Summit 2015 has come and gone. Lucky for us, it left behind a giant gift basket of new Marketo features and functionality! Amidst all the excitement of Summit, it can be hard to figure out the nitty-gritty of what each new feature does and how it might be useful in your business. To make that job easier, we’ve done the homework for you! We’ve tried to offer a detailed and balanced perspective on each new product announcement: what it is, what it isn’t, and how it might help marketers do their jobs better.
The Big 5 Marketo Feature Announcements: Omni-Channel Innovations and Mobile Everything
Marketo’s headline product announcements this year focus on extending the marketer’s reach into new channels. There are also several productivity/enablement tools for the marketer, including two new mobile apps. Here are the features that generated most of the buzz at Summit.
What It It Is Ad Bridge is kind of what it sounds like — a bridge between your Marketo data and a bunch of third party ad platforms. These include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, as well as some aggregators like Turn and Rocket Fuel. The goal of Ad Bridge is to enable you to nurture your prospects with the most relevant and personalized display or social ads. You can look at this feature as part of a growing trend of convergence between marketing technologies like Marketo and advertising technologies, e.g., the ad platforms on Google or LinkedIn. The exact remarketing capabilities for each network differ and will also depend on whether or not you have a subscription to Real-Time Personalization (RTP). The table below sums up the capabilities enabled by each Marketo product/ad network combination.
|AD NETWORK / MARKETO PRODUCT|
|Marketo Lead Management||
How It Helps Let’s take an example: With typical remarketing, you use an ad vendor’s script to place a cookie in the browser of an anonymous visitor on your website. After that visitor leaves your site, they’ll now see ads for your company on web properties that are part of that ad network. These ads are generally the same for all visitors. You could target visitors by URLs they visit (showing product-specific ads for visitors to product-specific pages, for example) but personalization capabilities are limited. But now imagine if you could use all of the demographic and behavioural data inside Marketo to make ads way more personalized and relevant?
- You could show an add with case study targeted at the prospect’s industry and role.
- You could promote different content to late stage prospects than to early stage prospects.
- You could show special offers to visitors to your pricing page who are ALSO demographically qualified.
- You could promote the same piece of content in an email and in display at the same time — and make this dynamic by product.
The possibilities for this kind of targeted and coordinated advertising are pretty vast. What It Isn’t (Yet) What Ad Bridge still seems to be lacking is a way to fully integrate remarketing into automated workflows. Based on the demo at Summit, Ad Bridge will not allow you to add or remove individuals to or from campaigns via a smart campaign flow step. Instead, you would need to add individuals to a static list in Marketo and then manually push them via Ad Bridge to the ad platform. This still represents an incremental efficiency gain but there is a lot of power there waiting to be unleashed, where campaigns could be assigned and removed without any manual intervention from the marketer. We should also consider the process of building out creative for all these different segments. To make the vision of 1-1 conversations with every lead a reality at scale, you would want to be able to merge in lead data dynamically to your ad campaigns, using something like Marketo tokens. This doesn’t seem possible yet. Instead, you’ll need build out static campaigns for each segment in the ad platform and then assign leads to them manually.
What It is If you have a mobile app, you can now connect it to Marketo via a new SDK. That mobile app then becomes a completely new channel for your Marketo instance. This channel allows you to both listen (a lead’s app activities appear in their Activity Log just like web activity) and talk (by sending triggered or scheduled push notifications or in-app messages).
You’ll also get a new set of triggers, filters, and flow steps for your campaigns as well as a new type of asset, a push notification, with a pretty nifty asset designer that lets you preview the notification in iOS and Android.
How It Helps
I must admit, when I heard about this feature in the keynote the potential of it didn’t hit me right away. But after seeing it demonstrated by Marketo Product Director Cheryl Chavez, I became pretty amazed by the possibilities. She used the example of a Marketo client, Doctor on Demand, who makes a mobile app allowing individuals to connect virtually with a doctor and bypass a walk-in clinic. Seeing how activity on the Doctor on Demand website could trigger a push notification on the phone which led directly to an in-app experience was mind-opening. I now think there are a lot of compelling use cases for this integration, although push messages will need to be used very cautiously to avoid being perceived as intrusive.
