The Marketo Meltdown and The Holy Grail of SaaS Stickiness

The Marketo Meltdown and The Holy Grail of SaaS Stickiness

When I got into the office yesterday morning the first thing on my to-do list was to create a content program in Marketo for a new ebook we were launching. I opened my computer, filled up my water bottle, and went to the Marketo login page.

I was immediately greeted by a very unfamiliar and ominous page that looked eerily like what happens when your website no longer exists. WTH.

I reloaded. I went incognito. Nothing. I turned to my demand gen manager who just got in and asked if she was having the same problem. She opened her computer and got the same page. We looked at each other in panic.

I immediately felt a sense of impending doom. OMG…what if Marketo is, like, no longer a company? What am I going to do? All of our emails, landing pages, forms, programs…everything is in Marketo. The marketing apocalypse has happened. The world has ended. Zombies are now going to descend onto Silicon Valley any minute.

I quickly checked Twitter and learned what had happened—Marketo had failed to renew their web domain causing a massive outage that basically stopped marketing in its tracks. Like, marketing around the world was done for the day.

I am a pretty die-hard Marketo fan. As a former employee, I definitely bleed purple when it comes to marketing automation. And even though I am a VP in my current role, I am still in Marketo every day. So Marketo being down is a big deal.

When our service came back on I pried myself away from the hilarious Twitter feed to do some reflection on what had happened and how the day had progressed. Marketo-pocolypse got me thinking about some interesting things. Read on to learn more.

The Holy Grail of SaaS Stickiness

No doubt the Twitter feed surrounding the Marketo incident was absolutely hilarious. I just couldn’t stop looking at the feed. However, through all the noise, what really stuck out to me was how many people’s jobs and businesses were incredibly handicapped by the Marketo outage. For a demand generation marketer whose job it is to run programs through Marketo, their productivity was completely halted. If you can’t log into the platform you spend your day in, what do you do?

Throughout the day there was a huge volume of Tweets from marketers who literally couldn’t do their day jobs because they couldn’t get into Marketo. There are very few software companies that have that type of stickiness.

For a SaaS company, while no one ever wants their software to go down, the type of stickiness exemplified during the Marketo outage is the true holy grail of SaaS adoption. The idea that your software is so deeply embedded in someone’s day-to-day that they can’t do their job without you is something every software company strives for. Working at a startup, we talk about this a lot—how do we make our product stickier? How do we ensure that our platform is part of a user’s daily workflow?

Well, bravo Marketo, you have truly achieved this goal. When Marketo went down, marketers could no longer do marketing—and that is a rare achievement in any software category.

Brand Equity Helps You Weather the Storm

During the outage something else significant caught my attention—Marketo’s brand equity was actually carrying them through this disaster. Sure, people were upset, but what was even more apparent was the incredible community of marketers who believed in Marketo. They wanted Marketo to weather to storm.

You would think that when a software platform’s outage causes such significant business interruptions that people would be pissed. I mean, really angry. And people generally have no filters on social media, so I was expecting people to be tweeting some pretty nasty things at Marketo. However, what I saw were marketers coming together and almost making light of the situation. The Tweets were generally pretty hilarious and light-hearted. People genuinely cared about the brand and were rooting for them to get back up and running. In fact, someone that was part of the Marketo community actually paid for the domain renewal and the “Marketing Nation” loved it! This guy became everyone’s new hero for trying to help Marketo get back online.

This type of sentiment and positivity shows incredible brand equity. As someone who was part of the marketing team at Marketo for three years starting in Marketo’s pre-IPO days, this is something I am proud of. Maketo has built a brand strong enough for people to stand behind during tough times.

Achieving brand equity that helps you weather this type of storm is very rare and takes a long time to build. For many years, this was Marketo’s focus—creating and building a true community around their software—the Marketing Nation. I would say that they have been successful.

You can’t force the development of a true community. It is organic and comes with a lot of trust and loyalty on the part of your customers. As I am now working to build out the marketing org at BrightFunnel, this is something I think about a lot—how do I build that brand equity and trust?

The Marketo Meltdown was real and a day that a lot of marketers probably won’t soon forget. Yes, it interrupted my day and it sucked—but what I took away from it was a couple of lessons to help solidify some of the goals that we are trying to achieve at BrightFunnel.

