Marketo debuts conversational ABM, partnerships and the B2B experience push

Former CEO and now Adobe SVP of digital experiences, Steve Lucas, talks through the latest offerings and role of experience in B2B marketing at the newly integrated Marketo Marketing Nation event at Adobe Summit

Steve Lucas at the 2019 Adobe Summit Marketo Marketing Nation event
Steve Lucas at the 2019 Adobe Summit Marketo Marketing Nation event

Account-based marketing is front and centre for Marketo under its new owner, Adobe, and the group is claiming a world-first on conversational ABM to prove it.

Announced during day three of this week’s Adobe Summit and newly acquired Marketo Marketing Nation event, the vendor’s new conversational account-based marketing (ABM) is born out of an extended partnership with Drift, a conversational marketing platform provider.

The pair are claiming the first-ever conversational capability for account-based experiences, connecting their respective platforms so users can personalise experiences for target accounts coming via the Web in real time through chatbots and live chat, content or directly to sales reps using account-based data.

The latest commitment comes off the back of an existing partnership between Marketo and Drift, and comes after the latter cut ties with HubSpot and make Marketo its exclusive marketing automation partner last year.

In his keynote to announce the new partnership as well as plans for Marketo under the Adobe masthead, Adobe SVP digital experiences and former Marketo CEO, Steve Lucas, positioned account-based experiences as a B2B marketing game changer.

“This is a new area of focus for Marketo in Adobe. It’s an entirely new way to identify, engage with buying teams,” he said. “Our commitment is we will deliver account-based experiences for you.”

Drift CEO, David Cancel, said B2B marketers spend all their time trying to reach that VIP within target accounts to generate awareness.

“But when they come to site, we treat them like a stranger,” he told attendees. “Whoever makes it easier to buy, wins, yet most B2B websites add friction and force buyers to jump through hoops just to talk to someone.

“With Marketo Engage and Drift together, marketers will be able to have personalised account-based conversations at scale with website visitors at any stage of the buying process and provide the VIP experience that buyers expect today.”

To support the deal, Marketo confirmed WPP subsidiary and partner organisation, Verticurl, has been appointed preferred partner to accelerate integration of Conversational ABM for Marketo Engage. 

In addition, as part of the wider push into ABM, Marketo is forming strategic partnerships with other B2B platform leaders. Earlier this week, the company announced a new relationship with LinkedIn to bring the social platform’s wealth of professional data in to populate fields within the MarketoEngage marketing automation platform. This will provide insight into which are the right individual account to target as part of an ABM play.

Marketo already has existing partnerships with ABM vendor, DemandBase, and will also be taking advantage of Adobe’s growing integration and work with enterprise software giant, Microsoft, as well as the open data initiative (ODI) between Adobe, Microsoft and SAP.

For example, teams will be able to combine Marketo Engage data with Microsoft Dynamics 365 to better articulate insights into targeted accounts such as individual roles, influence and preferences.

On the technology integration front, meanwhile, Marketo has confirmed the ability to pull or edit content from Adobe Experience Manager or Creative Cloud and automatically build target lists for next-best action in Marketo’s marketing automation platform.

The tech enhancement was one of a number announced by Adobe this week, which was capped by the global availability of the Adobe Experience Platform. This open and extensible customer data engine and platform is designed to stitch data sets across the enterprise in order to enable real-time customer profiles that can be used in wider engagement efforts.

During his presentation on stage, Lucas also took the opportunity to reiterate why the acquisition of Marketo by Adobe was a good fit, noting their equal commitment to experience. In this he was joined by Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen, who noted both the common vision as well as the blurring of the line between B2C and B2B marketing.

Adobe acquired Marketo for US$4.75 billion in 2018.

“When Adobe thinks about acquisition, the first thing is if we have a shared vision. Steve was writing on the left, I was writing on the right, and when the two came together we said wow, these are two companies that should be coming together,” Narayen said. “The vision for Marketo’s customers – that customer centricity, intimacy and empathy for customers resonated with everyone at Adobe. Were not anything at the end of the day unless our customers like us.”

The pair also reflected on the changing nature of B2B versus B2C and how the two are coming ever-closer together.

“When you think of brands like JP Morgan Chase, or Nvidia, Comcast or Adobe, these lines are blurring and we have a unique opportunity to bring these two things together,” Narayen added.  

Lucas also stressed the importance of building modern marketing strategies around experience, and said it’s Adobe and Marketo’s commitment to build customer experience capabilities based on what people do, rather than what they say. In this he took a pot shot at traditional CRM approaches, saying it’s too often based on the wrong insights.

“The whole Experience Cloud is predicated on the notion that the very opportunities by which we start to engage our customers should be built on what people do, not what they say,” he said. “Thus germinates this whole strategy around how you engage, and how you deliver special experiences to your customers like never before.

“In today’s world the line between epic and epic failure is experience. This is a call to action for all of us in B2B is to make every experience epic. We have to lean in.”  

  • Nadia Cameron travelled to Adobe Summit as a guest of Adobe.

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