What It’s Not
This feature is of benefit if you are a mobile app publisher or plan to be one. You don’t get to send push notices unless you have your Marketo-integrated app installed on a user’s device (it’s not an ad channel into other people’s apps or anything like that).
What It Is This is a mobile app designed for the marketer. It lets you see upcoming email campaigns that are yet to run, send a test of those campaigns, or approve them. It also lets you see recent campaigns along with snapshots of their results.
There are a variety of pre-built reports that you can leverage to look at metrics like campaign engagement, unsubscribes over time, and so on.
How It Helps
If you’ve ever tried to log into Marketo from your mobile device to look at a report or perform some basic function, you’ll share my joy at this little app’s arrival. I see this as being particularly useful for retrieving data on what’s happening now. Did that campaign run? How’s it doing? How many opens? This is the type of thing you often want to take a peek at while on the go without the hassle of logging in to the desktop interface.
What It’s Not
Make no mistake — this isn’t a full-fledged mobile portal to Marketo. You won’t be building out programs or smart campaigns in here any time soon. Even the reporting functionality is not exhaustive. My impression is that we’re mainly going to get insights about email programs and a few trend reports on email performance and (perhaps) leads. One way to think of this app: it’s what your Marketo instance would tweet if it had its own Twitter handle. Like Twitter, the focus is on what’s new, recent, and trending.
Sales Insight Mobile
What It Is
This looks like a fairly straightforward port of the Marketo Sales Insight app for Salesforce to the Salesforce1 mobile platform. You don’t get 100% of Sales Insight but you will get your Lead Feed, Best Bets (with stars and flames), Interesting Moments, and the ability to add leads to a Marketo Smart Campaign.
How It Helps
If you have a field sales team this is an obvious win, as they get access to all that Sales Insight data along with the rest of their mobile interface. This is useful for them and should aid in adoption if you are working to make Sales Insight more integrated into your team’s workflow. I also think there is a huge, and perhaps underused, potential in having human-triggered nurturing initiated by sales via the Add to Campaign action. After all, sales is often in the best position to understand what content that lead would find useful. This could be an opportunity to talk to your team and work out some requestable nurture tracks for common situations where your efforts could have a big impact. Win-win!
What It’s Not
Aside from the port to mobile, this does not represent any net new functionality for Sales Insight.
What It Is Calendar HD is similar to the existing calendar product, only designed for bigger screens. I don’t have deep experience with the earlier iteration of Calendar, so it was difficult for me to pick out what exactly had changed on the HD version. It definitely looks nice on a big screen though, and can be personalized with a branded or individualized background picture behind your view of the calendar.
The most interesting addition is the arrival of Goals, which appear like dashboard widgets down the right side of the screen, beside your calendar. These widgets show gauge-style charts that display any metric, from number of MQLs, to registrations for an event, to revenue this quarter….basically anything you want.
How It Helps
Marketo positioned this as the replacement for the marketing whiteboard, and I think that’s reasonable. If Marketo’s Calendar suits the way your team likes to plan and manage its activities, then this is a great central hub for giving visibility into marketing initiatives — impressively designed and always up to date. The goals are another smart feature to help the team rally around its key objectives.
What It Isn’t
This won’t be a full-fledged real-time dashboard solution. I asked product management about where the numbers behind the metrics come from. Apparently the people-based metrics can be generated by a smart list, whereas all other goals are “custom”, which basically means they are an editable field that you can manually populate with whatever data you want. While this provides flexibility, it still requires work. Instead of having the intern manually updating the whiteboard, you will have them manually update the Calendar HD widgets instead. If you are serious about having a real-time dashboard of key metrics, you will probably find the calendar is not meant to do that and will want a dedicated dashboarding tool. But if you are looking to see all your team’s activities on a single screen along with exposing some high-level performance metrics, then this product could be for you.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch… (Core Improvements)
Big events like Summit tend to generate buzz about platform-extending, trend-setting functionality. But the product team also discussed a lot of upcoming improvements to the core product suite. These are generally not the features of which press releases are made…but I can tell you that a number of them provoked spontaneous applause and cheers when they were announced during the product roadmap session! Many of these are small-but-meaningful changes that will make a big difference in the daily lives of regular users. Here’s a roundup of some of these goodies. Note these are scheduled for release at various times throughout 2015 if not already live (plans all subject to change, safe harbour, etc.).
