Jon Miller Predicts the Future of B2B Marketing Technology

Jon Miller is a B2B marketing legend.

Jon Miller is a man who needs no introduction. But in case you don’t know him, he was the co-founder of Marketo and is now CEO of Engagio, an account-based marketing startup.

I recently had the privilege of chatting with Jon about everything martech, from account-based marketing to his predictions for the future of B2B marketing. Scroll down to watch the video of our discussion — but first, let’s get to know Jon a little better with these fun facts.

What is his favorite book?

The Princess Bride by William Goldman 

Who are his marketing heroes?

Maria Pergolino – VP of Marketing at Apptus
Craig Rosenberg – Chief Analyst at TOPO
Megan Heuer – VP and Group Director at SiriusDecisions
Scott Brinker – Godfather of martech and Co-Founder of Ion Interactive
David Raab – Madtech guru and Owner of Raab Associates

What does he do when he’s not working?

Jon enjoys being a dad and husband to his awesome family.

Check out my interview with Jon Miller here:

Here are my top six takeaways from my conversation with Jon:

1. Bigger Isn’t Always Better

In the 16 years before co-founding Engagio, Jon Miller only had two jobs. The first was at Epiphany and the second was at Marketo. These companies gave him exposure to small, medium, and large businesses. He found through those experiences that he had the most fun at companies with less than 150 people. The reason? He loves wearing multiple hats and serving a variety of functions.

Jon says always knew that he would leave Marketo despite it being his baby. The question was never if he would leave, but when. He compared it to his children — meaning that you always know you have to let them go out on their own at some point. That doesn’t make it any easier, but in the end, you’re proud to see them thrive on their own.

[Tweet “”Building a #startup is like raising a child. You have to learn when to let it go.” – @JonMiller”]

2. Choosing a New Baby

Jon decided it was time to look at new business ideas, so he started his search in the martech space. “It was really about finding the right idea,” he says.

His passion lay in marketing automation, and he wanted to choose a space that complemented that. His first inclination was to get into predictive analytics, but he was unable to find anything that he could get truly excited about. 

One day, he went to lunch with Maria Pergolino, who was working incredible magic with Apptus using account-based marketing (ABM) tactics. While speaking to Maria, Jon realized that the market was in need of a complete, end-to-end ABM solution. This need was not currently fulfilled by the existing marketing automation solutions on the market.

“I wasn’t initially excited about the idea,” admits Jon, “but my enthusiasm grew the more I thought about it.”

[Tweet “”Finding a new #startup idea that you can get passionate about takes time.” – @JonMiller #business”]

3. Adding Context to Customer Behavior

Jon turned into Mr. Spock from Star Trek when I asked him about the big trends in MarTech. His insights are far beyond what I ever could have imagined, and he had some predictions for the future as well. The first trend he mentioned was customer context.

“It all started with marketing automation platforms, which allowed marketers to determine how customers were behaving on their website and with their content,” comments Jon. This has allowed marketers to determine the level of sales readiness and the level of nurturing that might be needed to make a lead sales-ready.

Now we’ve moved into a mobile context where marketers can target prospects based on location and proximity. And on top of that, we have social context. This has really changed the social selling game because sales reps are able to get a glimpse of the personal and professional lives of their prospects. The value in all of this context is that it “makes marketing more relevant,” says Jon. “This is really just the start. Can you imagine what will happen once the Apple Watch takes off?”

[Tweet “”Social context has really changed the game in #SocialSelling.” – @JonMiller”]

4. New Paths to Customer Interaction

The second trend Jon brought up was the plethora of new channels for interaction. The traditional method of interaction online is, of course, email. It used to be the most personalized means of communication that marketers had. Now, companies have the ability to personalize their website based on a visitor’s location, IP address, and a variety of other data points. Terminus Account-Based Marketing has taken this a step further by allowing marketers to personalize ads across mobile, social, display, and video based on which account or persona is viewing them.

The age of programmatic targeting is also just beginning. “TV is the next frontier,” Jon Miller predicts. With millennials consuming more and more televised content online, personalized pre-roll ads are now a possibility.

Jon also really blew my mind when he referred to a prediction that Phil Fernandez, Marketo CEO, made regarding how eInk can be used on pill bottles and how this could potentially become a dynamic marketing opportunity. The bottom line is that there are so many different marketing channels that can now be personalized, and the possibilities are only going to grow from here.

[Tweet “”TV is the next frontier for #programmatic targeting.” – @JonMiller”]

5. How to Make Sense of All the Data

The last prediction Jon made was regarding machine learning and artificial intelligence. He’s right on target when he says, “Marketers will soon realize that old tools simply won’t work when analyzing data on new channels.”

Jon referenced technologies that now have the capability to mine Google Analytics data and produce a content report that appears to be written by a human. Seriously! He also proposed the possibility that artificial intelligence could eventually produce personalized marketing content using the data insights that we already know about our customers.

[Tweet “”With the rise of #IoT, traditional #analytics just won’t work anymore.” – @JonMiller”]

6. Don’t Flip the Funnel… Get Rid of It!

Jon and I chatted about the #FlipMyFunnel movement I recently proposed, in which B2B companies should flip the traditional marketing and sales funnel on its head. But Jon had his own idea of how the funnel should look — and he even questioned whether it’s relevant at all. His thought is that the whole funnel idea is totally wrong for account-based marketing.

Why’s that, you ask? Well, looking at the funnel means looking at conversions. Jon’s point was valid when he said that ABM starts with a much smaller number of leads and accounts than traditional, lead-based marketing does. If you chip away at that number of people during each stage of the traditional funnel, then you’ll be in trouble when you reach the bottom. I completely agree, which is why my concept of the flipped funnel takes that into account.

[Tweet “”The funnel does not work with #ABM because you can not afford to lose people.” – @JonMiller”]

My conversation with Jon was absolutely brilliant, and I have nothing but tremendous respect for him. I love the idea that marketing automation gurus can turn new tides in account-based marketing, and I can’t wait to see what’s on the frontier. To learn even more about account-based marketing, grab your guide to ABM by clicking the banner below.