Marketo US visitor comes to town

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Sanjay Dholakia, the San Francisco-based CMO of marketing software company Marketo, arrived in Auckland today to catch up with the recently established NZ operation, and lend his weight to the local release of a Marketo-Harvard Business Review study. While in town, he took part in a photo session on Tamaki Drive and answered a few questions … 

What brings you to Auckland?

New Zealand is an amazing country and market in the Marketo world view, given the ease of adoption of new technologies by the NZ consumer and professional. There is a real spirit of innovation here. As a company with its home in Silicon Valley, we appreciate markets like that and, as a global company focused on serving the smartest marketers around the world, countries like New Zealand and Australia are really important for our growth.

New Zealand’s businesses and brands represent a great fit for us as they are continuously driving to improve their ability to  connect with their consumers and buyers, as those buyers and consumers have an ever increasing expectation of what it feels like to be acknowledged, valued and recognised by the brands they interact with.

Building relationship with NZ brands
Already we have relationships with some of the largest brands in New Zealand such as Xero, Trade Me, BNZ and Bayleys. I’m here to meet more of the brands and organisations on the journey to improve the customer experience through marketing automation and make this shift from an era of mass marketing to an era of engagement marketing. In the process, I hope to be able to share some of my own learnings and best practices that we have picked up from the 4000+ other brands that we work with around the globe.

What were the key findings on the HBR report and what does it mean for NZ marketers?

It confirmed that the era of mass marketing is over. Companies need to be able to follow customer journeys across multiple channels, rather than the old way which was channel-centric. It also found that CMOs and marketing leaders are realising that they need to rethink the way they are organised to be successful in this new digital world. They are realising that they have to organise teams around the customer, and not organise by channel.

Bad customer experiences
Those siloed structures are creating bad customer experiences. It’s a big opportunity for New Zealand where mass marketing has always been restricted to a few media choices – now, with interactivity through online channels brands can engage in a much deeper way if they can create single conversations with consumers across all channels.

An additional key finding that follows in the report is that marketing leaders will not only be forced to think about different structures, but also develop different skills on the team – skills for this new era of digital engagement.

A final finding – and a really exciting one – is that in this new digital era, the marketer will soon be the steward of the entire customer lifecycle, not just for the top of the funnel or for customer acquisition.

What is driving the changing nature of marketing and how do you see the role of advertising and marketing changing?

Three main factors. One, we have had an explosion of new channels – consumers and buyers are living in many, many new digital, social, and mobile places. Second, as a result, buying behaviour has fundamentally changed as a result. Buyers and customers now have access to information that allows them to now conduct their own research and drive their decision making.

And, third, in this digital age, consumers have very high expectations for personal, individualised interactions. Marketing automation technology has now enabled all of us marketers to deliver on these high expectations, drive deeper engagement with customers, and ultimately build stronger relationships with individuals.

Ads a dead duck
Advertising will still play a role in helping to build brand, but advertising as we know it – one mass message that gets blasted out at everyone – will die. It will instead become more integrated in the engagement process. For example, prospects will increasingly see advertising relevant to them specifically, their needs and interests, and their stage in the customer lifecycle – whether it’s to build awareness, build reassurance, encourage a sale, a repeat purchase, or drive advocacy.

As a CMO yourself, what does your CEO ask of you? What are you measured on?

Like many marketing people today, I am accountable for pipeline, revenue and ROI. That’s the big difference for marketers today. As technology enables us to understand how leads and prospects behave we can develop a clearer picture of what’s driving sales. That means I am called on to deliver forecasts that are used to scale the business and I am expected to deliver on those figures. My traditional responsibilities of developing our brand and competitive position in market also still remain. Marketers now have to have a blend of the art and science of our digital world – we have to be creatives as well as strategists. I think this will become the expectation for all marketers.

Marketo launched here back in May. How is it going so far? 

Actually, we have been in New Zealand a little longer than May, but it wasn’t until this year we were able to secure the type of leader for Marketo that we were looking for locally. Now with the Country Manager in place, and happily a talent with extensive experience as a senior marketer rather than just a software salesperson, it means we can help take the market leading role befitting of our company and innovative leadership technology.

Relentless focus
A core part of the Marketo brand is a relentless focus on bringing expertise and best practices to our customers to make them successful — not just selling the best software.

And so far, it’s going great. We are growing and expanding all the time, not only with new clients such as Trade Me and NZ Cricket joining the Marketing Nation, but also the growth of the Marketo Partner network in New Zealand which we believe is vital to be able to surround our clients with the means for customer success locally.

So far the reception to Marketo has been great, we are growing on our existing footprint of clients such as Comvita, Tait Radio and Vend, and having amazing conversations every day with some of the most exciting, innovative and biggest brands and organisations in the country. We’re excited and humbled to be growing so rapidly.

Any case studies? 

Yes, we recently launched a really interesting case study from our client Xero, who are experiencing some amazing results from their integration of Marketo into the marketing and sales teams. See it below:

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