Has anyone moved off Marketo Designer to their own email code? We're considering doing this due to rendering issues and for more control over the email content. I'd love to hear about A/B tests processes or anything else relevant to this process.
If you have rendering issues or insufficient flexibility, the designer is not the culprit. The issue is in your templates.
So, an alternative to moving away from Marketo designer would be to invest into a a set of custom templates developed for your needs by a serious developer
Creating emails with the designer has the interest of flexibility and user autonomy.
Now, there are some email development tools that can inject the html code directly into Marketo using the API, removing the need for copy-paste operations. So if you really want to go in this direction, you should consider a solution that proposes this capability.
Like Greg said, if you can find the right agency (or even a service that provides a way to build templates self-serve, like Knak), you can really create an environment that makes creating emails and landing pages quite easy (and on-brand) - even for novices. We recently worked with an agency (Grazitti Interactive) on an "all-in-one" template that will be used for any type of email communication: newsletters, campaign content, event invitations, blog subscriptions, etc. Here's a sampling of the variety of modules at our disposal to enable us to create the layout that works best for the type of communication/promotion:
It was a bit painful to get here - primarily all of the testing required (especially to get modules to render properly in Outlook) and going back and forth with the agency to make the necessary code changes. But now that we've deployed this in our instance, the field marketers love the ability - and flexibility - to create just the look they want. And since the hero banners are editable (text) and users can select from a wide variety of base images, they don't need to go to creative services every time they need a new email/landing page banner. Not only is everything completely responsive, but they even created a framework for rendering alternate hero banner elements (the ones with the wave/gradient) when viewing on a mobile phone.
I agree with Dan. We are wrapping up the same exact thing as he lays out above. This sort of 2.0 email template will be a big win for us and our users. We worked with the folks at Revenue Pulse and they were great.
Dan Stevens have you looked at, or do you have any experience with, Grazitti's M-Clean app for Dynamics/Marketo dedupes?
Hi Dave - yes, we have taken a look at M-Clean (including a demo). It looks like a promising solution. Especially for the fact that you can initiate many of the cleanup "calls" directly from Marketo (and build the customized logic using smart campaigns). Which as you know, has been impossible to do with the out-of-the-box functionality that Marketo provides (all merging/deletions must be done on the MSD side - and then eventually get reflected on the Marketo side). Another powerful feature - using the MSD API - is the ability to merge an MSD LEAD record with a CONTACT record - on the Marketo side. This isn't even possible using the out-of-the-box functionality on the MSD side (without actually qualifying the lead - which you don't want to do as this will skew your reporting) - It must be done using the MSD API.
The only downside that I see at the moment is it's fairly new for MSD customers (it's been available for sometime for SFDC integrations) and can be a bit pricey when compared to existing leaders in this space (e.g., AutoMerge and Trillium). The value-add and differentiator here is that the functionality can be executed natively from within your Marketo environment.