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Learning New Marketing Automation Software? How to Cope

In my past marketing life, I was a HubSpot user. You know – sprockets, “smarketing”, inbound and all that fun stuff.  HubSpot’s product, people and resources were all incredibly important to me early in my career as a marketer. I drank, nay, I guzzled, that orange kool-aid. I was a huge fangirl. One of my most prized positions is my Brian Halligan-signed copy of Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. To this day some of my favorite marketing chums are still HubSpotters and HubSpot alumni. 

But when you evolve as a marketer and seek new opportunities you often find yourself in strange and unfamiliar territory. How strange? Very strange. You see, the Lattice #MKTGnerd squad has quite the roster of Eloqua royalty. Have you heard of my buddies Brian, Elle and Heather? They’re kind of “big deals” in Eloqualand. Before I started as the Marketing Programs Manager at Lattice, I was mentally preparing myself that I’d likely have to become an Eloqua user if I took the job.

However, there was one issue with my assumption: Lattice uses Marketo.

Yes, dear reader, I, Sam Coren, loyal HubSpot user for half of a decade, found myself in a purple world with Eloqueens & Elokings. Luckily, the transition hasn’t been totally terrifying. We have Marketo poweruser Jenna Keegan for a Marketing Operations Manager who has been navigating me along the way and answering my silly questions. I still feel like I have a good ways to go learning the ins and out of Marketo, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get what I need to done.

So if you find yourself in a similar boat of having to learn a new marketing automation platform, regardless of what software you’re switching to, here’s my advice for making the transition less jarring:

1. Stop Comparing Your Old Marketing Automation Platform to Your New One

Not only will this drive you insane, but it will drive your co-workers insane. Yes, the UI is different. Yes, the way you build your lists is different. Yes, the way you organize nurturing campaigns is different. Yes, the reporting is different. HEY DOROTHY, YOU’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE – GET OVER IT.

It’s time to forget all the paradigms for marketing automation features and functionality set before you by your old platform. If you don’t? Learning your new platform will become much harder than learning your first one.

2. Don’t Be a Bull in a China Shop: Build Your Own Learning Assets

When you first log into your new marketing automation platform, it can be very tempting to poke around with what’s already there to figure out how the different features work. But if you have multiple people users on the same instance, it can be extremely easy to mess up someone’s hard work without even realizing it (I’m looking at you Smart Lists…). Make your own “dummy” landing pages, forms and campaigns to avoid messing with anything that’s currently live.

3. Join the User Communities Online and Offline

Pretty much all the major marketing automation platforms have some form of user community. Whether hosted on their own sites or on third-party social media. LinkedIn has user groups for just about everything. User forums are typically the best places to find out about bugs, best practices and new features.

Additionally, while many of the marketing automation software companies run their own huge annual conferences – there are several smaller, local meet ups that occur (like the Marketing Nation Roadshow). Smaller user group events can be less intimidating and more valuable to newbies since it gives you the opportunity to talk shop with other marketers directly about how they use the product.

4. Look Into Getting Certified

So you’re still having a hard time letting go of your old platform? Give yourself something to work towards so you can keep up your motivation when learning. Most marketing automation vendors have a form of certification program and formalized training for them. Here are a few examples:

Marketo Certified Expert Eloqua Modern Marketing Luminary Program HubSpot Certification Silverpop Engage Certification

Written by

Sam Coren
June 16, 2014