5 Ways To Ensure Your Website is Measurable After a Website Re-Design

5 Ways To Ensure Your Website is Measurable After a Website Re-Design

Two weeks ago, BrightFunnel launched a brand new website—and we did it in 4 weeks. For all of you marketers out there who have gone through a website relaunch, you know how challenging this project can be. You must think through messaging, branding, look and feel, product pages, customer stories, content, and more!

However, one item that sometimes takes the back burner is measurement—making sure that you put different levers in place so that all your website interactions can be measured. Bottom line—your website is the first impression of your brand and not only do you want to ensure that you send your visitors down the right path, but you also want to make sure that you know exactly where they go and what they do. And you can only determine these key insights through measurement.

As we designed our new website, here were our top 5 things we kept in mind to make sure our website was measureable.

1. Make Sure You Are Tracking the Data on Your Website

Before you can even measure anything on your website you need to make sure you are actually collecting the right type of data. There are many things you can track on your website, such as website traffic, referral sources, time-on-page, scrolling activity, bounce history, referring pages, and so on. In order to track these metrics you need to ensure that you have the right type of tracking in place.

For BrightFunnel, we use a couple of pieces of technology for tracking purposes. We use our own platform to track key metrics such as referring sources and anonymous touch analytics. Through our own web pixel we can see how people get to our website (whether through organic search, direct traffic, ads, etc) and we can also see web activity history before someone becomes known in our system. We also use Google Analytics to look at key metrics like time on page, bounce history, and overall website traffic. And finally, we use Marketo forms for direct conversions from our demo CTA and content assets.

2. Make Sure Your Core CTA’s Are Front and Center

The second key component when creating a website that converts is ensuring that your calls-to-actions (CTAs) are front and center where your website visitor can see them. Especially on your homepage, make sure that there is only one CTA above the fold and that the desired action is clear and concise. You might want to play around with color palate to make sure that your CTA catches your website visitor’s eye immediately.

For BrightFunnel, our most important CTA on the homepage is to “Request a Demo”. We want people to inquire with our sales team to see a demo of our software platform. Because this CTA is the most important, we placed it in the middle of our homepage hero image and used the color orange so it really pops.

B2B Web Redesign Tips: Homepage CTA

3. Make Sure There Are Enough Conversion Points

Aside from your demo CTA, what other conversion points do you have on your website? You want to make sure that people have other ways to give you their contact information. Think about it, most people who come to your website for the first time are just learning about your business, they might not want to fill out a form to request a demo. Instead, maybe they want to download a report or ebook, to learn more about your company or to help solve a problem they may be experiencing. For a B2B marketer, content is the best way to add additional conversion points to your site.

For BrightFunnel, our content resources section is a key place where leads convert. We have a variety of different types of content, from educational ebooks and videos to reports and case studies. By having a variety of different types of content that speak to different places in the buyer journey, we have something for everyone. Most of our assets are gated with a form that links to our marketing automation platform. We then collect a lead’s information to start marketing to her.

B2B Web Redesign Tips: Content Hub

B2B Web Redesign Tips: Content CTA

4. Build Out Your Product Pages And Make Them Clear

If you are a product company then you want to have website pages that describe what your product does. And getting people to land on these product pages are likely a critical goal for you and your company. In order for search engines to rank these pages and visitors to actually land on these pages, you need to make sure that your product pages are built out (no thin content!) and the navigation is clear.

There are many ways to organize your product page navigation. Some companies do this by different product features, while others organize their product pages based on persona. For BrightFunnel, we organized our product pages based on features that also map to key SEO terms for us.

The original version of the website had pretty thin content on the product pages that wasn’t structured in a clear way for website visitors. With our new navigation, the content is beefier, we have multiple page levels, and the features of our platform are clear and concise—the visitor doesn’t have to guess what each feature does and she can easily navigate from one feature to the next.

5. Make Sure to Optimize Your Website for SEO

Search Engine Optimization is critical for making your website visible to people who are searching about topics related to what you do. If you aren’t well-optimized for search you won’t get as much organic traffic—and this is important for the growth of your business! When you are designing any new website, SEO—both on-page and technical—should be top of mind.

