“Tomorrow’s Marketer” was the theme of this year’s Marketo Marketing Nation Summit in Las Vegas, and it was the prevailing theme of the series of product announcements made by the cloud-based marketing automation platform, as well. The announcements all focused on putting the marketer at the center of their organization as a connector between sales, customer service, IT and the C-suite, and each announcement involved the use of data to deliver personalized experiences for customers.
Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez discussed the new developments during his keynote. The most significant of them is a new platform architecture called Project Orion, but the company also debuted a new account-based marketing (ABM) solution, a predictive content application for email and a new analytics tool called Email Insights.
Project Orion, Fernandez said, is Marketo’s largest technology investment in its 10-year history. Thirty Marketo customers are testing it, including CA Technologies and Auction.com; by the end of 2016, all customers will be migrated to it. With an average of 10 billion customer events the current system handles each day, he said “we needed a whole new architecture.” Fernandez said it would run across the enterprise and enable the scale, performance and analytics needed by marketers to interact with customers at every stage of the sales journey. “It’s our new digital fabric to lay across the organization,” Fernandez said. He explained that Project Orion would put customer interactions in the context of what came before and what comes next, so that companies can listen, learn and respond to each customer in a personalized, relevant and contextual way across the enterprise.
An industry expert agreed the new architecture will improve Marketo’s capabilities significantly, with amped-up performance and speed.
“This development will help optimize the campaigning process to a more real-time solution than that of today,” said Jon Russo, founder of B2B Fusion, calling it “very promising for scaling growth long term for heavy data manipulation needs.” He added that scalability has been a shortcoming with Marketo in the past.
Russo indicated it remains to be seen what the impact will be on APIs and the ability to move data in and out of Marketo. “The API portion is critical for enterprises that have disparate data systems,” Russo said.
The ABM solution Marketo is debuting will be available this summer; and the predictive content application adds email to its capabilities over the next several months. The analytics tool, Email Insights, has been designed to help marketers analyze email performance by unearthing interesting data points and trends. It will be available in the next few weeks, according to Fernandez.
Chris Golec, CEO of Demandbase, told Demand Gen Report that he’s not surprised to see more companies adding ABM solutions, including Marketo.
"ABM is the most important thing happening in marketing right now,” he said. “Being the pioneer and leader in this category, it’s great for B2B marketers that more companies are following this strategy, and alongside Demandbase are bringing ABM-specific capabilities to market. ABM is proven to have a significant impact on business results, so it's not surprising to see more companies jumping into the market.”
Fernandez said in his keynote that marketers are in the midst of a “customer experience transformation” and a digital transformation, and indicated marketing has gone “from a support function to a seat at the table” with dense collaboration between the CEO, the CMO and the CIO.
CEOs today are much more involved in and concerned with engaging digital customers at every touch point and at every stage of the customer lifecycle, he said. “You are already doing the exact thing at the top of the CEO’s agenda. That puts marketing in a different light.”
“We’re going into a new age of the customer and tomorrow’s marketer is at the center of it. We’re not just thinking about building campaigns anymore or generating leads.”
Separately, possible sale rumors resurfaced: Bloomberg reported that Marketo is “working with Morgan Stanley to explore strategic alternatives including a potential sale,” according to sources, and they are speaking with both strategic companies and private equity firms to gauge their interest in an acquisition, the sources said. Neither company commented on the speculation.