November 18, 2015

Plan IBM Campaign like Chicago, not Boston

Folktales of Boston’s early city-planning describe it as being determined by the aimless wanderings of cows. The city is notoriously difficult to navigate, made up of curved, one-way streets with no foundation in the cardinal directions. Chicago, on the other hand, is one enormous grid radiating from a central point near the lakefront. Chicago’s streets run clearly north-south or east-west, making navigation easy whether you’re travelling on foot, by car, or by train. In anticipation of supporting rapid commercial and industrial growth, architects pre-planned Chicago’s urban design with several clear goals in mind. A sudden boom in popularity caught Boston’s planners off guard, resulting in an infrastructure so confusing it spawned urban legends. Do you design your campaigns like Boston, or Chicago?

Chicago’s vision, dubbed The Chicago Plan, had three major operational goals. The city needed to be accessible, easy to navigate, and respond to the terrain. In the same way, you must plan your activities in IBM Campaign to support these three goals.

chicago OR  boston

Make Campaigns Accessible

IBM Campaign management can quickly become confusing if left unchecked. By defining Marketing Operations objects such as the Plan, Program, and Project as well as Members and Roles, the storage hierarchy and process assignments will be clear and consistent. The Plan, being the largest container in the hierarchy, should be categorized broadly either by business unit or geography per year or quarter. The Program consists of specific marketing initiatives called Projects which contain Campaigns. Each campaign is made up of flowcharts that achieve one specific goal, such as segmenting an audience list or recording response data.

Make Campaigns Navigable

A common nomenclature ensures clear and concise communication as developers work together to interpret campaign requirements from marketing strategists. Although many variables can influence the size of a team, the need to communicate clearly remains the same whether there are two developers or twelve. Proper prefixes and naming conventions should be agreed upon before building any Campaign object, process, or template. Detailed documentation of these tasks will help new and existing users adopt the process and make best use of the tools.

IBM Campaign Responds to the Terrain…. A.k.a. Data!

Think of customer data as the terrain. Data is made up of its own unique geography, and is the foundation that supports campaigns.  Investing time understanding your unique data up front will save immeasurable amounts of rework and confusion later on. The current structure and content of your database, desired audience level(s), and refresh schedule will each play a role in the flowchart development process. Identify the tables that contain the data you need to reference most often, and store them in a single table catalog for easy access. It may be necessary to prep your data in order to maximize its effectiveness in the table catalog. For example, creating derived fields or staging tables that hold specific sets of data can make flowchart queries much cleaner and understandable.

Before diving in to development, consider the following checklist to ensure you are prepared to execute powerful and efficient campaigns. Don’t waste time chasing cows. Instead, plan campaigns like Chicago to make the most of your marketing technology resources.

Find out how Covalent Marketing can optimize your IBM Campaign design process here.

Related Posts