Marketo [NASDAQ: MKTO]: Redefining Content Marketing

CIO VendorPhil Fernandez, Chairman & CEO Up until a few years ago, a marketer’s job was to spark a product’s voyage from shelf to consumer, and it was a brief trip with limited stops—product awareness creation and buying. With the internet coming of age, the torrent of information pools had flung the floodgates open for consumers , who have a more elaborate contribution to the marketing process chain. On a parallel note, the ‘buying’ landscape has equally evolved and end-consumers now have the liberty and resources to research through a battery of brands and models, and find a product that fits the bill. Initially viewed as a major roadblock to businesses, the customer-focused marketing strategy reached newer heights with the gradual entry of inbound marketing and along with it, the prolific art of content marketing. Founded along the lines of aiding organizations to raise their marketing standards, Marketo [NASDAQ: MKTO] is one such maven—a brainchild of co-founders Phil Fernandez, Jon Miller, and David Morandi.

Initially started with a business model to help companies optimize Google AdWords, Marketo’s footprint soon enlarged to capture the essence of the founders’ vision. At the outset, the founders had intended to “build products for the marketer, and the sales team to do marketing and sales, we've made that operation better than it has ever been before,” begins Phil Fernandez, Chairman and CEO, Marketo. Having laid a sturdy foundation for marketing platforms, Marketo—through continuous innovation—has built an analytic framework that provides marketers and revenue professionals with the information they need.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing has often been taken as a misnomer for the whole umbrella of digital content that is involved in modern-day marketing. Partly accurate, content marketing involves only those elite of the list, including social media marketing, blog posts, podcasts, infographics, webinars, microsites, and eBooks. Marketo’s proficiency revolves around the various stages of setting up a highly functioning content marketing strategy for organizations. Starting at the head of the process, Marketo lays the groundwork by creating a roadmap plan that defines the roles and ownership for content creation. The content creation team will be responsible for content project management, content quality control, writing/copyediting, design coordination and approval, and promotion coordination with other marketing teams. Marketo helps the organizations with assigning roles such as managing editors, content editors, and content designers.

An ideal marketing team can produce favorable business outcomes by assuming role of a buyer, and paying heed to consumer expectations, and recommendations.

We wanted to build a business that was ultra-easy to do business with and transparent in its technology and dealings with customers

Having run several marketing organizations himself, Fernandez had donned various roles intersecting marketing and technology as well as has a deep understanding of the pain points that marketers and CMOs face in their day-to-day business lives. In the context of content marketing, Marketo facilitates organizations to seek information from casual web surfers, through forms, opinion polls, customer interviews, and online surveys. Additionally, virtual customer personas are created, to give an elaborate insight on buyers’ perception. Personas are staged based on customer demographics and behavior, along with a collective understanding of their motivations and challenges. “We wanted to build a business that was ultra-easy to do business with and transparent in its technology and dealings with customers,” Fernandez says.

Upon collecting the required information about a buyer’s outlook, Marketo then identifies the buyer’s journey, falling parallel with the norms of a marketing lifecycle— product/brand awareness, invoking interest, consideration, purchase, support, and loyalty. This is the pivotal point where a consumer decides to either go with a particular model/brand or not. Once the personas and journeys are established, Marketo assists organizations with a visual representation—a content matrix—to map current content to each buying stage, and also to determine gaps in the process chain.

The Stage is Set

Upon charting a plan for the content creation team, Marketo recommends a scheduled strategy for when their customers should publish the content marketing material—be it bi-annually, monthly, or annually. To facilitate a firm’s marketing team to strictly adhere to the planned releases and deliver the promised content, Marketo advocates on the adoption of an Editorial Calendar, with rich color-coded schemes, and other formatting tools, with shared access availability, to ensure data consistency. With craftily and accurately created content, including statistical datasheets, infographics, case studies, blog posts, and microsite content that are published on assured timelines, organizations would be able to exploit the power of content marketing to proliferate their sales pitch.

Along their 10-year journey, Marketo has reached out to a broad spectrum of companies across industries and engaged in projects with K12, Nokia, Xero, CA Automation, Eventbrite, Panasonic, Charles Schwab, and GE Healthcare. Once, PR Newswire, a major player in the media and entertainment industry had presented a use case when they were in the process of revamping their marketing strategy. The customer had realized an opportunity to enhance the level of engagement with its customers—buyers at PR agencies and in corporate PR departments.
"Marketo lays the groundwork by creating a roadmap plan that defines the roles and ownership for content creation."

To drive engagement and in turn, boost revenue, the PR publisher had to interact with its buyers in a more streamlined and targeted way that would eventually bring a change in the working paradigm—from product-centric to customer-centric.

When Marketo stepped in, the customer implemented a strategy that categorized buyers into personas and tailored messaging and other content around each persona. It also accommodated the disparate and varied paths, which buyers took on their journey to purchase—paths that interweaved through multiple channels such as Google searches, Google Ads, email, and social media. Marketo had brought in a spell of incremental changes with respect to process, technology, and people, inching closer to PR Newswire’s goal of achieving continual improvement. “Marketo enabled us transform the way we go-to-market and accelerate our growth,” notes Ken Wincko, Senior VP of Marketing, PR Newswire. “In the first seven months, we improved the number of early-stage leads by 21 percent, generated nine percent more qualified leads, and increased closed deals by 7 percent.”

The 3 R’s: Reorganize, Rewrite, Retire

Marketo has developed an indigenous strategy of three Rs— Reorganize, Rewrite and Retire— that stresses on the importance of executing a comprehensive content marketing strategy that elevates and differentiates brands from peers and competitors. The Reorganize approach emphasizes that every organization has to be on the edge of pushing out newer materials frequently. However, it is equally important to keep restructuring existing content in order to smartly reach out to a broader audience, based on the success metrics of the previously published content. Using a white paper to create infographics, or converting a well-received blog post into an e-book are just the surface. The Rewrite strategy posits that even well researched and authentic information can have a shelf life and therefore it is necessary to ensure the re-usability of the content. Incorporating recent versions of statistics and replacing timestamps with words like ‘recently’ are some of the best practices that Marketo suggests. Whereas the Retire strategy stresses on the significance of removing a particular data component from the website before it attains its end-of-life, so as to maintain brand value and reputation for providing consistent, recent, and relevant information.

Poised at the helm of providing digital marketing solutions, procedures, and strategies to large-scale enterprises, and small-to-mid sized organizations, Marketo has been realigning the contours of content marketing. With the millennial crowd bringing about a sea of changes by inculcating technology trends and practices such as the rampant use of predictive analytics, IoT, and mobility, Marketo will always help raise the bar for organizations to serve the transient marketing needs.