Last September, I joined a company that was using Marketo as their marketing automation platform. Up to that point, I had been an Eloqua user (Certified Eloqua Product Master) for about 3 years.  I looked forward to getting up to speed on the Marketo platform, but I found that I missed many of Eloqua’s capabilities.  Based on that, we decided to switch from Marketo to Eloqua, and are currently in that transition.  I sometimes get puzzled looks or questions from people as to why we made the switch. So, I thought it might be helpful to others to post my thoughts on the key differences that I have experienced.

 

Marketo Engagement Streams vs. Eloqua Campaign Canvas:

 

Marketo markets their Engagement Stream UI as an easy and powerful way to organize multi-step campaigns.  I found the usability and experience lacking when compared to Eloqua’s campaign canvas:

 

Asset & Segment Visibility

While the Engagement Program and streams are visible in the UI, there are many other affected assets that are not visible. The program feeder (Marketo Smart Campaign) sits outside of the Engagement Program in a separate folder. It is not available for viewing or modifying within the UI.  In Eloqua, the campaign canvas has the segment visible at the top of the UI, so it is easy to identify and see.  You may also need other Smart Campaigns to move contacts to different streams.  They also have to be stored in a different sub-folder.  This makes program review and modification potentially difficult - unless you were the one who created the program.

 

Timing/Cadence

Engagement streams have to use the exact same cadence for all emails within that stream.  So, if you have a series of 5 emails, and you potentially want to send the second email immediately if they complete a form, this will not work "off-the-shelf".  You would have to create yet another sub-campaign within the engagement stream to run the condition and trigger the email - but, once again, you have lost visibility. The same goes if you want to send your first email out immediately once the entry criteria is met.  You have to add that email to the entry campaign, or it will wait to run within the next cadence cast.  Or, say you want to run the first two emails 24 hours apart, but want the next two emails to run weekly.  You have to have them change streams in order to change the cadence.

 

User Interface

While the UI looks decent, it is not the greatest for trying to follow contacts through a campaign within the Engagement Program. It gives you members in the stream, and last cast information, but there really isn't a good view of where everyone is at within the program.  This is particularly problematic for "evergreen" campaigns that have contacts entering on a continual basis. I will say that adding new content and rearranging content within the Marketo streams is easy though.

 

Other Assets

There isn't a way to currently pull in forms or other assets into the Engagement Program reporting and visuals.  You have to go other places to get that information.

 

Reporting

This is a big issue, in my opinion.  The basic Engagement Program dashboard looks interesting, but it doesn't provide much relevant info to me.  Marketo's secret engagement score is just that - a secret.  They don't share what an engaged contact is vs. a non-engaged contact.  I haven't found much value in that metric, honestly.  Important things to me - sends, deliveries, opens, clicks, unsubscribes, form submits, leads - and the ability to look at a particular email or timeframe is not easily accomplished. Sometimes it is not available at all.  If it is available, it is not like Eloqua where reporting is usually just one or two clicks away. 

 

SFDC Integration & Using a “POI” Model

Our customer sales team works off of leads, not the existing account or contact record.  This is really common ("Point of Interest" model in Eloqua terms), as many customer sales teams rely on the normal lead/opportunity workflows within SFDC.  But, in Marketo, you are either a lead or a contact. You cannot be both like you can in Eloqua.  This causes a number of issues with the API that creates or modifies leads.  If you try to create a new lead for an existing record that currently has a SFDC Contact ID, it will update the contact, but it “barfs” when it tries to go through the complete lead creation and campaign association process.

 

Inbound Syncs

Marketo's inbound sync from SFDC does not currently de-duplicate.  If someone creates a new lead, account or contact in SFDC, it will write back a new record to Marketo, regardless if they are in the database or not.  So, unless you have 100% of your creations running through Marketo, there is a good chance you will be creating duplicate records in Marketo.

 

Email/Landing Page Creation

The Marketo editors are not as easy to use as Eloqua 10’s email and landing page editors. In both cases, you have to create an HTML template before you can use their drag-and-drop functionality.

 

File Directory Structure

Marketo basically has one directory structure where you store everything. Campaigns, emails, forms, landing pages are all in one directory tree.  Marketo does have a separate directory for templates and files/images.  This structure makes it really difficult to find your files and content. 

 

Reporting

While Eloqua’s reporting has room for improvement, it is really difficult to find your way around Marketo's reports. Very little is available off of the campaign UI, and nothing is available off of the asset for reporting. The other day, I wanted to export a list from Marketo of all contacts that I sent an email to, with the number of opens, clicks, etc.  It cannot be done.  Something I have done and used in Eloqua many, many times, but it is not available in Marketo.

 

Other – Power

Here are some other things that I missed when I was using Eloqua. 

  • Program Builder and Campaign Canvas, and the power that you have to do many operational processes within it
  • Custom data objects and and custom inbound data syncs
  • Conditional branching within campaign and operational programs
  • Conditional form processing steps and the ability to keep form data out of your contact database if you would like
  • Easier external form integration
  • More cloud connectors
  • More intuitive (and more powerful) lead scoring and profiling

 

There are other things that set the two platforms apart, but I think this captures the important items for me.  I think, if you are a basic MA user/company, either tool will probably serve you well.  But, the more you advance in your marketing sophistication, the more you will find the Marketo platform lacking. 

 

Just my $0.02