Marketo Summit 2018: New UX and Acquisitions and Breakout Sessions – Oh My!

June 5, 2018 Alex Greger

Marketo Marketing Nation Summit conference room with large crowd of marketing leaders and practitioners

One of the largest gatherings of marketers, Marketo Summit 2018, has come to a close. It was an exciting yet exhausting three days of intense learning, networking and jaw-dropping releases from Marketo. In this post, we recap some of the major highlights we experienced during the conference.

The theme of this year’s Summit was the #FearlessMarketer, which transpired through fantastic keynotes from Bill McDermott of SAP and Jonathan Mildenhall former CMO of Airbnb as well as Jamie Foxx and Lindsey Vonn. The Marketo community proved its fearlessness in many ways throughout the event, including Fear-Factor style bug-eating activities (really!), brave breakout sessions, and bold product updates and announcements.

Product Updates and Acquisitions

In 2017, Marketo teased up some very exciting updates to the look and feel of their product. This year, they deep-dived into a new experience they’re calling Marketo Sky, which became available to their users in beta at the end of May. This completely new design for the user experience includes new features such as saving rules to reuse instead of recreating large advanced smart lists. There will be lots to learn on this new interface, with different shortcuts, icons, features, and tools to help all users become more efficient.

Image source: Marketo Nation Community

As with all major user conferences, everyone looks forward to hearing the news about the latest acquisitions and partnerships. Marketo did not disappoint this year! The major announcement was the acquisition of Bizible, allowing marketers to dream of the next-generation attribution features that will be added to the already robust Marketo ecosystem. As this acquisition was just announced at Summit, there are not a lot of details on the roadmap, so look for more info to come in the near future.

Top Breakout Sessions Attended

The best part of the Marketo Summit is the chance to learn and share knowledge with your peers about how they are utilizing the tool or creating success in their companies. The breakout sessions Marketo provides feature industry leaders, Marketo Champions, and Marketo employees discussing all types of topics from tactical best practices to strategic alignments to company transformations.

There were too many great break out sessions to choose from, including one from our own Courtney Grimes and Eric Hollebone along with Gary DeAsi from Pointillist titled “Smash The Data Silos: Use Marketo To Create A Single Source Of Customer Truth.” Their session discussed the concepts of data lakes and achieving a holistic view of your customer throughout the customer journey. The top two sessions outside of Courtney, Gary, and Eric’s that I attended were:

Why GDPR is Good News for Marketers

The goal of a marketer is to create customer experiences that feel personal and human and are founded on trust and respect for the prospect or customer. While GDPR has certainly posed some challenges for marketers, it definitely supports this core marketing goal by respecting the rights and privacy of our prospects and customers.

Peter Bell, Senior Director, EMEA Marketing at Marketo went through some key items to help attendees ensure that they are compliant with GDPR. He also shared some great tips to help make sure your organization is not putting itself at risk:





  1. Anonymize data that is needed for reporting trends such as activity data and store it on a platform such as Google Cloud or your own data warehouse. By removing all personal identifiable information from this pool of data, you are no longer putting yourself at risk of a GDPR infraction, and you are still able to use the data to map out trends and make recommendations on future marketing initiatives.
  2. Prove your organization is upholding GDPR by ensuring all processes, integrations, and data capturing are documented. This shows accountability and will provide all the information you need if a breach is suspected or a request is ever made by regulators or customers.
  3. Develop a single system of record that is locked down and has a clear hierarchy of user rights. This helps mitigate risk because it reduces your data storage ecosystem to a single source for data capture, monitoring, retention, and automation compliance rules. Being able to limit user access also ensures that you know who is doing what with the data and that there are no leaks in your compliance process. One example of this approach is disabling the export feature for the majority of users to ensure data is not being shared or stored in non-compliant ways.
  4. Document the length of time that your organization retains data and ensure that you are adhering to this timeframe. In your privacy policy, clearly define the amount of time you will retain a record’s data after the contact’s last interaction. Then ensure you are respecting this timeframe by creating segments based on retention period and removing data that falls outside the limits.

Overall, this was a great session showing that while GDPR has often been seen as an administrative burden, it really helps marketers align their activities with valuable best practices that enhance marketing outcomes and the customer experience. His final note shared a high-level list of key items Marketo has updated over the past year so their marketing is in compliance. This includes:

  • Privacy policy

  • Consent fields

  • Data source transparency

  • Added documented consent field

  • Opt out made easy

  • Tracking cookie opt-out

Realizing the Promise of Data-Driven Marketing

Many organizations talk about being “data-driven,” but few act on this concept. This session, led by John Donlin, Senior Research Director at SiriusDecisions, provided an architecture for defining a truly data-driven marketing organization and provided a playbook to implement the fundamental elements needed to realize the benefits of being a data-centric organization.

John covered what it means to embrace a data-driven approach at your organization, understand the role of performance data and operational intelligence, and gain insight into the roles and responsibilities that help bring data to life.

The session provided great ideas and direction on how to re-align your company to ensure it walks the talk for a data-driven organization. He provided clear action items that every marketer should examine within their company:

  • Make sure your company has a vision, goals, and requirements for its analytics and reporting

  • Ensure your team can articulate the insights that they see within the data

  • Assess the capabilities of your team and address training and education needs

  • Align data within different platforms to more easily capture and report on the customer journey

  • Create and ensure an infrastructure that will scale and provide the framework for success

  • Start with sales, management, or a team member who is furthest away from achieving data-driven success and focus on converting them. Once they convert all the others will follow.

  • Continue to refine processes. This is never a completed project but a continual rinse and repeat exercise.

If you missed these sessions or weren’t able to attend Summit this year, you can access the breakout session slides here.

Marketo Summit 2018 was an exciting three days of learning, networking, and discovery. I met a lot of great marketers, learned what #fearless means to many people, and took away a lot of great information to start sharing with my company and clients. Please reach out with any questions about Marketo releases and product updates, or for more information about the sessions covered in this post. As dedicated practitioners, there’s nothing we love more than talking about Marketo!


Previous Article
DemandLab Wins Big at the Summit International Marketing and Advertising Awards
DemandLab Wins Big at the Summit International Marketing and Advertising Awards

DemandLab receives two Summit Creative Awards for content marketing.

Next Article
Chrome 70: Just as severe as Chrome 66 for unprepared marketers
Chrome 70: Just as severe as Chrome 66 for unprepared marketers

Here’s a brief update on the Google Chrome/Symantec security certification debacle.