Q+A with Marketo NZ’s Rob Cooke

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Silicon Valley-based marketing software provider Marketo Inc established an office in New Zealand last month, and appointed Robert Cooke as manager. Cooke was formerly head of marketing at the Bank of New Zealand. He has also headed the digital team at the Yellow Pages Group and was the NZ general manager for digital agency Gruden.

Cooke’s enterprise-level marketing experience was a major reason for Marketo to sign him: “Rob has a unique mix of understanding how to drive award winning marketing campaigns across paid, earned and owned media, as well as native understanding of digital technologies,” said Marketo APAC managing director Aden Forrest at the time.

Xero chief marketing officer Andy Lark said: “Kiwis are amongst the most advanced adopters of digital technologies and media. Reaching Kiwis where they work, live and play is now critically dependent on marketing automation platforms. They want a digital experience that is personalised and contextualised. That’s why Xero uses Marketo at the centre of our marketing engine room.”

Clearly, Rob Cooke’s arrival is a significant event in the digital world. M+AD discussed the business with him over coffee in Ponsonby last week, and tapped him for a quick Q&A …

There seems to be lots of new terminology flying around at the moment. Can you explain the difference between “programmatic marketing” and “marketing automation”?

They are essentially the same thing. They describe the discipline of engagement marketing. It’s about enabling organisations to communicate with customers in real-time, at scale, offering personalised messages, through the most relevant channel according to the consumer’s demographics, observed behaviour and stage in the customer journey.

Social, digital, content, adwords, eDM, SMS and even postal communications can all be stitched together into a seamless conversation with the customer, provided you have a platform to  manage such real-time mass-personalisation at scale.

Why is this such a hot topic at the moment?

Technology is playing an increasing role in business, and marketing is no exception. Companies have recognised that customer experience is a clear differentiator as margins get squeezed and product innovation gets harder.

And customers expect more these days. They want to feel valued, known and acknowledged within the relationships they have with businesses. The digital age means Kiwis are global consumers and have expectations set by international companies about what customer service feels like.

How is NZ doing at the moment? Are we ahead of the pack?

I don’t think so. This week I spent an hour on hold to a telco, and also received an unpersonalised letter from my bank selling a product I already have. My wife has checking out a car four times on a dealer website and nobody has been in contact to see if she wants a test drive.

There’s very little nurturing of customers and prospects. When we make them feel valued with regular, relevant contact, that’s when the magic starts to happen.

NZ can get there, but its early days. It’s clear through that companies that start today to integrate engagement marketing into the customer journey will have a distinct competitive advantage.

How are you enjoying your new role?

I’m loving it. It feels like I’m riding at the front of something new and exciting. I am lucky enough to be working for a global leader in a really innovative area of marketing and digital, which has proven to add value to our clients’ bottom line.

Is your banking experience relevant?

Yes, very. I understand the challenges of creating a compelling marketing strategy within a complex customer path to purchase, and I can help with the various tasks of stakeholder management which comes with any new technology adoption.

Who are Marketo’s main NZ clients? Prospective clients?

We already work with amazing clients in New Zealand both big and small, such as Xero, Vend, Comvita, TaitRadio and others. Globally, we have over 3500 clients including Microsoft, Hyundai and MyFitnessPal.

What brought Marketo to NZ – the need to service existing NZ clients, or to grow the global business?

Both. New Zealand has an amazing legacy of technology adaption, but in this area, we don’t want to fall behind. I really do believe that Marketo is a great platform – it’s simple to use whilst being very powerful and really clever. It’s a perfect partner for New Zealand businesses wanting to embrace the world of marketing automation.

Do you have an office here yet? Where are you based?

At the moment we are working ‘virtually’ which works just fine for a global, digital business – we spend most of our time out with clients anyway.

We will get a permanent space soon, but the plan is for more than just a couple of desks and a coffee machine.

I like the idea of a “lab”, where clients can come and understand engagement marketing, an immersive experience showcasing Marketo and the technologies and suppliers who natively plug into our system; from survey tools and event management applications, to SMS and mobile applications, including innovative location based beacon software.

Can software ever replace, say, a journalist? Or an ad creative?

I don’t think so. Marketing automation improves the customer experience and help sales conversion, but you still need a human heart in the mix, delivering strategic thought, context, tone and a bit of fun.

Rob Cooke
Country Manager, New Zealand
Marketo Australia Pty Ltd
021 808 328 or 0800 895 022

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