There will be times that as your company grows or your objectives change, you will want to switch marketing automation platforms. Perhaps your current automation provider is lacking features that your company needs. Maybe another automation platform caters better for companies in your industry, or it could simply be a matter of price.
Part 1 of 2: Before you migrate…
Whatever the reason, you may find yourself changing automation providers from time-to-time throughout the lifecycle of your company, and one thing is almost certain—the process is often stressful.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. To help you migrate between marketing automation systems as painlessly as possible we’ve set out these best practices and guidelines for migrating your marketing automation platform.
Look before you leap!
In this two part series, we will take a look at one of the most vital yet overlooked steps in marketing automation platform migration—the time spent before you actually migrate your system.
A good migration strategy begins before you’ve even begun to migrate, and getting all of your processes planned, facts straight and hyperlinks working is what makes the difference between a smooth transition and a rocky start.
There’s an easy 3 step process that you can use to guide your planning processes into a smooth operation.
- Defining your goals
- Making the choice
- Establishing a timeline
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can get started on planning your migration before you start moving and reassigning assets.
1. Defining your goals
If you’re reading this you probably already know how difficult it can be to switch marketing automation platforms. It is not a decision you should take lightly. With this in mind, the first step to strategising your migration is defining your goals for the transition.
Simply put, why are you migrating and what do you expect to get out of it for your business?
- Have you out-grown your current platform?
- What features do you need to continue expanding your business?
- What marketing goals will benefit from the migration?
- Are there any future developments for your current automation platform that will assist you?
- Is usability and user adoption an issue?
- How technically well-trained is your marketing team? Will they be able to adapt easily?
- How reliant is your company on the current automation platform?
Furthermore, it’s important to rank each question in terms of importance and figure out how you can satisfy these questions in that order with the new marketing automation platform.
By defining your goals and establishing what you expect to get out of the move, you will be able to realign your actions towards those goals, making your business decisions informed, effective and with purpose.
2. Making the choice: selecting the right automation platform for your business
Not all marketing automation platforms are created equally. Many automation platforms specialise or tailor for a specific kind of industry, size of company or type of user.
Ultimately, you have to ask yourself: "How will this new marketing automation platform save me time, money and expand my marketing operations with my current team?" This question is not as simple as it seems and can be broken up into smaller, more simple questions.
Here are some of these questions to ask yourself when deciding if an automation company is the right fit for you:
- Who are some of their well-known clients?
- What industry or type of business do they cater for?
- What case studies have they published and what were the stated objectives?
- What functions and features specifically support your company’s interests?
- What packages do they offer?
- What does your current platform lack that other platforms offer?
- How many integrations does the new platform offer?
- Does the new platform have a development roadmap that suits your needs?
Researching a marketing automation platform is one of the most important steps in the stages before the actual migration. It doesn’t make much sense to leave one set of problems and limitations for a new set of different problems and limitations. You want to be sure the next platform you select will allow for the growth you need and the direction you want your business to go.
3. Establishing a timeline
Once you decide which marketing automation platform you’re planning to migrate to, you have to set a date and time for the transition to start. Planning out the whole migration is important as the process can often take a substantial amount of time and disrupt your marketing operations.
The most important aspect of migration is that your leads and customers shouldn’t notice any changes to your marketing communication or campaigns. A solid migration timeline and plan helps ensure that your marketing communication is never disrupted obtrusively for your leads.
Here are some pointers to setting out your timeline:
- Migrations are often a lengthy process
- Focus on migrating section by section if possible rather than all at once
- Look for and eliminate overlaps with the new tool as features come online
- Make room for and expect delays or unexpected occurrences
- Understand that most processes will have to be reconfigured before use
- Item naming and conventions may differ for the same functionality
Many companies get so hung up on the strategy and planning for a full-scale migration that they often never actually migrate. Others decide to migrate complete and immediately and end up being unprepared. The correct way to migrate is slowly, with an established timeline and a well prepared strategy.
The Next Steps
Once you have a solid strategy to move forward with, you’re ready for the main event: the act of migrating your marketing automation and marketing content from one platform to another. Look out for part two of this series in which will cover exactly that and help you perform a smooth and effortless transition.
If you’d like some help with transitioning your marketing automation platform from one to another, or would just like some general guidance on automation or digital marketing, look no further than Demodia.
Demodia is a marketing consultancy that specialises in marketing automation and digital marketing practices that are used by hundreds of companies internationally every day. Demodia has seen the benefits as well as the challenges of marketing automation and can assist you with your campaigns today.
Contact Demodia now, and ask for a consultation to take your business to the next level.