8 considerations for shared vs. multiple marketing automation instances

By Karin Pindle

“Remember that the only thing constant in life is change,”

said Buddha; as is true in the business world. Companies grow, acquire other companies, consolidate Marketing teams, divide up Marketing teams, and are always changing. With that, your marketing needs change. So, how do you successfully adapt your marketing automation platform (aka MAP) with this constant change? We won’t kid you and say it’s easy peasy, but it’s also not wicked hard when you’ve been there and done that multiple times with many companies like we have.

Common “company change” use cases impacting Marketing and often IT and that we’ve helped our customers with:

  • We just bought a company who has a MAP and need to migrate their MAP and team into our existing MAP. Sometimes the MAPs are the same tool but often, they are different such as migrating a Marketo instance into an existing Eloqua instance or vice versa
  • We just bought a company who does not have a MAP and need to migrate their people and processes into our existing MAP.
  • We have multiple Marketing teams and they see our team’s success with our MAP so they want to tap into our MAP (migrate into it) and we’re not sure if we should migrate them into our existing MAP instance or recommend they buy their own instance.

The first step is determining if you can all play nicely in one shared MAP instance or if indeed an additional MAP instance(s) is needed. Sometimes, you have no choice; higher ups tell you that you must all play nicely in one shared MAP, the existing MAP. Other times, they leave it to the Marketing and IT teams to figure out. This is a decision that can cost your company a lot of time, money, and headaches if done wrong. So, don’t do it wrong…do it right. We’re here to help you learn how.

Carefully consider each team’s needs around people, processes, and technologies and also, what your current MAP capabilities are. To design the optimal MAP architecture (1 vs. multiple MAP instances), evaluate these 8 items:

  1. Integration Capabilities: setting up multiple integrations with one MAP instance and the customizations to make that work vs. each MAP instance having unique integrations like with CRM.
  2. Activities View in CRM: single vs. consolidated view (by the team that marketed to them) of a person’s tracked activities and how this data is displayed in CRM. Sometimes, Sales wants to see all of their activities regardless of what products and/or services were marketed to the person. Other times, Sales only wants to see the person’s activities related to specific products and/or services.
  3. Ownership/Maintenance: general MAP administration typically involves less time and effort with one MAP instance vs. many but admins must have proper training to maintain shared MAP instance guardrails and customizations.
  4. Feature/Functionality: understand what your current MAP instance has for features like will it allow for multiple scoring engines to be active at the same time? Will it allow the MAP to integrate with more than one CRM instance? For instance, Marketo does not, but Eloqua does.
  5. Assets and Data Security: sharing assets (emails, landing pages, campaigns, etc.) and the contacts/leads database in the MAP vs. keeping them separated/unique to each team. Sometimes compliance dictates what must be done here.
  6. Email Subscription/Preference Management: must properly account for managing global and team-level subscribes and unsubscribes to stay compliant; may require custom email subscription centers if in one MAP instance.
  7. Reporting: separating each team’s metrics possible in one MAP instance but requires more setup vs. with separate MAP instances, the metrics would inherently be separate. Marketing attribution reporting per team should be a requirement if it isn’t already so consider how this is achieved natively or with a custom solution.
  8. Costs (Product and Services): almost always costs less to pay for one shared MAP instance vs many. Usually costs less to setup one MAP instance to be shared vs. setting up separate MAP instances.

Often times, sharing one MAP instance is the most cost efficient, time saving, and optimal architecture, but must have the proper guardrails in place. If it does not, the teams sharing it will want to poke each other’s eyes out, as may Sales, if they don’t get the correct leads assigned to the correct salespeople, etc.

In a nutshell, this is a decision that should be discussed with the help of an independent third party like us. Why? We will help dissect and moderate the varying needs and opinions of each team by using our firsthand experience doing projects like this dozens of times with success.

Contact Us today to start the conversation and hopefully, tackle this fun, important project together!

About the author:

Karin is a marketing automation expert and guide driven by achieving measurable Marketing and Sales results while helping companies grow revenue intelligently and quickly.

Karin Pindle

Senior Marketing Automation Consultant and Guide

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