Email and Landing Page Templates - Marketo vs Knak

Level 3

Email and Landing Page Templates - Marketo vs Knak

Dear all,


Historically, I've used email and landing page templates at previous companies and genuinely enjoyed the coding experience, which personally, I felt gave a lot of flexibility and control to manage issues within email or landing page code. Even if it meant doing front-end changes to HTML within the HTML editor. However, at my new company, we are utilizing Knak for email and landing page creation. The purpose for using Knak is to provide us with a no-coding experience. However, there seems to be a lot of back-and-forth with having to make edits within Knak, re-syncing to Marketo, etc. Have you all ever used Knak, or both (Knak and templates within Marketo), and which one do you prefer? Why so?


Looking to make a use case to internal stakeholders to move to templates, but would like to hear from the community if they've found benefits from Knak (or even something similar)?



Level 3 - Champion

Re: Email and Landing Page Templates - Marketo vs Knak

Hi @dillonlee02 - We don't use Knak, but use something similar: Momentum by CleverTouch (a UK-based agency). For us, we use a mixture of both. I really like having the choice. For global dynamic content or repeatable programs in our CoE we use tokenized Marketo templates with snippets - which makes it easy to build and launch quickly. It also means amends are quick (like you mentioned) and scalable. If I am creating assets personally, this is my preference. 

But we also have about 25 field marketing teams that don't have access to Marketo (and very little coding experience) so having Momentum for their local asset creation is very beneficial. Its a really intuitive UX: drag and drop, repeatable, moveable & deletable components, quick colour changes etc. (I imagine this is similar to Knak?) Then they can build something specific to their market, and launch the email/landing page etc, all without needing to access Marketo directly. For us, if changes are made and reapproved in the asset creator in Momentum, its then immediately resynced to Marketo (just syncs over as a 2nd version).

I know this doesn't help your case to move 100% to templates, but I think depending on who is creating your emails (a core marketing function? MOPs? Field marketers trained in Marketo vs. not? etc) we definitely see the benefits of having both. 

Level 10

Re: Email and Landing Page Templates - Marketo vs Knak

I'd encourage you to look for solutions that do not require an integration with Marketo to just get around all the sync issues and lack of flexibility you're running into. 


The main reason I've heard that folks prefer an external integration like Knak is that it allows them to do work outside of Marketo so that if you were to employ an offshore service, they could easily (remotely) manage your emails without needing access to your Marketo instance. It's a nice feature if you've got to draw some security/process lines b/c of the composition of your team or process.

The other angle is the "no-coding" part and that usually sounds exactly as you'd expect -- it's written in such a way that you don't have to code anything but if you wanted to, it's not the easiest thing to do compared to code that's not written by some kind of machine. Things like Knak do allow you to move quickly so if you're ever in a pinch and need to get something out quickly, this might also be a good avenue for the short-term.


If you're not looking to onboard an external team or work around needing to "not-code" anything in a hurry, the better option for you sounds like doing templates in Marketo:

1) It'd give you the flexibility you're looking for (to update the HTML)

2) It'd remove a cost (subscription) and dependency (another integration to manage)

3) It's NATIVE -- that means all things Marketo "just work" as you'd expect


The last point there is usually the one that I use as a metric for "what's better" in the long-run. Generally, and in my experience, native solutions hold up a little better in time (less working parts [see: Occam's razor]) and require less resources (time/money) to maintain in the long-run. Using Marketo to do Marketo isn't always the easiest or most intuitive approach but from an organizational perspective it's probably worth learning so that you can reduce the amount of dependencies (and technical debt) you incur as a result of using any particular tool (in this case Marketo for Email). 


If I were in your shoes to try and advocate for a switch into Marketo, I'd consider the long-term cost of another integration (say the cost of 2-3 years of subscription, updates, support, time doing, etc) versus the cost of getting a good one-time setup in Marketo with templates that would last you a few years. There are lots of companies out there that support this type of thing, it might be more beneficial in your case to reach out and get an idea for what it would cost to setup something more flexible in Marketo to compare with the cost of an on-going service. Here's a resource about TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) for b2b integrations that might help inform some of the math for the conversation:


Truth in advertising: I work at such a company, but you should always find a partner that works best with your business situation and it never hurts to consider a few options for this type of thing because there's usually a lot to consider beyond just the code part of it all.

