Combing through the advantages and functionality of 450+ email service providers (ESPs) or marketing automation platforms (MAPs), gathering use cases, creating a project team, auditing, documenting, organizing data, meeting deadlines, training… Regardless of your industry, team size, or skill set, the steps involved in migrating to a new ESP or MAP may seem daunting—but they don’t have to be.
November’s Litmus Live Day provided insights on not only selecting the platform that best fits your needs but also real-world perspectives on organizing project work and documentation, identifying the “why” to move platforms, and helpful tips on managing questions and ideas. Read on for takeaways and a-ha moments to keep in mind whenever you start investigating your next platform investment.
Creating a successful business case
Jordie van Rijn, consultant and owner of EmailMonday, has helped companies of all industries select and manage platform migrations. Squeezing a laundry list of ideas into an hour long session, I found these tips really relevant:
- Ask for ideas and feedback. While this seems like a no-brainer, getting details from your team early will not only help with managing expectations, it also will help keep everyone motivated throughout the project. Check with your team for their experience in other ESPs, encouraging them to share both positive and negative aspects as a way to avoid those last-minute “hey, are we considering…” questions later on.
- Share your consideration list with non-marketing stakeholders. You may already be planning to include legal or IT teams in your project, but if not, do so! While their involvement may not be as hands-on as others in the team, these experts can review and point out any possible conflicts (think things like security or compliance) before they become bigger, more expensive issues.
- Audit your invoices to help accurately budget for the migration. If you have separate line items for custom work, hosting, or support with your current ESP, there’s a chance you’ll need this in a new technology. As you identify these pieces, jot them down to discuss with your new vendor and work these into your overall budget to avoid a potentially not-great-surprise down the road.
Real-life insights from marketers
As we know, selecting a platform is only the first step in the process (though it’s really the most crucial). After helping lead a migration earlier in the year, Litmus’s own Email Marketing Manager, Jaina Mistry, moderated the second session which featured four marketers who are in the process of, or recently finished, implementing a new ESP.
Our expert panelists represented agencies, higher education, regulated industries, and direct-to-consumer verticals. So naturally, they all had unique approaches to their migration strategies. From all of the insights I noted, I think these tips for success from each of our contributors really stood out:
- Elaine Armbruster: Don’t forget your internal team and their process in this new system. Making sure to document these steps in a visual way will save everyone time and headaches after you go live in your new system, even if the changes are subtle in nature.
- Jon May: Recognize that a migration might benefit not just your email program, but also the workflow of getting campaigns built. New technologies can allow you to innovate on automation and really flex your use of functionality. After all, if moving to a new ESP is partly to help make your life easier, why not explore all of the ways it can do so, whether that’s now or something for the future.
- Chandler Heida: Achievable milestones and little wins…for the win! Equip your team with goals that are easy to accomplish, and lay them out in a logical order so you can efficiently chip away at this process in a stepped manner with the right work prioritized at each point.
- Robert Davidson: Know what you’re looking for before you start looking. It’s easy to get distracted by features that may not actually be what your team needs for success, but writing down your needs will keep you focused on finding the right solution, not just a shiny new thing.
The biggest takeaway from the panel was a focus on documentation.
Writing and reviewing the processes of your current ESP or noting details from meetings in your migration project team helps eliminate possible confusion and serves as a quick reference for questions. It’s also a great way to empower your marketers to investigate functionality that they haven’t used before but may want to leverage for future campaign strategies.
Migration project in your future?
Whatever step you and your team are at in the process of choosing a new platform, you’ll want to refer to our 2019 State of Email Service Providers ebook. This concise guide identifies the most-used technologies, broken down by team size and structure, geolocation, industry, and more. It also includes insights from leading ESPs on the strengths of their platforms, perfect to help you make your considerations as you narrow down your list.