By Lisa Heay,  Marketing Planning Manager at Heinz Marketing

When you’re in a marketing operations position and busy managing day-to-day requests and projects, you may not be actively planning for the day when you move on and someone else needs to take over.  You have better things to do.   

But the day will come when you need to pass the reigns.  You might get an awesome new job and move to greener pastures.  Maybe you’ll need to take a temporary, unexpected break with the expectation you’ll be back.  Or you take a vacation.  Maybe you’ll move up in the organization and not need to be in the system every day, but instead manage someone who will.  Regardless of the situation—it’s your responsibility to pass along the right information to keep the trains running smoothly and set up the next person for success. 

If you’re like me, the thought of handing my Marketo instance over to someone who doesn’t know my organizational structure, naming convention, philosophy on adding new fields and programs, etc., makes me sweat.  However, there are some steps you can take to not only make your life easier now but ensure a seamless transition not if, but when the time comes.

  • Implement an organizational structure you can stick to.  Build folders with consistent naming, organize them by the type of program or marketing channel, and then by the year and month.  We like to structure each channel with a two-letter abbreviation, then a short description, and date (YYYY-MM-DD).  Carry your naming convention through to your programs and assets, as well.  The key is to include just enough information to serve as a unique descriptor, while being consistent and organized.
Marketo folder organization
  • Manage your fields.  You may not have been around when your instance was implemented, but one thing, as a consultant, I’ve seen time and time again in marketing automation platforms is companies often sync every single field in their CRM system over to their MAP – and have no qualms about adding more and more fields for every little thing.  If this is a situation you find yourself in, prioritize field organization.  You can hide or remove fields from your instance if you need to.  Nothing is more confusing for someone new to a platform than trying to decide which “Company Type” field to use in their smart list when there are 4 different ones to choose from. 

I recommend keeping a spreadsheet of each field in your platform, what its purpose is, when you use it, what it’s mapped to in your CRM, etc.

  • Have a documented process in place for archiving old programs and turning off campaigns no longer being used.  The less unnecessary information there is for someone new to wade through, the better.  Your archive folders should be set up with the same organizational structure, making it easy for someone to come in and find old examples of programs you’ve run in the past.  Typically, at the start of each new year, you’d file the previous year’s programs (except anything that runs ongoing, of course).
  • Have a documented process and schedule in place for cleansing your database.  We always recommend creating a group of smart lists to be run every 6 months, year, or whatever cadence makes sense for your organization.  Don’t leave your bad data for someone else to deal with.  Here are some ideas to get you started.
  • If you use Marketo, utilize tokens as much as possible.  Tokens make it so easy to create landing pages, newsletters, email sends, etc., especially for someone who may not have Design Studio or HTML experience. 
  • Create program templates for every common program type you use.  This could include a sample customer email send, an event follow-up campaign, or a webinar.  Then, as you create these real programs moving forward, you have a starting place to clone that has all of your preferred steps, flows, tokens, and lists built in.

Another thing I like to do is include notes in the programs themselves.  What are they used for?  How are they supposed to work? What is important to know?

  • Speaking of lists, create a set of standard or commonly used master lists.  If you have common inclusion or exclusion lists for example, create a folder for them to reside in.  You could also build your standard newsletter, customer, prospect, region, and product lists.  If there are specific list parameters you find yourself using over and over, create a master version for all to refer to.
  • Finally, it’s one thing to create all this structure and documentation, but another to put those documents in a place where others can find and access them easily.  This one is important.  We’ve worked with several flustered clients trying to figure out where someone filed a key list or instruction sheet.

Your documentation should be stored in a shared company folder, accessible by all.  It should include lists commonly used with a description of what they should be used for and when, fields commonly used and what they map to in your CRM, logins and passwords for your tools and integrations, a list of those integrations and what they are used for, etc. 

Look through the programs and campaigns you have set up.  Is there anything customized, non-standard, or particularly noteworthy you’d tell someone else about them if they were sitting right next to you?  If the answer is yes, document it.

Finally, your documentation should also include helpful information like the name and contact information for your account rep for each platform, as well as the terms of your service with each one with the cost information and renewal timeframe.  And how to log a support ticket.

This, by no means, is an exhaustive list, but by implementing some of these tips, you’ll be in pretty good shape when the time comes for someone new to take over.  Not to mention – implementing these practices now will make your life easier as you work in the system day to day.

What are your tips for a smooth transition?