Six Ways to Ensure your Adobe Campaign Instance Stays Manageable and Scalable

  • Posted: 15th January 2018
  • Written by:

    Sue Murray, SVP Operations

Important Areas of Adobe Campaign You’ll Want to Keep Your Eye On

Adobe Campaign (AC) is one of the most powerful cross-channel integrated marketing automation and campaign management platforms on the market.  Once you purchase Adobe Campaign and implement, the focus becomes configuring the product to meet your unique business processes and goals. With customized configuration comes a magnitude of options, and it isn’t as cut-and-dry as it seems. The more campaigns your run in Adobe Campaign over time, you may start to see slips in performance, or you can lose the internal knowledge of how it was implemented, or tables/integrations are updated without best practices or defined processes in place. It happens!

Based on Celerity’s cross-industry experience partnering with enterprise-level clients, we’ve identified the six more important considerations for ensuring your instance stays scalable so you are always in a position to refine and evolve your instance, automate more processes, create more campaigns and more complex ones, increase user adoption, and/or start pulling in more marketing channels.

1. Have a firm understanding of the complexity of your primary database supporting Adobe Campaign

Adobe Campaign is a completely data-driven application.  Those end-users and marketers in your organization that understand the available data within your company will be invaluable to a successful Adobe Campaign implementation and to your on-going campaign deliveries.  While they don’t need to be database developers or analysts, they absolutely need to understand:

  • Data relationships
  • Data access
  • The basics of APIs and data joins
  • Data enrichments
  • Owned data & non-owned data
  • Transactional and non-transactional data

This can be challenging especially if your organization has a significant number of data sources, integrations, coupled with security limitations and potentially un-readable naming conventions.  However, if the data knowledge only exists in the IT area, or with your core Analytics or Modeling team, then your Adobe Campaign end-users will be at a disadvantage, and be highly reliant on IT for basic requirements.  You cannot give enough your ends users enough education on this topic. Providing all the right opportunities to ensure your Adobe Campaign end-users and team members are data-savvy and comfortable digging into the structures, is essential.

<For more ideas on how to get your team’s up to speed on data infrastructure refer to this blog.>

2. Make sure that the right data is actually synced into the underlying database of Adobe Campaign

As highlighted in the previous bullet, Adobe Campaign is a highly data-reliant application, and if the data is not exposed or available to Adobe Campaign, then profitable, personalized, cross-channel, responsive, behavioral campaigns will not be possible. A end-user who understands your organization’s data (as previously highlighted) is only as good as their access to it, and so will your campaigns.

Without building out the maximum amount of available information around the internal Adobe Campaign recipient table, you will significantly reduce your ability to produce real-time (or close to real-time) campaigns, personalize your messaging, contextualize cross-channel campaigns, scale AC and bring in more channels and data sources.

We have seen this situation repeatedly within Adobe Campaign environments at small, medium and large organizations alike, where the end-users are handcuffed to siloed data for driving campaigns.  As a result, they resort to creating generic, highly convoluted campaigns that just will not produce the ROI needed.

Learn how building the right Adobe Campaign team can make the difference for scalability, and maximum ROI. 

<Read the whitepaper ‘Building Your Marketing Team’>

 3. Leverage dynamic campaign templates

Adobe Campaign’s dynamic content functionality, enables your organization to tailor a campaign to serve multiple audiences with the right content (offers, images, messaging or calls to action). But building such campaigns from scratch can be extremely time consuming to sort out the specifics of each iteration. However when you leverage templates, you can achieve this level of granularity and specificity much easier.

There is an art and skill to developing AC dynamic campaign templates that have components that can be swapped in and out to be dynamic in nature.  With dynamic campaign templates, you will need to balance the ability to control the dynamic messages, with the ability to scale the logic without adding un-due complexity.  It involves initially laying out your workflow design, and then seeing which areas of the workflow can be logically or functionally grouped into components.   You will also want to determine if those components have variables or data elements that are good candidates for dynamicism (e.g., age, gender, location, income or any other contact data fields you have at your disposal).  And finally, with your default content, you will need to identify the variations and your rules for handing the results.

