We often think of the end of the year as a time of wrapping up and getting ready for the next year. However, the beginning of a new year might be even more suitable for that. The main reason is that lots of processes have to be fully finalized before we can start making adjustments; there are often last-minute campaigns – who didn’t send Happy Holidays emails right before going home? Besides, approaching infrastructural and strategic work is better with a clear mind, refreshed and recharged during the holidays’ break, and a solid understanding of what we want to achieve this year.
Generally speaking, the beginning of the year is a kind of reset for marketing operations people. It’s a time to clean up and organize our work for 2020, dig into what was done last year, learn and share the lessons, and make improvements – before jumping into the 2020 fever. It’s so much easier to accomplish before the primary activities are rolled out, so you don’t need to change horses in midstream.
What might you look for? How to start the new year to secure the best possible results?
- 2019 Reporting and 2020 Reporting framework.
Reporting is probably the key task that can’t be done immediately. In many environments, you need to let data “settle down,” ensure that users have enough time to load, update, and tag data before you can start crunching numbers. As a good citizen, you might want your business counterparts to review the reports before they go to upper management. Comprehensive reporting is commonly causing rounds of data cleansing, troubleshooting, and correcting – make sure you allocate enough time for the data prep.
When reporting, keep track of all the ripples you come across. That might include missing data, double counting (when the same action is logged twice due to non-optimal program setup), duplication, difficulty with tagging, and sorting. That is also a perfect way of diagnosing overall marketing/revenue operations and processes – something less tangible, but super important.
If that is your first “big” reports, don’t expect them to be perfect, but rather consider this work as finding baselines, gathering key observations that you can develop over time into a robust reporting framework.
- Setting up goals and KPIs and Roadmap 2020.
It’s time to finalize your priorities for 2020 and the way you will measure your progress. It is also a useful exercise in expectations management. Think of both measurable results as well as principles your team wants to follow. If you were overwhelmed and overloaded in 2019 – what can you do better this year? What resources do you need? What boundaries do you need to establish, what partnership to develop, new behavior to encourage?
Depending on the marketing ops’ structure and functions, your KPIs might have neither number of leads, nor sourced opportunity, but instead implementing strategic projects that enable the business to generate that revenue. It's beneficial to think of your KPIs not retrospectively, in terms of activities you usually perform, but rather where you can add the most value, and bring the right focus and priority into your daily routine.
A roadmap is aiming to translate your strategic goals into tactical plans and milestones, especially in a framework of enhancing Marketo and martech stack. A great example of Marketo Maturity model can be found here.
Need some inspiration for 2020 initiatives? Take a look at B2B marketing prediction for 2020 in the CMO blog.
- CCPA Readiness.
On Jan 1, 2020, CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) went into effect, and strictly speaking, your company should have already been ready. Here are a few resources to check your CCPA readiness (DigitalPi Webinar, Champion blog post, Certification Study group post).
It’s important to note that in 2019, there were a few more state laws enacted - Nevada’s Consumer Privacy Law, New York Privacy Act (the “SHIELD Act”), and Washington State’s Privacy Law. It is evident that consumer privacy is getting high traction with legislators, and we can undoubtedly expect more regulations to come. The main direction is to ensure that business is transparent about the data collection, enable individuals to opt-out from unnecessary data gathering, as well as request personal data to be shared, corrected, and deleted.
Archiving is another big part that often has to wait until all Marketo reporting is done. I find archiving a sort of therapy or symbolic procedure: you finally move on, put away your darlings, and start a new chapter. Also, it gives a good sense of the volume and variety of the work done last year, helps to spot execution related issues (e.g., too many assets were created, but underutilized; programs were set up, but never launched; redundant programs, etc.).
A few tips on archiving:
- Keep the same folder structure in the Archived folder as in active folder. When archived, assets are no longer “searchable”, so you do want to keep them as organized and easy to find as possible.
- Archiving is not stopping your campaigns from running. Ensure deactivating trigger campaigns and recurrent campaigns, turning off your engagement programs.
- Unapprove landing pages and consider deleting forms. The challenge with the forms is that once approved, there is no way to unapprove a form, so technically, you might unapproved all landing pages, but an old and non-compliant form can be out there, embedded in a web page.
- Multiple LP deleting and unapproving tips are here.
- If you are using Revenue Explorer, archiving is hiding your programs from it. However, in Marketo analytics, you can pick both active and archived assets.
- Center of Excellence / Admin Set Up Review.
Remember the hurdles you struggled with when pulling reports? This is the time to prevent them from happening again. What would make you reporting much easier in 12 months from now?
- Program and Asset Naming convention
Program names should be reportable, searchable and sortable. The more consistent and logical they are, the better it works for Boolean rules of reports and smart lists. Not only programs might have naming convention, but also landing pages, forms, images, etc.
- Program Statuses and Tags
Look for non-used or obsolete tags, and hide them. At the same time, think if you need to add any new tags, especially in the case of reorganization, new units/products/geos/teams, etc.
- Folder structure
Create a new folder structure for 2020 before someone else starts creating random folders. At the same time, it’s very helpful if your folders follow a general usability principle, so frequent Marketo users should be able to navigate and find programs without extensive search. Normally, a folder tree is organized very similar to the way Marketo users are organizing their work (by team, geo, product line, channel), while grouping programs by month or quarter.
- Users and roles review
You can extract a list of users, check the last logins, licenses that never were used, users that need to be deleted. Do not be afraid of deleting a user – their activity will still be kept for your reference, but you have your user list cleaner and shorter.
- Program and Asset Naming convention
- Data Management.
It’s an excellent time for database cleaning, auditing, removing obsolete records, as well looking into data processes and defining the next steps for improving data integrity. What you might look for:
- Database audit – identifying and quantifying main categories of your data, as well as data completeness and validity. You can create standard reports and only refresh and update your spreadsheet or dashboard. Also, collect all oddities for further investigation. It’s handy to have one at the beginning of the year so you can track the data dynamics, and potentially, demonstrate your input.
- Data management campaigns review – going back to your reporting and data audit: whatever doesn’t make sense, what creates data noise or even exposes your company to any legal risk – go ahead and adjust your DM campaigns. Whenever possible, document your data processes for your reference, as well as sharing with your team.
- Marketo user training.
Depending on the scale of your organization, you might need to have a formalized process of getting new Marketo users up to speed, as well as having regular upskill training and communications. It is important not only to learn the Marketo platform but get familiar with the processes and operations of your marketing organization. If you have consultants or agencies working in Marketo, include them in onboarding and training – they need to understand your business and environment, and how it’s all supported by the marketing ops.
- Plan on your own training and development. What conferences and events do you plan to attend, which classes to take? The marketing automation and operations are evolving so frenetically, constant learning, reading, and following are not optional. If possible, consider attending the Adobe Summit – “Superbowl” for Marketo users with intensive agenda. Don’t forget your local Marketo User Groups. Also, think of not only attending but also speaking at events – that is the best way to get very deep in the topic, explore it, get feedback, and ideas around it. Getting or renewing certifications, signing up for new courses, committing to learn a few new skills – you’d better plan this ahead.
- Finally, Copyright update to 2020. You have it done long ago, right?