Marketo Summit 2016 was an amazing event with a great agenda, strong content and plenty opportunities for learning, networking and navigating over challenges and potential of the profession. It was an epicenter of sparkling energy, positive emotions, and connectedness of more than four thousand attendees coming from all parts of the World.
The theme of Marketo Summit was “Tomorrow’s Marketer”. It was an interesting shift of focus from a profession to a professional. Why? Probably because it is people who move the industry forward, who drive and adopt innovations, and shape a new reality. There were a lot of major discussions of leadership, core values, authenticity (Will Smith’s amazing keynote session), hitting goals and what it takes you (Alison Levine’s story of climbing Everest), the personality of a marketer (Sanjay Dholakia’s presentation). This year the marketing topic became very personal.
The main news was Marketo’s announcement of several products and innovative solutions. That was a true surprise to see not one, not two, but a whole roadmap of upcoming platforms and capabilities, the hottest technologies and the most discussed topics under one brand. What is most important – Phil Fernandez, CEO of Marketo, shared a holistic and very timely vision that is strongly centered around customer experience and technology orchestration. It is much wider than marketing itself, it goes across many sides of an organization, and connects with C-suite as a strategic standpoint of providing continuous value to customers.
So Marketo announced the following solutions:
- Account-Based Marketing – this concept is probably #1 topic in marketing technology nowadays. Marketo, as most of MA tools, is lead focused, and thus, it has certain limitations for B2B companies looking for intelligence and personalization around accounts, not separate names. There are several companies providing ABM technology, such as DemandBase and Engagio (founded by Marketo co-founder Jon Miller). Now Marketo is getting into this niche, and the new platform is supposed to be available in summer 2016.
- Project Orion – a new architecture platform that enables enterprise scaling, high performance, and volume, advanced analytics capabilities. It “will handle more than a billion touchpoints a year”, help to embrace Internet of things era, and allow interactions with customers throughout the journey. The project called the biggest investment in the history of Marketo, is being tested by a group of customers and will be publicly available by the end of 2016.
- Mobile and AdBridge capabilities – these solutions will boost Audience Hub, a platform that gathers customer data from multiple resources, including partnering martech vendors.
- Predictive Content Application for Email – new capabilities to analyze and improve email performance.
- Analytics Insights – a robust analytics platform with flexible filters and capabilities, along with a great modern-looking UI.
I believe it was a game-changing announcement. Some time ago there was a perception that Marketo was a basic mainstream marketing automation (or even email automation) platform, and for all top-notch fancy technologies, you need to go somewhere else, dozens of other LaunchPoint inhabitants. Now Marketo is getting back its “innovation mojo”, becoming a true leader in marketing technology.
Besides these solutions reflect Marketo aspiration to serve enterprise giants, and compete in the most tech-savvy industries. Also, it might start a market consolidation as previously “outsourced” functionality is getting back in the house by a big player.
So coming back to the main theme: Marketo is addressing enterprise marketing while providing a strong personal message on management and leadership. That seems to be part of a company’s strategy, taking into account white paper “The Marketing Organization of the Future” that was sponsored by Marketo and released by Harvard Business Review in October 2015.
Among other keynote speakers, there was Alison Levine, a leader of female expedition to Everest summit. She talked about relentlessness as a key success factor: “not best athletes came to the top, but the most relentless”; planning ahead, but flexible adjusting to the real situation, as “you can’t control the weather, but you can control the way you act”.
Brilliant Will Smith charmed the audience with surprisingly open and genuine discussion of life, work, core values. His main message was about complete authenticity throughout all sides of life and work – it needs to be at a core of a product or service, as well as a core of a person. Authenticity is the only way of dealing with the technology age when you can’t hide, pretend or cheat – everything is getting revealed quickly. This value is also important for life-work balance – what is good for work should be as good for home, it should be the “identical emotional environment”. He also talked about “universally relatable emotions” as a basis for creativity and communications.
Sanjay Dholakia, CMO of Marketo, shared his vision of tomorrow’s marketer – a professional with intellectual curiosity, who can embrace multiple disciplines and work horizontally, and most importantly, has a right attitude. He referred to Da Vinci type of personality, which includes creativity and analytical skills, along with wide interests and views.
The Summit offered 200+ sessions jammed in two days, so picking up a session out of 4-6 options was a hard choice. Nevertheless, some sessions drew tremendous attention and…huge lines of attendees heading towards the rooms. My favorite sessions were:
- “Get Technical, Ladies” – a great panel discussion with Marketo leaders about women in tech and women career in general. Great thanks to Liz Oseguera for initiating this conversation! My takeaways in two lines: get focused, work strategical, set right expectations, ask for feedback.
- “Marketo Pro Tips” by Adam New-Waterson, Lead Data, and Jeff Shearer, Nintex, both multiple-years Marketo Champions. The session write-ups are available here.
- “Hacking Marketing” by Scott Brinker, chief marketing technologist blog, ION Interactive. He shared a perspective of how marketing can learn from software development, what tactics and approaches might help with the innovation process, how to get a marketer with 10x performance.
- “Full Funnel Marketing” by Matt Heinz, Heinz Marketing. Great guidance on aligning marketing and sales, advice on taking responsibility for revenue, developing a detailed map of lead/opportunity flow stages and defining roles and actions at every stage.
There were sessions that I was unable to attend, and I am so looking forward to the recordings! I heard and read a plenty of enthusiastic reviews.
My wish list for Marketo Summit 2017 in San-Francisco:
- More discussions on leadership, self-management, career development (like “Get Technical, Ladies” and “Mo Marketo – Mo Money”).
- More discussions on strategy building and its execution, digital transformation of the organizations. Correspondingly, distinguish between Strategic vs. Tactic vs. Tips & Tricks sessions. All are valuable, but it would be great to identify those.
- More time for sessions, if possible. I left with a feeling that I would have consumed much more information, and I would not mind if sessions start earlier and finish later.
- Keep meals and breaks outside. Many people suffer from electric light, over cooled air-conditioning and all time inside experience of conferences. Having an option of breakfast and lunch under the shiny sun and the bluest sky was such a pleasure!
- Less meme and funny gif pictures in slides. Our sessions were short enough (just 40 min), and though jokes are always welcome, I often wished the presentations were more condensed, stuffed with more material. Besides, reviewing slides of the sessions that you missed does not make much sense.
- Keep the same networking opportunities (Expo Hall, parties, Marketo User Group community, etc.).
- Keep “Move with Marketo” classes, preferably outside. This year we had piyo and yoga classes – a perfect start for long days.
Overall – great job, Marketo team! So inspired, impressed, informed, engaged. So looking forward to where this year brings us!