In a major series of announcements coinciding with its Marketing Nation conference, Marketo has released details of its coming integration of marketing technology, advertising, and sales functionality — plus a brand-new mobile SDK to deliver personalization and marketing automation inside mobile apps.

The result is a marriage of love, not just convenience, says Marketo.

“Marrying ad tech and martech will make life more fruitful for marketers,” the company’s VP of product marketing, Chandar Pattabhiram, told me via email. “Now, they’re no longer in separate swim lanes.”

Marketo's new Ad Bridge product

Above: Marketo’s new Ad Bridge product

Image Credit: Marketo

Marketo announced three major product innovations today: Marketo Ad Bridge, which connects online advertising and online marketing; Marketo Mobile Engagement, a mobile marketing automation solution; and Marketo Sales Insight for Salesforce, a mouthful of a product that will give sales reps key marketing information on quality prospects.

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In other words, it’s a major shot across the bow of the other major marketing cloud vendors, many of which — not including Adobe and Salesforce — have failed to deliver a significant in-app personalization, context, and customer-history-aware capability.

And it delivers on Marketo’s strong desire to be a marketing-first solution for marketers.

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According to Pattabhiram, this will also help companies significantly improve their mobile advertising.

“Ad tech spending has significantly increased — to more than $130 billion — but the conversion rates are still in the single digits,” he says. “Why? A major reason is that a person’s prior engagement hasn’t been fused with the brand’s display advertising and retargeting strategies to make these ads more personal and relevant.”

Marketo is also releasing a new marketing calendar product

Above: Marketo is also releasing a new marketing calendar product

Image Credit: Marketo

That’s very likely true.

A recent case study by Verve Mobile found that first-party data (your own customer data) is three times more effective in targeting the right mobile ads to the right people than third-party data. But there’s an additional benefit, one that digital marketers for mobile-first companies in gaming and other verticals know very well — and perhaps better than digital marketers for traditional brands.

That is, of course, re-engagement of existing, lapsed, or former clients.

“Because Ad Bridge helps marketers combine engagement history with advertising strategies, they can personalize ads to customers over the entire lifecycle,” Pattabhiram said. “The real benefit is that marketers can acquire customers faster, keep them longer, and turn them into loyal fans.”

The new Marketo Moments, an app for marketers that will keep them up-to-date on their campaigns.

Above: The new Marketo Moments, an app for marketers that will keep them up-to-date on their campaigns

Image Credit: Marketo

Announced advertising partners include the usual suspects: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google, plus data management platforms such as Turn, Rocket Fuel, and Media Math. It’s likely that others will join soon — and in fact it’s important that they do. As our mobile user acquisition and mobile monetization research shows, many of the most effective mobile advertising companies are young, fresh, and innovative startups.

Adtech and martech have been on an accelerating collision course for some years now.

Marketing cloud vendor Adobe, which is leading the marketing cloud space in both revenue and product scope — at least before this announcement — certainly agrees:

“It’s funny when you see marketers spending $75 billion or more on advertising … and most marketing clouds don’t want to have anything to do with it,” Adobe VP Suresh Vittal told me as I was completing research for VB’s massive marketing clouds report. “We believe that adtech and martech are converging … and that the insights you learn from advertising should drive learnings in marketing.”

In other words, what you learn from marketing helps you target advertising, and what you learn from engagement and conversion of your advertising helps drive your marketing, in an ongoing, spiraling, improving circle.

From Marketo’s point of view, the result of this integration is that “marketers can engage their customers across all channels from a single software platform.” In addition, the company said, brands can now deliver a consistent message to their customers over all digital channels: email, social media, web, digital advertising, and mobile apps.

Plus, tying adtech and martech will enable much tighter integration between advertising campaigns and marketing campaigns, and drive the messaging in both through a marketing automation system.

It’s impressive, to say the least.

Of course, the real test will come when the software hits Marketo’s production servers and marketers can actually start to use it. That will come in Q2 2015, the company said.

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