The 7 best marketing automation features in Marketo

A set of professional marketers and Marketo customers share their favorite features of the popular marketing automation platform, including a unique 'Engagement Engine' and a bustling user community.

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5. 'Marketing Nation' and 'Marketo Community' 

Marketo's "Marketing Nation," which encompasses its user community and annual summit, is one of the platform's most compelling features and includes capabilities that some users overlook, according to multiple sources interviewed for this story. 

With the capability to create discussions, submit ideas, and dive into product documents, Marketo Community is "one of the most useful features in Marketo," says Alexis D'Alba, email and database marketing manager at LiveIntent. "In fact, a lot of the new features that Marketo rolls out were initially ideas submitted by other users in the community. I log into the community's wealth of resources daily for tips on best practices, troubleshooting help, or just to deepen my understanding of different products."

"Marketo has always provided a robust community that's easily accessible from the platform, but over the last year it has executed a major upgrade and redesign to the Community on the Jive Software platform," says CA Technologies' Clegg.

The company expanded its platform's search capabilities to index all the major sections, including new idea submissions, community discussion, product documentation articles, university training courses and the support ticketing system, according to Clegg. The ability to create private groups lets CA Technologies communicate with all of its Marketo users more effectively, she says.

[Related: 4 key marketing automation features Marketo lacks ]

Cleggs's "favorite, slightly hidden feature" is the ability to export articles on the Community portal as PDF documents. "It saves me from having to take a screenshot or copy and paste a document to share with a colleague who doesn't have a Marketo login."

"If I encounter a problem or a feature on the platform I'm unfamiliar with, I always turn to the community," says DeCosta. "It's a great resource and packed with everything you need to know to get up and running in Marketo," including Marketo University, which offers deeper product training. 

6. Marketo Smart Lists 

The Smart Lists feature in Marketo is designed to help you find groups of people using filters, and it "makes it easy for us to build programs based on persona or other attributes and manage complex campaigns more easily," says TJ Nokleby, demand generation campaign manager with (Marketo is an customer.) "And even if you're just doing large prospecting campaigns, the experience for marketers building and running email campaigns in Marketo is superior to any other platform I've used."

7. Smart List Subscriptions

Marketo's Smart List Subscriptions "allowmarketers to export a smart list and email it to the stakeholders who aren't using Marketo," says D'Alba. "I'm currently using this feature to report on lead database activity, such as new leads created and what actions leads are taking in a certain campaign (such as clicking a link). I'm also planning on using this feature to better understand how many emails leads are receiving in any given time, so that we can identify trends and make any necessary adjustments to our email communications."

2 features Marketo thinks you should know about

In addition to Marketo users, we asked the company's vice president of demand generation, Heidi Bullock, for her take on the platform's most notable capabilities. Here are two features that weren't mentioned by the customers we interviewed.

1. Marketo Beacon integration for mobile customer data, marketing

Last year, Marketo integrated the Gimbal platform for location and proximity-based marketing into its "Mobile Marketing Engagement" platform. The Gimbal platform provides Marketo users with location-based data to help them make appropriate decisions based on opt-in customer-behavior data.

For example, Gimbal's platform and wireless beacons let Marketo users easily track how many people attend company trade show demos, or interact with representatives at events or stores through opt-in messages.

2. Marketo 'Ad Bridge'

"Ad Bridge" integrates Marketo behavior data with Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and other ad platforms, enabling marketers to highly target people on those platforms who might be most receptive to specific ads, Bullock says. Ad Bridge lets you "leverage what you know about your customers" so that you can target ads on social media and other platforms to viewers based on their industry, organization, purchase history, IP address, and more. This lets you "market just to those you care about, instead of to the world," she says.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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