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.

[Ebook] The Problems with DIY Marketing Reporting

[Ebook] The Problems with DIY Marketing Reporting

Being a data-driven marketer is tough. Time and time again, we’re asked to show how our marketing programs are providing value to our organizations and because many marketers don’t know that there are options out there for fast and easy reporting, they often end up relying on do-it-yourself methodology.

But that takes time, effort and simply isn’t always accurate.

We’ve all been there, right? Say your boss walks in and wants you to pull the current quarter’s top-performing channels and campaigns at the drop of a hat. What do you do? Scramble to Frankenstein your own Monster-of-Desperate-Data by hacking together Salesforce, Marketo and Google Analytics?

There’s no way your data monster isn’t scaring you and your CMO with its hacked together spreadsheets and graphs.

The tough reality for marketers is that DIY reporting solutions almost always end up costing marketing teams more time and money than purchasing a multi-touch attribution platform and often end up delivering you less than you wanted. Not only that, but these DIY methods require specialized configurations, manual calculations, and impeccable data hygiene.

In our new ebook, the 4 Big Reasons Not to DIY Your Marketing Reporting, we go over the reasons to say “no” to DIY, and instead, simplify your reporting-and your job-by switching to a multi-touch attribution reporting platform.  

Check out a few of the highlights of our ebook below.

Stop Struggling With Spreadsheets

“Working with spreadsheets is the best,” – said no marketer ever. Reporting in spreadsheets requires manual tracking of each marketing program’s impact, and after awhile, they can get big, messy, and hard to decipher. Not only that, but since spreadsheets are static entities, they reply on manual processes so they’re prone to human error, have version control problems, and the take so long to build that they often become irrelevant almost instantly.

The Pitfalls of Using BI Software

BI software often includes data mining, analytical processes, querying, and reporting. So, where does the marketer fit into that definition? While BI might be able to help a business with its more overarching questions and needs — it’s expensive, overly-complex, and is often configured and owned by a different team, which means marketing’s requests aren’t a high priority.

Why Multi-Touch Attribution is a Marketer’s Dream Come True

An independent multi-touch attribution solution that’s built for marketers is the way to go! From customizable dashboards, easy-to-read reports, and a full-funnel view of your customer, a marketing reporting platform can easily show how your marketing programs are delivering pipeline and revenue for the business.

To learn more, download our new ebook on the 4 Big Reasons Not to DIY Your Marketing Reporting.

The Democratization of Advanced Analytics

The Democratization of Advanced Analytics

Ah election season. Shaking hands, kissing babies and yes, democracy. Power was once held in the hands of the few but now we all get our say, more or less. I think we’re seeing something similar happen in the B2B marketing world when it comes to what I’ll call advanced analytics. Multi-touch attribution, velocity, waterfall analysis… In the past these were the domain of the analytics guru you had on staff (if you were really lucky). After all sorts of data wizardry and a couple weeks of work, they produced reports like this… and maybe even an insight or two that might lead the marketing leader to change course or double down.

Things have changed. Dramatically. With a tool like BrightFunnel these same insights are instantaneous so a marketer can measure and act quickly. Also they are no longer just the domain of just the analytics guru. This really hit home for me when I spoke to our customer Heather Sutherland at Cloudera. She said, “Within a few weeks, BrightFunnel provided us deep visibility into measuring revenue impact across all marketing channels. Our entire marketing team (digital, product, and field marketing) now can quickly get insights at all levels – by account type, marketing channel, campaign and deal.”

Everyone on the marketing team now has the critical marketing metrics at their fingertips. They can now fully measure and justify their impact. They can optimize channels and campaigns effectively as they see the output of every marketing dollar they spend. It’s an exciting time. Marketers can ground their decisions on real data, not to mention show their work to their boss. The content marketer can fight for that $10k to write the new eBook because the last one drove $400k in pipeline. The event marketer can prove to the skeptical head of Sales that a $50k event sponsorship is worth it because last year that same event influenced 40% of their Q2 opportunities.

Want to join the movement? Schedule a demo today.

How to Find the “Right” ABM for Your Business

How to Find the “Right” ABM for Your Business

Account-Based Marketing. ABM. Those three little letters caused quite a bit of head-scratching in 2015 for B2B marketing leaders as they struggled to get their arms around if and how they should approach the strategy. 2016 seems to be the year that many of us will actually put those thoughts into practice. This isn’t to be taken lightly. An ABM strategy carries with it serious costs, both in spend and time. I attended a great TOPO event recently where Craig Rosenberg explained that if you’re going to start an ABM effort against just 100 target accounts, you need to create 800 unique offers to go along with ABM best practices. Ouch. Add to that the cost of finding the right accounts (ideally using predictive analytics), contact records for all the right people at those accounts so you have adequate coverage, increased pay-per-click (PPC) costs, expensive oh-so-clever direct mail tchotchkes, operations needs (lead to account matching for instance) and ABM is an expensive proposition. Given this cost and all of our finite resources, we at BrightFunnel feel like the majority of marketers will undertake an ABM initiative as a piece of their overall marketing mix, a “hybrid ABM” approach.

