Turning Marketing into Math

an interview with
Jon Miller Co-Founder, Marketo

Jon Miller, Co-founder of Marketo and currently their VP of Marketing, is changing the way marketers market, starting first with his own company.  My first interview with Jon is the basis of a case history that will appear on FastCompany.com shortly.  The following is the Q&A from my follow up interview, which is also rich with insights.

DN: You mentioned Salesforce has integrated a Twitter tracking tool.  Are you using that and have you found its made much of a difference?  How else are you integrated social media monitoring into the overall process?
Social media is a vital component of our offering.  As the number of channels continues to proliferate, businesses need technology that allows them to listen to a prospect’s online body language, no matter where they are, online or offline.  Our marketing team uses Marketo to listen, score, and segment prospects based on what they say.  We’ve had some great successes with this – for example, one prospect tweeted that they were looking at solutions; we engaged socially and turned them into a customer within four weeks.

DN: As a result of using your own product, have you asked/forced the development team to make improvements and/or enhancements?
Absolutely. Our product development team and our marketing teams work very closely together. Marketing is always talking about what can be improved or providing ideas on new features that should be added or that would be useful.  The marketing team also constantly engages with customers on how they use our product to drive revenue, and what they are looking for next in the solution.  This provides a very valuable source of input.  So the marketing team is the first touch point as we continue to build out our product roadmap.  This is a product that has been built by marketers for marketers, so they are very vocal about how they would like to see the product grow and we encourage that.

Who do you consider to be your main competition?  And why do you think you have a competitive advantage over them?
We maintain a significant advantage over our competition, including vendors like Eloqua, in a number of areas.  First is the power and ease of use achieved with Marketo.  It is a radically better user experience that allows companies to be up and running complex campaigns in a matter of weeks, so they quickly realize the time to value.  Next would be our scalability, as your business grows Marketo grows with you.  Our customer base ranges from small start-ups with a one-man marketing shop, to multi-national companies running complex global campaigns.  Finally, I would add that our vision and thought leadership plays an important role in driving our market lead – sales and marketing leaders that are thinking strategically about how they can apply innovative software and techniques to drive an increase in revenue tend to gravitate to Marketo.

DN: You spent a fair amount of time explaining the problem–is this an important part of your sales process? Or do prospects already know they have the problem?
We really get a mix of potential customers who are aware of the problem and are looking for the right solution and those who know there is something wrong but haven’t defined it just yet.  For the prospects who have yet to define the problem, it becomes an integral part of the sales process, because you need to know what is broken before you can go about fixing it.  Again, this is where our vision, thought leadership, and content marketing plays a key role in engaging with the customer, as they come  to see us as trusted advisors.

DN: Growing as quickly as you have in two years, do you have a corporate culture? is this an important part of your ability to grow quickly too?
We definitely have a corporate culture.  I would have to say that collaboration is a big part of our corporate culture.  Like I mentioned earlier, our marketing team works closely with our product team, but it doesn’t stop there, all departments within Marketo are encouraged to provide their ideas and feedback with each other.  We work closely together and are passionate about what we do, and the passion of every employee here has really been an important part of our tremendous growth over the past few years.

DN: Does Marketo have a “brand voice” and if so, what is that?  Can you point me to some pages that express your personality?  I get a sort of no nonsense feel from your website but not a lot of hand holding friendliness.
Marketo is all about innovation, unmatched quality, precision and professionalism.  We are also very passionate about our customers’ success and satisfaction.  As we continue to grow, you will see a larger focus on our customers and their stories on our website because they really speak the loudest for us.

DN: How do you measure customer satisfaction?
Our success is driven by the success of our customers.  We are constantly in contact with our customers checking in and seeing how things are going and providing additional value anywhere we can.  The number of customers who are willing to be references for us, and speak at our events is another great measure of the success they are achieving.

DN: Do you have a mechanism in place for customers to give feedback and or product ideas?  (like a Get Satisfaction?)
We launched our Marketo Community last year.  It is a great place for customers to go and share ideas, give feedback and interact with each other.  When someone submits an idea other customers can vote on it as well and we certainly take those ideas into consideration when we are building our product roadmap.

DN: Talk to me about content marketing and what you all do in this area?  I know you mentioned some stats on the phone but do you have a staff of writers that create all this content?  Do you have an editorial calendar that is guided by SEO?
We have very talented marketers who are excellent writers.  Most of our content is created by our marketing team.  Our blog posts, cheat sheets, definitive guides and more is all written and created by our marketing team.  They are the experts and they know best what other marketers want and need the most. We have one of the best marketing teams in the world.

DN: You called the category Revenue Performance Management–do prospects know what this means?  and what are doing specifically to build awareness of this idea other than me writing this story;-)
Revenue Performance Management (RPM) is a new category, so part of helping companies to join the revenue revolution is educating them about what isn’t working about the old sales and marketing business model.  We have a comprehensive thought leadership program designed to educate the market and engage in a dialogue on RPM. For instance, we started with Phil’s Revenue Performance Management Blog, and have spoken at a number of different sales and marketing events on this very topic.  We also just kicked off a 14 city tour across the US to drive awareness that includes an executive roundtable discussion about the whole idea of revenue RPM.  While it’s keeping me on a plane every week, the turnout to these events so far has been phenomenal – it’s been standing room only at every one, and the conversations have been fantastic.  The road show is just getting under way, and hitting major cities around the US – I encourage readers to check out our schedule and come to an event! www.marketo.com/rock-your-revenue.

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