A marketing automation implementation is a big task. It’s a multi-month project that, if done well, can be a transformative process for a marketing department. Before starting, there are a few actions you can take to ensure a smoother process and more successful outcome. Here are three things you can do before the implementation that will help ensure an easier transition.

Know Your Goals

It’s important from the beginning of a marketing automation implementation to have a very clear, succinct set of goals that go beyond your immediate needs for implementation. Look to your department’s quarterly or annual goals or something larger and more general. What essential role in your organization does marketing perform, and what actions will you be executing in your new platform that support these goals?

When approaching an implementation from this lens, it becomes much easier to prioritize tasks and ensure you’re set up for success. This can help avoid a common pitfall where your focus quickly turns to learning and adopting the new tool. Dive deep into how your current marketing activities will be performed in Eloqua, Responsys, or other marketing automation tool, and how this new platform will drive your department’s and organization’s success. These questions are more important than ones that uncover how activities will be executed.

Focus on the Data

This is an opportunity for a fresh start, to right old data wrongs and get organized. Set time aside ahead of the implementation to cleanse and normalize your data wherever possible. Create a data dictionary or update the one in existence. Standardize and normalize picklists. Look to see if all your checkbox fields use the same “true/false” or “1/0” values and other housekeeping tasks.

As you work through these items, start to determine which data needs to be stored in your marketing automation platform. Keep in mind the 5 critical use cases for storing data in the tool to determine where and how each datapoint will fit into the platform. Evaluate field by field to determine how, or if, the data can be useful to one of these categories. If not reconsider whether this data truly needs to be in the tool.

  • Segmentation — Will it be used to create lists for emails and campaigns?
  • Personalization — Is the data needed to populate emails or landing pages?
  • Campaign/Program flows — Will the data be used to determine how a contact goes through a nurture or welcoming campaign?
  • Analytics — Does the data inform or support your KPIs?
  • Sales Enablement — Is the data pertinent to Sales and will it be useful in determining how Leads are handled in CRM?

Having a clear understanding of the purpose of each data point and knowing that it’s been cleansed for consistency and accuracy will help you work more efficiently in your platform. This isn’t about moving old junk out of a garage and into a storage unit, it’s a chance to evaluate, edit and improve.


Success is going to require the involvement of multiple departments. IT will need to be actively involved in updating DNS records of your email and landing page subdomains. Web services teams are often needed to help migrate and implement marketing automation forms and deploy tracking scripts on your websites. Analytics will need to integrate new sets of data coming from your various marketing technologies into your BI tools.

A great deal of work will need to be done outside of Marketing. Ahead of kick-off, reach out the heads of these departments to raise awareness, get buy-in, set expectations and establish relationships. It’s also a good time to address conflicts that could impact the implementation.

Putting in time ahead of an implementation for these items will pay off in the long run. Knowing what you want to get out of the project, focusing on the data that drives your marketing automation, and communicating across teams will set you up for success throughout the implementation and well beyond. Need some assistance? We’d love to help. Contact us today!

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