You may not have started using dynamic campaign templates immediately following your go-live on Adobe Campaign, but this is an under-used capability of the tool that needs to be leveraged for greater customization and more efficient campaign execution.  You will want to instill in your AC end-users, and get them used to a way of preparing campaigns that is easier to understand and requires less maintenance in the long run.

4. Do not limit yourself to one instance of Adobe Campaign for production, development and testing

If you only have one instance of Adobe Campaign (e.g., PROD), then it’s difficult to design and test new campaigns without impacting the production environment.  Thus, adding new campaigns and modifications becomes a huge undertaking.

If possible, ensure your license from Adobe provides for you to have at least 2, optimally 3 separate instances (e.g., a DEV instance, a PROD instance and ideally a UAT instance).  This will be highly beneficial to allow you the flexibility of testing out new campaigns or business logic in a DEV or UAT instance without ever impacting your PROD environment.   You will also need to ensure you have agreed upon processes around your instances with a named IT-Admin that is responsible for ensuring the instances are updated in a timely manner and that ‘moves of packages’ across instances is done flawlessly.

With this in place, your team will have the ability to create, refine and adjust campaign logic until it is giving them the expected results or potential ROI that you need without disrupting other extremely important campaigns.

5. Ensure your naming convention mechanism is consistent

If solid, logical, uniform, easily-readable and commonly understood naming standards weren’t put in place during your Adobe Campaign implementation, it’s still not too late to revise them, and use a more effective approach going forward.  A good system will facilitate easy retrieval of components, save unnecessary re-work, assist in staff training, save you space (maybe $), aid in scaling your environment and make overall Adobe Campaign reporting much easier and less time consuming.  Some of the primary components you will want good naming standards for names of:

  • Plans, programs, folders
  • Delivery & Campaign Templates
  • Typology rules
  • Personalization Blocks, Dynamic Content Blocks
  • Production Campaigns
  • Testing campaigns and testing components
  • New data fields
  • Custom reports
  • Channel designations
  • Schema structures
  • AC Packages
  • Webforms
  • APIs

A couple good conventions we have seen, ensure no spaces are used, hyphens are utilized, and appropriate casing is in place (e.g., capital letters are used for the first letter in a new word in the name).  Also, the conventions should be as concise as possible (careful the names aren’t bloated), preferably in English, with an agreed upon date format and do not contain any special characters.  One simple example for a campaign-naming standard would be:

Plan-Program-CampaignName-Channel-Version-DateRange-CampaignID

Once you get all of your naming standards designed, document them in your Build Book, and then determine ways in which you can get your organization to comply with this precedent. The conventions need to be documented and communicated so there is no lack of visibility (e.g., no excuses) to what the organization has decided for their standards.  And, the importance of consistency and simplicity cannot be overstated!

6. Retain your experienced Adobe Campaign staff and develop others

Adobe Campaign talent in the market is in high-demand and as we all know, the grass is always greener on the other side.  In addition to promoting a great work environment, be sure that you are prepared for potential shortages by:

  • Cross-training your staff to ensure that all the AC expertise and knowledge isn’t held in the minds of a few (try lunch & learns as a good excuse to cover the most relevant topics and get your team together)
  • Maintain super-strict documentation on your own custom AC project.
    • During the implementation: document your AC decisions and designs in an ‘AC Build Book’
    • As you go live: and get into the operate and run mode, keep adding to your Build Book when you update AC tables, add templates, edit integrations and update typologies.
    • Ongoing: Designate an owner of the Build Book, and this will pay dividends as the inevitable happens when staff leave, org changes are made and it comes time to upgrade your AC instance to the next version.
  • If you are already up and running, and you don’t have a Build Book, allocate some time to build it out.

If you need a detailed outline of the sections and content that needs to be in your Build Book, contact Celerity today.

If you have challenges with any of the above considerations Celerity can help. We have been configuring, implementing and optimizing AC for over 10 years across North America & EMEA.  We have extensive experience looking at complex, highly-customized environments and tuning and aligning AC instances quickly.  We have built an effective and innovative process to evaluate and assess client’s instances and make recommendations to return them to as closely as possible to the out-of-the-box configuration.  Our focus is on ensuring that your data model syncs properly with your various integrated data sources, so that you can automate as much functionality as possible, innovate use of the technology and then continue to evolve and improve your overall campaign strategy.

 

For more information on our innovation framework, click here.

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