6 tips for Naming Conventions in Marketo

In terms of productivity, having a proper structure makes most things more efficient. When it comes to structuring your Marketo instance, naming conventions are key for increasing productivity and overall efficiency of your programs but also in making your Smart Campaigns more powerful and less cluttered.

Here’s 6 tips on how you can use naming conventions that will ease the pain when scaling up your Marketo instance:

1. Get a structured overview of Marketing Activities at a glance

Creating a clear naming convention will allow to list your programs grouped by type and in order of most recent activities.This makes it easy to sort your list of programs to correctly find what you’re looking for and easily refer to programs in reports or Smart Campaigns.

Example of naming structure for programs:

Type of program: Email Blast (EB), Newsletter (NL), Live Event (LE), Nurture (NU), Operational (OPR), Landing Page (LP), Embedded form (FO)

Date of creation/launch: 2016-11

Global Smart Lists: The most useful naming convention in my opinion is for exclusion lists where it starts with “EXCL-”, so you always know which Smart List to pick when you need to exclude a list:

2. Refer to all asset types within one program category

Setting a naming convention for all Engagement programs created during 2016 to start with NU-2016 would let me refer to assets (e.g. emails, landing pages, forms) within them by using the contains operator for the name “NU-2016-”.

Adding code for Early, Mid and Late stages as for example:

  • NU-Late-01
  • NU-Late-02
  • NU-Late-03

If I’d like score all Late stage Nurturing Email clicks higher than others.

Clicks link in email – Email contains: NU-Late-

Change Score > {{my.Late Nurture Click}}

A different example would be using Landing Pages and Embedded Forms on your website and easily finding all leads who filled out a form on a Landing Page.

One created during 2016 would start with LP-2016 and I would be able to use the contains operator in a Smart List:

Fills out form – Form contains: LP-2016

3. Sort your activities by country, region or business unit

Sure, there are tags for channels for reporting use but if you are present in multiple markets and want to refer to all programs created for the market and/or by product, you would include this in your naming convention.

Now if we take the previous example of Engagement programs into account and add these two new variables into the mix we’d have something like this:

Country or Region (whichever applies best): Germany (DE) or EMEA

Service Offering/Product: Product Name (PN)

Now my naming convention would look like this:


This would allow me to score or create interesting moments for interactions (e.g. program success, email clicks, form fills) by the product name or region. All my programs would be sorted in alphabetical order by, Region, then category, then year, and so on.

Note that the order is up to whomever creates the naming convention but I’d personally start with Country/Region (if applicable), Activity Type, Date and Product/Service. If it were a newsletter or email blast I would add the day’s date too.

4. Structure your Smart Campaigns and Local Assets

With about 10 Smart Campaigns inside of one program

it can easily get messy and unclear of the order of the campaigns and the same goes for emails.

Sort your Smart Campaign or Email order by adding numbers before them (double digits), the best example here would be in Event programs:

5. Keep track of your custom fields with a prefix

One main issue with creating new custom fields when the need arises is that many people will create a generic name for the field.

This should of course also be limited to only a couple main users having Admin rights in the instance but if it happens to be someone new you could end up with a long list of fields where you are unsure what the new field was called.

A recommendation would be to add a prefix to your custom fields to make them all sort alphabetically with each other. Some prefer to use “_” or “z” for the prefix but it can also work with a shortening of your company name. This goes back to the the region aspect as it may be good to separate your regional fields so they are not in use in all places if you do not have a bulletproof centralized marketing strategy in place.

6. Get a good overview of which Marketo programs are generating traffic in Google Analytics

Once you have a naming convention in place that is easy to follow you can take the next step and add tags to your links in email templates with a UTM parameter specifically for your program, for example utm_campaign={{program.Name}}

I covered utm parameters in email templates in an earlier post which you can find here.