As the popularity of marketing automation continues to grow, one of the top resolutions among marketers in 2014 is (or should be!) getting the most value out of their marketing automation tool.

Whether digital marketers are just getting started or are seasoned automation veterans, an organized automation tool helps to yield the highest returns. A well structured and planned out tool provides cleaner, more accurate reports (gaining further customer insights), avoids mistakes, and can provide tighter integration with company CRMs (for greater marketing/sales alignment – and who doesn’t want that?).

Some general tips for getting organized with your automation tool include thinking the logic through of all marketing automation actions before executing, setting and communicating with team members about internal best practices, and making an effort to simplify processes (avoiding over-complication is key!). Below are some more specific tips and tricks for well-organized marketing automation practices.

  • Naming Conventions – Devise a naming system with your team for an easily understood and organized marketing automation activities overview. This helps to take the guess work out when you’re searching for a certain email, campaign, etc. in your tool. Keep it consistent across all campaign names, emails, landing pages, forms, layout templates, etc.

    Note: If you’re doing this retroactively, Pardot’s usage tabs will be a great help for determining which forms/landing pages/layout templates etc. are linked.

  • Tags – Tags can be a marketing automation manager’s best friend when used properly. Tags make filtering a breeze. Example: An “events” tab for any campaigns tied to events, “partners” tab for any partners associated campaigns, etc.
  • Filtering – Filters enable you to exclude certain types of activities that may be of no interest to you when analyzing data, like your own internal visits to your company’s website. Keep in mind that IP address filtering not done retroactively, meaning that anyone who has visited the website before the filter was set up will continue to be tracked. Try to get this done asap or have your internal employees clear out cookies for this filter to work going forward.
  • Calendars – There’s nothing like a good calendar view to remain on top of marketing activities! Create new events, use the icons and choose spunky background colors to organize your company’s upcoming events all within Pardot’s Marketing Calendar on your dashboard.
  • Pre-defined field values – Having well set parameters for fields helps to ensure cleaner data for analysis. Using pre-defined values is a great way to keep your data in check and easily generate reports based on certain prospect data. For example, rather than using a text field for a “Purchasing Role” field, allowing users to enter varying names for the similar role types, create a dropdown of predefined values including “Influencer”, “Decision Maker” etc. to ensure that data is kept clean and consistent.

    Validation on import is also a key best practice for pre-defined values when performing a bulk upload of prospects. This setting in the Pardot import wizard helps to ensure no unwanted data makes it into your marketing automation tool by alerting you in an error report.

    One specific field you may want to pay close attention to is geography. Using pre-defined values when collecting geographical prospect information avoids having different names for the same regions within your system. For example decide whether you’d like to have the full state name (“South Carolina”) or the abbreviation (“SC”) for ALL prospect data, to ensure no information is left out when generating reports.

  • New Features – Always keep your eye out for new features to help you enhance organization within your marketing tool as well, like Pardot’s Folders feature coming soon!
  • These are some of our favourite ways to keep our marketing automation activities clean and structured within Pardot. Let us know your favourite ways to organize your marketing activities in the comments section below.