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Review: "Save Time with Marketing Automation and Marketo"
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Josh Hill profile photo
Updated November 17, 2018

Review: "Save Time with Marketing Automation and Marketo"

Score 9 out of 101
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Marketo Lead Management

Overall Satisfaction with Marketo

I use Marketo at Perkuto, but mostly for our clients where I implement their lead lifecycle and marketing programs. Most firms are using this tool in Marketing and Sales departments. The service helps B2B marketers manage large volumes of lead records, report on the sales funnel, and provide rich behavioral data to Sales. With Marketo (and with other marketing automation tools), it becomes easier to automate the sending of emails, email lead nurturing, and data management. The goal of the tool is to have an automated, fully reportable sales funnel.
  • Lead Management - Marketo has a variety of tools and workflows to adapt to your business process.
  • Salesforce Integration - Marketo has a tight SFDC integration that helps marketers manage leads and align with the Sales process.
  • Revenue Cycle Analytics - with this add-on, Marketo provides full visibility into ROI and sales funnel metrics.
  • Implementation - Marketo is a powerful system, but it comes out of the box fairly blank. Marketers need to plan out their lead lifecycle and workflows well in advance of signing a contract or turning on the switch.
  • Basic Reports - these are helpful, but limited. The sales funnel is not fully or automatically reported without the RCA package.
HubSpot is ideal for smaller firms, although it is targeted at SMBs and even enterprise. The content creation functions are excellent, however, it lacks many of the lead management tools and nurturing tools Marketo has. If you are going to be serious about nurturing (beyond drip), Marketo is a better choice.

If your team is focused on PPC and SEO and is part of a smallish firm, HubSpot is probably your best bet. If you are part of a larger firm with a fairly large database (over 30,000), and you are preparing to ramp up nurturing and lead lifecycle, then Marketo is more likely to help you. As I tell everyone on Twitter, it’s about what you need more than “which one is better?” Which one is better for you?

Remember to use your brain during the RFP process. Don't rely on vendor materials (and I mean all vendors). Think about your business process and sales funnel first. Think about Marketo as a catalyst for change and prepare that in advance of any vendor selection. Then go to the vendor and ask them about all the features you need and how they would build out your process. Be prepared to do the heavy lifting or to bring on a consultant to build out the first phase.

Marketo is well suited for B2B firms with more than 30,000 records that are moving toward, or already doing, content marketing.

Using Marketo's core features

Core Features Used

  • Channels
  • Programs
  • Email Templates
  • Forms
  • Landing Pages
  • Smart Campaigns
  • Lead Scoring
  • Lead Sourcing
  • Segmentation
  • Lead Nurture
  • Reporting/Analytics

Favorite Features

  • Engagement Nurture programs are the best automated feature of Marketo. Once you set them up, they run by themselves and you can drag in content easily on a regular basis. Does take a bit of thought, which I've written about to make this easier.
  • Email Delivery reports (Email Performance Reports) - great tables of what occurred when sending an email or overall delivery rates.
  • Email 2.0 - the module system is a huge leap forward and if you can create a great Master Template, you can empower marketers to be self service and rapidly push out emails.

Feature You Wished You'd Used Sooner

Guided Landing Pages launched a few years ago, however, I was unable to take advantage of them until I had a coding team. They function exactly how marketers imagined they should:
  • Module insertion as needed within the same design.
  • On/Off switches for modules and additional components.
  • Enables Multi Select pages in unique designs.
  • limits ability of marketer to break the page.

Help from the Community

I'm usually the one helping others!
I'd say the Community is a great resource for all people. I've definitely learned hidden secrets from other Marketo pros.

Key things I've learned involve Race Conditions, Request Campaign use to manage Order of Operations, etc.

Others will find help related to Lead Source, Lead Lifecycles, and Setup.

Marketo Differentiators

From other demos and use of Email Service Providers, Marketo's workflow and nurture options are far more powerful and easy to use than HubSpot or Pardot. The marketer has much more control on how and when things occur, along with clearer Automation.

Marketo has a powerful lead lifecycle funnel system, but it does require a lot of thought and setup to provide the funnel transparency the CMO wants.

Staying Organized

Tables. Everything you can do in Marketo can be summarized in a 4x4 table.
Journey Sessions
Documentation.

