Have you noticed any difference in how your marketing automation (MA) platform performs over time? Or how long it takes for the common, everyday tasks required to get those campaigns going?
Marketing automation platforms are like cars. You should always follow a regular maintenance schedule to keep your system running efficiently. Ready to take a look under the hood and fine-tune that engine? Below are some maintenance guidelines for keeping that well-oiled MA platform running.
We all know that organization is key, but quick deadlines can be your enemy. With a disorganized folder structure, you fall victim to saving assets where they are most accessible, such as the Uncategorized folder in Pardot or unfoldered in Marketo and Eloqua.
They say a cluttered desk(top) is a sign of a cluttered mind. Whether or not that’s true, the ability to quickly locate and access the files, assets, and images you need definitely saves precious brainpower and time for more important tasks. Here are a few ways to clean up your folder structure:
1. First, create a folder and name it “Unfiled.” Move all assets that aren’t living in a folder at the moment to the Unfiled folder temporarily to help keep them out of the way while reorganizing your folder structure.
2. Next, consider renaming current folders with the year appended to the beginning of the folder name. This makes it easy for you to quickly move these to an archive folder at the end of the year. One suggestion we like to make is to use the following folder structure below for easy archiving at the end of the year:
3. Remember that “Unfiled” folder that you just created that contains all loosely saved programs and assets? Go ahead and file them in their appropriate folder.
4. Now, let’s tackle those old templates and images that you either don’t or can’t use anymore:
- Event-, tradeshow-, and webinar-specific banner images
- Email and landing page templates that no longer follow brand guidelines
- Emails and landing pages used for testing templates
- Old logos that no longer represent the current company logo
- Stylesheets that are no longer in use
- Forms that are no longer in use (you may want to consider using global forms rather than creating a form for every marketing initiative)
The list can go on and on, but this is a good place to begin.
After you’ve taken a moment to enjoy how easy it is to find what you need now, let’s move on to the big stuff: your database. Regardless of which MA platform you use, it wouldn’t be surprising if your subscription model is based on the number of records you have in your database. This includes marketable and non-marketable leads.
1. First, the low-hanging fruit. Whittle down the size of your database by removing the records that you can’t even market to. A good way to determine how much room you can save is to build segments or smart lists that calculate the number of:
- Records that are missing an email address or marked as invalid
- Records that are unsubscribed
- Records that are duplicates
- Leads that have been inactive in the past 12 months
This may sound like it’s just a handful of leads, but you’ll be amazed at how many non-marketable records are taking up precious space. But, before hitting the DELETE button, it is highly recommended you download that data and save it outside of your system — just in case.
2. As you continue to work through your database, keep an eye out for any trends so that you can create an ongoing operational program that will clean up your database moving forward. For example:
- If you find that there are a lot of leads coming in with missing email address values, create a program that will automatically delete these records.
- If you notice that a lot of these empty email address fields are coming from list imports, put a process in place where a user must delete all rows where email address is blank in the CSV file before importing the list into the MAP.
3. Or, maybe you already have an operational program in place, but you’ve noticed some uninvited guests are still making their way into your database. Verify that the program is still working as it should.
This brings us to the next topic: reviewing your operational programs. If your marketing automation platform is like a car, then your operational programs are the transmission. They contain all these gears that work together to allow leads to move where they need to at a specific time. If leads aren’t moving when and where they should, then these programs are ready for a tune-up.
While reviewing these programs, ask yourself:
1. Is this program doing what it’s supposed to do? When a new lead enters your database, is this program normalizing the lead’s data? If not, what is this program missing that could prevent this from happening?
2. Does the program still work with your current process? Is a task being created or an alert email being sent when a lead becomes an MQL, and is that lead being routed internally to the correct person? When a person subscribes to your list, are they receiving a double opt-in email to confirm, where needed?
3. Are any updates needed to refine how the program works? Are all the steps a new lead goes through occurring in a timely fashion? Or, are there other programs that are working against this particular program? When a lead syncs to the CRM, is it before or after all of the data normalization has occurred?
4. Are there any other requirements needed to help guide your leads to becoming qualified?
Is your marketing automation platform ready for a tune-up?
Keeping a clean and well-organized marketing automation platform can go a long way. While the initial task of cleaning things up may seem daunting, you’ll be surprised by how much more efficient and effective your platform will become over time.
Just like a properly maintained car, your marketing automation platform will help you get where you need to go with ease. Creating and launching campaigns will no longer seem like a scavenger hunt, and you’ll also be sure that you are sending to an active audience while using the most current, on-brand templates and assets.
Want a jump-start on cleaning up your database? DemandGen offers customized Marketing Automation Assessments for the most popular platforms, along with several Data Services offerings, including data optimization, normalization, and validation services.
Beverly Benito is a Marketo-certified and HubSpot-certified expert with extensive experience working in Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua, and Pardot. As an Implementation Architect, she helps DemandGen clients with campaign strategy and execution, lead management, reporting and analytics, and platform migrations. Drawing on her past experience as a campaign specialist, she also helps clients manage their advanced lead nurture and engagement programs. Beverly is passionate about learning new technology, coming up with creative solutions, and helping clients get the most out of their marketing automation platform.