Article

Tim Biddiscombe
Tim Biddiscombe 16 July 2020

Martech Migration

The martech landscape has always been complex, but with more and more new ways to engage customers, it becomes even more challenging to navigate the different concepts and capabilities – all too often we’ve seen the impact of a wrong turn. For an organisation to successfully migrate their marketing automation technology to a new provider, the key areas of functionality must be explored in detail, audited and documented.

The martech landscape has always been complex, but with more and more new ways to engage customers, it becomes even more challenging to navigate the different concepts and capabilities – all too often we’ve seen the impact of a wrong turn.

For an organisation to successfully migrate their marketing automation technology to a new provider, the key areas of functionality must be explored in detail, audited and documented. For example, a key functional area of assessment often overlooked is the non-marketing activity being undertaken within the marketing automation software, which can include data processing, manipulation and other ETL activity. The destination migration for this may not be the destination martech system, so great care must be taken.

To start with, we should look at the reasons why martech has changed. The current solution may be an unsupported legacy platform, or perhaps the people who understand how to use it have left, perhaps you have outgrown its capabilities, or it may have simply fallen out of favour. It’s no secret that every CMO has their favourite darling when it comes to martech, with their deep respective histories in CRM and creativity, Salesforce and Adobe are often near the top of that list. Unica are long known as the swiss army knife of the marketing automation world, not to mention Acoustic with their AI powered products, SAS for their analytical depth and Pega with their intuitive real-time capabilities also top that list.

Gartner's comprehensive report is a must read for all marketing leaders - Gartner Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Marketing Hubs.

Whatever the reason, once the decision has been made to move your provider, a measured approach should be taken to selecting a new vendor, a feature / function analysis can help you understand which vendors you should be talking to, and if you have the resources to run it, an RFP is an effective business tool to ensure you make the best decision not just for features and functions, but also for value and ROI.

It is recommended to allow at least 6-9 months for the average martech migration, including extensive and detailed planning, a lengthy migration activity followed by a period of parallel running to ensure you have extracted all your IP and value from the incumbent solution prior to decommissioning it. An agile sprint project management methodology is perfectly suited to the timeboxed activities involved in a migration exercise.

A well-executed martech migration is not just a lift and shift exercise either, often the decision to move is driven by the greener pastures of more cutting edge technologies that you wish to leverage, so the migration will also be an adaptation to news ways of working, new capabilities that will form the core of your digital marketing going forwards. It’s vitally important to not fall into the trap of simply replicating the ways of old in the new tool, because that isn’t how you will extract all the value from the not inconsiderable investment in a new tool.

It was George Santayana who put it best:

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

It is for these reasons that moving vendors can quickly become a complex and daunting undertaking. Great care must be taken to mitigate risk and ensure successful project delivery.

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