Just going after enterprise whales? Super niche industry with a limited target account list? Totally get it. Pure ABM makes sense. But for the rest of us, a hybrid approach is probably best… and how most of us will likely tackle this. Unless you are marketing to exclusively to a relatively small, focused target list, you will likely find that there’s an optimal balance where you can carve out a number of top target accounts who can get the full ABM treatment and market to the rest of your target audience with more traditional demand generation strategies. You may layer in tiers: Top accounts get fully-customized messaging and more expensive tactics like direct mail, the next tier is broken out into industry-specific messaging (mentioning your customer in that space for instance) and the last tier gets a broader approach (though still segmenting personas hopefully).

So how do you find that balance? In short, understand your resources, understand the marketing impact of ABM and optimize accordingly.

Here’s a basic recipe of how you might approach this:

  • Identify your top 100 target accounts (or a number that you know your operation can handle without a massive impact).
  • Split those 100 into a test and control group (50/50).
  • Plan and execute your fully-baked ABM strategy against the test group while the control group gets traditional demand gen tactics.
  • After enough time (dependent on your typical velocity), measure the impact. I’m not talking about increased display and email click rates. I mean revenue-impacting metrics like lead to opportunity conversion rates and velocity. BrightFunnel makes this surprisingly easy to do with a simple set of filters for your target account test and control groups.
  • Using this impact, model out the benefit of expanding your ABM strategy vs. the resources (budget, headcount) you have.
  • Expand efforts (if appropriate) and optimize on an ongoing basis as that optimal balance may change.

Yes, ABM is expensive. So it better work. And it does for many, including several of our clients who are leading the ABM charge like Invoca, SevOne and Cloudera. I would just urge you to dip your toes in those deep ABM waters with a measured, data-driven approach like the one I’ve outlined.

B2B Marketing Stack Basics: CRMs, Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) & The B2B Lead Lifecycle

B2B Marketing Stack Basics: CRMs, Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) & The B2B Lead Lifecycle

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) are among the most commonly used technologies by B2B marketing leaders. Without a CRM and marketing automation platform, tracking ROI is impossible. The two technologies exist at the core of proper revenue attribution and, when used effectively, both can be extremely powerful, with great impact on revenue. On the other hand, when not used exactly as prescribed by vendors—as is usually the case—CRM and MAS can also be very dangerous, leading to misguided marketing decisions that wreak havoc on your bottom line.

In our new “B2B Marketing Stack Basics” series, we’ll examine the technology building blocks of a winning marketing stack—the strengths and weaknesses of leading platforms, best practices for campaign tracking, and tips to achieve true multi-touch revenue attribution. In our first installment we’ll cover the fundamentals, offering an overview of CRM and MAS technologies and taking a look at how they work together along the B2B lead lifecycle.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Overview

Many companies use their CRM as the system of record for nearly all business functions, but a CRM is primarily a sales and services tool, used to store data about existing customers and manage sales opportunities. It contains a database of all relevant information about clients and prospective clients and uses technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales pursuits.

Examples: Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle SiebelSAP, SugarCRM 

Benefits of CRMs

  • 74% of CRM users said their CRM system offered improved access to customer data. (source)
  • CRMs can increase sales productivity by up to 34% and forecast accuracy by up to 42%. (source)
  • Using a CRM has been proven to increase sales by up to 29%. (source)


Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) Overview

The MAS is the marketing counterpart to the CRM platform—focused on moving inquiries from the top of the marketing funnel through to sales-ready leads at the bottom of the funnel. Marketing automation provides a single solution that marketers can use for all aspects of campaign design—including email and landing page development, lead management and scoring, and automation and reporting.

Today’s B2B marketers would be crippled without marketing automation. Essential functions such as communicating with and tracking prospects become impossible or at best extremely difficult without it. In order to track revenue, you must first track campaigns and leads. 

Examples: Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, Pardot 

Benefits of CRMs

  • B2B marketers who implement marketing automation increase their sales-pipeline contribution by 10%. (source)
  • 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation. (source)
  • 8% of successful marketers say marketing automation systems are most responsible for improving revenue contribution. (source)


The B2B Lead Lifecycle: How CRM and MAS Work Together

Marketing automation systems measure prospect engagement from the first time they interact with your company. Upon their first website visit, they’ll receive a cookie from your MAS, after which all interactions are tracked. A prospect is no longer anonymous once they provide their contact information (e.g. downloading an eBook, signing up for a webinar) and a lead is created within the MAS. From there, the lead is typically synced to the CRM. 

