Marketo’s Spark Ignites Small-Biz Marketing Efforts

Marketo is taking aim at the smaller end of the business community with Spark, a stripped-down version of its revenue performance management application.

Spark by Marketo

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The new offering is an entirely separate product; however, there is a tight migration path between it and other products in the Marketo family, Phil Fernandez, CEO and president, told CRM Buyer.

“The goal is that as the small business user grows to the point where it needs an application with greater scale and a more robust feature set, it can easily make the jump without fear of losing data,” he said.

Small Companies, Big Bang

Spark is designed and priced for small companies with five to 25 users — but with a caveat, Fernandez said. “It is not really for a company with a sole proprietor who wears many hats. In other words, a company whose owner sends out invoices, say, in the morning and then focuses on marketing initiatives in the afternoon.”

Rather, Spark targets small companies with a full-time, professional marketing staff that are seeking a greater bang with their marketing automation application.

Many of the features are simpler variations of what Marketo offers in its enterprise-sized offerings, noted Fernandez.

For example, like Marketo’s Enterprise and Pro versions, Spark enables the user to produce webinars. However, the Pro and Enterprise versions have progressively more capabilities, including analytics that measure a webinar’s success and parses viewers. They also have features that allow a user to create several “cookie cutter” webinars from an original.

These two features have been left out of Spark because it is unlikely a small company would have such a huge webinar viewership that it would be unable to perform analytics with its in-house tools, or that it would need to make duplicative webinars for various audiences, he said.

Wizards, Videos and Other Spark Categories

Features in Spark that Marketo paid particular attention to, by contrast, include a set of wizards and video tutorials for the features, as well as an on-demand mentoring service.

Other features in Spark include email marketing, with the capability of sending out 30,000 emails per month, and inbound marketing functionality. This category includes such features as search engine optimization, targeted landing pages, and tools to help understand which keywords are driving the best traffic and leads.

There are also features for lead nurturing, lead scoring and insights, event marketing and social media campaigns.

Spark costs US$750 per month.

Its Own Team

Spark has its own development team and division within Marketo, Fernandez said.

“One of the reasons I thought we should move in this direction was because some of our customers were assuming we were too big and sophisticated for their needs,” he recalled. “That was a wake up call for me, and I decided we needed to do something more than just incremental in the SMB space.”

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