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What can marketers learn from Marketo‘s data?

That’s the key question the Marketo Institute, announced today, will attempt to answer. The company-funded effort, which is part of Marketo, is centered around the analysis of aggregate, anonymous data that the platform has accumulated through the years. Marketo, a leading marketing automation platform in a competitive space occupied by Oracle’s Eloqua, Act-on, Salesforce’s Pardot, Hubspot, and others, enables the orchestration of a variety of campaign and personalized interactions with customers and potential customers.

“This [Institute] is really important to me personally,” company co-founder and now Marketo Institute vice president Jon Miller told VentureBeat.

He has handed off his day-to-day responsibilities to focus on the mission of educating “marketers and empowering leaders for the era of engagement marketing.”

By and large, Miller said, “marketers aren’t really prepared for that new world [and] classes aren’t teaching marketing in the digital era.”

The Institute will query the data for the answers to such questions as:

  • What are basic performance rates, such as average email opens?
  • How many webinar registrants should you expect to attend?
  • How many leads do I need to generate X number of customers?
  • What is the tipping point when marketing pitches to the customer become too much — and possibly counter-productive?

By the first quarter of 2015, Miller said the Institute will begin to release regular reports and programs for executives, and will form partnerships with educational institutions that “co-create curriculum to cover these kinds of topics.” California Polytechnic State University is the first publicly announced educational partner.

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The massive dataset comes from about 3,300 client companies in 36 countries across 20 different industries, and represents 12 million digital marketing campaigns, about 900 million marketing “touches” to end-user customers, and about 224 billion unique activities, like opening an email. The data is all from Marketo’s client companies and pertains to their activities and campaigns — not the data pertaining to Marketo clients’ end-user customers.

“We think this is the largest dataset of its kind, of what people are actually doing,” Miller said, in contrast to survey results. He added that, while he doesn’t think the Institute will utilize non-Marketo data, it will be open at some point to analysis by selected outside researchers, such as management consulting firms.

Since it’s all Marketo data, won’t the analysis give a Marketo-flavored view of digital marketing?

“If we only had [some data] I’d say that would be a real concern,” Miller said. But here, he said, “the law of large numbers wins out.”

“Our customers are representative of what’s out there.”

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