3 Lessons from Marketo mktgnation2014

To help, CMSWire dropped into three well-attended sessions at Marketo's Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco today to find out what you need to know about video, real time personalization and user testing.

None fell into the category of rocket science, yet each drew 200 to 300 professional marketers who listened intently, then asked lots of questions. Here are some of the highlights.

Get Video Now

Mike Litt (shown above), CEO of Vidyard, the video marketing platform, got at early start at 8 am, saying video helps explain more than what you do. It shows why you do it and also says a lot about your company culture.

"We believe the play button is the most powerful call to action on the web," he said. "If you're not marketing with video today, you will be tomorrow."

To drive home his point, he noted that if he had said in 2006 that marketing departments would have dedicated social media teams today, nobody would have believed him. "Get on video now," he said.

Litt surprised some audience members by presenting highly effective videos created for just $50 or $150 and offered several helpful tips:

  • Keep videos as short as they can be to effectively communicate your message.
  • As you move down the marketing funnel, expose interested prospects to longer videos.
  • Use an animated gif in emails to invite readers to watch a video, linking back to a video player that has links to your site.
  • Analyze videos to gauge the audience's sentiment throughout the video. Choose a frame that intrigues them most as your title image. Such tools are included  in Vidyard's service, which starts at $25 per video a month and scales downward as the volume of videos increase.

Get Personal

We've all heard a great deal about personalization. Mike Tellem, vice president for product marketing at Marketo, showed off his company's add-on services, emphasizing the importance of tuning your website to suit each new visitor.

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Almost all marketing materials -- ads, newsletters, white papers -- are intended to drive prospects to the website, so the site should be adjusted as the visitors arrive to give them what they're looking for, he said. If it's a banker, for example, it's good to replace default content with content geared towards the financial services industry.

Marketo's service, which starts at $999 a month, also ties into the company's other marketing tools so that emails can be directed to someone visiting the site, or so that the website can be tailored to someone arriving from a link in a newsletter.

When does personalization get creepy? Tellem said the goal should be to help people find what they're looking for, not to greet visitors by their first name.

Before Your A/B Tests

Atanasio Segovia, the user experience designer at Marketo, teamed up with Chris Hicken, COO of User Testing, to suggest that marketers apply some of the lessons of UX testing before conducting in-depth tests or blasting an email out to 30,000 people. Often, it will uncover easily fixed flaws, they said.

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Segovia began by suggesting the use of "hallway testing," which is nothing more than showing a preliminary design to people you can approach in the hallway down from your office.

"If you're getting a lot of questions, maybe you're heading down the wrong path," he said. "Do not do any more testing" until after you fix the problem.

Echoing a theme heard earlier in Litt's video session, Hicken explained that web analytics will tell you what people are doing on your site, but user testing will help you understand why they're doing it.

He played several video clips from user testing sessions to help show the kinds of simple problems that surface.

In one, a woman who wanted to buy a vacuum cleaner couldn't figure out which department would have it on a retailer's website. In another, a man had trouble figuring out how to register on the site due to poor design. In a third, a woman refused to go through with her purchase because the website could not guarantee that her data was secure. All three problems were remedied before the sites went public.