Marketo’s Fall ‘18 Release: New Features and Actions for Admins

Marketo Sky, Sales Engage and Bizible

It’s been a big year for Marketo. From the purchase of Bizible to its own acquisition by Adobe, the marketing automation giant has made fantastic improvements intended to enhance efficiency and insights for users. With the Marketo Fall ’18 Release available, I wanted to share some of our favorite Marketo updates. Particularly, I’m going to focus on Marketo Sky, Bizible, Sales Engage and a few essential admin actions to make the most of your Marketo instance.

The Sky is the Limit

Marketo Sky is the marketing automation platform’s next-gen experience. It was designed to empower marketers to develop impactful and engaging campaigns in a shorter amount of time.
Out of all the updates Marketo has made, I’m excited for Sky to be fully functional. I took the opportunity to utilize its beta over the past few months and enjoyed the new features and updated user experience.

Marketo Sky Activity Dashboard

In particular, Marketo’s updated UX does a great job centralizing key functions to the Marketing Activities Home Page, which saves a tremendous amount of time. My favorite features include the ability to:

  • Start new programs and smart campaigns
  • View key information, like what is scheduled to run, or recently updated programs and assets
  • Quickly find the total number of active trigger campaigns in a user-friendly format
  • Prioritize campaigns, which is a huge benefit for Marketo instances with many trigger campaigns that don’t necessarily need to be active and can slow down the system
  • The ability to mass handle deactivations making it a far less manual process

Marketo has also revised design studio, making it far less clunky. For instance, using Marketo Sky, you can create new assets, drag and drop images and files, and manage all existing assets right from the Design Studio Homepage.

Design Studio List Views allow the ability to view landing page templates and email templates in list-view format, which enables faster navigation and bulk actions on a single asset type. Finally, thanks to the Design Studio Asset Detail Pages, you can now view, organize and perform bulk actions on all assets in one place. Talk about a game changer when it comes to efficiency!

For more details on Marketo Sky, visit the release notes located in the Marketo release notes: Fall ’18.

Sales Engage

Marketo Sales Engage (MSE), which was introduced this past spring, is designed as its next-generation sales enablement platform. Integrated with Salesforce Lightning, Sales Engage is an acceleration tool, like Salesloft or Outreach.

Marketo Sales Engage is readily available to all Microsoft Office users, including Outlook for Mac, Outlook for Windows, and the Outlook Web Application for Office 365 Email clients. However, as we all know, when it comes to email deliverability, Microsoft Outlook has never been on the email marketers’ side.

In the most recent release, Marketo focused on Outlook as a delivery channel and has aimed to improve deliverability and response tracking by leveraging Outlook for email agreements. This is a welcome change and I hope it meets expectations as the previous outlook extension had limited tracking capabilities.

Other key areas that received updates under Sales Engage include:

  • Salesforce Lightning Support, which now offers users that migrate to, or are currently utilizing Lightning, the ability to leverage MSE for smarter engagement across the buyer journey.
  • Additionally, under the latest release, admins will find a more efficient workflow when enabling team features through General Admin Settings. The update includes real-time password validation.

Insight vs Engage: What’s the difference?

I’d like to take a moment to compare Marketo Sales Insight (MSI) to Marketo Sales Engage. While MSI helps reps prioritize and interact with sales leads and opportunities and provides insights to ensure appropriate responses that drive revenue results; Sales Engage focuses on pipeline influence, with content, playbooks, and analytics geared toward converting more leads into opportunities. When you think about it, MSE is really the next-gen MSI.

Our five favorite features of Sales Engage include:

Feature: Single Workflow. Reps have a single workflow with more automated and personalized inbound and outbound engagements.
Benefit: Increased sales productivity.

Feature: Sales reps receive a prioritized list of the highest scoring leads with real-time insights from sales and marketing touchpoints.
Benefit: Reps can identify the best prospects easily and prioritize and engage in relevant conversations, resulting in more closed deals.

Feature: Guide more automated and personalized engagement with digital sales playbooks that incorporate best practices across channels, including email, phone, social, and direct mail.
Benefit: Keep prospects engaged through best practice-supported content cadence.

Feature: Marketing is given visibility into sales engagements and activities across channels.
Benefit: Based on these insights, marketing has the necessary information to drive coordinated initiatives throughout the buyer journey.

