Getting Started on Your Marketo Governance and Training Documentation

Marketo Employee
Marketo Employee

“Imagine you win the lottery today and quit your job tomorrow. Would someone be able to step right in and take over your Marketo instance?” This is the mindset Tori Forte, Marketo consultant extraordinaire, recommends as you’re thinking about documenting your Marketo instance. In fact, good documentation can be nearly as important as the actual implementation itself. Keeping track of changes and decisions you’ve made during your instance setup can help you:

  • More easily train additional users in a scalable way
  • Build more efficiently in Marketo long-term
  • Maintain the health and hygiene of your instance moving forward
  • Make the transition process much smoother for a new Marketo admin if your team experiences any turnover


There are a couple different types of documentation you can produce. A governance guide outlines your instance setup in detail with topics such as program/folder structures, communication limits, and more. This would be a living document that users would turn to in order to identify your specific best practices and governing standards for your Marketo instance, and would mainly be for your Marketo admin or main user. In addition to a governance guide, your team may need supplemental enablement documents or training materials to help them get up to speed with Marketo. These could include exercises to practice working with the platform, quizzes to pass before being granted access, or a list of what your users are allowed to do in Marketo. These would be aimed at all Marketo users in your organization.
Whether you’re putting together a full blown governance guide or are simply documenting the key aspects of your setup to start, writing down the decisions you make during onboarding will help you and your team be successful with Marketo.

Getting Started on Your Documentation

Having trouble getting started on your guide? Tori suggests first focusing on the most important aspect of your Marketo documentation: your Admin Setup. “Make sure you’re writing down all of your behind-the-scenes decisions so if anyone needs to take over your Marketo instance, they’ll be able to understand how and why your instance was set up the way it is.” It’s crucial, Tori points out, that you “don’t just document what was built, but why it was built that way.” This helps a future admin (or even future you) avoid repeating decisions that didn’t work out or wasting time going down dead ends.

 

Another recommendation from Tori to establish the success of your documentation is to “ensure every rule you make has an owner to enforce it down the line. Lack of enforcement makes writing those rules moot.” Check in with your team and put a process in place to make sure this documentation will continue to adapt and stay relevant, as well as stay top of mind for your users.

Tips and Tricks

Whether you’re documenting a new/existing instance or creating training resources for your organization’s Marketo users, consider these tips from one of our resident Marketo experts, Kylie Peters:

  • Over-document, over-communicate, over-test! If it feels like you’re doing enough, you might not be doing enough.” You never know what might be useful to you or your team in the future, so be sure to add in details and keep other teams in the loop!
  • Be ‘new-hire-minded’. Write the documentation for someone who’s never used this technology before.” Once you become familiar with Marketo it can be easy to take a lot of background knowledge for granted. Make sure you’re creating your enablement and governance documentation with the most basic user in mind. Consider including some definitions and best practices directly into your training documentation if they’ll help new users get up to speed.
  • People have different ways of processing and understanding information so it helps to use a combination of written points, pictures, videos, and hands-on exercises in your trainings.” Instead of just writing a block of text to send out to your team, include some interactive content or a couple different formats within your enablement documentation and training.
  • Run the documentation by someone who’s never seen Marketo before and ask them if they have any questions.” Not sure if your governance and enablement documentation is clear? Ask someone who’s never used Marketo to take a look and see if they can follow your trainings. This will give you a good fresh perspective on what you’ve put together and how you can improve it.
  • “It’s important to remember that training documents are very different based on your needs and your instance.” Unlike governance guides, which should be as comprehensive as possible, enablement documents should be produced based on your organization’s need. Keep in mind that what might be important to document in detail for one instance or one user could be less relevant for others. You should know your instance and users best, so create your training documentation accordingly.



Marketo Documentation Sample Topics

Use these topics to guide your initial Marketo governance documentation plan. It may help to take it slow and start with a few topics that are important to your particular instance, then expand from there.

 

  • What is Marketo and what are its purposes for our organization
  • Purpose of this Documentation
  • Process to Maintain/Make Changes to Governance Guide
  • Administrative Set Up
    • Instance(s)
    • Workspaces and Partitions
    • User Roles and Responsibilities
    • Smart Campaign/Email/Program Settings
    • Communication Limits
    • Security
    • Channels
    • Tags
  • Data Structure
    • Field Structure
  • Operational Programs
  • Building In Marketo Instance
    • Center of Excellence (COE)
    • Folder Structure
    • Naming Conventions
    • Program Organization
    • Templates
    • Standardized Processes
    • Checklists
    • Segmentations
    • Archiving
    • Subscription Center
  • CRM Integration
    • How does the sync work
    • Campaign Sync
    • Data Dictionary
  • Other Integrations
  • GDPR & Compliance

 

Check out an example of Channel Documentation here.

 

Start documenting your instance today! Be sure to involve your whole team - whether that’s just you or a team of 10 - and revisit these docs every month to keep it up to date as your use of your Marketo instance grows.

 

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19 Comments

Great article, Meghana Rao! Thanks for sharing.

Marketo Employee

Thanks, Shameah Abraham​! I hope it's helpful to both new and existing users.

You're welcome! As an existing user, I think it's definitely a helpful reminder.

This is SOOOO helpful! Thank you!

Marketo Employee

That's great to hear! If you have any additional questions or tips to share, feel free to post here

Champion Moderator

This is great! I have written a lot of documentation already, but this has helped me identify areas that need to be documented. I don't think I ever wrote out our email/data compliance (GDPR/CASL) set up in a document form from a Marketo perspective, for example. I'm hiring a new team member soon so this is a good time to shore that up.

Champion Moderator

Another best practice is to create a Changelog and enforce using it. Any time you change something in Admin or an Operational program, it needs to be noted in a shared spreadsheet. This can help you remember why you made a change and what it was like before! The fields we use are:

- Date

- Program name

- Program link

- Smart Campaign name

- Smart Campaign link

- Change made

- Reason for the change

- Who made the change

Marketo Employee

This is really useful, Amy Connor​! I know even my team struggles with keeping track of changes in our Marketo instance and I think having a log like this is incredibly valuable. Thanks so much for sharing!

Champion Moderator

You're welcome! I forgot to mention that I have several different tabs for different areas of Marketo to keep things organized. The Smart Campaigns one is the most used, but there's also

- Programs (this was only updated once, when I added Universal tokens)

- Smart Lists (for universal/group smart lists)

- Admin

- Segmentation

Marketo Employee

Very helpful! Thanks for sharing

Best Always,

Karan Hari