I joined Marketo in 2007 as their first employee and wore many hats over the years. It’s was a fascinating ride going from single digit employees to being a world-wide public company. Here are some highlights of my time at Marketo:
- Designed the flagship product from scratch
- Designed the Sales Insight CRM add-on from scratch
- Influenced Product Management, Project Management, IT, Support, enablement, Marketing and Product Marketing towards greater quality experiences for employees and our customers
- Built a team of dedicated UX Designers to own the spec process for all features
- Took responsibility for the entire Help Article content/experience – https://docs.marketo.com (recently changed by Adobe)
- Designed the Opportunity Influence Analyzer (one of my favorites) from scratch. (Patented)
- Acting VP of Product Marketing
- Acting VP of Product Management
- VP of User Experience
- Chief Product Designer
I have had a big influence on the company, and the company has had a big influence on me. It’s an enormous app, but here are a few screens. These are not comprehensive of the work I did during my 9 years at Marketo.
Marketo the Programming Language
Marketo was conceived as a programming language for Marketers. They wanted desperately to have technical skills and show they were more than just ordering t-shirts and mugs.
The first use case was:
- Make a landing page with a form on it
- when the prospect filled out the form, store it in Salesforce.com
- Send an email, wait a week, send another email
This required many components for the first version of the product.
The Smart List was a visual SQL query editor. It allowed for triggering and bulk selection of leads. It was inspired by Apple’s iTunes software which was released the same year, 2007.
After the Smart List, a procedural language of steps was required. The Smart Campaign “Flow” step was designed to differentiate from other systems like Eloqua and Responsys who utilized a Visio diagram approach. Instead, the flow was more object-oriented.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of a Diagram approach vs a Flow. The original Eloqua campaigns were much uglier, but worked in a similar fashion.
The benefit of the non-Visio approach was that it split the market in half. Marketo was able to grow quickly because it had a unique approach that half the audience liked more than all of the Visio competitors. In the end, I would say they both have pros and cons for different use cases.
Form, email, and landing page editors were essential to give the marketer the power to dismiss a web developer. Each of these editors were made to be as WYSIWYG as possible. They went through several rounds of updates over the years.
They all used tokens heavily to make it easy to programmatically change the pages from centralized variable sheets in the application.
There was a point of view that reporting should give a view of how leads poured through the lifecycle of the sales process. Unfortunately, this approach did not sell well. It was too complicated and abstracted from the normal day-to-day of a marketer. I designed a different approach called Program Analytics.
The insight was that marketers wanted to get credit for their hard work. Every webinar and marketing program should be allocated towards the eventual sale as some form of credit.
I conceived of a broad architecture to designate programs, their states, and a fair and consistent way to measure effectiveness. Attribution yields two patents and a small cottage industry for this purpose.
The Opportunity Influence Analyzer became the way to describe to sales people how effective marketing had been in helping them close their deals.
The style of the following home screen page makes me cringe a bit, but at the time is was interesting. The idea was to make Marketo into a platform where you could install apps. This never truly came to fruition for various reasons.
My contribution to Marketo helped spur a new generation of products that had better user interface to help non-programmers achieve their goals without learning to code. Copies of smart lists and flows can found all over the B2B space.
The company became an early unicorn and was eventually sold to Adobe. It was a terrific experience and have learned many lessons in my 9 years there.