Email Service Provider (ESPs): Implementation

NOTE: This blog post was created in June of 2010 (a lot has changed since then)

Marketo does all their training and on-boarding of their customers remotely – called a “Smart Start.” Eloqua in contrast has a “Smart Start” that is a week-long and is delivered face-to-face in either Toronto Canada or by your local implementation vendor. With Marketo the training is free (or baked into the price – however you want to look at it), with Eloqua it runs about $10K, so you’re going to have training costs to get started with Eloqua. Marketo’s training is three 2 hour web based training sessions that run every week Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday. Also included is 10 hours with your “Customer Enablement Manager.” Additional time can be purchased as well if needed.

During our conversations with customers we did hear that there was a big difference between a $10K implementation using a partner for Eloqua vs. a $30K implementation. The bottom line is you get what you pay for, and in one particular testimonial this customer took the $10K choice and re-implemented using a different implementation partner at the cost of $30K and had much better experience.

Marketo claims superior ease of use, but I question if some of this is not due to the fact that their product does not have the depth of features of Eloqua. Eloqua is also rumored to have a UI (user interface) update in the works that should help close the gap with Marketo (which is slick). On a separate note “drag & drop” must be the hot trend with SaaS as I also saw a sneak peak at’s new report wizard for Summer 10 which utilizes drag and drop components.

Marketo’s implementation can be a bit frustrating – at least it was for me. I’m a hands-on learner. When going live with Marketo your Customer Enablement Manager will extract your requirements and start configuring live on a WebEx. You basically watch the Customer Enablement Manager bang out the skeleton of your campaigns, lead scoring, etc and then you’re live. In my opinion this method provides little knowledge transfer, but it does allow Marketo to launch a lot of customers with limited resources. Also, speaking from my experience, it was hard to get time slots with my Customer Enablement Manager. For a while there we’d have a hour and a half session, come back a week later and have another hour and a half session, and so on. Again, for me, that’s too much time between sessions to go cold. I’m not spending enough time in the tool to feel comfortable. To compensate, I literally printed out the 260 page “Marketo Lead Management Reference Guide” and read it cover to cover between sessions to feel more comfortable (essentially self studied).

I can’t blame Marketo for stretching their Customer Enablement Manager thin. I was in the same situation as a consultant when I worked for another partner – balancing a half dozen engagements at a various stages all at the same time. However you might want to be a squeaky wheel to ensure you’re getting the Customer Enablement Manager’s time to ensure you meet your go-live dates.

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