a frustrated team gathered around a laptop computer considering marketing automation migration

Marketing Automation Migration: Switching Platforms Made Easy

Migrating your marketing automation platform doesn't have to be difficult. Follow these important tips to get set up for migration success.
Article Outline

Migrating to a new marketing automation platform can be intimidating. But it doesn’t need to be. Consider first whether you even need to perform a full migration. Changing providers offers a unique opportunity to take a look at your current programs and lists and determine what’s working, and what’s not. You might not need a full migration.

Once you are 100% confident in the need for a change, it’s crucial to make sure the migration process goes well. Use this article as your guide for a smooth transition for marketing automation migration.

Gather critical assets for marketing automation migration

A successful migration starts with gathering your critical assets. Inventory what assets need to migrate to the new platform and which assets you’ll discontinue using. As you create your list, consider the following:

  1. Take inventory of templates. What templates do you currently use in your marketing automation program? Do you use email templates? Landing page templates? Make a list of all templates that need to migrate to the new platform, and include screenshots and design elements whenever possible. 
  2. Evaluate your existing nurture programs. What automated programs do you have in place, and which programs will you migrate to the new system? Gather all relevant assets that need to migrate in order to continue your existing nurture programs.
  3. Gather media assets and images. One of the biggest sources of migration pain is making sure your marketing content comes over too. From ebook PDFs to logos, icons, and even stock images, one of the best ways to ensure a smooth migration to your new marketing automation platform is to make sure you inventory and organize all of it.
    • Pro Tip: Create a complete inventory of media and visual assets with a Google Sheet, and save the assets into an organized system of folders using Google Drive, with appropriate file names. At that point, whoever is helping you migrate will have an excellent source of truth on what to move and where it is.
  4. Reference existing branding requirements. Most established marketing departments have strict branding guidelines, and it’s important to keep those guidelines front and center as you migrate and re-create assets in the new marketing automation system.
  5. Create a list of integrations. What integrations are needed in the new system? First, make a list of the existing technology stack. One of the most important integrations is with your CRM tool.

Marketing automation migration process and support

As you shop for a marketing automation partner, ask about the process of re-creating assets in the new system. This process should be simple so that your team can quickly re-create the relevant assets. Ask your new marketing automation provider for a demo of the re-creation process to understand the ease of use and how you can get your assets into the new marketing automation platform.

Also, think through how you’ll organize the assets. Create folders for each asset type, and then download all relevant files to a specific folder using a zip file. This process makes it faster and easier to group relevant assets. Finally, consider file naming during the migration. As time progresses, marketing staff may come and go, and it’s important that new team members be able to find the files they need through proper naming and organization.

Identify contacts and lists to migrate marketing automation

A jumble of telecommunications wires and cables illustrates the idea of complicated marketing automation migration
Remind you of something? Don’t let your martech stack look like this. Migrate to a new system you can trust.

You have an inventory of assets that need to migrate to the new system. Now you need to consider how your contacts and lists will migrate. Unfortunately, many organizations make the mistake of trying to pull lists from their already-segmented CRM. Although this process works, there is a more effective method to save time and improve data integrity.

Try creating a list of all contacts that is not segmented in your CRM. You can then pull this single list into the new marketing automation tool and segment people using the new tool. This keeps things simple and gives you the valuable opportunity to cleanse the data. Existing databases may have duplicate contacts, creating inefficiencies in your marketing programs. Migration is the perfect time to clean up this duplicate data.

A final tip for identifying contacts to migrate is gathering a list of opt-outs. You can download this data from your existing platform so that you don’t inadvertently contact people who previously requested to opt out. Not only will this keep you compliant with important regulations, but it also will help contact only recipients who are interested in receiving your messages.

Prevent future challenges by locating stakeholders early

One of the most important steps for a seamless migration is identifying stakeholders early in the migration process. Locate “champions” in critical departments (usually including sales and IT, in addition to marketing) to help keep your project moving.

Setting up technical requirements can be frustrating without the support of IT. Schedule a kickoff meeting with relevant departments, and find the appropriate point people in each area to help with migration. For example, you need contact with the Salesforce administrator and the CRM administrator in your company to ensure the integration with your new marketing automation platform runs smoothly. 

Additionally, identify who has permission internally to complete website-related tasks, such as implementing beacon tracking. For example, a marketing department may have a team member internally trained to complete this task, but the responsibility often resides in IT. At times, marketers need to navigate several IT layers to complete beacon tracking. Identifying the right person and processes early helps build the appropriate lead time to complete tasks and keep your projects on schedule.

Avoiding common marketing automation migration mistakes

A miserable looking engineer looks up at the camera, surrounded by computers and broken equipment, in the midst of a marketing automation migration.
Marketing automation migration doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Don’t go it alone: find the right partner.

Marketers often delay migration due to worries about the process, but the good news is that migration can be smooth and easy with a good partner. A critical component is an experienced onboarding team that understands common migration pitfalls and how to avoid them. Common problems include:

  • Bringing your CRM point person late to the party. CRM integration is a common trouble spot for marketers during migration, but it doesn’t have to be a challenge. Instead, bring your CRM information technology contact into the loop early, so if you encounter any challenges, you can move through them quickly.
  • Doing too much too fast. A tried-and-true approach that marketing automation experts take is moving in phases. Your onboarding team should talk about your most important goals and guide you to achieving those goals using a strategic and phased approach.
  • Not having the proper support. During the early weeks of migration, you need a dedicated training team. This team should spend time getting to know your goals and helping chart a clear path to meeting those goals quickly.

Measure your results along the way so you can iterate as necessary and get the most from your new solution. For example, most marketers (61%) identify lead generation as a top goal. So if your goal is lead generation and you’ve generated 1,000 new leads after the marketing automation migration, you’re likely on target. If not, you can often make small changes to improve results, and a good partner can support you along the way.

Finally, remember to test, test, test. The risk for error exists with any tool, which is why the testing process is so important. Every team uses marketing automation differently based on goals. Test tracking codes, and pay specific attention to email formatting. For example, if you’re sending emails, make sure the format is consistent across different email clients. Testing will ensure that you avoid the potential stress and wasted time associated with fixing mistakes and dealing with the potential fallout.

Assembling the team for foolproof marketing automation migration

closeup of busy hands of diverse team members discussing data on a laptop and in paper files on a conference table
It will take a lot of teamwork to complete your marketing automation migration.

Not all marketing automation paths are created equal. Support is a huge variable in ensuring an easy migration process. A critical question to ask when shopping for a new solution is “What happens after I purchase the solution?” The answer should focus on connecting you with strong migration, onboarding and training resources to ensure your success.

Training should include several one-on-one sessions that focus on your immediate goals and how to get value from the new tool quickly. Additionally, you need resources, such as webinars and on-demand training, that will continue to guide you along your journey. This will ensure that you transition to the new tool easily and begin experiencing results faster.

Increasing performance throughout the sales funnel

Migrating to a new marketing automation tool can help you capture more leads and give you back a valuable resource – time.

During the migration, you have an opportunity to evaluate your existing programs and determine what’s working and what isn’t. In a sense, it’s a time to “clean house.” You can strategically select the best programs to bring to the new solution, cleanse your existing data, and ensure that data integrity is achieved.

Additionally, migrating to a new solution provides the opportunity to increase performance at every step in the sales funnel. Increase conversion rates and customer engagement, and nurture customers throughout every stage in their journey. The result is that customers will experience more relevant interactions and build stronger and more meaningful relationships with your business.

Download our Strategic Guide to Making the Switch for More Insights

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