A public square for marketers

Marketing automation software provider Marketo recently launched customer community Marketing Nation along with its network component Program Exchange. The new reveals are designed to share “the power of the network” and help marketers connect and accelerate their practices, says Marketo CMO Sanjay Dholakia.

“The driving force is that marketing has been done one way for hundreds of years in our traditional Mad Men style,” Dholakia says. “Over the past 10 years or so marketing has gone through this fundamental transformation and revolution, which, frankly, is putting a lot of power and control in the hands of marketers because 50 to 70% of the buying process is now done before somebody ever talks to a company or salesperson.”

Marketing Nation is a community that gives marketers who are Marketo customers the tools to interact with one another and share ideas to discover effective marketing practices. The public square consists of more than 2,000 customer companies and more than 20,000 users. The Program Exchange, a component of Marketing Nation, is a library that allows marketers to share programs and templates in attempt to save time and effort in uncovering successful marketing strategies.“I literally just have to plug in, and now all of a sudden I’m able to market at the speed of some of the best marketers out there and leverage not just great technology, but great ideas, other people in terms of their best practices, and really help me get to where I need to faster and with far less risk,” Dholakia says. “I don’t have to relearn or rebuild what very smart people before me have had to figure out. There’s no reason that our 2,001st customer should have to go through the same learning curve and time to value that our first customer did.”

Dholakia said the Program Exchange was inspired by the consumer realm, particularly Facebook.

“Functionality-wise, it’s not that Facebook has stuff that is so much better or different than Myspace, or Friendster, or pick your network,” Dholakia says. “It was the fact that [it] was the place that just proportionality had the people, that had the knowledge, that had the expertise there that created the value…. We thought, well, how can we replicate that?”

Dholakia says the two products also break down the barrier between small businesses and large enterprises.

“It allows small companies to emulate big companies where it’s appropriate. It allows big companies to learn from nimble small companies. It allows big companies to look for relevant expertise from other big companies,” Dholakia says. “It’s all intrinsic in the power of the network and being able to connect all of those people, so I think it works for our entire target market.”

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