Marketing Automation Meets Digital Media

MarketoMarketing automation, long defined as a B2B lead-gen system, is making its way into B2C territory.

One of the most common complaints about standard marketing automation systems is that they’re simply too old or unable to sync data in real-time. But’s Pardot and Marketo are all updating to compete effectively in a cross-channel media environment.

“We’re expanding the aperture of what we offer because there is no such thing as a separate B2B and B2C marketing world anymore,” said Phil Fernandez, CEO of Marketo, during the company’s annual Marketing Nation summit this week in San Francisco.

He named Pfizer, a company that sells to both doctors and patients, and Carfax, which services both dealerships and auto owners, as examples.

“I’ve been working in marketing technology since 1988 and, at that time, marketers at P&G needed their hands on data more than anything in the world,” Fernandez said. “The problem was, there wasn’t that much data out there [beyond] 6-year-old binders from Nielsen. We now have a lot more data and new attribution analysis around the top of the funnel.”

Fernandez said Marketo Ad Bridge, launched Tuesday, was created to accommodate digital and mobile media. In addition to Ad Bridge’s integrations with Turn, MediaMath and Rocket Fuel, it also teamed up with LinkedIn to reactivate email audiences in display or on mobile.

While a traditional marketing automation system (MAS) might know you visited a website or opened an email, Ad Bridge is trying to connect the dots between buyers’ actions on owned properties and their behavioral activity on social or across the web. 

“Marketo’s strength is known prospects, but we’re allowing them to engage anonymous prospects more effectively with Lead Accelerator (formerly Bizo) by surfacing more relevant ads to the consumer and improving the return on investment for the marketer,” Russ Glass, head of product at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, told AdExchanger.

Fernandez said the ability to tie digital ads to lead nurturing is unique to Marketo, and that the competitive set of “Eloquas, Pardots and ExactTargets have this idea of journey-building all wrong.”

Adam Blitzer, co-founder and CEO of Pardot, might disagree, since it launched late last week a product called Intelligent Engagement Studio.

“Consumers aren’t just interacting with email – they’re checking out different sites, they’re reading reviews, they’re on social media, and each of these are unique data points that are very much clues in to how a prospect could engage with you,” Blitzer said.

Intelligent Engagement Studio is designed to connect behavioral triggers to sales via integrations with’s Sales Cloud. It enables B2B marketers to look beyond email open rates or clickthroughs, exposing what sites a user is visiting, what content they engaged with and whether they purchased in the past.

Although standard MAS is moving away from pure lead nurture campaigns, “it’s not that difficult today just to use Facebook Custom Audiences yourself, so I’d love to see one of the MAS platforms incorporating ads in to the journey that weren’t just integrations to one or two social platforms,” added Martin Kihn, research director at Gartner.

Marketo says it’s doing just that with LaunchPoint, a marketing analytics, data and tech partner ecosystem now 400 vendors strong.

But as campaign execution systems and digital ad platforms converge, marketers must redefine how to count impressions. Nick Harris, head of marketing channel optimization for United Airlines, said that measuring impressions isn’t limited to display.

“Because an impression is gauging the ‘opportunity’ to be seen, the fact that we sent an email counts as an impression to us,” Harris said at Ensighten’s Agility conference in San Francisco. “We didn’t abandon metrics like views or open rates, but we’re really piggybacking on the methodologies we once used only in paid search and display.”

In the past, marketers’ first-party data from sales and CRM was largely disconnected from data received from an ad server, email service provider or other third-party systems.

“Having that first-party data now natively linked to all of these other data points is very transformative,” said Josh Manion, CEO of Ensighten. “These companies are saying, ‘If all of these disparate points of data are joined, you will be able to make better decisions on-site and in mobile.’”

Additionally, you’re seeing more fervor around the cross-channel user graph (such as what Oracle launched with the ID Graph). Marketo also partnered with Neustar to link its Marketing Engagement Platform with Neustar’s identity solution, which Neustar’s CMO Lisa Joy Rosner described as a mix of “offline, online and mobile identifiers … [to drive greater personalization.’]”

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