Salesforce and Marketo FlowOne of the core functions of marketing automation is the ability to score prospects based on engagement. A prospect’s lead score will accumulate over time based on their interactions with marketing activity. Many companies develop nurture programs or a series of automated communications designed to help prospects self-educate. As a prospect interacts with marketing activity—triggered by nurturing or done organically—they’ll continue to accumulate points until they reach an agreed-upon threshold that deems them sales-ready.

While lead cycle processes vary between organizations, there is usually some threshold that determines the lead has reached a gating stage and is passed to a sales rep. Sales can either accept a lead, and convert it (more on that in the following section), or reject a lead, in which case, they often re-enter a new nurture queue. Alternatively, a lead may be disqualified altogether, in order to prevent any future engagement (e.g. competitors or bad records).

Much has been written about lead management and the various stages leads can pass through. Much of that discussion is beyond the scope of this series, but we recommend familiarizing yourself with this process if you haven’t already.


Have you been able to track multi-touch revenue attribution with your CRM and MAS alone? Stay tuned for the next installment of our “B2B Marketing Stack Basics” series, where we’ll go deeper on CRM best practices to make sure your leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities are properly set up for multi-touch revenue attribution.

To learn how to get started with multi-touch revenue attribution, download our free eBook today.

The Data-Driven Marketer’s Guide to 2015 Marketo Summit

The Data-Driven Marketer’s Guide to 2015 Marketo Summit

If you work in B2B marketing (and consider yourself a data-driven marketer), you’ll probably be one of the 6,000+ attendees at Marketo’s The Marketing Nation summit, which kicks off in San Francisco today. I’ll be there because, as the CEO of a marketing technology company, it’s a fantastic networking event. But I’m also attending because, as a former data-driven VP of Marketing, I think the event is a great opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in B2B marketing, including many people with expertise in analytics.

The challenge, of course, is that there are more than 100 sessions offered at this year’s Marketo Summit — and not every one of them will be worth your time. In fact, like any college course, most conference sessions are only as good as the speakers leading them and the content being discussed.

Need some help deciding which sessions to attend this week? As the CEO of a B2B marketing analytics company, and a former VP of Marketing, here’s a sampling of sessions I’ll be attending that I think could be interesting and thought-provoking for other data-driven marketers. I don’t always expect to agree with each one of these speakers, but I fully expect them to provoke discussion:

1. Tips and Tricks to Accelerate Pipeline Growth

Speakers: Janelle Donovan (@janelletnoble), former Sr Director of Marketing @ ServiceMax (and a happy BrightFunnel user!); Paul Albirght (@paulalbright), founder/CEO @ Captora; Tushar Patel (@tushar_m_patel), VP of Marketing @ Innotas

Summary: Marketing (and marketing technology) might be in its renaissance, but many B2B marketing executives are still struggling to show results and fuel faster growth. This session features a fantastic panel of B2B marketing executives who will highlight breakthrough techniques, tips, and templates for increasing marketing growth and productivity. The panel will also deliver insight into how to get the most from today’s marketing technology stack. In my opinion, this is a can’t-miss session for data-driven marketers.

Time/Place: Tuesday, April 14 @ 2 p.m. Location: 3022

2. Data Quality Bootcamp or Why Dirty Data = Low Marketing ROI

Speaker: Inga Romanoff (@ingaroma), marketing executive and consultant

Summary: Data quality is an issue on the mind of every data-driven marketer. Unfortunately, it’s often perceived as an obstacle to analytics and attribution, but my view (and what I think Inga will convey) is that while data quality is critical, one must not lose sight of its purpose — marketing ROI. As such, rather than obsessing — and beating oneself up — over data, one should be focused on making sure it’s good enough, not perfect. A lot can be done at the analytics layer, algorithmically, to make up for data quality issues (e.g. solving for Lead/Contact to Account associations).

Time/Place: Tuesday, April 14 @ 3 p.m. Location: 2022/2024

Bonus tip: One thing to consider if you do attend this event is that if you’re having issues with Contact Roles being attached to Opptys (or Leads remaining unconverted, and thus losing attribution), you should consider trying BrightFunnel’s automated Account-Based Attribution and Orphan Lead Finder capabilities. Both will help you considerably when it comes to data quality. Also, don’t hesitate to come check out BrightFunnel’s booth (#318) and get our free attribution health check!

3. Boosting Engagement and Conversion with Creative Storytelling and Strategic Video Marketing

Speakers: Joe Hyland (@mojoehyland), CMO @ Taulia; Michael Litt (@MichaelLitt), CEO @ Vidyard

Summary: I think video marketing is an interesting opportunity for B2B marketers, and Joe and Michael are two of the more knowledgeable experts on the topic. Like Events and Webinars, video can be a fantastic middle of the funnel tactic (“MOFU” for the geeks out there). Often times, ROI for those types of tactics gets undercounted, largely because they’re not first or last touch; not to mention, the person they impact might be different than the opportunity contact role. At BrightFunnel, we recommend you try video in your B2B buyers’ journey if you have a product or service that has a longer than 30-day lead-to-deal cycle, and that requires some level of buyer education or selling to multiple stakeholders.

Time/Place: Tuesday, April 14 @ 4:30 p.m.; 2010/2012

Bonus tip: If your organization uses MOFU tactics like videos and webinars, and you want to accurately attribute marketing performance, use BrightFunnel to measure how exactly video is impacting your customers’ multi-touch journey.

4. Using Marketing Analytics to Deliver the RIGHT Metrics

Speakers: Adam New-Waterson (@AdamInBloom), DemandGen @ BloomReach; Jason Seeba (@JSeeba), Marketing Technologist @ BloomReach.

Summary: This was billed as the best marketing analytics session by quite a few people last year and I expect that to be the case this year, too. While this session will specifically cover Marketo Analytics, I highly recommend it for all data-driven marketers, even if they aren’t big users of Marketo RCA/RCE. Adam and Jason are super-advanced quantitative analytics experts and I suspect they’ll give attendees a deep understanding of how to use first-touch and multi-touch attribution to better understand impact, regardless of your marketing technology stack.

Time/Place: Wednesday, April 15 @ 8:15 a.m.; 2010/2012

Bonus tip: If you find that your organization is looking to complement Marketo Analytics (Marketo RCA/RCE) with more advanced capabilities, BrightFunnel can be a good logical next step. If you want to better understand who we are and what we do, stop by our booth!

5. 5 Use Cases for Predictive Marketing

Speakers: Jessica Cross (@JFayeSF), Director of Marketing @ Fliptop; Jeffrey Canada (@LikeThe_Country), Revenue Marketing @ The Pedowitz Group

Summary: This one is a little bit more personal for me because Jessica and I are former colleagues, and in fact, she ran demand gen for me! I can objectively say it’s a worthwhile session for data-driven marketers. Jessica is a super sharp, data-driven marketer, I’ve also spoken with Jeffrey, who has a great mind for revenue marketing and marketing automation. To extend the college metaphor, these are are up-and-coming associate professors with high student ratings. Check them out!

Time/Place: Wednesday, April 15 @ 4:30 p.m.; 2010/2012

6. The Best of Both Worlds: Using Fit + Behavior Signals to Predict Top Prospects

Speakers: Jamie Grenney (@JamieGrenney), VP of Marketing @ Infer; Ash Alhashim (@ashalhashim), Director of Sales and Marketing Development @ Optimizely; T. Baxter Denney (@TBDenney), Director of Marketing Operations @ New Relic

Summary: There’s no question that predictive analytics can deliver critical insight and provide competitive differentiation for B2B businesses in competitive markets, but some marketers are struggling to make the leap from being data-driven to being predictive-driven. In this session, Infer VP of Marketing Jamie Grenney, Optimizely Director of Sales and Marketing Development Ash Alhashim, and New Relic Director of Marketing Operations T. Baxter Denney will share how they combine fit and behavioral scoring to decide which prospects most deserve their time, energy, and resources. This is one of several sessions on predictive marketing, led by a predictive lead scoring speaker.

Time/Place: Tuesday, April 14 @ 3:00 p.m./3022

Bonus tip: If you’re already using, or evaluating lead scoring tools, BrightFunnel’s multi-touch attribution and forecasting capabilities can be a great complement, to optimize the buyer’s journey after the initial lead scoring.

Struggling with Marketing Attribution?

One of the biggest benefits of conferences like Marketo’s Summit is the opportunity to better gauge what your company is doing well and where it can improve. To find out if your business is getting marketing attribution right, come by BrightFunnel’s booth (#318) to get an attribution health check through our free Salesforce health check app.

Instead of presenting a session, we’ve invested all of our resources into this helpful tool and I’m incredibly pleased with the results. We will tell you, within a few minutes, how your organization scores in terms of attribution, specifically: what percentage of your opportunities are missing contacts, how much pipeline you’re losing credit for, as well as showing you specific buyers’ journeys for those opportunities that BrightFunnel uncovers, but Salesforce reporting does not. If you’re using Salesforce CRM, checking out this free tool is a no-brainer.