Ah, documentation, the bane of our existence. Perhaps I’m just projecting my own distaste for it, but I suspect I’m not alone in that sentiment. This third and final blog post of the series is going to subject you to some dreaded documentation requirements, but I promise – future you is going to love past you (and past me, too…just sayin’).
The first and second blogs have covered the hows and whys of defining your program architecture and relaying it to your team via a deep-dive training. While the training itself is a solid way to convey the structure of a program and why it needs to be done a specific (aka correct) way, trainings are unfortunately rather fleeting. (Remember when you were in college and you took a final exam on some obscure topic – you were an expert on that topic until the moment you walked out the of exam. Then POOF! Like magic all that wonderful knowledge just teleported out of your brain).
To prevent such rapid departure of information from one’s cranium, reference material to support them in their journey through Marketo-dom is necessary.
Let’s start with the one that takes the least amount of effort. It’s like a warm up for a workout, nice and simple and tricks you into thinking the next hour won’t be so brutal. Recording your training will prove invaluable for all new hires who need to learn the material, and well as an easy refresher for all lucky attendees. See? Wasn’t that easy?
Now the real fun begins…the absolute most important part of this entire exercise is to create program templates. It may take a bit of effort to build them out at first, but then it’s done, you’ll never have to create another program from scratch in your entire life.
If the same could be said for a sculpted six-pack, I’d sign up today. Creating program templates that all Marketo users clone from ensures that every single program build follows the correct set up. It will contain all the important-yet-easy-to-forget details like a naming convention, flow steps, tags, and costs. This makes everyone’s lives infinitely easier and your Marketo instance so much more standardized.
It’s important to reinforce the notion that all new programs are cloned from the templates, and not the most recently built version of a program. However, there may be times when you need to make a modification to a program template, or when a program build gets slightly customized. Not cloning the template means you could miss out on a new update to the template, or you could be inadvertently perpetuating a one-off customization in all future programs.
Exercise for Success
If you’re so inclined, I would recommend creating a step-by-step exercise guide too. This could include screen shots, detailed descriptions about things to remember, where to locate the program templates, how to clone them and the order of operations to follow to ensure a successful program build. This exercise guide would be a great supplement to training recording that help new hires get up to speed quickly.
Lastly an easy, low effort but highly valuable checklist is great for all Marketo users to have as they build out a program. This checklist would contain things like “add cost”, “confirm program follows naming convention”, “add relevant tags”, “approve emails and landing pages”, and “sync to SFDC campaign”.
It’s a great way to ensure that nothing is forgotten. Even when cloning a program template, it can be easy to forget small details such as adding tags and cost. A checklist will help your users create a thorough program from the get go, instead of having to spend cycles retroactively updating or correcting programs.
While this all may seem like a big undertaking, and while it’s certainly not a small undertaking, I view it as a must-do. Programs are not a “nice to have” in your Marketo instance, nor is accurate reporting, thorough scoring, and valid insights into marketing’s performance. Rather, they are imperatives that are worth the time and effort to build, because they provide a solid Marketo foundation for long-term success!