Achieving “Inspiration” at the Marketo Summit

“Inspiration.” That was the theme of the 2015 Marketo Summit.

It felt fitting for me as a first-time Marketo attendee. The theme of “inspiration” did just that, and inspired me. From the amazing keynote speakers, to the informative sessions, and overall friendly vibe, it turned out to be a great experience. I feel fortunate to have attended.

My first experience of the Marketo Summit was an early Monday morning.  I walked up to the Mascone Center, opened the door and heard, “…Few times I’ve been around that track, so it’s not just gonna happen like that, because I ain’t no Hollaback Girl, I ain’t no Hollaback Girl…” The beautiful voice of Gwen Stefani was the first to welcome me to the Marketo Summit as I watched the DJ rock out to the record while businesswomen danced along to the beat. It all brought a smile to my face and set the tone for the duration of the Summit.

After a two-hour welcome reception, the true anticipation came from the knowledge of who would be our upcoming Keynote Speakers. I knew this would be a highlight, as I had heard other attendees reminisce on last year’s successful Keynote from Former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. This year, the speakers may not have been as high profile as an ex-First Lady, but they were definitely major influencers in their own right; Marketo Chairman and CEO, Phil Fernandez, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, and Grammy Award winner, John Legend.

Fernandez took over the stage, enlightening the crowd on the future of marketing. Mass advertising and campaign marketing were identified as strategies of the past, and the future would be focused on engagement marketing. He really opened my eyes to what the world of marketing could look like. He inspired me to learn more and take a deeper look at the entire industry.

The next speaker was Arianna Huffington. Wow! She was absolutely amazing to listen to. Funny, witty, inspiring, captivating…she had it all. Her view on disruptive marketing and true inspiration really resonated with me, and quite frankly, the entire audience. The best quote I took from the entire experience—well, besides how every company should install napping rooms—was this: “Live life like everything is rigged in your favor.” What a great line, and such a positive message. I couldn’t resist. Before I knew it, I was forking over a few extra bucks and her best-selling book was mine to take home.

The last speaker of the day was Mr. John Legend. I’m not extremely familiar with his music (*gasp*), but I was excited to hear what he had to say. His Keynote session kicked off with a beautiful song—eclipsing the DJ’s “Hollaback Girl” from earlier. Next, he started talking about his life and his humble beginnings as an analyst at the fashion design company, BCBG. Legend went on to reveal his secret the creativity, carving out time in his daily routine to focus on creativity and nothing else. It was so inspiring that I too, have began scheduling my creativity. Thanks, John!

John Legend
John Legend performs a song at the Marketo summit.


The final speaker of the summit was Salman Khan—a funny, sensitive, and inspiring individual. If you don’t know who he is, he founded the Khan Academy—a non-profit organization that offers first-class education to everyone–everywhere. What an undertaking! You could feel his sincerity and pride in his vision as he shared videos and stories of students who succeeded in the Khan Academy. He talked about one student in particular; a young man who dropped out of high school not once, but twice. The Khan Academy allowed him to graduate at the top of his class. He then went on to college and began interning for the Khan Academy. Salman was proud to let us know that the young man was crucial in developing one of the products, and is now a full-time employee of the Khan Academy. Could that story be any more inspiring?

All in all, for me, the Marketo Summit definitely lived up to its theme, “Inspiration.” I left invigorated, educated, and ready to tackle the world of marketing. The announcement has already been made—next year’s summit will take place in Las Vegas, and I cannot wait to attend and be inspired all over again.