Marketing automation vendor Marketo has debuted an intelligent targeting tool called the Customer Engagement engine in the wake of its US$ 80 million IPO.

Salesforce ExactTarget Buy in the Background

While Marketo was warmly received by the markets upon going public, one time potential suitor Salesforce went out and acquired ExactTarget instead of the widely assumed Marketo. We thought a Salesforce/Marketo team was just about a sure thing on account of how many Marketo customers are also Salesforce customers.

Marketo will likely continue to rely on Salesforce within its own system, but for its automated marketing tools, the company thinks it has improved the way it targets customers via email, social campaigns and lead nurturing. The Customer Engagement engine is meant to improve the accuracy of marketers' targeting by associating already taken actions with the type of content that customer likely will respond to the most.

This kind of ability sounds like exactly what marketers are looking for; a seamless way to trace a customer's visit/email open history to the kind of content they most need. For most marketers, attempting to make this happen in close to real time has proven to be quite an ordeal, and Marketo seems to want to address it by automating even more of the process.

Focused Campaigns

Coordinating content to be seen by the right customers at the right time is pretty much the goal of any automated system, and Marketo thinks it has taken the next step. Within Marketo's Smart Streams, marketers can drop in new content, and the engagement engine automatically updates the timing of when it gets sent out. 

Build timed campaigns and nurture leads with Marketo's engagement engine.

Additionally, Marketo says the system will work to try and keep content fresh, and even send alerts if a customer gets too many texts or sees duplicate information, for example. An Engagement Score can also now be calculated that ranks how well campaigns are performing, and the score is based on a machine learning algorithm. The engagement engine is generally available going forward from June 14, and Marketo is holding a June 25 Webinar to go into details about it.

Marketo is priced on a per lead per month basis, and starts at around US$ 2,000 per month for under 10,000 leads. The company has been named a Gartner Magic Quadrant for Lead Management leader two years running, and analysts there like its US$ 54 million in revenue and customer growth in North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific region.

Gartner found its strengths to be an easy learning curve for marketers and its more than 2000 customers in technology, media and business services. Cautions were its reliance on Salesforce, and reference customers that had reported support had lagged recently.