Common Implementation Pitfalls

Level 7 - Champion

Common Implementation Pitfalls

When implementing a new instance, what are some common pitfalls new users should be aware of? What retrospective advice do you have for marketers implementing a new instance?

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Level 4 - Champion Alumni

Re: Common Implementation Pitfalls

Hi Nick,

I find this post intriguing because most people tend to focus on the next best thing rather than looking back to help others. We are seven months into our implementation and here are some things that I would have done differently. We are a Fortune 500 company that was new to marketing automation so I am speaking from that perspective.

1.) Get all of your internal teams rowing in the same direction and eagerly! Marketo was very helpful in guiding us on how we could "crawl, walk, run" with Marketo but we didn't necessarily do the best of navigating the politics of purchasing and implementing Marketo internally. We took the top down approach where we got a core team together, made the business case, and then sort of pushed the implementation on folks. We didn't take the time to best understand the roadmap that say our Digital Ops Team already had in place and how Marketo could create synergies or create conflict. That is one of many examples. This is the one thing that is still a rub with us. So, get all of your teams aligned (Digital Operations, CRM Admin, IT, Content Management, Sales Operations, Security, Finance, Marketing Operations, C-Level, Demand Gen, Training, Social, etc). Make sure that you have a champion from each of these teams or your companies equivalent teams.

2.) If you are new to Marketing Automation like we were - secure professional services and trust the process. I'm not saying that you have to purchase professional services from Marketo (although they are fantastic) but secure a resource (consultant, agency, etc) that can guide you through to only the implementation but also how to navigate the maturity curve and project plan this for you. Do not shy away from cost here because you will likely regret it.

3.) Get technical. Ask technical questions. Document it! The Marketo product docs are good, the MU learning paths that are now public are good, but you will get stumped on technical things. We had many gotcha moments with technical things like - MSI isn't easily customizable but it can me, that CRM activities from Admin only sync 1 per day per type, API help, etc. If you don't have a technical resource on your team that has time and is dedicated to this implementation and knowledge  sharing - it could be tough.

4.) Celebrate Success. Let them extended team know when you are succeeding and not just with numbers. This could be numbers which are always great but maybe it's also that you've launched a Center of Excellence and that alone saves 20% of time for Marketing Practitioners. Don't overdo it but make sure to share your success no matter how small.

5.) Understand your MarTech (current and 3yr plan) to see what launchpoint partners you already work with and who you might have to work with to change with you.

6.) Get ready to get flooded with requests for access. We only had a certain amount of licenses. So, learn how you want to manage your instance. Do you have a distributed team? Are you a team of generalists? I'd read this Championship Program (Champion Program: Scaling MOPS and Marketo Team... | Marketo Marketing Nation Community ).

7.) Don't try to make Marketo into what it is not. Sounds basic but we had so many people internally that wanted these fancy dashboards and they wanted to turn Marketo into a BI platform. That was not what we purchased it for but getting our team to understand that and accept what Marketo was great for and what we had to still build out was a little rough.

I have so many more but they seem rather nit picky so I'll pass on them.


Level 7 - Champion

Re: Common Implementation Pitfalls

Thanks for sharing, Kristy. I completely agree that establishing governance and having early-on conversations is imperative to a successful implementation. I'm on the agency side and we make sure to pass over client pre-work to get the conversations started early in the process to create alignment with all stakeholders. We also create an implementation workbook to document the entire process for change management and easy reference.

The main purpose of this thread is to help others identify any missed opportunities or challenges so they can be addressed early on. Your response is spot on and valuable to those who will be working to implement new instances.

Thank you!

Level 5 - Champion

Re: Common Implementation Pitfalls

The biggest suggestion I have is documentation! Most of our team wasn't around when our Marketo instance was initially set-up and there wasn't a lot of documentation prepared initially. I would encourage anyone setting up a new instance to be sure to document processes around structure, set-up, integrations, etc. so that when there is team turnover, that information lives on and isn't lost forever.

Level 9 - Champion Alumni

Re: Common Implementation Pitfalls

Hey Nick,

I'd really recommend a solid "!Entry Point" strategy. That is a single (yes, only 1) campaign in your instance the uses the "Person was Created" trigger and daisy chaining all of your data management and program triggers off of that entry point. Having this makes troubleshooting issues related to the time certain data is populated and when syncs, webhooks, and alerts go when records are created much easier to manage (as campaigns are all tied to a parent campaign for creation and being requested when ready as opposed to all firing simultaneously (and when needed data potentially isn't available).

Also a solid folder structure is the foundation for users being successful in your instance long term. Spending alot of time here is worthwhile in my experience.


Keith Nyberg

Level 7 - Champion

Re: Common Implementation Pitfalls

Hi Keith,

Thanks for the reply. I like the idea of an "!Entry Point" strategy. Having all entries tied to a parent campaign for troubleshooting will certainly be a time saver.

I completely agree with having a solid folder structure and naming conventions. We find this helps with making reporting data easy to search/sort, and enables the capability to use program prefixes as part of a triggered campaign strategy. We use a "!Universal" Folder to house everything in the instance to utilize universal tokens such as copyright year, company logo, brand colors, etc. We also create a Center of Excellence folder to setup programs with pre-fabricated templates. An Operational folder also is great for housing anything that applies to the whole instance but doesn't necessarily acquire leads, such as bounce management, lead scoring, interesting moments, MQL alerts, and other data management programs.