Marketo’s Secret Customer Retention Weapon
In the 10 years since Marketo was founded, it has become a marketing automation leader. Today, there are at least 161 vendors in the marketing automation category, and while no marketer would say it’s “easy” to switch vendors, 38% of marketing automation users still admit they are actively evaluating competitive solutions and considering changing their system in the coming year.
With that uncertainty comes the opportunity for Marketo to continue to showcase customer success and acquire new accounts from competitors.
“Success in marketing no longer means just filling the funnel,” says Karen Steele, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Marketo. “The most effective marketers today invest in engagement marketing: building a virtuous circle of customer acquisition, increasing lifetime value and empowering advocates to influence prospects.”
Luckily, Marketo has a secret weapon: Danielle Camara.
As Senior Manager, Customer Marketing, she’s led customer marketing and advocacy efforts at Marketo since 2010. Danielle has played a critical role in securing and defending Marketo’s leadership spot in the ultra-competitive marketing automation space.
Until early 2015, Danielle managed a small but mighty advocate program, engaging with 50 to 75 advocates in any given quarter. Through one-on-one phone calls and emails, they were her go-to customers for fire drill references, analyst requests, media inquiries, reviews and product feedback.
Unfortunately, with more than 4,500 customers in 36 countries, those advocates represented only a tiny fraction of Marketo’s customer base. “We knew we were ignoring thousands of happy, loyal customers and raving fans,” says Danielle.
At this rate, she would have needed to hire at least 5 more Danielles to engage even 10% of Marketo’s customers and impact customer retention. But, like so many customer marketers, she couldn’t justify the expense of growing her team exponentially to work with more advocates. The math just didn’t add up.
Mobilizing the Marketing Nation Summit: Launching Purple Select
Danielle had heard about Influitive’s AdvocateHub software from other marketers, but she wasn’t confident it was the best choice for Marketo right away.
“At first, I was skeptical that our advocates would go on a separate platform to engage with us,” she says. “But the more I thought about all the customers we were leaving on the sidelines, the more I realized that we didn’t have a choice—Influitive would help us scale our customer and advocate marketing efforts.”
With the support of Karen and Marketo’s executive team, Danielle signed on with Influitive just six weeks before the Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco, where the new Purple Select program would officially launch.
Within one year of starting the Purple Select advocate community, Marketo has generated:
- 146 customer referrals
- 538 customer reviews
- 95% average retention rate of customers in the program
- 600% ROI from new revenue
Bonus! Danielle’s top 5 tips for running a successful advocate program:
- Don’t let your happy customers sit on the sidelines: give them opportunities to network, learn and advocate for you.
- Get to know your advocates on a personal level: it’s not business-to-business, but human-to-human.
- Not all advocates are created equal: let your customers choose how they want to get involved by giving them a variety of opportunities – from sharing content on social media to getting on stage to submitting referrals.
- Strive for quality: start by inviting your best customers to be advocates. Once you get the hang of your program, scale up for quantity and quality.
- Showcase your results internally: let others know how your advocate marketing program is driving business results.