Adobe Summit 2021 - how Marketo Engage connects into the Experience Cloud and what's next

Barb Mosher Zinck Profile picture for user barb.mosher April 28, 2021
Two years after acquiring Marketo, the B2B marketing automation platform is fully integrated into Adobe's product architecture and continues to evolve

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(© James Thew -

When Adobe acquired Marketo in late 2018, there was likely plenty of speculation about where the marketing automation platform was headed. Marketo customers didn't need to wait long to find out as Adobe integrated Marketo with its digital experience platform in a number of ways. It's been a little over two years now since the acquisition, and Adobe provided some insights into where Marketo Engage is headed at the 2021 Adobe Summit, including more integrations with Adobe products.

Marketo Engage Innovations

One of the first things the audience was told during the Innovations session was that the roadmap they were showing was subject to change. But there were a few things already in play that we will see in the second half of this year.

2021 had already brought many enhancements to Marketo around content personalization, cross-channel engagement, experience automation, and more, and the roadmap is building on those changes.

Audience data sync

Adobe has been working on syncing audience data between its other products and Marketo. It's currently in the third phase of that plan, providing bi-directional continuous audience synchronization across several Adobe Experience Cloud (AEC) products. This means you can set up audiences in Marketo Engage and use them in Adobe products like Target, Experience Manager, and Advertising. You can also then push audience data from those products back into Marketo.

Sharing account, opportunity data; creation of account smart lists

A new B2B capability announced is the ability to leverage account and opportunities defined in Marketo across the Adobe platform. You create your account and people lists within Marketo and then share those profiles for activation across AEC products. Marketo Engage currently has Account Smart Lists functionality in beta, making it a hub for both lead and account-based marketing automation (sounds like Demandbase One).

Next-generation UX

Marketo is getting a face-lift, bringing it in line with the Adobe user experience. This includes an updated tree and global navigation, and a new search. Users won't be left scrambling to learn the new UI, though; there will be a toggle between the old and the new.

LinkedIn and privacy enhancements

They are also working on a native integration between Bizable and LinkedIn to provide better ad tracking and privacy (with LinkedIn Forms). Also, Bizable will be integrated with Adobe Privacy Services to collect and maintain privacy data and data requests. These integrations will come for Marketo a little later.

Marketing Sales Insights

Marketo Engage introduced the Sales Insights Dashboard last year. This year, they are working on providing test and preview of emails, better visibility of email deliverability status, and adding bulk actions in the Account and Opportunity tabs.

Several other innovations were mentioned, including filtering out bot clicks at the source, adding server-side validation of form rules, the ability to call another campaign within a campaign (in series or parallel), and native integration with chat.

How SAP Concur connected built connected experiences

Lindsay Hasz, the Director of Experience and Personalization for SAP Concur, shared her company's experiences building digital marketing throughout the customer lifecycle. She said that four to five years ago, they had a disjointed marketing tech stack. They purchase Adobe Analytics and "wallowed in the data" for a while. They also used Adobe Target, DMO, and separate solutions Marketo, Salesforce, and Demandbase (for ABM).

Today, things are very different. They have now built a stack with Adobe as the common denominator and built integrations with Marketo and Demandbase. Some of the things they have done :

  • Adobe Advertising leverages audiences built with Adobe Audience Manager (AAM)
  • They have created people, growth, and innovation clusters in Demandbase to use for personalization and reporting in their ABM programs
  • They are building personalized homepages in the Community
  • By removing the form for the first few visits to the website, they are reducing friction and improving the customer journey

Hasz also talked about the integration between Marketo Engage and AAM. Adobe has created the ability to push audiences created in Marketo to Adobe Audience Manager, where it's then updated across all Adobe products. Any time you make a change to your list in Marketo, it's automatically updated in Adobe.

Hasz said they used this new capability to push audiences built-in Marketo (e.g., customers who own one product and not another) into Adobe for activation, including targeting ads and personalizing web pages. She can also view audiences in Analytics.

This capability was important for SAP Concur for several reasons. First, they don't have a way to track customer data in Adobe, but they do have their customer lists in Marketo. They leverage that list to cross-sell and upsell to their customers using their Adobe stack. From a registrations perspective, they have no way to track Marketo registrations in Adobe Analytics, but once they push that audience data over to AAM, they can leverage it for retargeting and personalizing the experience.

Automating B2B marketing with Marketo and Account Smart Lists

Marketo provides what it calls People Smart Lists in the platform. It's a way to build lists of people for marketing campaigns. Now it's offering Account Smart Lists to help dynamically build lists of accounts for ABM programs.

Liana Vagharshakian, Principal Product Manager at Adobe, demonstrated the new Account Smart List capabilities and the ability to create whitespace accounts in the Marketo Engage platform.

Vagharshakian talked about building account lists through CRM integration, promoting Marketo Engage companies, or importing accounts into Marketo from another tool. From all these accounts, you can create a single list by filtering the accounts in several ways:

  • Use account profiling to rank accounts. Accounts are ranked A-D in Marketo following an account profile you develop that includes all won accounts in the past year, along with filters on fit, intent, and engagement data
  • Further filtering by account attributes such as company size or industry
  • And then even further filtering by people engagement (contacts in that account) like ‘at least two people are in the account' and ‘two or more people opened an email.'

Once you create your account smart list, Vagharshakian said you might find there are gaps. You can fill these gaps by discovering what she called "whitespace accounts." These are accounts you can find by performing an account profiling in the system.

With your Account Smart List created, you can nurture those accounts through various email, event, and engagement campaigns. You can also push that list to Adobe Advertising, AEM for website personalization, and Target for social advertising at both the account and people level.

Vagharshakian discussed how to identify marketing qualified accounts (MQAs) by taking these lists and applying increased people engagement and buying circles (e.g., people with a specific title). Once you identify your MQAs, you can then orchestrate sales campaigns, alerts, and tasks that tell your salespeople to work on these accounts. Marketo Sales Insights is embedded in the CRM to show sales what these accounts are doing.

The last piece Vagharshakian shared was around measuring success. She talked about Dashboards and Marketo Performance Insights to view account scores and activity and campaign performance.

My take

I was impressed with the ABM functionality in Marketo Engage. Some of the capabilities demonstrated looked straightforward to set up and leverage. And the innovations in progress now and planned for the near future show that Adobe intends to build Marketo into a robust B2B marketing platform. It was also nice to see how one company — SAP Concur in this instance — built a marketing tech stack that worked together to create better experiences across the board.

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