It’s every marketer’s nightmare scenario: Work tirelessly to develop a seamless process. Create numerous workflows and automations. Define customer journeys. Identify and segment your contacts. Only to hear those four dreaded words:
“END OF LIFE ANNOUNCED”
And suddenly it seems as though all that hard work has been shattered. Bronto users felt it recently with the announcement of their platform’s sunsetting. Now SAP Marketing Cloud customers are feeling that sinking emotion. Plus the question: How do we move what feels like a mountain of progress without letting on to our customers that anything has changed at all?
The end of life for your marketing platform, however, doesn’t have to mean the end of the world for your business’s marketing strategy. In fact, a marketing platform migration is an ideal time to take a holistic look at your technology, capabilities, and goals for digital marketing initiatives and make steps towards innovation for the future.
As experts in the fields of digital marketing strategy, martech, and all things marketing automation – and migration partner of many platforms including Emarsys, an SAP Company – here’s a brief checklist to get you through this process.
DETERMINE YOUR CURRENT STATE, ROADBLOCKS, AND FUTURE GOALS
In order to determine where you should be heading, you first need a clear understanding of where you currently are. Gorilla starts every migration process with several discovery workshops to identify each organization’s unique campaign creation and execution process, surface any gaps in resource mix or platform functionality, and understand the prioritization for near-term and long-term marketing goals, whether that be Personalization, Loyalty, Innovation, or anything else. SAP Marketing Cloud users should specifically examine their current workflows, customer journeys, and channels they are currently utilizing. From there they can identify any success factors, gaps, or areas of improvement for future initiatives in order to hit the ground running.
IDENTIFY YOUR BEST-FIT PLATFORM(S)
Once you have a solid understanding of where you are and where you’d like to be, it’s time to assess the best way for your organization to get there by selecting a new platform. The ideal platform is always the better of many variables. Gorilla Group examines all aspects of choosing a new platform: your current technology stack and the ease of integration; fundamental out-of-the-box platform functionality that your team has identified as “must-haves”; a UI that matches your current team’s capabilities, or can be easily adopted by your business users; and special features that will help your organization advance those marketing goals and shrink the roadblocks you’ve identified in the previous step. For SAP Marketing Cloud users, Emarsys provides many of the same integration capabilities and several enhanced capabilities over SAP Marketing Cloud, especially in the areas of campaign asset creation and automation/execution.
PLAN YOUR MIGRATION TIMELINE
A marketing migration doesn’t follow your typical software migration period with hard cut-offs. The need to preserve your organization’s sender reputation involves a well-thought-out schedule of IP warming that should be determined prior to beginning any migration tasks, especially if you are migrating from a platform that has a sunset deadline. Gorilla migrations take into account these IP warming periods and plan out an overlapping schedule to ensure none of your customers or contacts are left out during this transition period, as well as providing guidance on other lengthy procurement periods and processes such as any short-code migrations for SMS extensions. This also includes switching platforms on the same provider; users of SAP Marketing Cloud moving to Emarsys should also take into account an IP warming period even though both products are part of the SAP family, as email clients such as Google will still identify a new sender profile.
DATA & ASSET PRIORITIZATION
Think of it as spring cleaning for your marketing database. When was the last time you took a look at your contact data? Or spruced up your email templates? A migration is a perfect time to assess your marketing assets, data, and workflows/automations to determine what’s working and what’s not. Gorilla performs and highly recommends these prioritization exercises before, during, and after your migration in order to make sure you are taking everything of value with you from your legacy system and saying farewell to the rest. And once you’re there, Emarsys’s dynamic segmentation capabilities make it easier than ever to identify incorrect, bounced, and obsolete customer data.
After all that is said and done, it’s time for the fun to really begin. Migrations should be done in close collaboration with either a platform provider or a qualified integrator like Gorilla Group in order to ensure that all data is transferred in a timely, accurate, and secure manner. Apart from the migration itself, there may be configuration and setup activities needed in your new platform as well as integrations with the rest of your technology stack to develop, build, and connect. And depending on your legacy platform and the new system, some things such as templates or automations may need to be recreated from scratch (or created net new, if you’ve decided it’s really time for a change!). Once that is done, this is a good time to get your team trained on the new system and any process changes that may be put in place. For new Emarsys users, SAP’s Learning Hub contains a variety of helpful training materials as well as certification courses for those who want to up their expertise.
IP WARMING AND SUNSET
As we’ve mentioned, just because your new platform is up and running does not mean your legacy system is done for good. There’s still the matter of IP warming that must occur, and that involves incorporating the volume of your entire marketing database gradually, in order to build and maintain your sender reputation and prevent your messages from getting relegated to the spam box. This is also an opportune time to identify and segment those users that are the most engaged and loyalists to your business, and those that may not exist at all anymore. When IP warming is complete you can shift all your focus to your new system and settle in. You moved mountains, and your path to digital transformation in marketing is off to a great start.