A Closer Look at Marketing Automation: Marketo

Claude Harrington 11.25.2015

Last week, we wrote an introductory post about marketing automation, and yesterday we wrote about Act-On. Today, we’ll continue our investigation into the utility of marketing automation and take a closer look at another one of the market leaders: MARKETO.


Marketo was founded in 2006 by three former employees of Epiphany (NASDAQ symbol: EPNY), a CRM software-maker based in San Mateo, California. Of all the marketing automation companies, Marketo has always (pleasantly) aggressive about constantly expanding its offerings.

For some users, that frequent innovation can be daunting. Especially when, with a program designed for integration, there appear unfamiliar tools. But it’s important to remember the intention behind Marketo’s expansion: to equip users with the best and most current tools. To this point, Marketo probably has one of the best and most diverse offerings of opportunity-seizing tools for users open to the learning curve. Here are a few things we really liked about Marketo’s software:

[Note: Several of the tools described below, to some degree of similarity, are also offered by other marketing automation platforms. Nevertheless, they have been included on this list because we found them to be particularly noteworthy]

1. The Built-In If/Then Approach: So much of business is built on Ifs. If a prospect’s pain point is X, then I’d like to tell him about Y. If he doesn’t care about Y, then I want to know about Z. And if he doesn’t care about X, Y or Z, then I don’t want to bombard him with anything along those lines. Fortunately, many of Marketo’s tools anticipate this dichotomy and can be programmed to take action based on the feedback detected.

For example, if the IP address of anonymous visitor is coming from a financial institution, you can automatically greet them with something that speaks directly to this potential customer. Like, say a case study focused on the banking industry.

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Or perhaps an invitation to an upcoming finance conference…

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In particular, what we liked about real-time features can be set up to respond to five different kinds of “Ifs,” all of which can be determined by pre-opt-in information:

  • Organization
  • Industry
  • Customer Profile
  • Location
  • Digital Behavior

To keep track of results so that you may constantly tailor your approach, Marketo provides a very clear and conciser interface:

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2. An Emphasis on the Bottom Line: With the influx analytics, it’s easy to focus on metrics other than revenue. And while information like this (i.e. number of engagements, qualification of leads) is absolutely, 1000% important, it can sometimes be forgotten that these are, ultimately, a means to an end. They are ingredients that we hope, when properly mixed together, will lead to conversion. And although Marketo does indeed provide analytics for every step of the way, a lot of what they offer keeps a close eye on the bottom line.

To this end, Marketo’s Opportunity Influence Analyzer was a tool that really caught our eye. The Opportunity Influence Analyzer is almost like a black box recording of the entire marketing-to-sales process. Externally, much can potentially be learned about the habits of your prospects-turned-customers. Internally, as a demo on Market’s website notes, it can be used as the perfection solution to any marketer who has ever asked this question: Wouldn’t it be great to go into my CEO’s office and clearly illustrate the impact that marketing had on winning that deal?

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While the Opportunity Influence Analyzer is a good way to visualize how costumers travel through the sales cycle–and also a good reminder that closing a deal often takes patience and preparation–the analytics tab on Market’s dashboard is a good way to see where leads are coming from. This can be a valuable tool to hone down where outbound leads are coming from and also, in one place, help determine the cost-benefit proposition of marketing to those places.

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3. Right Content to the Right Prospect at the Right Time: In many ways, this idea—or providing the right content to the right prospect at the right time—could be taken as the overall mantra of Marketo. On the one hand, this means unfortunately that sometimes there is little we can to do help guide a prospect through the funnel. But the on the other hand, it means that when we can do something we must be prepared.

We should not think of this time as “waiting,” but rather an opportunity to prepare. And that’s where something like Marketo’s Marketing Calendar really feels like an asset.

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At first glance, it appears to be a calendar just like any other. But there were two things we really enjoyed about the interface:

Shareability: It is designed to integrate with the entire marketing team. This keeps all team members on the same page and avoids redundancies.

Easy to Streamline: When many calendars fill up (which will inevitably be the case with the sharing assets alluded to above), they become daunting.  Looking at them may feel tax and, worse, important actions get lost in the shuffle. To prevent this from happening, Marketo’s software includes a variety of filters so that you can prioritize what you want to see (and when you want to see it) so that you and the rest of your team can stay ahead of the curve and undaunted along the way.

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As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this is only a small selection of what Marketo has to offer. To learn more, please visit Marketo’s software page, where you can obtain more comprehensive information and view a variety of demos that have available to stream.

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