GE: Marketo/LinkedIn alliance will help personalise prospect targeting

Alliance between marketing automation vendor and LinkedIn is one of a number of product announcements unveiled at Marketo Marketing Nation Summit

Marketo’s new alliance with LinkedIn to unite marketing automation with LinkedIn’s professional user database worldwide will help bridge a gap between targeting prospects and nurturing leads, GE’s head of performance marketing claims.

Marketo announced the new partnership with LinkedIn during its annual Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco this week. The alliance sees Marketo’s Engagement Marketing Platform connected to LinkedIn’s Lead Accelerator product, launched earlier this year off the back of the latter’s US$175 million acquisition of B2B marketing measurement and management vendor, Bizo, in 2014.

The two companies said the partnership allows marketers to extend relationships with known customers and prospects using display and social ads across LinkedIn’s desktop and mobile platform, based on their stage in the buying cycle.

It will also provide marketers with enriched data on known and anonymous prospects, including relevant business, profile and behavioural information, to deliver more relevant ads and content to customers and prospects on their channels of choice over time.

The first customer to use the new offering, and the one in fact responsible for the Marketo/LinkedIn alliance, is GE. Its general manager of performance marketing labs, Andy Markowitz, told CMO the idea followed conversations with LinkedIn last year on how to incorporate the professional networking site’s rich user insights into GE’s native ecosystem for customer management.

“We were underutilising LinkedIn, which is a B2B playground of data, networks and people,” Markowitz said. “We needed to be doing more but we’re not big display buyers, which is how LinkedIn was selling [to advertisers] at that point in time.

“Once we attached data from Marketo that is part of our nurturing stream, we knew it had legs.”

While marketers are restricted from targeting individuals by name, Markowitz said his goal bringing LinkedIn and Marketo together is to give GE a better chance of gaining permission from potential customers to start collecting data by personalising communications and interactions along the way.

As an example, a prospective customer that visits a GE website and downloads a whitepaper but does not provide any contact information can be retargeted with relevant advertising should they visit their LinkedIn page over subsequent days.

“Marketo and LinkedIn are coming together with their best-in-class marketing and digital nurturing platforms, so we can have personalised conversations with our customers at scale and deliver the best solutions for their business,” Markowitz said.

While admitting to not being “anywhere close to personalisation yet”, he added GE’s efforts to better target customers was an important initiative that required smarter integration of data sources internally and externally.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions head of products, Russell Glass, said Marketo had become a core platform for marketers and in particular, the B2B community. “The integration of Marketo and LinkedIn is complete connection between known contact lead nurturing to unknown and bringing that together into a complete experience,” he said.

The alliance sits under Marketo’s new Ad Bridge capabilities, aimed at building a bridge between marketing and digital ad technologies. Other partners recently added to the mix are Google, Facebook, Rocketfuel, Turn and Mediamath.

Marketo also unveiled a raft of product enhancements at Marketing Nation Summit, including new mobile capabilities, as well as improvements to workflow management.

Marketo Mobile Engagement allows platform users to create and monitor mobile interactions and activities directly through the core Marketo Engagement Platform. According to the vendor, marketers can now follow customer behaviour across Web, social, email and advertising digital channels as well as mobile environments.

Marketo Mobile Engagement can be used to trigger communications across other digital channels based on behaviours detected in a mobile environment, as well as push messaging and tailored in-app notifications based on customer behaviour and real-time insights.

Marketo founder and CEO, Phil Fernandez, described the extension of Marketo system into mobile as recognition of the smartphone as a “first-class citizen” channel for marketers.

“This allows our customers to weave customer interactions across all digital experiences,” he said. “There is no siloed mobile channel anymore.”

Like a number of its marketing technology vendor rivals, Marketo is also working to extend its platform into to the emerging Internet of Things arena through the forthcoming launch of Marketo Action APIs.

“We have this vision that you need to deal with thermostats and cars as easily in Marketo as mobile, social and email,” Fernandez said. “We have a set of APIs rolling out that with a bit of programming, will allow this to be hardwired into any product – even medical devices or a freemium software distribution system.”

Read more: Mass media is dead; embrace engagement marketing, says Marketo CEO

On the productivity front, the vendor introduced Marketo Calendar HD, an extension of its original marketing activity calendar function for marketers to display and share plans and programs visually. It also launched the Marketo Moments mobile app so users can access the platform via their smartphone to preview and review campaigns in real time, as well as access reports and a sharing feature.

All of the enhancements are expected to be rolled out in Q2.

Pictured: Phil Fernandez (left) and Russell Glass at Marketo Marketing Nation Summit

Nadia Cameron travelled to Marketo Marketing Nation as a guest of Marketo.

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