Benefits of using some of Marketo's core features

Lead Sourcing

I used paired fields of First and Most Recent Lead Source. Then I managed those with SFDC Campaigns and Program Channels to build up the dataset to understand First Touch and Last Touch. This system is documented on my site and will also provide a set of touches if you have the right reporting tool.

Channels

Events
Roadshow
List Purchase
etc.
Each organization is different. I use the Program Channel Statuses to do error checking, count review, etc. If you are using the full Lead Source/RCM system, then you will use those to manage Success touches and First Touch. I've done that too and it works well if you've taken the time to carefully setup each step.

Segmentation

It's great. I'd love it if Marketo's Segmentation feature did 250 segments, but 100 isn't necessarily a big issue.

Most people will use Smart Lists which function well if you know your database fields, values, and are careful not to make them 20 steps deep.
We created an Emailable Segmentation to rapidly run our campaigns against standard permission rules:
  1. Not Marketable (bad, invalid, unsubscribed)
  2. Verified
  3. Unverified
  4. Default

Smart Campaigns

This could be a long article!
Smart Campaigns=Workflows. They are the core of making Marketo work for you. For example, Lead Scoring will have a trigger of Clicks Link in Email and it will let you choose all or some emails that are sent. I typically let that run 1x / hour to avoid over scoring.
Smart Campaign concept is common across MAPs. I would say that Marketo's Schedule options differentiate it from other tools because Marketo allows more nuanced scheduling as well as lets you easily see dozens of flows in the system at once. Other tools will tend to hide the running flows so you have a hard time seeing how each one works together.

Forms

Forms 2.0 are very easy. Very reliable. Largely block spam attempts as well for most B2B firms.
Forms allow us to scale quickly with standard fields and look and feel and then drop them in. We can change a form once across dozens of pages in many cases.

Adding hidden fields is a must for tracking lead source or unique situations.

Email Templates

Wow, dozens of course. Tend to create either a Master or scenario based:
  1. event invitation
  2. webinar invitation
  3. thank yous
  4. general promo
  5. customer promo
Templates empower marketers to create emails on their own without coding experience while staying within brand guidelines and email best practices.
They help us generate emails faster instead of coding from scratch.

Using Marketo

Support Headcount Required

Business Processes Supported

  • Webinar Automation
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Data processing
  • Email

Likelihood to Renew

10
I know Marketo well and it serves well. Marketo is always growing and is very responsive to its users for the roadmap.

Return on Investment

  • Time Saved - my biggest wins are in the time saved routing leads, data deduping, data management, and reporting.

Evaluating Marketo and Competitors

Products Replaced

Key Differentiators

  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Vendor Reputation
I've purchased or used Marketo at many organizations. Marketo has consistently provided a solid combination of features and usability for typical marketers to do their jobs faster. For example, while Eloqua has the process chart UI, Marketo provides single flow steps for each kind of campaign that are much more extensible because they can be used to do a lot more.

Evaluation Lessons Learned

I might ask more questions about implementation and real costs of support.

Marketo Implementation

Implementation Details / Implementation Partner

  • Implemented in-house

Marketo Support

Support

8
Support Team cares about outcomes and will work to get the right thing done.

Marketo Customer Support Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Need to explain problems multiple times

Premium Support

Yes - When I ask Marketo Support a question, it is a highly advanced, engineering issue for the most part. I don't tend to have the same basic questions, so my experience isn't the same as a typical user.

I do pay for premium support to ensure fast response times (which are baked into each Support Tier) and the ability to go deep with the team.

I know there are some other Marketo users who likely say that Support isn't responsive, etc. That's not actually true at any Support Tier. I do think that a lot of useful knowledge is on the Marketo Nation Forums and that there are many custom options that users don't fully understand cannot be handled by Support Team (javascript, etc).

Bug Resolution

Yes - Yes, bugs once discovered are resolved.

Timely is open to interpretation here. Given the scale of Marketo's systems, I would say that bugs are resolved in a reasonable timeframe depending on the severity level.

Using Marketo

Usability

8
Most marketers can learn to use Marketo quickly for daily tasks like getting an email out or building a webinar system. However, there are a lot of steps involved, so people tend to say that Marketo isn't "easy" for that reason. A good Marketo Expert can take away alot of those steps for daily use.

Usability Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Lots to learn

Easy Tasks

  • Basic setup
  • Webinars
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Landing Page Building

Difficult Tasks

  • Data transformations
  • Complex lead routing

Mobile Interface Availability and Impressions