Marketo's cards against marketing madness card deck.
PHOTO: Social Fresh

Marketo has lost its chief marketing officer for the second time in a year and has yet to fill the position.

Chandar Pattabhiram, promoted to Marketo's CMO spot last August as part of an executive-team shakeup, has left the company to take a job as CMO of Coupa Software

Coupa Software, based in San Mateo, Calif. is a cloud platform like Marketo, but focuses on financial business process management and "eProcurement". The company competes with the likes of Basware, SAP and JAGGAER, and announced the Pattabhiram hiring Thursday. In its last quarterly earnings statement, Coupa reported $41.1 million in revenue. 

Marketo's Post-Vista Shakeup

San Mateo-based Marketo currently does not have a CMO, according to its leadership page on its website. Marketo officials did not immediately respond to an email inquiry from CMSWire Friday morning.

Marketo also lost another executive this week. On Wednesday, Apttus, also based in San Mateo, announced it had hired Marketo's Margo Smith as its executive vice president and chief legal officer. Smith served nearly four years with Marketo as senior vice president and general counsel.

Headshot of Chandar Pattabhiram
Chandar Pattabhiram

Marketo's executive-team changes began to take shape soon after Vista Equity acquired Marketo for $1.79 billion in May of 2016. 

Three months after Vista's takeover, CMO Sanjay Dholakia left to spend more time with his family, according to Marketo. Chief Administrative Officer Fred Ball also announced then that he would be leaving the company. 

Nick Bonfiglio, a seven-year Marketo veteran and the executive vice president of global product, left in October 2016 to start Aptrinsic. Joining him at Aptrinsic was Mickey Alon, Marketo's GVP of engineering. Alon was CEO and co-founder of Insightera, which Marketo acquired in 2013.

Meanwhile, Pattabhiram took over for Dholakia as CMO after serving as Marketo's group vice president of marketing for a little more than two years. 

And in November 2016, Marketo had a new CEO. Steve Lucas took over for founder and CEO Phil Fernandez.

Fresh Executive Team

Most of Marketo's current executive team was formed post Vista Equity acquisition, including:

  • Chief Executive Officer Steve Lucas — November 2016 
  • Chief Operating Officer Greg Wolfe — January 2017 
  • Chief Financial Officer Mark Miller — April 2017 
  • Chief Sales Officer Eric Johnson — January 2017 
  • Chief Product Officer Manoj Goyal — May 2017 
  • GVP, Strategy and Engagement Applications Tawheed Kader (TK) — June 2017 
  • SVP, Human Resources Teresa Grau — March 2017 

Three of the current executives were already at Marketo when Vista took over:

  • GVP, Product Management & User Experience Cheryl Chavez — June 2009 (promoted to executive team in August 2016) 
  • Chief Technology Officer Shaun Klopfenstein — February 2015 
  • SVP, Business Development Robin Ritenour — March 2016

Filling Big Shoes

Pattabhiram had some big shoes to fill as Marketo's CMO.

Sanjay Dholakia, his predecessor, led Marketo through an IPO, the creation of Marketing Nation and its pivot to focus on enterprise-sized companies, while still keeping its mid-market base. 

Pattabhiram took over as Marketo was thrust into the tech-news spotlight over the past year. 

Marketo rolled out its multi-tenant, big data re-architecture project, code-named Project Orion. This was one of the largest R&D investments the company had made to-date, and the roll-out was a bit bumpy. 

Delayed and incremental releases coupled with a lack of communications led to some confusion in the market early this year. Clarifying the situation, Marketo CEO Steve Lucas promised in March 2017 that 90 percent of customers would be on the updated cloud platform by mid-year.

Marketo also made news late last month when its corporate website and several other properties went dark, apparently due to a simple failure to renew the marketo.com domain name.

Engagement Platform Update

As for product releases, the company maintains a fairly aggressive cadence of smaller fixes and larger quarterly releases. The latest from Marketo came last month when the company unveiled its latest suite of product capabilities built into the Marketo Engagement Platform. They are designed to allow marketers to make informed decisions on target accounts within their account-based marketing strategy.

Marketo has also been investing in machine learning and automatic personalization. Back in December 2013 the company acquired Insightera for $19.5M, adding the team and technology that now underpin Marketo's Predictive Content and Account Based Marketing (ABM) functionality, available both in the platform's web delivery layer as well as in email. 

'Battle for the Mind'

Coupa officials noted in their release on hiring Pattabhiram that he's known for his mantra, "marketing is about winning the battle for the mind."

“Marketing begins with storytelling,” Pattabhiram said. “It takes the art of storytelling to reach the heart and to build a bond. I believe that if you reach the heart, then you’ve captured the mind.”

We'll look forward to the next storyteller appointed to the warm chair in San Mateo.