- Fully Responsive Editor: Landing pages will have a new syntax to let you define fully responsive templates. This will make it much easier for any marketer to build responsive pages. The new editor has a cleaned up WYSIWYG view that is actually a lot more true to it’s name and lets you easily make changes — upload images, tweak colours with a colour picker, define what elements are hidden or visible on different screen sizes, and more.You will definitely still need a developer to first build the template, but after that, a non-technical marketer could edit pages with ease without breaking things.This is a big step forward, and it will be interesting to see how landing page best practices evolve once we no longer need to work around Marketo’s old landing page editor and its fixed positioning.
- Insert Images with File Browser: No more navigating to design studio, copying a link, then pasting it into the image browser. Now you can navigate there directly from the editor and select your image. About time!
- Improved Text Editor: The text editor panel has also been cleaned up and improved. I didn’t see the exact changes, but definitely a more pleasant user experience from the looks of it.
- Abort Email Campaign: Just what it sounds like, for times when you have a slippery trigger finger.
- New Email Deliverability and Testing Tool: This feature includes spam and deliverability analysis as well as integrated design testing powered by Litmus. It does appear to be a paid add-on unfortunately.
- Visual Click Stats for Emails: See a visual map of where people are clicking in your emails!
- Email Link Tracking Improvements: Now you can track links contained in text versions and sections created via email scripting.
- Email Editor Improvements: No more stripping comments or valid HTML from templates. Improved “send sample” functionality with the ability to add notes. Swap templates easily without building a new asset.
- SPF and DKIM Support in the UI: You can now configure both DKIM and SPF records in the admin area, making it easier to ensure good email deliverability. Also there will be some sort of weekly configuration check, where Marketo can actually alert you if your records become broken somehow. That is extremely useful, particularly for consultants or agencies who are regularly configuring new domains.
Reporting and Analytics
- Subscribe to Smart List: The single most popular open idea in the Marketo Community will soon be a reality! Create a Smart List, define a view, and subscribe to it just like a report, to get a CSV file by email at a cadence you choose. This opens up a lot of flexibility for more granular scheduled reporting.
- Analytics Interface Improvements: A new home screen that is more pleasing on the eye also offers a quick way to create an ad-hoc report without needing to save it to your tree. Product Management described it like a “scratch pad” for doing a quick investigation. Speaking of the tree, the analytics tree is now divided into public and private folders. Keep your own reports in a private folder, and no one will ever be able to change the settings on you again.
Data Model and API
- Self-Serve Custom Objects: Marketo admins will have the ability to create their own custom objects in Marketo, just like they can currently create custom fields, without relying on Marketo Support. Imagine create a new table to store a list of any type of thing that is related to a person in a many-to-one relationship. This opens up the door to significantly extend the data model inside Marketo. More on why this is a big deal.
- REST APIs: The REST APIs will continue to expand each month. Most recently, the new asset APIs gave programmatic access to create and update email assets in Marketo, and we were told program assets are next up, followed by landing pages. You can now imagine a whole ecosystem of apps that create assets and even entire programs in Marketo!
Real-Time Personalization (RTP)
- Content Recommendation Engine v2: The engine will auto-discover assets on your site and machine-learning will recommend the right assets. Now you can embed these dynamic assets directly in your page instead of having them fly in over top of the page. This provides much greater UX flexibility and could perhaps be a tipping point for some companies wondering whether to give RTP a try.
- Target Account Analytics: See analytics and performance graphs of visits from your target accounts.
- Enhanced Remarketing: The inferred data about anonymous prospects gleaned through RTP can be passed to Google or Facebook for use in remarketing.This is actually part of the new functionality described as part of Ad Bridge.
This is a big list, but no doubt I’ve missed a few things. If you have anything to add to the list, please post it in the comments or get in touch! Also this post is based on the best information we have right now, but that info may change as features actually roll out. We’ll do our best to keep this post up to date as things evolve. Last but not least, a virtual round of applause to Marketo Product Management. They have a tough job to do and a devoted but often demanding customer base. Fortunately they are listening to customers like a good product team should and helping drive us all forward. Bravo!