6 Steps For A Painless Migration To Marketo

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The decision to migrate to Marketo from another marketing automation platform is one that I know must keep marketers up at night. How do we move all of our emails that are in-flight without a hiccup? How do I handle reporting on activities that happened in my old system after I move to Marketo? The list of questions is seemingly never-ending. The truth is, that there are six simple steps that can make your migration to Marketo nearly painless.

  1. Inventory EVERYTHING – You heard me, EVERYTHING. If you are using Marketo Professional Services, your consultant or project manager can get you a spreadsheet to use, but if not, you can do it yourself (just be sure to put a column in there for “sunsetting,” that will be helpful for step 2). Just like when building a program, start backwards, so you will start with inventorying your creative assets (images, pdf’s, etc.), then your forms (making note if there is any special functionality), then you will inventory your landing page templates, then landing pages (taking note of which template is used, and which creatives are necessary).  Up next you will inventory all of your email templates, and then all of your emails (as with landing pages, make sure you document which template and creative assets are used). Finally, you will start on your programs. This is where inventories can feel daunting, because they have so many moving parts. Honestly, this is the best way to become intimately familiar with your marketing automation operation. First up, start with your marketing programs. It is important that when taking your inventory, you document the smart list (who the program impacts) and the flows (what the program impacts). Don’t be afraid to put screen shots in of these things either. If you are using complex nurture programs, I suggest creating a separate tab just for nurtures, so that you can fully document them. Finally, you will move to your operational programs, these will mostly be your scoring and data management campaigns.
  2. Sunset as much as possible – Do you REALLY need to keep the holiday e-card that you sent in 2012? Probably not.  Unless something is actively in flight, it’s ok to archive it and let it go. I have done a ton of migrations from other platforms to Marketo, and invariably, the inability to let unnecessary assets go, eats up more migration resources than nearly anything else. Check out your metrics on old landing pages, if you are getting only a handful of views a year, it’s probably time to put it with the holiday e-card we just archived.  Note that I have consistently used the term “archive”. We are NOT deleting anything. I repeat, we are NOT deleting anything.
  3. Prioritize everything else – So you decided that you ABSOLUTELY needed the landing page for your St. Patrick’s Day Party from 2013 migrated to your new instance, but it is probably not as important as the new whitepaper that you just released last week that you have spent $100k in marketing dollars promoting… place your inventory in order of priority, from highest to lowest.
  4. Establish a clear naming convention for EVERYTHING – I know it seems elementary, but you would be surprised about how much easier it makes everything, not only migration, but also adoption of your new platform… with a clear and established naming convention, suddenly everyone becomes much more efficient. Now, Marketo certainly has some recommended best practices for naming conventions, but really, I don’t even care if you follow that, just follow something, and make sure EVERYONE follows it. You will thank me later.
  5. Start preparing redirects early – If you are like most clients, you have a ton of landing pages that will all need to have redirects set up by IT. Have this list ready to go by including a column on it in your migration sheet under the Landing page tab.  If you place it directly next to the existing URL, your IT person can easily copy and paste what they need to get your redirects up and running so that no one ever has to see a “404 error” page.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – OK, now you have a crazy-thorough inventory of your entire marketing operation… this is where it can start to feel overwhelming. Most people think they only have a few emails and landing pages, but when they start documenting it, they realize they might have hundreds or even thousands. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, engage people on your team, hire consultants, bring in interns, it doesn’t matter, but one person should never try this on their own.
  7. TEST everything, REWARD yourself, and FORGIVE yourself – OK, so I know I said 6 steps, but think of this one as a bonus… Before you go live, test every link, sample every email, and QA every program. You are going to miss something. I have done a TON of migrations, some of them very rapid (5 days is my record), some of them more relaxed (2 months is totally cake after doing a 5-day migration), but invariably, no matter what, something ALWAYS gets missed, and that is ok.  With all of your advance work in steps 1-5, the overwhelming majority of your programs and assets are going to be working smoothly and you will be able to quickly react to anything not up and running on day 1. Then, at 5pm on the day you launch, take your team into your office, pop open a bottle of champagne, and celebrate.  You totally earned it. Migrations are hard, and you just saw your marketing team through it mostly unscathed (Bob in demand gen is actually smiling, and not because he is about to snap!).

Seriously, migrations aren’t that bad if you are prepared, you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, and have a network of support to help you through the process. There are even twisted individuals like myself, who actually ENJOY them… and yes, I still celebrate with a bottle of champagne after every single one goes live.