Everyone is trying to do more with less – quickly. 

I have clients who ask me all the time “How do I makes things faster?” or “How do I streamline campaign execution while doing more campaigns?” 

Both valid questions. Folks want to execute at scale, do more personalization, and run more campaigns in more channels simultaneously. And they’re not sure how get there. 

This is where the magic that is Unica can come to the rescue. 

First let’s understand the challenge. I call it the “many to many” scenario. 

Too often we see Unica was set up a while back to fit very basic executions like direct mail or one-off emails. Then over time, nurture streams were added, customer journeys were added, channels like mobile apps, the commerce site and call center were added, yet the Unica platform was never revisited to support the expansion and growth in campaign activity. 

The result is many different styles of communications being stuffed into the front end of Unica. In order to accommodate the varying executions, things like Offer templates had more and more fields added.   

In one recent example, we saw an Offer template with 35 different fields in it to accommodate everything from a simple one-off email with a simple coupon in it to a weekly newsletter with 11 content blocks. Six of which were populated dynamically. 

Imagine being the campaign manager who has to pick through 35 fields trying to figure out which ones are the right ones for today’s campaign. The same is true for campaign flowcharts.  

We had a client who grew a successful weekly email campaign to a three time a week mailing with dynamic personalization. 

Each week they would take a copy of the prior week’s flowchart, rename it, and use it as this week’s campaign starting point. Today they take a copy of the last one they ran and make three copies a week. 

Again imagine trying to interpret which process boxes to leave in, which to take out, and which ones to add back in that were removed from the last run as you go to set up the next campaign execution. 

Lastly there is the output. Every campaign produces the campaign members in the form of a list, file or API call. Given that the output spec. has to serve many campaign execution scenarios. It is huge. 

288 fields huge.  

Imagine trying to review the file for quality control purposes. Worse yet imagine trying to troubleshoot it if you spot an error. And how hard is it to spot an error when it’s not clear which fields get used for which campaigns. A blank field may mean it’s not required for the campaign, or it may mean someone made a mistake. Which is it? 

Solving the “many to many” problem can be achieved in three steps: 

  1. Define your execution scenarios 
  2. Create scenario specific templates 
  3. Map the templates together in Unica per execution scenario 

We call this creating a pre-defined “path through the jungle” in Unica to streamline execution so it can scale. 

Marketers like to execute. Therefore, it’s common to see folks using Unica who haven’t thought a lot about the how behind campaign execution. 

Marketing execution always has patterns. If you step back from the day to day for a bit you can see them. For a typical retailer there is a promotional calendar and an associated creative production process. It might feel random, but if you look at historical executions promotional patterns will emerge. There’s the weekly promotion enews, coupon mailings, promos for events and sales, and lastly category and department promotions. We recommend creating a template for each type of promotional treatment. 

Same goes for offers, campaigns, and output specifications. Spot the patterns, define a template for each, and write down the rules for fields in each one. This simplifies the “many” problem on the front end. Today you’re trying, field by field, to figure out if it needs to be populated or not and with what. With templates, only the fields/processes that are required are in the template with clear rules around what it’s for and what goes in it for that type of execution. 

It also addresses the back end “many” challenge. Less input fields means less output fields. Only the required fields for that campaign scenario are in the output spec. It’s easier to QA since every field should be populated with data from a pre-defined templated. 

Creating the “path through the jungle” is where Unica really shines. In each campaign template you can add pre-defined Audiences and relevant Offers on the Campaign summary information. 

In this Campaign in Unica, we have already tied three audiences and seven Offers to the Campaign. If you don’t need one of them, they can be easily removed. If the template needs to be updated with a new Audience it gets added to the template once and then it will appear automatically in all campaigns moving forward. 

The same holds true for Campaign Flowcharts. Each overall Campaign template can hold pre-designed Flowchart templates with process boxes to be executed in that campaign scenario. Instead of staring at a blank screen or laest week’s campaign, you are starting from a pre-defined Flowchart that has already been fully QA’d. You only need to check net new changes. 

The goal is to have 70-80% of the campaign structure mapped out in templates in Unica Plan and Campaign. If you’re running a weekly campaign 3 times a week your starting point is the same every time unless the template has changed. No need to worry about changes that were made to the last version of the campaign that you ran last week and then copied into this week. 

We recommend one template per execution scenario which for most clients is 8-10 Offer and Campaign templates and 3-4 output specifications. 

Now we know marketing execution doesn’t stop while you make changes to how Unica is configured. In the best of circumstance marketers are running while juggling knives. 

However, as you are starting to build next week’s campaigns, take five minutes to ask yourself “what type of campaign is this? Is it for coupons or maybe for your loyalty program? Start to make notes as you execute. What are the recurring offers, messages, promos and audiences? 

Before too long you will see the patterns. Then you can decide when and where to introduce templates into your campaigns in Unica. 

That’s how you find the path through the jungle, streamline, and scale using Unica. 

Would you like more insights from the “Let’s Geek Out on Unica” team?

Click here to visit the “Let’s Geek Out on Unica” video library on Unica Live!

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Further Reading
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