It’s like a jolt of electricity each time an “Interesting Moment” email alert from Marketo reaches the LeanData sales and marketing teams. Someone is exploring our website, reading content, requesting a demo. And that sets off a small flurry of activity as the LeanData engine kicks into response mode.
So, yes, Marketo is a fundamental part of our business process. And not only are we a Marketo customer, but the marketing automation powerhouse also is one of our clients. But the connection runs even deeper. It’s more a sense that Marketo has become part of the LeanData DNA.
If you cut us, we might bleed purple.
That’s why we look forward every year to The Marketing Summit Nation. It’s not just another conference for LeanData. This is a gathering of our tribe. And this year’s theme, Tomorrow’s Marketer, feels especially appropriate because we feel like we’re part of that growing movement.
There’s also a sense of intrigue. Indications are that Marketo is about to head into some new directions. That’s not just a reference to the conference moving from the Bay Area to Las Vegas, either. So with that in mind, here are five things to look for at The Marketing Nation Summit.
1) Tomorrow’s Marketer: Marketo has been at the forefront of a profound change in marketing. There has been a shift away from the days when marketing was seen as just the company’s arts-and-crafts department. The days where decisions are solely made on “gut feelings” are fading. The focus on empirical, data-driven marketers rising to the challenge continues to grow . . . but in a way that still appreciates the traditional importance of heart, design and empathy.
This conference typically serves as an update about the State of Marketing. We’re curious to hear Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez and his team spell out their vision about what tomorrow’s marketer needs to know, and the issues he or she will be facing.
2) Repackaging of Products: Marketo is rolling out a new model that describes its products in terms of five solutions. They are: Email Marketing, Lead Management, Consumer Marketing, Customer Base Marketing and Mobile Marketing. The core idea is to help marketers become better stewards of relationships throughout the entire customer experience.
“We know that marketers don’t wake up in the morning looking for products,” said Chandar Pattabhiram, group vice president of marketing, in a video distributed to Marketo partners. “They wake up in the morning looking for solutions that solve their challenges. People want candles not because they’re candles. They want candles because they provide light.”
This Engagement Marketing Solutions strategy flips the idea of how Marketo products come together on its head, said Adam New-Waterson, LeanData’s chief marketing officer.
“Instead of being features-oriented, it’s going to be solutions-oriented,” he said. “It’s going to be focused on the problems that marketers are trying to solve and not on the features they would like to have.”
3) New Email Editor and Templates: New-Waterson, the first five-time Marketo champion, is expecting two product upgrades that will greatly improve the daily lives of marketers. The first is an editor tool that will allow users to create more engaging emails using a drag-and-drop function.
“So you won’t need to know how to code something,” New-Waterson said. “That will provide an easier interface to create emails.”
Another change involves email templates. Currently, building templates is a challenge because their appearance changes depending on what computer system and email platform you’re using.
“If you have Outlook on a PC, it will look completely different than it does with Gmail on a Mac,” he said. “Even though they’re the exact same email, the code doesn’t work the same across all platforms. It drives me absolutely bonkers.”
The upgrade should standardize the visual presentation. Also, it will improve Marketo for mobile devices so that emails appear optimized for the cellphone — just as they are on computers.
“It’s focused on the problems that marketers are trying to solve and not on the features they would like to have.”
4) Great Speakers: Unlike this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, actor Will Smith will be making an appearance. But the tech community shouldn’t be feeling too superior to Hollywood because the industry also continues to face tough questions about well-documented issues concerning lack of diversity, gender inequality and ageism. A two-time Oscar nominee, musician and philanthropist, Smith will be part of the keynote event at the MGM Grand.
The conference also will feature Alison Levine, an adventurer, author and businesswoman who overcame severe health challenges to climb the highest peaks on every continent — including Mt. Everest. Also, singer Rachel Platten (“Fight Song”) will be adding a touch of star power.
The main draw, though, will be the hands-on sessions featuring many of the top marketers in the business today. And what has become one of the most popular presentations will be hosted by New-Waterson and Jeff Shearer, director of marketing automation at Nintex. Don’t be fooled by the ho-hum title, “Marketo Pro Tips: New Ideas You Can Implement Today.” Every year, it’s standing-room-only for a lively, free-spirited event where attendees learn the latest Marketo tricks. This will be a can’t-miss session.
5) Account-Based Marketing: Marketo has done as much as any company to promote a lead-centric view of the marketing world. But if the rumor mill is correct, that could be starting to change. There are strong hints that Marketo will announce a product feature around Account-Based Marketing — which focuses on activating key accounts and not chasing after a large volume of leads. It would represent a fundamental shift in how Marketo believes businesses should interact with one another. It’s also noteworthy because Marketo would be following in the path of another key tech company, social network giant LinkedIn, which recently announced its own ABM-platform product called LinkedIn Account Targeting.
“It’s a confirmation that ABM is not just a flash in the pan,” New-Waterson said.
It also will be further validation that startups like LeanData, which offers Lead2Account matching as the foundation for account-focused solutions, had the right idea all along when it began blazing the ABM trail.
“It’s amazing to see so many companies are recognizing the benefits of Lead2Account matching and how they’re now starting to enable ABM,” New-Waterson added. “We’re seeing a cacophony of voices preaching that approach. It’s really become a basic tool of business. It’s nice to see considering that we’ve been doing it for four years now. It will be interesting to see what Marketo is offering when it becomes available.”
It also helps to explain why The Marketing Nation Summit could be the most Interesting Moment of them all.
Main image courtesy of Kyle Pearce
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