With the New Year kicking in, most people have a little breathing room. With that in mind, I’d like to argue that most Eloqua admins should spend some quality time reviewing their governance processes and policies.
Often, governance is the last thing on people’s minds. I argue it should be the first thing. While the word itself can cause an outbreak of snoring, governance touches so many important aspects it’s difficult to be a success in marketing automation without it.
For clarity, let me define governance as “the processes and standards used to ensure a system is operated so it predictably meets business requirements”. If that sounds boring, let me put it more plainly: It’s the way everyone agrees to use your platform so they don’t mess it up. Joking aside, the keywords are
- Predictable: Good governance ensures all users know what to expect when logging into your system. Things aren’t lost down a black hole and everything can be easily troubleshot if necessary
- Business requirements: Good governance keeps your instance supporting business requirements and prevents bad data & poor customizations — which can degrade reporting, segmentation and personalization — from building up.
If you’ve bought into the need for governance, knowing how and where to start with a strong governance strategy isn’t easy. It requires a solid understanding of your business and buy-in from key stakeholders. For people looking for a primer on crafting a solid plan, here’s a great article that outlines the overall process for a successful Marketing Governance plan. Knowing the process, however, is just a part of the puzzle. Governance is a large area, so here are some key considerations that you should make during your planning process:
When it comes to data governance, you should think about what data is needed to make your data able to be
- Traced back to the source, so that if bad data gets into your instance, you’re able to find the source and prevent it from happening again. This covers not only the data itself, but also the naming conventions and processes used for manual uploads and integrations
- Segmented in a predictable manner. In other words, as much as possible, how can you standardize your data so that users do not have to second guess themselves.
- Reported. In particular, because Eloqua Insight enables you to mix contact data with campaign results, think about what data is needed in order for you to identify your most engaged contacts and valuable leads
In addition to the above, you should also consider data storage and archiving. For example:
- What is your approach to contacts who hard bounce or unsubscribe? If they are to be deleted from Eloqua, will the contact data be stored somewhere else?
- As Eloqua only contains 25 months of activity data, is there an organizational need to archive older data outside of Eloqua for either reporting or legal reasons?
- Given the storage limits on Custom Data Objects, how long do you want to keep records that have been created in a CDO?
One of the benefits of marketing automation is to quickly assemble and report on complex, multi-channel campaigns, as well as reuse various assets in different campaigns. However, these advantages are curtailed if users can’t find those assets or easily tell how the assets are related to each other. In addition to this, poor asset organization will also impact your ability to perform lead scoring, as Eloqua enables you to score users on their engagement on assets contained within specific folders and sub-folders.
Often, Eloqua users start with well intention, but it soon becomes a wild west with assets named poorly, stored in ad-hoc folders or not foldered at all. To ensure that your instance remains easy to search and report on, follow this process for designing the best naming convention and foldering structure.
User Creation and On-boarding
As adoption of your instance grows, not only will you have more users, but also users with different levels of skill. You’ll need a way to not only ensure that users have access to assets and data that are relevant to their roles and skill set, but also that each one is appropriately onboarded. Every instance of Eloqua has a unique data structure, organization, and associated business processes. Ensuring that your users are familiar with those customizations BEFORE they use the system will speed adoption and ensure that governance is followed.
Campaign process and review
When most people think about the campaign process, they normally only consider the campaign brief, which outlines the goals, the associated assets, and campaign flow, and the approval process. While this is important, you should also consider
- Campaign meta-data: Eloqua provides users with the ability to add information about the campaign (for example, region or associated product), which can then be used later in reporting and segmentation. Good campaign meta-data can make it easy for you to identify what types of campaigns perform best and to also create lead nurturing strategies based on engagement with particular types of campaigns.
- Campaign review: while many people report on campaigns, few organizations have a formal, periodic, campaign review process. Without a set process, it will be difficult to consistently improve your marketing strategy and execution. By setting a formal review, you’ll be able to diagnose why certain campaigns did well and build those into your future initiatives.
In time, you’ll want to make more customizations to your Eloqua instance to meet new business requirements or refine your current processes. Doing so in an ad-hoc manner can negatively impact your on-going campaigns, especially if there are unforeseen consequences.
To avoid these, it’s important to have a change management plan. This plan should cover how changes are prioritized, scheduled, tested, communicated to users, and documented. When it comes to documentation, make sure that your layout and standard enable “living” documents. That is, documentation that can be constantly updated as changes are made to your instance. Nothing is worse than documents that are created once and then forgotten and quickly outdated.
There you go. Some quick pointers to help you kick-start your governance policies. If you need any more help or guidance in regards to building or refining your governance plan, feel free to contact us.