Marketo CEO Steve Lucas told the 6,500-plus attendees at its Marketing Nation Summit customer conference Monday that the company has successfully migrated many customers onto its big data re-architecture formerly code-named Project Orion.

Lucas also promised attendees at the Moscone Center in San Francisco that Marketo is committed to engineering and innovation and is focused on customer success and quality. 

Marketo, a marketing automation provider based in San Mateo, Calif., announced the big data re-architecture at its 2016 Summit last May. It powers its new Marketo Engagement platform, announced earlier this year, which includes an Engagement Marketing Hub, Marketo Marketing Apps and Partner Apps.

'Audacious Project'

"Project Orion was this big, hairy, audacious project focused on getting large amounts of data into Marketo," Lucas told attendees in his Monday morning keynote. "And we've successfully migrated many customers with needs in front of them that the new big data architecture addresses is processing. In my first 100 days at Marketo, we increased the size of the engineering team over 25 percent. They are focused on customer success and quality. That will win day for Marketo beyond innovation. But throughout 2017 and beyond, we will continue to invest heavily in the platform."

Marketo officials gave the Orion architecture a vote of confidence from the stage, in front of its largest Summit audience to date. 

Cheryl Chavez, global vice president of product management and user experience for Marketo, told attendees the new architecture can power "trillions of activities" to help marketers listen to customer data and intent at scale.

While Chavez is an eight-year Summit veteran, Monday was Lucas' first. The new CEO took over for Marketo co-founder Phil Fernandez, who first announced details of Orion last May, at the 2016 Summit. 

ABM Updates

Marketo offered a glimpse on Monday of the enhancements to its ABM platform and other features for its marketing automation suite around insights.

The new ABM features include Account Insight, intended for better alignment between sales and marketing teams and improvements to help coordinate customer engagement at scale across all channels and touchpoints. 

Account Insight includes:

  • Insight into a salesperson's account list, prioritized by account scoring
  • Real-time visibility into account and contact activity, such as event registrations, whitepaper downloads

Other ABM enhancements include:

  • Account hierarchy for creating relationships between parent companies and their various divisions
  • Custom fields that extend Marketo account records to support an integrated ecosystem of ABM applications and customer data
  • CRM account list sync that keeps Marketo account lists in sync with changes in CRM systems

Marketo also announced Monday the Alliance for ABM Success, a consortium of companies that will provide research and best practices around ABM. Companies include DigitalPi, Elixiter, LeadMD, Fathom and Perkuto. 

'Promising' Moves From Marketo

Marketo Summit attendees expressed optimism over the announcements on Twitter:

Martina Suess, vice president of communications at Wunderman, a Marketo partner, told CMSWire in a Twitter message that she's excited to see the company roll out new features. 

"There are a lot of factors at play here, particularly on the AI front, which can hugely benefit our clients' businesses," Suess said. "We all want to create better, more personalized experiences for consumers but we still need to be able to deliver creatively in order to catch and keep their attention, especially on a one-to-one basis." 

Martina Suess
Martina Suess

Cindy Zhou, vice president and principal analyst for Constellation Research, found Marketo's new CMO Insights product interesting. Chavez announced the platform on stage Monday, which in short provides business insights relevant to CMOs.

Lori Wizdo, a Forrester analyst who covers Marketo, said the new analytics dashboards — CMO Insights, Marketing Performance Insights and Web Insights — hit some of the most important marketing measures and metrics. 

Learning Opportunities

"I particularly liked the fact that they are designed for roles," Wizdo said. 

Zhou also found Marketo's vision around artificial intelligence "promising for marketer productivity."

Enterprise Attraction

Lori Wizdo
Lori Wizdo

Wizdo said she was "most excited" about the benchmarking data that Marketo labelled as “Performance Stats.” Marketo, she said, has amassed census-like data about marketing process — execution and results — for as long as it has been in operation. 

She called it an "amazing asset" but added, "it takes a significant amount of data to be able to provide accurate benchmarks, since you need to compare like to like (industry, company size, etc). Using data from the last five years should give Marketo a good basis for comparisons. (Monday) they only announced only some basic email performance benchmarking, but over time, this offering has the potential to become quite sophisticated and allow marketers to compare business performance stats (e.g. contribution to pipeline, marketing ROI) as well."

In all, Wizdo said, Marketo's announcements at Summit make it "more attractive to the larger enterprise buyer — system performance monitoring, processing scalability and improved APIs."

A Year in the Life of Marketo

The conference is taking place after a year full of dramatic changes for the 11-year-old company.

Vista Equity acquired Marketo for $1.79 billion just a few weeks after the May 2016 Summit. Marketo announced executive leadership changes three months later, and Fernandez left three months after that

Nearly 10 months had passed before Marketo provided a formal update on Orion — March 1. Some customers did not know if they were on the platform, others complained of slow performance, while others praised Orion's potential. 

Lucas said in a webinar March 16 that Orion would be rolled out to 90 percent of Marketo's 5,000-plus customer-base by midyear.

Some still have some questions regarding the big data architecture:

Others report happiness regarding their Orion access: