Marketo is coming up with a new release labeled ‘Marketo Next’ on Saturday. They will launch their “event center” which will be a significant upgrade to the product. With this release, Marketo will make itself more appealing to an enterprise audience, offering Webex integration out of the box. This integration will only with the Webex event center and will have no integration for other Webex modules. Integration with other event management solutions like Goto meeting, Adobe Connect, BrightTalk etc. will be coming later this year.

This Marketo release has implications for Act-On since one of  its main differentiators has been its seamless integration with Webex. This is possibly a natural path for them since Subrah Iyer, the co-founder of Webex, is a investor in Act-on. The VP of sales at Act-On is also ex-Webex. Webex has a large customer base. At the time of its acquisition by Cisco in 2007, WebEx had more than 28,000 clients in 85 countries with $380 million in annual revenue. So this is an excellent market to target and the pie may be large enough for multiple marketing automation players get involved.

That said, some of Act-On’s larger enterprise accounts could be at risk. While there is a significant price difference between Act-On and Marketo’s subscription pricing, Act-On clients like IBM, Progressive, Motorola may not mind paying the difference for superior campaign management abilities. While the pricing will differ for enterprise customers on a case by case basis, a typical Act-on customer might pay $500-$700 per month and a typical Marketo customer might pay in the $2500 – $3500 per month.  If this pricing is anything to go by, then enterprise customers will not mind carving out additional budget for getting Marketo.

With this release, event campaign management will be much more comprehensive within Marketo. One of the key capabilities is enhanced analytics that allow for tracking ROI at the event level, not just individual campaigns. This data flows nicely into the Revenue Performance Management Suite which provides exec dashboards around pipeline volume and velocity and its impact on marketing ROI. While the new functionality will be available at no additional cost to existing Marketo clients, they will have to ensure that position themselves to take advantage of the new event center module. Like it or not, as the feature set increases, the product complexity increases as well and clients will need to ramp up their marketing team skill-sets or bring in outside expert resources to guide them through the process.