Marketo rolls out customer engagement tools as threat looms

Marketo CEO: We've 'never been that good of friends' with

Marketo says it has created tools that put it far ahead of rival marketing automation software vendors by making it much easier to run targeted campaigns, and more effective ones to boot.

The new capabilities go into general availability Friday in two versions, a basic version at no additional charge to existing customers and a paid edition for power users, Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez said in an interview prior to Tuesday's announcement.

Until now, marketing automation software allowed users to build a degree of sophistication into their ad campaigns by setting up a series of rules, Fernandez said. For example, a gaming company could decide to send out an emailed loyalty offer to all male customers in their early to mid-twenties who have bought at least three games in the past year, according to Fernandez.

The problem has been difficulty in taking the targeting down to a more individual level. This requires increasingly complex rule sets and just doesn't scale up well as marketers try to reach more people individually, Fernandez said.

Marketo's new customer engagement technology, some 18 months in the making, seeks to automate the prioritisation and delivery of marketing content, by applying proprietary algorithms to a massive database of its clients' customer data.

In turn, marketing staffers using Marketo focus on building out "content streams" for a given campaign, which may consist of a variety of emails, Twitter messages, Web pages and other types of communications, Fernandez said.

Meanwhile, through cookies, clickable buttons in emails and other means, Marketo's technology keeps track of which pieces of content a particular user may have already viewed, and stops the campaign from sending a duplicate message.

The paid version of the customer engagement toolset allows for more sophisticated scenarios, such as by introducing elements of real-time targeting. For example, rather than send an email to all of those gamers at the same time, the system could instead send a loyalty offer to a particular customer moments after they reach a specific number of purchases, Fernandez said.

Marketo isn't promising customers it has created magic, however. "We don't make the claim that this product is delivering exactly the right message at any time or that nobody ever seems the same message twice," Fernandez said. But internal testing against Marketo's previous-generation software showed targeting precision had gone up by a factor of three, he added.

"It's way better," he said. Over time, Marketo's "way better" advantage will get "squeezed out and it will be a battle of inches," he added. "Right now, it's a battle of football fields."

Meanwhile, Marketo is about to face a fresh wave of competition from a company that it's been a close partner with for some time, Marketo relies heavily on's CRM (customer relationship management) software customer base, which uses the two products in conjunction.

But this week, announced it would purchase Marketo competitor ExactTarget for US$2.5 billion, a move that surprised some observers since it was long rumored Marketo itself would get snapped up by

Fernandez declined to relate the details of any talks his company had with Marketo, which recently underwent a successful IPO, may be better off on its own, according to Fernandez. "We've been very clear with the market that we think the world is moving toward best-of-breed independent leaders," he said.

He expressed no concern that would make it more difficult for companies like Marketo to do business, saying the vendor has made it "really clear" it will keep its systems open to third parties.

That said, "we have never been that good of friends," Fernandez said. "The number of leads that have come to us from in our history is minimal."

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

Getting your business ready for the Entrepreneurial Consumer

We all know the digital revolution has completely transformed the way consumers are interacting with brands, and that a lot of businesses are finding it hard to catch up. One way to closing this brand gap is to understand consumer behaviour and build a brand experience that meets these new needs.

Pip Stocks

CEO and founder, BrandHook

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Personalisation is the key. Customers demand a very relatable and well defined CX where the sincerity and understanding of their disposit...

Hitesh Parekh

In pictures: Improving cutomer experiences through smart personalisation

Read more

Thanks for this. The key for me is the effective of governance where it dictates and sets the proactive policy when it comes to CX. Tech ...

Hitesh Parekh

6 lessons in modern marketing from a customer experience chief

Read more

Very well said “With today’s consumers more demanding of the brands and merchants they shop, it’s imperative for merchants to not just co...


CMO's top 10 martech stories for this week - 29 September

Read more

Very interesting article which touches on the importance of a feedback loop fuelled by customer and market insights. Ideally this scenari...

Andrew Reid

Building customer insights in the data and digital age

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in