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Using Naming Conventions in Marketing Automation

May 05, 2014 | By Jay Famico

Naming conventions are important in marketing automation because it allows for components to be consistently identified using standard rules.

A naming convention is a way to consistently identify things using standard rules; the resulting name should communicate information about the thing being identified. Naming conventions are important in computer coding and even in the naming of roads (in Manhattan, for instance, roads are sequentially numbered – those that run east to west are labeled “streets” and those that run north to south are called “avenues”). Naming conventions are also critical in marketing automation, in the following ways:

  • Locate. Find a specific tactic or element (e.g. one email among several hundred or a thousand within the marketing automation platform [MAP]).
  • Report. Create dashboards, reports and insights focused on the performance or responses to specific types of tactics or programs.
  • Segment. Isolate a type of tactic or program and its focus area when creating target lists for marketing programs.
  • Message. Alter the messaging used to engage individual contacts and prospects.

When crafting naming conventions, take into consideration how users will locate content, assets and programs, how the company needs to report on tactic and program performance and how it wishes to segment and message to its customer base. These requirements should spur the creation of custom fields or a structured naming process in free text-field “tag” emails, forms, programs and landing pages that exist in the platform. It is not important to list everything you would ever wish to use to search and report against – just the primary elements. It’s better to have five items consistently and accurately populated than 17 items that are inconsistently filled and frequently inaccurate. Here is a short list of key items that SiriusDecisions often sees clients include in marketing automation naming conventions:

  • Offering. Organizations that have more than one product/solution many include a field for recording the primary offering that the program or tactic focuses on.
  • Language. Organizations that market in multiple languages may include a field for noting the language that the tactic or program is in (e.g. Spanish, French).
  • Geography. Organizations that market to multiple geographies or locals (especially where budgeting or cost allocations are geographically based) may include a field for recording the primary geography that the tactic/program focuses on (e.g. North America, APJ, EMEA, ROW).
  • Department. Organizations whose marketing programs are broken up into functions (e.g. channel, field, programs, customer) or other groups that use the platform (e.g. customer support, services) may include a field for recording the primary department the program or tactic falls under.
  • Date. Many organizations include a field that indicates the date the program is slated to go live or the date it was first built. Evergreen or perpetual nurture programs are often given a special designation.
  • Contact type. Organizations that have specific nurture programs focused on distinct contact types (e.g. customers, prospects, partners, influencers) may include a field for contact type.
  • Tactic type. Many organizations include a field that records the type of tactic that the program or element is being used to position (e.g. webinar, trade show, road show, trial).
  • Name. Include the name of the program. In the case of program elements (e.g. an email, form, landing page), the program the element relates to is often the first part of the name, followed by the name of the individual element (e.g. “30 day trial: Email 2 – client testimonial”).
  • Other. Additional information may be placed in this category, which is often used to cover variations of the same program. For example, to provide for one road show that will occur across 10 different cities, you may wish to record each city as a separate entity, but have them logically related to the same program.
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