” HML statements. Only add default content into the final topic in your list of priorities – Birds in our example (see below).

Step 4 – Now the HML magic! The code below is essentially a conditional statement based on the dynamic content that we previously created.

{{#if dynamic_content_1789}} {{{dynamic_content_1789}}}
{{else}}{{#if dynamic_content_1791}} {{{dynamic_content_1791}}}
{{else}}{{{dynamic_content_1793}}}{{/if}}{{/if}}

It helps to have a decoder ring to see exactly what’s going on here. In this example, the dynamic content aligns to the topics as follows:

  1. Dogs – {{{dynamic_content_1789}}}
  2. Cats – {{{dynamic_content_1791}}}
  3. Birds – {{{dynamic_content_1793}}}

Based on this, the plain English behind our statement is:

  1. If Dogs is Yes, show Dogs 
  2. else if Cats is Yes, show Cats 
  3. else if Birds is Yes, show Birds 
  4. else If Birds is No, show Birds default content

Take Your Dynamic Content to the Next Level with Scoring Categories & HML

Scoring categories and HML are very powerful features in Pardot. While both add tremendous value independently, they can be combined to open up even more possibilities. If you need a hand getting started with scoring categories, HML or have questions about how these features can work together, drop us a note or add your questions below in the comments. 

Leave a Reply