Your Quick Marketo Implementation Guide and Bonus Checklist


Every company loves a shiny new tool with the power to make their existing marketing processes easier. This is especially the case if that tool is Marketo! 

You (and maybe some of your teams) might be teeming with excitement about Marketo’s potential to streamline your marketing efforts. And if you’re looking to implement Marketo soon, you might be wondering what the fastest, easiest route is to get the ball rolling.

We love that enthusiasm! And we’re excited to share with you how you can ensure a successful implementation plan—complete with an implementation checklist to keep in your back pocket.

Marketo Implementation Timeline

Before we hit the ground running, here’s a pro tip you can’t miss: Don’t let your excitement for Marketo rush your implementation timeline!

Getting Marketo Engage set up the right way, so that it remains an effective tool over time, will be crucial to your success with the platform. So, it’s important to bear in mind that you should expect the timeline we’re sharing here to happen from a handful of weeks to a few months, depending on the complexity of your integration.

That said, generally, your Marketo implementation roadmap can be segmented into four key phases, detailed in the timeline below.

Now that you’ve got a general idea of the process, let’s delve into some more details about each of the steps, and what to expect.

Marketo Implementation Plan

Before you get started with Marketo and launch it into your everyday routines, it’s important to ensure that your setup is as watertight as possible. 

Think of it this way—Marketo is your new, clean slate. Wherever your previous marketing automation system failed or set you back, your new beginning in Marketo is your chance to right any existing issues and invest time into a platform completely built to fit your company.

Documentation and Planning

Documentation is easily one of the most vital steps to ensuring a successful Marketo migration. You need to be as detailed as possible when documenting your existing marketing automation setup.

Here’s an idea of some key things to look at and document:

  • Automations
  • Email programs, and their structure
  • Templates
  • Assets
  • Email lists
  • Forms

Then, once you feel you’ve documented everything you currently use, you’ll need to decide whether these items work for you, or don’t. 

Next in this phase, you’ll also need to begin coordinating with the teams that you expect to assist with the implementation. 

You need to be clear about what each team’s role is and connect with those teams to reach a realistic estimate of the time each portion in this roadmap will take.

This is also a good time to set expectations of the roadmap to users who won’t be implementing, it but who will be involved in the day-to-day usage of the platform once it’s launched.

Technical Setup

Once you have a plan set in stone, you’re going to be heading into the technical phase of implementation. It’s not as intimidating as it may sound, so long as you have the right experts on board!

During this phase, you’ll likely be working with your IT team and development team to establish tech-heavy details like:

  • Users and their roles and permissions.
  • Installation of tracking codes on your website.
  • Integration of Marketo with your CRM and the rest of your relevant tech stack.
  • Creation of (only necessary) Marketo fields within your CRM.
  • Setup of protocols like CNAMEs for your landing pages.

It’s a good idea to spend extra time in this step not just establishing your technical Marketo setup, but also testing it for accuracy.

Foundational Structuring

This stage of your Marketo instance may seem like an easier task than the technical setup, but we can’t stress this enough: Your foundation in Marketo is crucial to your success long-term, so don’t take it lightly!

In this step, you’re setting up the “world” in which all your marketing efforts will live. You want to make sure that the way you’ve built your Marketo instance is the cleanest, most organized, and most effective structure possible.

Remember: It can be incredibly difficult, time-consuming, and costly to fix the entire world your marketing flow has been living in…if it was set up ineffectively at the start.

During this phase, you’ll be building much of the groundwork of your campaigns, including:

  • An organized folder structure (document it clearly).
  • Unified naming conventions that make it easy for you to locate and identify programs (document it clearly).
  • Landing pages designed to drive your key goals effectively.
  • Forms and form strategy.
  • Email programs.

Investing the proper time in building, reviewing, and revising your foundations to fit your needs before you launch will help your Marketo instance benefit your company and teams for many years to come!

Optimize Operations

This step of your implementation journey is all about future-proofing Marketo by optimizing for efficient automation upfront.

During this phase, you’ll want to connect with your sales team so that you can establish vital strategies around your leads, like:

  • Lead scoring.
  • Lead lifecycles.
  • Lead nurturing.

You’ll also be setting your marketing up for success by building things that will help your marketing efficiency, including:

  • Audience segments
  • Templates of frequently used email programs
  • A subscription management center
  • Tokens (strings of code that are replaced with personalized text in emails and landing pages).

Then, you’ll consider how your team should use Marketo analytics tools and configure required reports.

