Here at Stampwood we have been using the Standard edition of Marketo’s marketing automation platform for the past few years.
We thought it would be nice to share a bit of our experience, so we’ve put together a quick overview of what we found were the best and worst bits of the platform – the pros and cons of marketo.
But before we go ahead, there are two things to note:
- Marketo has a vast range of features and capabilities, to go through them all would take far more than one blog post. So we have only picked the bits that really stood out.
- Obviously every companies requirements are different, so what works out for us might not work out for you. Before you can choose an automated marketing software, you must know what YOUR priorities are. What are your requirements? What are your “must-haves”?
A bit about Marketo:
- Founded in 2006, Marketo Inc. makes marketing automation software for companies. In 2012, Marketo was ranked 78th on the Inc. 500, #7 among software companies, and #1 among marketing software companies. In 2013, the Inc. 500 rank declined to 367th. In 2014, Marketo did not make it into the ranking.
- Marketo is the most commonly-used marketing automation system for mid-sized businesses. Although Marketo hopes to help any size business increase their revenue and customer relationships.
- Marketo provides 3 editions of its marketing automation platform;Spark, Standard, Select and Enterprise. Enterprise can be tailored to the needs of B2B global enterprises.
- Marketo is the only marketing automation tool present on a top-100 website property. An impressive feat, given that most marketing automation systems have no hope of handling the huge traffic flow on massive sites like these.
- Marketo is a brand recognised for marketing automation innovation and leadership. The company practices what it preaches, is a content marketing powerhouse and a recognised thought leader in the industry.
A brief list of all the features available in each edition can be found on Marketo’s pricing page.
Marketo also announced some new features earlier this year. These focus on extending the marketer’s reach into new channels. There are also several productivity/enablement tools for the marketer, including two new mobile apps.
….and we’ve got one more link for you.
Marketo also have a mega detailed list of all the features usually found across Marketing automation platforms in general. While this isn’t actually a list of features specific to Marketo (although I’m pretty sure all of them are available), we found this really useful when deciding what we required from our own platforms.
The best and worst of Marketo
Vast range of features
Marketo provides everything a marketer needs: email, social, analytics, lead management, and more. It also offers robust analytics and business intelligence.
Marketo are also constantly adding new features; responding to user requests for improvement and taking action around them.
Great CRM integration with Salesforce
Marketo has super tight integration with Salesforce.com. Marketo was developed using Salesforce.com technologies and strives to stay current with new releases.
The sync is seamless for normal database sizes, and it latches into SFDC‘s native campaign structure to offer simple and straightforward reporting on campaign influence for revenue.
We also found the process of integration with Salesforce trivially easy once we located Marketo in the AppExchange (it is not available publicly in the app exchange and requires a specific link from Marketo).
The Marketo user interface is fairly intuitive and users are able to adjust quickly.
Marketo offers the ability to design emails, landing pages and forms with a visual drag and drop interface and the user doesn’t need any html skills to build a high quality designs.
Great for creating content quickly
Marketo is good for quick-fire content creation (emails, landing pages, and campaigns) that is optimised for digital marketing experiences. The drag and drop interface shows it’s value again here.
One particularly useful feature is the ability to clone programs, emails, etc. and all the assets that are within the programs so they can be reused. This fits under the point above, but its so useful we decided it deserves it’s own mention.
Cloning is a great time saver and helps ensure that no steps are missed – I just create the first ‘template’ program and just copy it from there each time I need it.
Wide range of analytics
Marketo offers a library of standard reports for website analytics, email marketing, leads and campaigns.
They also offer campaign performance results with customisable metrics and influence reports showing the impact of marketing campaigns. We particularly like the ability to easily model the business process with the visual revenue cycle modeller.
For report development, users can copy a report and save it as a new custom report. Furthermore, marketers or administrators can create custom reports from scratch.
Simple A/B testing for landing pages and emails
Marketo provides easy, automated A/B/n testing for emails, whether they’re batch emails or part of ongoing, triggered campaigns.
Because Marketo stores individual visitor behaviors, marketers can choose the winner based on whichever email drives the recipient behavior you desire. Examples include choosing the winning email based on how many recipients place an order, fill out a form or share the email on social networks.
And to help you save time, the winning email can be automatically chosen (and sent) based on the criteria you define.
Continuous testing for automated campaigns
Unique to Marketo is the ability to harness the power of testing during automated, triggered campaigns. With Marketo’s Champion / Challenger testing, marketers can continually send a test email (the “Challenger”) to a subset of recipients that are part of a triggered campaign. If the challenger outperforms the reigning champion, the marketer will be notified and can take action.
Quick to deploy
A quick to deploy, fast time to value marketing software solution. Onboarding was set up quickly and although the technical aspects of set up had to be done by ourselves. we were guided through these technical aspects very thoroughly.
The onboarding gets set up well
We attended a 2-day offsite training which was intense, but a pretty good way of getting the team up to speed with using the system. This was accompanied by several phone calls from an onboarding consultant, and the option to revise what we learnt with online virtual classroom learning.
The tool itself is extremely powerful, but has not been overwhelming. There’s a definite learning curve, but the support from Marketo makes success very achievable.
Lead scoring unlimited dimensions
Marketo offers the capability to score leads based on an unlimited number of dimensions such as:
- Product-specific scoring
- Sales rep input
- Prospect behavior (downloaded a white paper, attended a webinar)
Great social capabilities
Marketo offers what they term “social media applications” in three areas:
Social sharing – which offers intelligent share buttons triggered by prospect actions, customization of the share message and image and the capability to build a database with social profiles and prospects’ sharing behaviour.
Social engagement – allows you to publish video content on your site and your Facebook page, engage your audience with polls and voting and embed forms across all your channels with reward or discount incentives.
Social promotion – run sweepstakes offers for data capture and build socially driven referral programs.
Online foundation course difficult to follow
While the off site training was pretty good, one colleague learned the software using the online foundation course and found this was a little intense and in need of better explanation of high level functions before diving deeper into the product.
Naming convention and campaign structure require careful planning
I’m not convinced this is a bad point, more of a warning. If you don’t have a carefully planned and enforced campaign naming and structure convention then things become very confusing.
Too salesforce centric
While this does not apply to ourselves, we thought we’d share some words of caution. Very, very few Marketo customers use a CRM software system other than Salesforce.com. This results in very limited resources or development for other popular CRM systems, leaving these few customers without tight integration.