Feature: Sales Engage enables new levels of visibility to effectively develop and deploy content templates and sales playbooks.
Benefit: Having the ability to easily push updates to teams will drive consistency in overall performance.

Marketo and Bizible in Action

I’m not joking, each client I work with utilizes a combination of Marketo and Salesforce in order to bridge the lead to opportunity reporting gap. So, I’m excited to see how Bizible will allow users to keep reporting more central to Marketo.

“The combined product strength of Marketo and Bizible provides marketers everywhere enhanced visibility into every touchpoint across any channel,” said Steve Lucas, CEO of Marketo.

At the end of the day, Bizible gives marketers the ability to track the buyer journey across various touchpoints.

Marketo acquired Bizible in May 2018, and I anticipate that the two will essentially bridge the gap in data between marketing automation and the CRM. Here’s why: Marketo is fantastic when it comes to lead scoring, nurturing and lead generation. Whereas Bizible provides the ability to include anonymous touch tracking, online and offline tracking and multi-touch attribution modeling. Essentially, Bizible completes the package to meet the attribution modeling needs advanced marketers.

Marketo + Bizible: Features and Benefits

Feature: Connect first anonymous touch data opportunities to customer data in the CRM.
Benefit: This is key to understanding brand discovery and referral performance.

Feature: Combine online and offline touchpoints into one timeline.
Benefit: This creates the complete picture of the customer journey.

Feature: Marketers get multi-touch attribution models right out of the box.
Benefit: Multi-touch attribution models accurately report the ROI of marketing channels and touchpoints.

Feature: Attribution conversions across channels.
Benefit: This will enable multi-touch attribution models to track engagement and ROI of marketing touchpoints at channels.

At the end of the day, Bizible paired with Marketo will allow us to understand how leads generated and nurtured as a result of marketing automation impact growth and revenue. You can read more here.
Marketo Admins

To ensure you are getting the most out of the new release, there are several tasks that should be added to your Marketo admin’s to-do list. One of the standout items highlighted in the fine print of the release notes is that admins will need to reconnect virtual event platforms such as GoToWebinar, On24 and WebEx launchpad configurations prior to 2019.

Admin Actions:

Reauthenticate Virtual Event Platforms through Launchpoint. Marketo upgraded the OAuth version for GoToWebinar from 1.0 to 2.0 in the Q3 release. If you are a GoToWebinar customer, you will need to re-authenticate through LaunchPoint (in the Admin area) before January 2019 to ensure your integration will continue working.

Reach Out to Your Rep. Email your Marketo Customer Success Representative (if you haven’t heard from them already) to see what features of the latest release you will have access to and for any resources or tutorials that are available.

Keep in Mind. Upgrades are underway related to identity and authentication. During the upgrade, you may notice periodic errors if you have a session open. Log out and log back into your instance if you experience issues.
If you have any questions about Marketo Sky, Bizible or Sales Engage, please feel free to reach out. Also, stay tuned for Part II of this topic, which will focus on Marketo’s Winter ‘18 release notes.

Thoughts on Adobe’s Acquisition of Marketo

Ever since Vista Equity Partners acquired Marketo in May 2016, the countdown was on to see what the future would be for the industry’s gold standard marketing automation platform. Much like the Amazon HQ2 frenzy, theories ran rampant as to who the eventual acquirer would be, and everyone from Google to Salesforce made the list. After Marketo’s purchase of Bizible, it seemed like Vista was following the standard private equity formula of bundling a bunch of related technologies together for a profit. And wow did they do it perfectly! When the news broke regarding Adobe’s acquisition of Marketo, my first thought was, “The team at Vista really knows what they are doing.” Everything seemed to go according to plan.

The Details of the Deal: That’s Billion, Not Million

By now we all know that Adobe purchased Marketo for $4.75 Billion. Yes, billion. In fact, it is Adobe’s largest acquisition ever. The Wall Street Journal highlights that Adobe is looking become a one-stop-shop for marketers and states, “This deal is expected to add scale to Adobe’s existing marketing-technology capabilities. It will also bolster the company’s clout with business-to-business brands, which make up the bulk of Marketo’s customer base.”

According to Marketo CEO Steve Lucas, “Adobe and Marketo both share an unwavering belief in the power of content and data to drive business results. Together we will deliver an unrivaled solution that will place customer experience and engagement at the heart of digital transformation.”

