By Natalie Boyd

Moving to a new place is always exciting, but as exciting as it is it also requires quite a bit of planning and most importantly, attention to detail. You will most likely have a checklist to go through to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks and you don't leave anything important behind. 

Moving always forces us to reckon with our stuff. Migrating from another marketing automation tool into Marketo is no different. Here’s a checklist for the planning and packing stage of your Marketo migration. We’ve made it as thorough as possible.

1. Document Your Migration Goals

It’s easy to get caught up in the details, but what are you hoping to achieve? What opportunities does your migration open up? Here are a few questions to work through with your team:

      • What are our goals? Identify your north star now. Document it, then celebrate later.
      • What’s working well? Post-launch, those programs should be your top priority. 
      • What’s not working? This is your moment to scrap anything useless.
      • How do we want to change? Fresh starts can force new habits for you and other users.
      • Which data matters? Rearticulate which data actually informs your marketing strategy. 
      • Which can go in storage? Which data can you analyze now, and then sunset? Be bold.
      • What can get off our plates? Make sure you have time to rebuild and relearn.

2. Create a Marketo Migration Checklist

By the time the ink is dry on your Marketo contract, people should already have a high-level sense of what’s coming. Here’s a short list of folks who should know their roles in advance:

      • Project manager: Lead the implementation plan; communicate honestly.
      • CRM administrator: Plan the order of your sync; lead any special integration needs.
      • IT/Web team: Domain setup (to-do list); tracking code; any landing page redirects. 
      • End users: Buy into the timeline, any blackout dates, and onboarding expectations.
      • Marketing executives: Set realistic expectations and timelines; advocate for staff resources.
      • Whoever you usually forget to loop in: Don’t forget a thorough internal communication plan!

Download Now: Marketo Migration Checklist

3. Deep Clean Your CRM

Sweeping out the dusty corners of your CRM should be priority No. 1. Marketo charges based on the number of people in your database. Plus, it chooses from duplicate records at random when logging activity history. As you clean out, be sure to:

      • De-duplicate your CRM leads and contacts as much as you can pre-migration.
      • Understand your CRM administrator’s strategy for managing duplicates going forward.
      • Assess disengaged leads. Clarify your strategy for who stays in your database and why.

4. Organize Your Current Marketing Platform

As KonMari Method organizing expert Marie Kondo would ask, Does that holiday e-blast from 2007 spark joy? If not, thank it for its service and move on. It doesn’t need to come with you.

      • Communicate that you will not migrate completed campaigns into Marketo.
      • Identify active campaigns that will need to be moved seamlessly.
      • Identify the templates and assets that end users will need right away.
      • If you have competing email templates floating around, decide which to move. 

Clicks, opens, and other campaign performance data will not migrate easily. Neither will activity history—at least, not without substantial time from a developer. Your easiest option is to start fresh. Here are some steps to consider:

      • If you won’t be migrating activity data, take the time to analyze and draw insights now.
      • To retain current lead scores, move them into a CRM field before your migration. 
      • Have a clear business reason for retaining data? Scope a development project ASAP.

5. Export and Document Everything

After a move, you will thank yourself for labeling everything (and not accidentally packing the car keys). The same is true during a migration. Export and document everything, specifically:

Things that Are Coming with You


      • URLs for existing landing pages (they will need redirects)
      • Redirects to existing landing pages (see considerations for Pardot users)
      • Lead scoring logic (so you can recreate it)
      • Any regional differences in unsubscribe/preference page language requirements

Download or Export:

      • Images to re-upload
      • The HTML for emails you will recreate 
      • Reports for campaigns you will recreate
      • Member lists for campaigns you will recreate
      • Localization information and dynamic content for campaigns you will recreate
      • Your hard bounced emails list (to re-upload after your sync); pull right before the switch
      • Suppression/blacklists right before the switch 
      • For GDPR: Unsubscribes, unsubscribe date, and opt-in date
      • Any leads not synced with your current CRM (for reupload after your CRM sync)
      • Your list of current users with their permission levels

Things that Are Not Coming with You

      • Screenshot and/or save the HTML for campaigns you are leaving behind.
      • Pull reports and export campaign analytics for campaigns you are leaving behind.
      • Identify any plugins or partner tools that will need different solutions in Marketo.
      • Identify any data quality processes that could become operational programs in Marketo.

6. Measure Your Space

It’s no good packing a grand piano if your new third-floor walk-up doesn’t have a service elevator. Before you move into Marketo, understand the lay of the land.

      • Get to know how workflows and naming conventions differ from your current tool.
      • Help others understand as well and start building a training plan for your end users.
      • Decide whether or not you need a sandbox and/or partitions.
      • Review Marketo’s quick wins guide and put a 90-day plan in place.

Map Out Your CRM Sync

      • Talk with your CRM admin about any fields you may want to add before syncing.
      • Decide if you will mirror campaigns in Marketo and Salesforce (helpful for retaining data).
      • Game out your sync order with your Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics administrators. 
      • Plan ahead: FYI that if you merge or change CRMs, you will need a new Marketo instance.

Make Key Setup Decisions in Advance

      • Identify who gets to liaise with Marketo support (you only get a couple contacts).
      • Choose a landing page CNAME (i.e., “”).
      • Choose a CNAME for tracked links in emails (i.e., “”).
      • Decide on your folder naming conventions (this matters in Marketo—start here and here).
      • Identify your essentials. Which key programs and templates do you need to rebuild first?

7. Set Up Your New Marketo Instance

Once you’ve made those decisions, you can follow Marketo’s Setup Checklist. If you paid for Marketo’s Launchpoint onboarding consulting, some of these will be done with you.

Initial Setup

      • Add admin users and support contacts.
      • Set up domains and cookies (instructions for IT).
      • Set up email deliverability.
      • Communicate any blackout dates and pause programs in your old tool.
      • Sync your CRM (links to admin instructions).
      • Add any leads not in your CRM.

After the Basics Are in Place

      • Populate your Marketable Persons list; add hard bounces and blacklists to your database.
      • Build out your folder structure.
      • Build essential email templates.
      • Build essential landing pages (from Marketo Champion Greg Ahn Su: Don’t forget favicons!).
      • Send emails to small audiences at first to warm up your IP.
      • Monitor click/open/spam rates to confirm strong deliverability.
      • Add, train, and onboard your users.

8. Celebrate Success

Finally, order a pizza and celebrate! There is still lots left to do, but you can sleep easy knowing you have your marketing automation house in order.


Considering migrating from your current platform into Marketo? Don’t know where to start? Make the process smoother with our

Marketo Migration Checklist

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Natalie Boyd

About the author

Natalie Boyd is a Marketing Specialist at SmartBug Media with 10 years of experience supporting in-house, freelance, and agency clients. She is passionate about using inbound marketing to help businesses succeed and make meaningful connections with their target audience. Read more articles by Natalie Boyd.

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