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    Clean House: 5 Tips for Bringing Order to Your Assets

    gaea.connary

      A few years back, there was a reality show named “Clean House” in which homeowners volunteered to throw open their doors for the TV team to bring order to the chaos. And it was often unbelievable chaos: mounds of clothing and mismatched furniture everywhere. To start the process, the Clean House crew would take almost everything out of the rooms and required the homeowners to sort it into piles to keep, sell, or toss. The items they kept went back into a freshly redecorated, reorganized home. Hugs! Happy tears! Reality TV gold!

       

      Around this time, I was an Eloqua system administrator, leading a small team of program managers. We produced a ton of assets, and each stakeholder had their own organization scheme – and I use those terms very loosely in some cases. Before too long, our Eloqua instance looked like those Clean House homeowners: chaos. The absence of order manifested itself in several unpleasant ways that directly impacted the team’s efficiency:

       

      • Limitations to roll-up reporting.If you’re reporting across campaigns, emails, or forms, and you can’t tell at-a-glance the purpose of each asset, the report may lose its value.

         

      • Wasted time determining where to find or place assets. Program managers were hitting roadblocks when trying to locate or store their work. Not surprisingly, our “Unfiled” folders had more assets than any others.

       

      If you’re encountering these challenges, then it may be time for a little Clean House! Here are five tips for managing your makeover:

       

      1. Develop a naming structure for all of your assets. And I do mean all: emails, email groups, lists, forms, programs, campaigns, source codes, and so on. As you develop your conventions, consider how this will reflect in your reporting; keep it simple and clear. Here’s a quick example:

        Structure

        BusinessUnit.Product.Channel.CampaignName.Date.ExtraInfo

        Example

        Consumer.AlarmClock.Magazine.ElectronicsMonthly.120422.FullPageAd

         

        At the end of this post, you’ll find a helpful spreadsheet tool for developing naming conventions for all your Eloqua assets. Also keep in mind that you’re limited to 50 characters for your names.

         

      2. Establish a folder structure for each asset area. Conduct this exercise in concert with your asset naming conventions – reports rarely reflect organizational hierarchies, so consider including some of this structural information in your asset names. Also ensure that the structure is easily scaled as you add new programs and assets.

         

      3. Create a plan for oversight and archival. Decide who is responsible for enforcing the conventions, and what will happen if they aren’t followed. Define at what age assets will be archived (a tip: take advantage of Eloqua’s auto-archive feature to do this). Document the process and place this is a central location for your stakeholders to access.

         

      4. Audit the assets already in Eloqua.Run a keep/toss exercise (sadly, a “sell” pile is an unlikely option here) with stakeholders. Archive or delete the “toss” assets, and rename the “keep” assets to conform to your naming convention.

         

      5. Test and iterate your work. Meet with your stakeholders a few weeks or months (depending on asset creation volume) after you roll out the new conventions to get feedback. Are the conventions easy to follow? Do they make sense?

       

      And presto, Clean House! However, what the Clean House viewers never saw was beyond that final moment. What did the house look like, say six months after the TV crew left? We all get busy, and organization isn’t necessarily top-of-mind. You may need to work closely with your stakeholders as you initially roll out your naming conventions. Make sure they understand that this is a standard part of their campaign processes, so that your Clean House stays clean!

       

      Do you have naming conventions that have worked well for your teams? What information do you include? How have you maintained those conventions? Please share your tips here for other marketers embarking on their own Clean House projects.

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