Why We’re Excited About Adobe’s Acquisition of Marketo

For Adobe, acquiring Marketo’s customer base brings them firmly into B2B territory. For Marketo, being in the Adobe portfolio brings some very exciting possibilities for a more designer-oriented UX and product integrations, including:

  • Enhancing the overall Marketo UI (which has remained largely the same since Marketo’s inception) to be more in-line with the Adobe brand
  • Making the campaign building process more visual, like Eloqua’s Campaign Canvas, Pardot’s Engagement Studio, or Autopilot’s Journeys
  • Seamless integrations with Adobe tools such as Dreamweaver, Photoshop, or Illustrator

Autopilot, a relatively new entrant to the marketing automation space, uses a visual campaign workflow called Journeys

Why We’re Leery of Marketo Being Acquired by Adobe

As with any big acquisition, there’s the possibility of stagnant development, lackluster support, and a loss of the community that made Marketo so attractive in the first place. I was an Eloqua customer when they got bought by Oracle, and support seemed to die overnight. The already complicated and admin-heavy platform became even more so, and with Oracle’s commitment to the high end of the enterprise market, it very clearly didn’t feel like a product for the mid-market anymore.

Marketo has built its success firmly on B2B mid-market tech companies, to the point that it has a cult-like following among marketing ops professionals in the industry. I personally hope it stays that way. Of course there’s great opportunity for Marketo to evolve into an even better platform under Adobe’s stewardship, but there’s always the worry that a company you’ve been rooting for since the beginning — a product you’ve built your career on — ceases to be the thing that makes it special. And so, we’ll be watching closely to confirm that the Marketo community remains as vibrant as ever and that product development marches forward.

A Big Question Mark for Marketo’s Analytics Capabilities

When Marketo acquired Bizible earlier this year, it was a signal that they took the marketing data problem seriously. Even with RCE and tons of reporting options in Marketo and Salesforce, most marketers still struggle to run meaningful reporting in an automated way. We work with marketing teams every week who spend a ton of time manually cobbling data together to create relatively simple reports on campaign performance and to prove marketing’s impact on revenue. While most of this reporting typically ends up in Salesforce, the vast majority of the data is populated via the marketing automation system.

Adobe doesn’t have the backbone of a company overly concerned with analytics and reporting, so it will be interesting to see if or how they tackle this. The reason Marketo is so popular among MOPs folks is because it’s flexible enough to get things legitimately correct. It takes a lot of work and data infrastructure, but if you have an idea of what you’re looking for the reporting output to be, you can construct a system in Marketo to accomplish it. If Adobe could find a way to make this infrastructure/attribution/reporting process much easier for the standard marketer to figure out, however, it would be a huge differentiator.

What It Means for the Rest of the MarTech Industry

“Adobe clearly stated their intention to expand their Marketing Cloud to compete more effectively with the leading players in marketing automation and customer relationship management space, and this is a first major step down that path,” says Ryan Duguid, chief evangelist at Nintex, a workflow automation platform.

It has also been mentioned that the Marketo deal will help Adobe “compete in marketing services against Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and even the great powers of digital advertising, Google and Facebook.” However, I foresee Salesforce feeling the largest impact of Adobe’s Marketo acquisition. Salesforce acquired marketing automation platform Pardot in 2013, and they do a phenomenal job selling the integration when in reality Pardot’s integration with Salesforce is nowhere near as robust as Marketo’s. On the business development side of the house, bundling Pardot in with Salesforce renewals and upgrades has been an effective way for Salesforce to win deals and gain market share.

But, Salesforce should be careful continuing this strategy. In many organizations, it’s typically the VP of Sales that executes the agreement with Salesforce. While the bundled deal is attractive, I’ve seen it more than once that the sales leader rushes forward to save money without consulting the marketing team on whether Pardot will meet their needs. This inevitably leads to resentment towards Pardot once marketing gets their hands on the product because 1) they weren’t a part of the evaluation process and were forced into it, and 2) Pardot is a subpar platform. This could come back to haunt Salesforce unless they can radically improve the UI and catch up on functionality.

Charting the Future of Marketing Automation

Yes, I’m a Marketo groupie, but I firmly believe that Marketo is in a position to chart the future of marketing automation. It already boasts the most robust and flexible platform compared to its mid-market competitors like Pardot and Hubspot, and its integration with Salesforce is best in class. However, leveling up the visual components of Marketo would be a welcome change, provided updates and functionality to data and analytics don’t fall by the wayside.