4 key marketing automation features Marketo lacks

Marketo, the popular marketing automation software maker, has a loyal user base of more than 4,300 customers, and many marketers swear by the platform. (Read, "The 7 best marketing automation features in Marketo" for details.) However, it's not perfect, and we spoke to a handful of customers who shared their personal wish lists for new Marketo capabilities. We also asked Marketo for a response to each suggestion.

Many marketers use other software tools in addition to Marketo when they want to create marketing content. "Being able to create and manage everything that's used to support marketing campaigns would be ideal," says Justin Gray, CEO of LeadMD, a Marketo partner.

[Related: 12 questions to ask marketing automation vendors (before you buy) ]

From Marketo: "No single player in the industry has combined best-of-breed content management and best-of-breed campaign execution … That is why we focus on providing marketers with a set of capabilities we think of as the 'core' of a marketing platform … along with strong integration capabilities and a robust partner ecosystem."

"Marketo doesn't support complex attribution modeling," according to Gray. "Although we have insight into what a lead has done once they were placed into Marketo, we don't always know what qualified that lead or what led to that qualification. Every buyer is online now and they're seeing and interacting with your message and brand many many times. But we don't have a 100 percent clear picture as to how all the touch points, such as social media or other content, influenced a purchase. Marketo can provide some enhanced data here, but it's still not the best there is."

From Marketo: "There are other vendors that offer more sophisticated attribution modeling, but to be clear, these are not marketing automation vendors. Rather, they are vendors squarely focused on BI and analytics, and are seen almost exclusively as complementary to a marketing automation platform."

"I'd like to see a new version of the landing page editor in Marketo," says Rick DeCosta, marketing production manager with SmartBear Software. "I feel that some of the features in the current version are a little outdated.

"If there was something similar that could replicate a toolbar you might find in Adobe Photoshop or another graphic program, that would be great," DeCosta says. "Also, there's no 'undo' button, so you have to manually go in and make changes if a mistake is made. And you can't rotate objects without having to implement some customer .CSS to an element on the page. From a design standpoint, it would be helpful if some new features were implemented and updated for a better user experience."

[Related: 12 questions to ask marketing automation vendors (before you buy) ]

From Marketo: The company says it launched "a brand new editor in 2015 that represents a significant leap over our previous editor and also includes an undo button." The new "Guided" landing page editor makes it easy to create templates. And users who may not have a lot of technical skill can use it to build landing pages that adhere to their organizations' brand standards and look and feel, and that "always look great" on any device.

Marketo has a "Forward to a Friend" feature that lets customers track leads that received a forwarded email. The feature also automatically adds people who receive forwarded email as new leads if they're not currently in the customer database.

The feature "is a great idea" but needs "a lot of improvements in order to make it truly useful," says Alexis D'Alba, email and database marketing manager at LiveIntent. "There are currently a few ideas out there on the Marketo community advocating to make this form customizable and better-suited for B2B companies. I'm hoping these ideas come to fruition soon, because I believe that when executed properly, there are many benefits to using this feature."

From Marketo: "While there are probably some great ideas out there on improving this capability, there are so many changes happening in the marketer's world, and there's a lot we want to accomplish in 2016, so we need to prioritize accordingly."


James A. Martin

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