Post by Brian Hansford, Director of Client Services, Heinz Marketing, Inc.

Every marketing team should target perfect execution of marketing campaigns. Shoot for at least Five-9’s of error-free campaigns every year! For the non-IT folks, that’s a reference to 99.999% reliability.

Review Procedures
Do you have a quality review and approval process for your marketing campaigns? I have recently witnessed several B2B campaigns that clearly lacked any kind of QA process before going live. Emails with misspelled words, the wrong content served up, inappropriate comments in social media – it’s all happened and it’s all avoidable. Even the big enterprise organizations are taking short cuts and missing QA review and approval procedures.

New marketing technologies make review processes even more critical simply because of the breadth and depth of consequences from errors. Can you imagine sending an email to your entire global database when it was only intended for a small segment of contacts? What about sending a production email that has “TEST” in the subject line and the field inserts show someone else’s name? How about a landing page form that is broken and doesn’t allow entries and prevents content delivery? How about a targeted account campaign that features images of one of their competitor’s products? Each of these are examples of real world mistakes that could have been prevented with tight QA review procedures.

Here are some ideas to review and test the elements of your marketing campaigns.

Asset Review
Assets include any piece of content, email, landing page that is part of an overall campaign. Here are some suggestions for a review and approval process.

1. Fresh Eyes Review – Do a Copy and editorial review by someone other than author. Includes spell check, grammar.

2. Update Changes – Re-review after changes from first step.

3. Context Review – Ask, “Will the imagery and content resonate with the intended audience, or turn them off?”

4. Legal and Compliance Review and Approval – Do (if required)

5. Final Approval – Get from manager or team manager

Top Tip! Never ever rely on your own set of eyes to review assets you created! A fresh set of eyes will catch details that authors/creators will likely miss.

Systems Review
Review all of the digital and systems components of a campaign including email, landing pages, forms, segments, integrations and workflow.
1. Segmentation – make sure the correct segment is selected. A large database may take several minutes or hours to build the final segment. Do NOT execute a campaign until the segment build is fully complete.

2. Layout and Rendering Reviews – Use tools like Litmus to test how well emails and landing pages will render across platforms and devices. An HTML email that renders well in your personal email client may look atrocious on a mobile device. Different versions of MS Outlook are notorious for inconsistent email rendering.  TEST!

3. Asset Editorial Review – check all asset builds like email and landing pages to eliminate spelling and grammar errors.

4. Check HTML and Text email versions – Don’t count on your email or marketing automation platform to correctly compile a text email from an HTML version.

5. Test all links!

6. Test forms and landing pages – Do they redirect properly and serve the right content?

7. Test programs with a closed seed list to review rendering, readability, and link performance

8. FRESH EYES Review. Always get a fresh set of eyes to review the program.

These are general ideas to minimize the risk of errors to get toward 99.999% of error-free campaigns. What are some of the procedures you follow with your teams?