Marketing automation vendor Marketo previewed an upcoming Hootsuite integration and its Marketing Financial Management suite at its annual summit this week.

With competitor Eloqua now being part of Oracle, Marketo has taken over as the defacto leader of the rapidly expanding marketing automation industry. As rumors swirl about who will make the next big acquisition in this space, Marketo has forged ahead with its own plans to go public this year.

As it simultaneously defends its own space in the industry and deflects questions about any possible buyout by the likes of Salesforce, the company announced plans for several changes coming up for its popular marketing automation platform.

Social Listening to Lead Generation with Hootsuite

An upcoming Hootsuite integration was announced at the Marketo Summit, and as a Marketo Lauchpoint partner, Hootsuite will allow marketers to link their social listening to lead generation, Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite said at the summit.

Because Hootsuite is a popular system for tracking and monitoring social media, this move makes total sense. Imagine searching for relevant keywords or competitor names using Hootsuite, and then tying that source into a lead generation system to follow up on with a relevant campaign, and it's easy to see why both companies would want to pursue such an agreement.

Social media marketing tends to become a bit siloed, Phil Fernandez, Marketo president and CEO, said during his summit keynote, and that's one reason the company bought Crowd Factory in early 2012. That system has now been fully integrated, Fernandez said, and its ability to create polls, sweepstakes and run referral programs on social media is now a native function within Marketo.

Additionally, Fernandez mentioned the company is rolling out a new Cobalt user interface across the entire Marketo platform. The entire workflow engine is also getting a speed boost, and things like campaigns and analysis could run up 20 times faster when the update is complete over the next couple of months, Raj Rajamani, director of product management said at the summit.

Marketing Financial Management

Ask any business professional what platform they use, and salespeople, those in finance, engineers, supply folks, all have a platform they use, Fernandez said. In marketing, it's much more fragmented, and most digital marketers are using lots of different tools to run their campaigns. Marketo is aiming to be that complete platform, he said, and one of the tools missing from the Marketo toolbox was its Marketing Financial Management announced at the summit.

Marketo partnered with Allocadia on its Marketing Financial Management system, demonstrated here by Allocadia CEO Kristine Steuart.

Launched in conjunction with Saas marketing vendor Allocadia, Marketing Financial Management is a tool that will allow marketers to track and create their budgets and plans under one roof. Furthermore, it will connect POs and invoice data with marketing plans so marketers can get insight into the business of the marketing campaigns they use everyday, Kristine Steuart CEO of Allocadia said.

CFOs will be able to pull in financial data to connect it with marketing data without the use of spreadsheets. It will connect the dots between the CMO an CFO, Steuart said, as operational data can be linked to marketing data.

Marketo now has over 400 employees and 2,000 customers in 74 countries, Fernandez said, and to help it grow even more, the company has launched a Marketo University certification program to help partners spread the word about its benefits and uses.