Top 3 Takeaways from the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2016

It's the tail-end of the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2016 and despite the 90-degree Las Vegas heat, this year's Marketo summit has brought together some 5,000 marketers and thought leaders from around the world to discuss best practices and learn about marketing trends in over 100 sessions and networking events.

We had the privilege to attend for the second year in a row and were treated to some insightful sessions — from learning how Microsoft uses Marketo, to learning how Marketo does their own internal nurturing programs. One interesting talk was entitled, "Things to Never Tell Your CMO," and was chock-full of operational tips on how to build internal communications that won't annoy the rest of your team (e.g. don't drown them in emails). Another eye-opener was a session comparing quick-buying customers to hares and slow-buying customers to tortoises, and that while it may take tortoises years to get to a purchasing decision, they still typically make up 90% of your database — hence the importance of nurturing them till they're ready.

Some of the information gained was too valuable NOT to share, so we figured we ought to blog about it. Here are our top 3 takeaways from the 2016 Marketo conference.

3 Takeaways from the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2016

1. Keynote speeches by Marketo's CEO & CMO

Marketo Summit 2016 wouldn't be complete without their top executives unveiling the latest and greatest features of the product, and even sharing the product roadmap. This year, there was a lot of talk about account-based marketing, especially with CMOs investing heavily in creating personalized customer experiences. The idea is that this targeted approach will allow enterprises to market to customers better, which hopefully translates into customer loyalty and brand value.

We heard many familiar refrains as well: how marketing is about change management — and one must be quick to succeed. About how marketers must have curiosity and patience, or else suffer from mediocrity.

But one of the most interesting topics they brought up is how in 10 years' time, the role of the CMO will largely be obsolete. Their prediction is that marketers of every stripe will own the entire customer experience, they will know the various technologies needed to be able to filter key information, and will be making the data-based decisions that are currently a CMO's responsibility.

2. Alison Levine telling us, "Backing up is not the same as backing down."

The most inspiring moment amidst the many presentations was Alison Levine's talk. Levine, an American bestselling author, adventurer, and entrepreneur, always dreamed of ascending Mount Everest, but before achieving her goal, she learned some valuable lessons. The best one is captured in her phrase: "Backing up is not the same as backing down."

She explained that there is no straight path forward to climbing Everest. Your journey involves a lot of turns, and you don't just go up, you must travel from basecamp to your first camp, then back to basecamp. You then proceed to your second camp and once more return to basecamp. If you continue forward without returning, conditions change so fast that your body won't be able to adjust to the conditions, and you die.

The lesson? You can't control your environment and/or your circumstances — you can only react to them. So forget trying to control everything around you and instead focus on making quick decisions based on the data that you have. Back up if you must, but never back away from the final goal.

Will Smith at the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2016
Left: Will Smith takes the stage at #MKTGNation. Right: Our very own Elizaveta makes friends with an email automation bot.

3. Will Smith's Helpful Approach to Success

One of our favorite presentations was celebrity entertainer Will Smith, who despite the rumors in the crowd, did not regale us with stories of open rates and nurturing campaigns, but instead told his career story.

His top tip? Always ask, "What can I do to help you succeed?" instead of going for the selfish "What's in it for me?" With this approach to collaboration, you may be surprised by the generosity of those you work with, and discover how much more enjoyable it is to give than to receive.

In the end, the Marketing Nation Summit was a great opportunity to ask questions from successful marketers and share experiences with 5,000 other fellow practitioners. We're looking forward to next year's #MKTGNation!

Were you at this year's #MKTGNation 2016? Share your highlights in the comments.

Reporting and Photo Credits: by Elizaveta Krepkova

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