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Marketing Spring Cleaning: Naming Conventions

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by: Darryl Bolduc (@darrylbolduc)
14 April 2016

I'm often asked, "What's the one thing that will get my marketing performing better?" My answer is short and sweet: time. Unfortunately, we all have less time than we’d like to be creative or reflective. However, gaining efficiency can help allow our teams to edge closer to becoming the well-oiled machines we’d like them to be.

Is your operation in need of some organization? Spring is a great time to review the efficiency of your team and the processes that drive what you do every day. From data to creative to deployment, when it comes to digital marketing, efficiency is a key success driver, as you can use the time gained for analysis and invention.

First, though, you have to get to that highly efficient space. In this post, I’ll focus on how to tackle a simple but frequently overlooked item on the spring cleaning list: naming conventions. 

What’s in a Name?

If you’re like many marketers, you may have five similar campaigns that have been named five very different things during the past five months. In addition, there are a bunch of other campaigns housed in your marketing platform that may or may not be like some of the others – if only you could tell by their names.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to clean up your act by deploying new naming conventions. To get you started, I'll provide a couple of specific examples, and you can extend the logic to your business. Trust me, this will become the foundation of a highly efficient production team.

Naming Conventions: A Sampler

Let’s say you’re in banking and you support the mortgage team, the financial services team and the credit card department. They might each have two or more initiatives in the coming months, and you also have a monthly bank newsletter and trigger-based campaigns driven by users submitting an application online. In short, there’s a lot going on.

In this scenario, you’d want to choose a naming convention that incorporates execution, content/department, goal/measurement, version and timing, as the ability to search and organize by each of these could benefit your team. Therefore, your naming convention might look like this:  

  • ADH_MORT_ACQ_NewHomeBuyer_V1_20160430: An ad-hoc mortgage campaign (“ADH_MORT”) focused on acquisition for new home buyers (“ACQ_NewHomeBuyer”), only one version (“V1”), intended for the end of April (“20160430”).
  • SKD_NEWS_RET_Monthly_CC_Newsletter_V03_20160315: A scheduled newsletter focused on retaining current credit card customers, being sent in March.
  • ATM_FNCL_UPS_FinSvc_Whitepaper_V2_20160101: An automated campaign triggered to upsell users reviewing a financial services whitepaper online, and it was revised at the beginning of the year.

These naming conventions can be applied to campaign names, link names, content areas, queries, rule sets, programs, files and folders.

Choosing Names You Won’t Regret

It might seem rudimentary to discussing folder and file organization in the era of super-easy search functionality. But because it’s theoretically so simple to find things using search, many organizations have gotten a little sloppy when it comes folder and file name organization.

So, how should you get started? The key is to choose the one area that’s most important to your organization and drill down from there. So if your program mix is driving the analytics, you’d want to start with something like “Automated,” “Scheduled” and “Ad-Hoc” because you know they’ll need to be measured separately and often perform at different levels.

In the previous banking example, you might have folders by department, but also by program or marketing intent. Since the credit cards department manager may not care about the financial services’ mailing efforts, you might want to build an ability to separate and cluster "like" items into your naming convention. That is where the underscore (“_”) will save your life — it enables you to pivot based on your areas of focus.

This perspective can also be applied when managing common assets for a production team. Say two departments are using the same assets. By creating two files with slightly different names, you can run reports that lend insights into the performance differences, enabling you to drill down into the divergent tactics that produced these results rather than battling over creative.

This is a much more analytical, data-driven marketing approach. And if you can apply these naming conventions, or "smart codes," to areas like indexing, tags, metadata and other aspects of your marketing, it will nudge your team efficiency in the right direction.

Folder and file naming doesn’t sound exciting. But with your new naming conventions in place, you’ll be able to take act quicker, glean new perspectives, and launch that project you’ve been thinking about for eons – and that’s something to get psyched up about. Happy spring cleaning!

Get More Efficient:

1) Ebook: “Ultimate Guide to Assessing Your Digital Marketing Program

2) Blog: “Marketing Un-Predictions: Your Action List for the Year Ahead

3) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Becoming an Agile Marketing Team




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