Marketo adds conversational vibe to lead generation

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San Mateo, Calif.—Marketing automation vendor Marketo today released a new version of its software that aims to let marketers set up and run campaigns in a more natural way, relying less on flow charts and more on how they typically converse with customers.

Market Lead Management 3.0 offers new functionality, including improved user targeting, real-time alerts, progressive profiling and deeper integration with CRM. But it’s the “softer” improvements making the marketing automation and lead-generation process more conversational that will have the biggest impact on users, said Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez.

“Virtually every other product that has been built in this space has you draw a flow chart to script out the conversation with the customer. First you do this, then that and then that,” Fernandez said. “We think that’s a fallacy—that you can script out what a buyer’s going to do. Rather, you need to think about all the different ways you can listen to a customer and put them all in context.”

Supporting this more conversational approach, which Marketo first introduced last year, are improvements to the platform’s user interface, lead scoring/nurturing capabilities and sales hand-off capabilities to make the process of generating leads and turning them into sales better reflect how marketers really work, Fernandez said.

Among the specific new features in the 3.0 version: improved segmentation, targeting and triggering enhancements (including targeting prospects based on triggers, such as watching a webinar, or negative operations, such as not opening a particular e-mail); progressive profiling on forms, which builds on available customer information to improve registrations rates; real-time alerts on hot leads triggered to sales reps via mobile devices; and anonymous lead tracking and profiling, to enable the targeting process to begin even before a user puts his hand up with a formal registration.

Pricing for Marketo on-demand solutions starts at $1,500 per month.

—Richard Karpinski

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