  • Email Performance Reports
  • Campaign Performance Reports
  • Revenue Cycle Analytics
  • Custom Reports

Last but not least, this stage includes setting up training processes and documentation for the teams you plan to onboard to Marketo. 

It’s essential that your teams come into Marketo prepared to use it to its fullest, and knowledgeable about how to maximize the benefits Marketo brings to their marketing efforts.

Marketo Implementation Checklist

Now, we know that every organized process deserves a list of to-do’s.

Remember, every Marketo implementation journey is a little different. That’s why you’ll ultimately need to review your roadmap with your on-hand experts and develop a checklist that speaks to your specific implementation needs.

That said, the checklist below is an excellent place to start. Ready to get the ball rolling toward full Marketo adoption?

Documentation & PlanningDocument:
Any existing automation processesFALSE
Any existing assetsFALSE
Any existing email templatesFALSE
Any existing email listsFALSE
Any existing lead nurture flowsFALSE
Any integrations, existing or anticipatedFALSE
Any formsFALSE
What’s working currently (migrate as-is)FALSE
What’s not working currently (needs to be reworked & rebuilt in Marketo)FALSE
Teams responsible for aiding with the implementationFALSE
Timelines for each team / phaseFALSE
Teams expected to use Marketo once launchedFALSE
Technical SetupEstablish:
User roles and permissionsFALSE
All necessary tracking codes (Munchkin, custom event tracking, etc.)FALSE
Your CRM, and any other relevant platforms, with MarketoFALSE
Marketo-specific fields into your CRMFALSE
Set up:
Protocols for your landing page (CNAMEs, SPF, and DKIM)FALSE
Foundational StructuringEstablish and document:
Folder structure / organizationFALSE
Naming conventionsFALSE
Landing page(s)FALSE
Email programsFALSE
Email templatesFALSE
Set up:
MSI (Marketo Sales Insight)FALSE
Communication LimitsFALSE
Optimize OperationsEstablish:
Lead scoring strategyFALSE
Lead nurture strategyFALSE
Lead lifecycleFALSE
Set up:
Audience segmentsFALSE
Templates for frequently used programsFALSE
Subscription management centerFALSE
Build and document:
Training processes for usersFALSE

Challenges and Considerations

With the right experts at your side, Marketo implementation can be a mostly smooth process. But every implementation process comes with its list of challenges, which even tech-savvy teams might encounter at some point.

Staying ahead of potential challenges is the first step toward minimizing or avoiding their impact.

Universal adoption

Effective adoption of Marketo across all teams that need to be using it may be one of the most important steps toward seeing a true return on investment from the platform. Yet, this is often a hurdle for many companies.

To avoid issues with the adoption of the platform, you’ll need to ensure you have a robust training process in place that not only explains how to use Marketo to its fullest, but also why you’re adopting it, and the specific benefits to each team. 

What pressure points are teams experiencing now that Marketo will resolve, and how?

Integrating your tech stack

Not all CRM (or other) platform integrations are created equal. Some platforms are certainly more straightforward to sync than others. Either way, you’ll need an implementation team fully equipped to provide solutions for your company’s unique needs.

Not only that, a messy CRM with missing, inaccurate, or unorganized data will make integration quite a bit more difficult than a well-oiled CRM. Cleanup is key!

Aligning all teams

Your implementation process will likely touch multiple teams along its path. But if your teams are relatively unconnected, or if communication isn’t clear between team members, migration to Marketo can easily go wrong.

It’s vital to establish roadmaps, timelines, and communication expectations between all teams that will have involvement with your implementation before it starts.

Collaborative lead strategy

The best lead scoring and lead nurturing strategies come from collaboration with sales.

Usually, your sales team will have really clear ideas of what a valuable lead is, how they would score leads, and an effective lead nurturing strategy. So, naturally, they’re valuable resources to consult when building these strategies within Marketo.

Leaving your sales team out of lead-centered strategic discussions can easily create large divides between your marketing and your sales efforts—something no company wants to see.


At this point, you’ve got a clear look at what to expect from your upcoming Marketo implementation. You’ve also got a timeline in mind, a checklist in hand, and know what obstacles to look out for.

But we know first-hand that these three things don’t always mean you’re ready to roll. You probably have a lot of brilliant teams at your company—but they might not necessarily be equipped to handle this migration currently.

That doesn’t mean you can’t still start your implementation journey. At Axamit, our Marketo implementation partners have handled countless migrations from A to Z. If you know you want to move to Marketo stat, but need the resources to do so, our team is here to help!

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