QA, also known as quality assurance, is a range of activities/job responsibilities to help develop a required level of quality and to maintain that standard when creating or launching a product. Maintaining quality assurance is not only for product creation/supply chain systems; QA is also crucial to any successful marketing operations playbook.
“To QA or Not to QA, that is the question.”– Shakespeare, or rather a disgruntled MOps practitioner
Have you ever launched a Marketo email and accidentally sent it to the wrong audience? Or did you mistakenly send out a newsletter with the wrong content link? For the most part, operational mistakes can be rectified or fixed. However, having a dedicated QA resource or consulting partner can ensure those mistakes don’t happen in the first place.
How to Create a QA Process
There isn’t one perfect formula to create a QA process, but there are a series of steps you can take to begin formulating a plan for your organization. Think of the process as a fool-proof way of checking your work throughout the whole program build.
1. Create documentation and standardize
Use documentation as much as possible to help guide the process, especially for more complex builds. Are there components that need to be used across all programs or campaigns (I.E program/templated tokens and dynamic links)? Is there a specific report that needs to go with the campaign? These are some of the questions you can ask when developing your standard for QA. Once you determine the components, create a living document that can be utilized as you check before scheduling a program or campaign to go live.
2. Determine the quality assurance practitioners
If you have the bandwidth or budget, we highly recommend reserving a dedicated resource to help with quality assurance. A Marketo power user is someone who can make sure all of those important nuances and details are covered when checking programs/campaigns before they go live. Digital Pi will often act as a QA practitioner for clients. Having an outside set of eyes always helps!
3. Allow enough time for QA!
Once you have the QA standard and documentation created, make sure to actually leave enough time to fulfill the requirements. For example: if you need a manager and director to review and sign off on program builds, allow a period of time for each person to review AND provide feedback. The size of the program or initiative helps determine the amount of time needed.
4. Evaluate and refine your process
The only way your quality assurance process will get better is if you actually test it out. Start with the process you’ve developed and make observations. What went well and what can be improved? Include your marketing operations team’s feedback when making changes to the process. If you’re doing QA the right way, you will learn as your program building processes change, so should you QA methods!
The Detriment of Not Having a QA Plan
Most mistakes can be fixed. But if the same mistakes keep happening, consequences include:
- Losing money on mistakes (like sending the wrong link or promotional offer)
- Data hygiene problems (incorrect processing of leads through campaigns)
- Confused or angry customers (receiving the wrong email or data)
- Distrust from stakeholders (wondering why MOps keeps making the same mistake)
Let’s remember we are all humans and accidents happen. When you have the resources to have more than one person checking your work, make sure to utilize it and set yourself up for success!
QA as Part of Your Implementation Process
It’s best to build a QA process as part of a new system launch or initiative so that you can set the standard from the start. The second best time is now. If you’re preparing for a new implementation or need help adding QA to existing processes, consider consulting a partner to ensure all details and boxes have been checked off.