Marketo CEO: Stop using outdated metrics, base marketing on engagement

Recently installed global CEO of marketing automation vendor says marketers need to "stop living a lie" and judging their efforts on impressions

Steve Lucas
Steve Lucas

Marketers need to stop using outdated metrics and instead harness measurements that showcase their effectiveness in customer engagement, Marketo’s global CEO says.

Speaking to media during his first visit to Sydney as Marketo’s global chief, Steve Lucas, set out the vendor’s vision to become the platform of choice for marketers in the “engagement economy”, as well as why marketers need to reassess the way they gauge their success if they have a hope of keeping up with connected customers. Lucas is also co-writing a book on the subject of engagement metrics.

“Marketing today is being driven by either tired metrics, expired metrics, or no metrics at all,” Lucas said, pointing to campaign clicks or number of impressions as examples of the inadequate measurements being used today. “It’s emotionally driven.”

There is a need to fundamentally change the mission of the marketer, Lucas said. “Who, as a consumer, wants to be marketed to?” he asked.

“Stop living the lie – the reality that impressions drive revenue is a lie. Engagement drives revenue, advocacy drives revenue, rants from your existing base drive revenue.”

As a glaring example of what not to do, Lucas said many marketers will count a consumer deleting their email or moving it to spam as an impression, even when it is a bad impression.

“What marketers never tell CEOs is whether they’ve made good or bad impressions, they just tell you how many impressions,” he claimed. “The reality is there is this transformation of information going on in the world, where there is a fundamental change between the buyer and the brands we care about. That’s not isolated to the consumer level, it’s at the B2B level too.”

Lucas outlined a set of metrics that can be used to determine effectiveness of engagement. A key one is customer advocacy.

“The world’s most successful brands want to find out how many customers are ranting about how good their service is,” he said. “If I’m running a campaign, there’s a profound difference between saying you had 67 million impressions, versus 11,000 customer advocates that repeated or echoed our message to the market.”

Marketers should also be asking questions like: How much time does a customer spends on my website? How much time do they spend with the mobile app open? How much time are they investing personally advocating our brand on social media?

“Those are incredibly valuable metrics that are oft overlooked,” Lucas said.

In addition, Lucas noted Wunderman’s study on ‘Wantedness’, which showed consumers desire to engage with companies that align with their core values.

“Digital transformation, the informed buyer, consensus buying in the business – all these macro trends are going to force the marketer to change their behaviour to engage, versus market,” he said.

And while the marketer doesn’t have to be the chief data scientist, or the chief digital officer, the beginning and end of successful engagement has to involve data on your customers, Lucas said.

Marketo is hoping to be at the cornerstone of this shift by building and delivering an engagement platform for marketers. Lucas said the emphasis is on a platform that combines with customer data to know who you are, your key personal value indicators, can build a digital person of who you are based on tastes and preferences, and knows whether to include you in one campaign to the next and in which channel as well as how you want to be engaged.

“There are a whole host of technologies marketers can use to address the market, our objective is to orchestrate engagement for the marketer end-to-end,” he said. To do this, Marketo is building underlying engagement “infrastructure”, including an automation capability, analytical engine and artificial intelligence capability for learning.

Marketo will then build or seek third-party best-of-breed partners to deliver specific applications, such as real-time Web personalisation, lead generation management or account-based marketing, Lucas said. The vendor now has 650 technology partners in its ecosystem.

“Our goal is not to build every technology the marketer will need,” Lucas said. “I think it’s a big hill to climb if you’re Oracle or Marketo, to build everything for the marketer. While we are technically a ‘marketing cloud’, we shun the term to some degree as we want to orchestrate, rather than be everything.”

Lucas also took aim at competing vendors for trying to be all things to the marketer rather than looking for deeper partner integrations.

“Oracle has a fairly misguided notion they can be everything for the marketer. The reality is there is no single technology that enables the running and doing of marketing in its entirety,” he claimed. “It’s not just single sign on either – we share data, metadata and so on. One big decision we made is to further integrate some of these technologies and you’ll probably see Marketo reselling some of our Launchpoint ecosystem partners.”

Other advancements in coming months will include improved dashboards, analytics, AI and predictive technologies that help improve engagement, Lucas said.

“All of this will be oriented around arming the marketer with data and science,” he added.

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