Marketers need to “stop living a lie” and reassess the metrics they use to determine the success of their digital campaigns.

That’s the view of Steve Lucas, the new CEO of Marketo, who stepped into the top job at the marketing software company in October 2016.

Speaking at a media lunch in Sydney this week, Lucas said too much of marketing is driven by emotion and tired metrics.

“The reality today is marketing is either driven on tired metrics, expired metrics or no metrics at all. It’s emotion,” he said.

Lucas argued marketers pride themselves on the number of impressions their campaigns generate without connecting that to revenue or lifetime customer value.

Marketo is pushing its thesis of the Engagement Economy (which Lucas is also writing a book on) which asserts consumers want to be engaged with, rather than marketed to. The companies that will win will deliver personalised and meaningful experiences at scale.

“Any marketer that says marketing to people is better than engaging with people will not be employed in a matter of a few short years,” Lucas said.

With the concept of engagement comes a new set of metrics to determine marketing’s effectiveness, such as customer advocates, time spent on website or with a mobile app open.

However, adopting new metrics doesn’t mean scrapping the old ones, Lucas argued.

“Impressions must have an engagement metric attached to them,” he said.

“It is not a matter of distribution or reach is bad, it’s a matter of the marketer not closing the loop to say ‘how do we then convert those beyond an impression into an engagement?’ Let’s create impressions and let’s convert those into this list of engagement metrics that we can go after. That’s the trick.”

Marketers need to work with their CEO to determine the fundamental metrics that are going to change the long-term outlook for their company.

‘Technically a marketing cloud’

Marketo, which sits alongside Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce in Gartner’s leaders’ quadrant for digital marketing hubs, aims to orchestrate end-to-end engagement for the marketer, versus buying 500 different pieces of technology.

However, Marketo still sees itself as distinct from the other marketing clouds.

“Our goal is not to build every technology that the marketer will ever need. We are delivering 60 per cent of what the marketer needs to run marketing end-to-end. Then we have over 650 third-party partners that have built technology on the Marketo platform that extend it,” Lucas said.

“I think it’s a big hill to climb for any one company, whether you’re Oracle or Marketo to say ‘we will build and be everything to the marketer’. Even though we are technically a marketing cloud, — we kind of shun the term to some degree — but we want to orchestrate [engagement] for the marketer rather than be everything to the marketer. The reality is that there is no single technology that enables the running of marketing and the doing of marketing in its entirety.”

A warning on AI

Even though Marketo’s platform includes an AI engine for learning over time, Lucas has reservations about how the technology is being represented in the market.

“Everyone is so focused on AI, everyone talks about it like it’s this magical robot that’s going to show up and automate all your marketing for you and all your problems will go away,” he said.

“AI is only is good as the data you have and the marketers that use it. It’s a tool marketers have to put into practice. I get a little worried about the hype [around AI], even though we have AI and predictive, I get really worried about companies like Salesforce.com that have the little Einstein character dancing on stage saying ‘Hey we’ll automate all your marketing for you.’”

Salesforce promoted its AI offering, known as Einstein, during its annual Dreamforce event in San Francisco last October with the help of a mascot in the form of Albert Einstein. The mascot posed with punters during the event and made an appearance onstage during Marc Benioff’s keynote.

Dreamforce 2016, Salesforce.com’s user and developer conference held at the Moscone Convention Center and various hotels in San Francisco from October 3-7, 2016. (© Photo by Jakub Mosur Photography)
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