Marketo Launches New Marketing Software for Small Businesses

Marketo, a provider of revenue performance management solutions, yesterday unveiled new marketing automation software called Spark by Marketo that is designed to meet the needs of small businesses.

Small business owners will be attracted to Spark for several reasons, according to Gaurav Kotak, Marketo's senior director of product marketing. "Spark was designed based on our customers' demands so it's user-centric, it does not include a contract, and it's at a lower price point ($750 a month), which we believe will be appealing to many small businesses," Kotak says.

Marketo's professional and enterprise products start at $2,000 and $3,600 a month, respectively.

Spark allows users to create email campaigns, conduct webinars, and track and maintain social media efforts. It also measures the impact of each campaign and program in real time, including email volumes and leads generated, so users can identify which areas need improvement.

Lori Bush Shepard, vice president of corporate marketing at Marketo, says users will also have access to numerous tutorials and live assistance. "We provide a lot of expert guidance and expertise, which we encourage our customers to take full advantage of," she says. "In addition to the tutorials, which are built into the program, we have people on hand to answer your questions and even provide feedback. When you're launching a new campaign, it can be helpful to have someone look at the campaign before it goes live."

Paul Greenberg, managing principal of The 56 Group and author of CRM at the Speed of Light, is already a fan. "The reason that I like Spark—at least [after] my initial look at it—is that it actually is a highly focused solution in a number of ways," he says. "It's built from the ground up to be something that small businesses can actually use, rather than a watered-down version of the enterprise Marketo product. It accounts for how small businesses communicate with their customers, which is why the main focus is email campaign management and list management,something that small businesses still primarily concentrate on."

Denis Pombriant, managing principal of Beagle Research, agrees. "I like the approach. They've tailored digital marketing/demand generating to the smaller companies who might not be able to afford or have time to use the full product. In doing so, they've opened up a market that's hungry for marketing innovation but constrained by resources. Marketo has tried to package a solution that's intuitive and easy to learn and use providing the appropriate level of marketing support for small companies."

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