When we redesigned our website, SEO was a key component from day one. We engaged an SEO firm, worked out priority keywords, and mapped each page back to a specific keyword—making sure that keyword was visible in the H1 on each page. We also worked with our web developer on technical fixes to make sure all redirects were in place, URL structures made sense, and all the metadata was present.

While there are many additional ways to make your website measureable, these are some key items that were top-of-mind for the BrightFunnel team during our website redesign, so we could ensure that we were thinking about measurement from day one.

And if you want to learn more about BrightFunnel’s website tracking, download our latest ebook, The Updated Buyers Journey: Why Web Tracking Matters.

A Martech Love Story: Going to Work for My Ride-or-Die Marketing Software Platform

A Martech Love Story: Going to Work for My Ride-or-Die Marketing Software Platform

OK, I admit it—I fell in love with a piece of software. There must be some kind of group for that. Before you judge me, let me explain.

I spend a lot of my time working (OK—there is definitely a group for that). Luckily, my husband and I are similar creatures, and we do similar things—, Marketo, lead generation…you get the idea. I am sure you can imagine how exciting our conversations can be over a romantic dinner.

Anything that makes my work life easier is something that grabs my attention. As a VP of Marketing, there is always a lot going on—and because I get to be the biggest spender in the organization (yyyassss), something that helps me crunch the numbers and run reports on how my marketing programs are performing compared to my spend can seem like a marketing miracle. And that is how BrightFunnel and I were introduced.

The Measurement Problem

I worked at Marketo for over three years. Besides the fact that the platform itself has analytics capabilities, the marketing team culture was also very analytics driven. However, I ran content marketing and was not an analytics wiz myself, so measurement was always a challenge. Using the pre-built measurement tools in Marketo wasn’t the most intuitive action—plus, as any content marketer can attest to—measuring content is challenging. There had to be an easier way to look at true marketing program impact.

I will let you in on a little secret: Numbers aren’t naturally my thing, and analytics don’t come easily to me. As Jon Miller, the Co-Founder of Marketo (and my manager there), frequently used to tell me, “Dayna, you have to be more analytics driven—you have to work at that.” I am naturally more of a right-brained, creative thinker, but a goal of mine was to become more left-brained and analytical—because not being an analytical marketer would be a huge CLM—a career limiting move.

At my next role at EverString, I took on more responsibility running demand generation and, eventually, the entire marketing organization. I wanted measurement to be a key part of how I ran my team. My executives were entrusting a lot of budget to me and I wanted to show them beyond a shadow of a doubt how much of a revenue driver marketing could be.

And I wanted measurement to be something my entire team was on-board with.

Enter BrightFunnel

One of the reasons I initially looked into BrightFunnel was to help me solve the content measurement problem—I wanted to see, regardless of program, how a content asset performed across every single channel. Not an easy feat!

We chose BrightFunnel to help us solve the measurement problem and I never turned back. All of a sudden, I had so much more insight into how everything was performing—which helped my whole team make much better decisions. Plus, the platform was incredibly easy to use, so creating a culture of measurement amongst the team was easy.

BrightFunnel helped me run multiple levels of reporting—team reporting, executive reporting, and board level reporting. Pulling reports was simple, the board was happy, and all was well in marketing analytics land.

Stack-Ranking the Stack

We had a huge tech stack at EverString. I mean, we tried everything under the sun—and there are a lot of marketing technology tools to choose from. But when I thought about my top “ride-or-die” software platforms, only a few made the cut—and BrightFunnel was one of them.

To me, BrightFunnel was an absolute must-have. Not only had it helped me create a culture of analytics on my team and show marketing’s impact on revenue, it also helped me overcome my personal fear of analytics.

Working for BrightFunnel—My Ride-or-Die Martech Software

So, what happens when you fall in love with a software platform? Well, you go and work for them. And that is exactly what I did with BrightFunnel.

The stars aligned, the timing was right, and I came on board as VP of Marketing to build out and run marketing and sales development. Plus, I get to evangelize the software platform to all of marketing, letting them know that measurement can be easy and needs to be a part of your day-to-day.

I am super excited to be on board and can’t wait to hit the ground running this Q1!