Level 1

Re: Email and Landing Page Templates - Marketo vs Knak

Hi Dillon, 

We have seen a lot of value and time savings in Knak templates. It not only saves us from creating emails, it also reduces the back and fourth for our high visibility high impact sends, I would say it's saved my department at least 20 hours a month of work, and reduced our SLAs across programs 1-2 days.

Level 8 - Champion

Re: Email and Landing Page Templates - Marketo vs Knak

Hi @dillonlee02,


Here are some of my thoughts, and I know that there's a lot of debate about using external vs. native email/landing page builders and I believe that what decision you move forward with depends on your use case.  We are a Knak shop and have found incredible value in the tool. 


We have a decentralized demand/marketing ops structure at my company, with different groups requiring a lot of flexibility with layouts and many times wanting to go "off template."  This presented challenges for us with the native builders because either we would get pushback from our designers on ease-of-use (which in a decentralized demand org is critical) or would spend a lot of time creating special requests as "one-off" templates (which is the primary objection among my colleagues in centralized demand orgs about Knak... Knak creates a new template for every sync, which if you are tightly governing your main email/landing page templates in Marketo is a real concern.  I agree with them and would recommend using Marketo-native if your demand org is centralized, but it appears that you are likely decentralized like us).  


What we have found with Knak is that time-to-development has gone significantly down for creative assets once we went with Knak, from two perspectives.  1.)  Our email and LP designers can create based on a library of modules that are built to our brand and allow for flexibility, so it's (almost) eliminated the constant chatter about ease-of-use, and 2.)  The approval process for email assets in Knak is extremely straightforward and collaborating on assets is point/click and drag/drop.  Before Knak, we were conducting approvals the old-fashioned way "create sample email and forward it around to all approvers... then collate all of the comments that you get from email replies and pray."  


As far as the synching... I don't find that a concern.  The people that started up Knak are Marketo folks and designed the tool to work with Marketo almost as well as Marketo works with Salesforce.  Once you sync an asset, essentially Knak maintains a pointer to the asset that was created so you can re-sync automatically to the same asset from Knak with no concern about duplicating assets.  This was the feature that sold me... none of their competitors can auto-resync assets, and that's a showstopper... Knak does work as an extention of Marketo unlike the other tools that we tested.  Essentially, you can *mostly* follow best practice leveraging Knak. 


The only downside is the template proliferation issue.  What I would recommend, if you do go down this route, is to have an operational process in place to archive Knak-based asset templates quarterly so that Knak doesn't create too much clutter in your Template libraries in Design Studio.  


I hope that this helps!  Best of luck with your decision-making!  





Level 1

Re: Email and Landing Page Templates - Marketo vs Knak

Hi Dillon, 


My team used to do all of our email creation in Marketo only, but about a year and a half ago we switched to using Knak to create our emails. We made the change to eliminate the need for strong coding knowledge as well as better email rendering across all email clients without the hassle of intricate coding or multiple email versions. 


For our approval process, we faced a lot of the same issues you did, we use Jira as our project management tool and export the PDFs directly from Knak to send for approval or send test emails directly from Knak. We hold off on synching the email to Marketo until it has fully been approved so that we don't have to approve and re-sync multiple times. 


We have also created many templates that my team operates off of. We worked alongside our Creative teams to lock in the formatting so that we were not adjusting them on a case-by-case scenario. To simplify it we created various modules in Knak so it was just as drag and drop for all of the approved ones, this allowed our stakeholders to have some flexibility with their emails while also creating consistency for my team and with the look and feel of our emails. 


After having Knak in place for over a year, I absolutely prefer Knak over creating emails in Marketo. The process and rollout time is significantly quicker. I am also a huge fan of the various file export features, HTML, Marketo HTML, etc. 


We do not currently use the landing page features in Knak, that is due to our landing pages being hosted on Drupal and built within Drupal. 


I am happy to connect sometime to talk about how we implemented the tool if that is of interest to you.

Level 1

Re: Email and Landing Page Templates - Marketo vs Knak

We're using Knak.  The biggest benefits are scale and brand compliance.  We have many marketers who are creating emails, and do not have access to Marketo.  They would create emails for their products and the email production team can easily sync over to Marketo for deployment.  It also makes it easier and more cost effective to hire email marketers.  The other benefit is the ability and flexibility of Knak to restrict editing of the email templates.  That way we can ensure brand compliance of emails across most of the company.  Hope that helps.