What's in a Naming Convention?

The best practice for building a naming convention was always to store every critical attribute within the campaign name. Attributes started broadly with a channel or market segment, and then became more specific as they moved down the hierarchy to launch dates or version numbers. A common example of the traditional campaign naming structure follows:





As a marketer, I love this naming convention. I can quickly see all my critical attributes, understand exactly who my audience is and easily view the drop date and details of the campaign. This naming convention is critical for campaign-management systems that are restricted to one field. It’s also useful for traffic boards in conference rooms. But with the power of Salesforce CRM, you’re no longer limited to one field, crammed with all pertinent information. Now you can easily create custom fields, leverage campaign hierarchies and utilize report filters to slice and dice data.

But even with this improvement, to anyone other than a marketer, this data is ugly. It’s hard to read and to quickly identify the campaign name, and you’ll quite possibly confuse your sales and executive teams. A primary goal as marketers is to encourage our sales teams to match opportunities to campaigns so we can maximize ROI.  What’s the solution?

Custom Fields – Critical report roll-ups go into standard or custom fields. Fields are much easier to slice and dice, creating report filters and generating list views. In the example above, Type and Date exist in Salesforce today. Use them! Channel and Product can easily be placed in custom fields.

Campaign Hierarchy – Leverage parent and child relationships to demonstrate relationships such as A/B testing or drip campaigns.  Historically this was managed by an exact Campaign Name match as part of the naming convention. Relationships could be displayed by alphabetical sorting.  But pre-pending your Campaign Name with an exact match offers a variety of scaling issues. The biggest one is that users tend to naturally stray from guidelines over time.

With endless field limits and hierarchical relationships, does it make sense to have a naming convention?  Maybe.  A reasonable case can be made that if you’re integrating a third-party system like a marketing-automation solution, naming conventions may not have the ability to mirror your same custom field structure.  Also, there’s an advantage in consistency when reporting.  While filters based on fields are the most powerful, the ability to sort on a campaign name is an efficient way to search for items.

Looking forward, Salesforce’s strategic focus on Chatter capabilities is evidence that today’s communication standards are moving away from a centralized attitude. Marketing campaigns are no longer tools that are isolated to a single operations person inside a marketing team. 

By letting go of simple control mechanisms like naming convention, you’ll find it easier to decentralize management, increase collaboration and tie in external departments.  It’s important to remember that Opportunities Owners create and manage their opportunities, but marketers route the creation and maintenance to a central resource, removing accountability and reducing potential positive interaction.

Gain important benefits by keeping your naming conventions clear and concise. Use language that others speak. Simplicity is key. Always remember that your audience extends way past the marketing team.