Marketo Summit: a time of learning, keynotes, vendor expos, general merriment and so much more. But for Marketo geeks, perhaps the most eagerly anticipated moments are the new product announcements. Summit 2013 brought us the Customer Engagement Engine. Summit 2014 introduced Marketo SEO, Real-Time Personalization, and the new Marketing Calendar. Now we have Marketo Summit 2015 on the horizon. As we wait to see what’s next, I thought it could be fun to think about the features I would pick to have released this year. This post is less about predicting what is likely to be announced and more about what would be awesome if it was announced. Here are three features on my wish list for Marketo Summit 2015. Wherever possible I’ve included links to similar ideas in the Marketo Community — vote these up if you agree!
1) I Wish I Could Track and Analyze Email Replies Inside Marketo
If you’ve experimented with a more personalized approach to your emails or tried any “sales rep automation” then you’ve seen how natural it can be for leads to reply via email to your message. These responses are powerful. They provide a direct window into the mind of your prospects as well a strong signal of engagement. (Of course, they will occasionally just be telling you to go away.) Think about it: which lead would you score more highly, the one who clicked a “Request a Demo” link in an email, or one who responded and stated that they wanted a demo and asked for a time? Which shows stronger intent on the part of the lead? That’s why I wish that this most basic of email behaviours (responding!) could be visible and trackable in Marketo.
In my perfect world, Marketo could automatically know when a lead has responded to one of my campaigns. (No relying on a Salesperson to manually log the response; salesperson logging ≠ marketing automation.) This event could update program statuses, trigger scoring, workflows, and much more.
And while we’re at it, why not wish that we could categorize these responses by type and by sentiment for our reporting. (Automated analysis of response content is not as impossible as we might think. Social monitoring tools already use natural language processing to do similar things.) The need for this feature has its roots in the changing nature of marketing and how people respond to it. Sometimes a human reaching out with a plain text email is a more powerful way of connecting than a fancy branded email with a big button. So I wish we could track the responses to these simple emails with the same ease we track clicks to a CTA.
Marketo Community Idea: https://community.marketo.com/MarketoIdeaDetail?id=08750000000IbBlAAK
2) I Wish Any Marketer Could Create Beautiful Landing Pages and Emails
Marketo has made a ton of progress this year to make it easier to deploy landing pages and emails. The Marketo template library and the mobile view features are great examples, and signs from product management is that more goodies are on the way. Nonetheless, Marketing Nation, we know there is a ways to go. Here are a few more things I wish were true:
I wish we could build templates without a developer.
There’s simply no way to build a beautiful, branded email or landing page template using native Marketo functionality without access to a developer. This makes it harder to get started with Marketo, harder to re-brand, and harder if you want to change your templates for any reason (like because it’s Wednesday). There are external tools (some of them Marketo-integrated) that make it possible to create decent looking email templates with no code, or produce sharp landing page results without being a front-end developer. I wish we could do this right in Marketo as part of it’s core functionality.
I wish the editors made it easy to make changes.
Editing an email can sometimes feel like a tightrope walk across Niagara Falls, where a wrong keystroke can easily break fragile inline CSS. I wish we had a friendly and delightful editing experience, where changes are intuitive to make, safety nets preserve styling and prevent non-technical users from breaking things, and full access to the raw code (for power users) is only a click away. The best of both worlds!
I wish it was easy to go fully responsive.
Companies desiring a fully-responsive landing page experience can achieve it, but it takes technical know-how. There are some great <existing solutions> to this problem, but these essentially circumvent Marketo’s landing page editor and its fixed positioning, and they still require a measure of technical knowledge to implement. I wish we could quickly create fluid, responsive landing pages that look great on any device (and hopefully we won’t have long to wait for this one!).
Marketo Community Idea: https://community.marketo.com/MarketoIdeaDetail?id=08750000000IxoiAAC
3) I Wish for Broader and Deeper Salesforce Integration
Marketo’s integration with Salesforce is already extremely powerful. But there is room for more. Marketo is designed to automate marketing (obviously) but workflow automation can extend across a business. What about customer success automation? Service and support automation? Back office automation? To do this effectively, Marketo needs a deeper and broader integration with Salesforce, the system that powers many of these business activities. (My apologies to Sugar and Dynamics users.)
- What if we could use Marketo to easily create SFDC Cases or records in any custom object?
- What if it could update Opportunities or submit records for approval?
- What if we could populate and update custom fields on campaigns and activities?
- What if it was somehow dead simple to use all of this related Salesforce data to drive targeted and personalized communication?
The benefits for data hygiene, rep efficiency, and customer experience are profound. Of course, Salesforce has a host of native workflow automation features to accomplish these goals. But they have limitations of their own. (If you’ve ever had to build and maintain apex triggers to update the record types of the tasks created by your workflow rules…then you’ll know the pain of which I speak.) I would claim that in the hands of a skilled user, Marketo is often a more powerful and faster way to build out automated workflows. Even more than that, think of Marketo as a potential place to envision, design, and automatically deliver targeted and personalized experiences at scale across the customer lifecycle. This could potentially have a transformative impact on many areas of businesses.
The purpose of this exercise is not to dwell on what’s missing in Marketo but to help envision some of the ways it could be even better. Whatever announcements are made next week, I’m sure we’re going to receive some awesome new functionality. For that we can be grateful. But I think there’s benefit in forgetting about what’s practical and just thinking about what would help us the most as people who live in Marketo every day. This kind of customer feedback is what drives good product teams forward. So, please leave your feature wish list below and better yet, post an idea in the Marketo Community. Perhaps we’ll see one of your ideas announced at Summit 2016 :)