How to Use Campaign Naming Conventions and UTM Strategies to Link Marketing and Sales

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 11.56.59 AMWith the intersection of marketing technology and digital ad platforms, B2B Digital Marketers are now getting a chance to justify how much value their efforts influence the sales pipeline. In this post, you will learn how you can best strategize a campaign naming convention that fits your strategic business initiatives and leverage resources to implement the campaign naming convention across your various marketing technology and ad platforms.

Just as important, this will allow you to earn your seat at key meetings because of the ability to deliver insights about strategic initiatives with following this guide.

Technology + Human Input drives better use of your time

If I haven’t convinced you yet, this is the one-time where you can immediately benefit from technology by automating a process around how you slice the data by using delimiters in your campaign name so that you don’t have to manually group campaign sets and have the burden of maintaining the lists.

I will share with you a Google Sheet Workbook with formulas that split the “campaign name” using column delimiters.

Google Sheet Formula to Parse -

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Excel Formula to Parse Campaign Names
=TRIM(MID(SUBSTITUTE(L9,"_",REPT(" ",LEN(L9))), (0)*LEN(L9)+1, LEN(L9)))

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Also if you happen to be using a more formal database, you can accomplish this by taking advantage of the split_part function that AWS Redshift has which I also included in the workbook example
-- Between 5th and 6th Delimiter
(split_part("CampaignName", '_', 6)) as "Campaign - Channel",

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B2B is Complex

In a B2B (Business to Business) world where the sales cycle often involves many stakeholders across organizations and takes 6 - 18 months for a transaction to occur, it’s important to properly attribute each engagement in order to best measure influence across channels and holistic campaigns. By attributing engagement through to your CRM platform such as HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce, B2B Digital Marketers get the opportunity to see how much pipeline has been attributed to key business strategic initiatives.

Think Big

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 11.57.09 AMThere’s no doubt that digital marketing efforts influence sales pipeline for B2B Companies. Online searches on Google and paid SEM efforts allow brands to reach prospects through awareness or lead performance tactics. Forrester Studies show that 68% of B2B Customers prefer to research independently online prior to any interaction with a sales rep.

As Digital Marketers, we have to think big and understand that Sales and Marketing have synergies in engaging and closing deals and it’s time to be aware of the landscape of how both Sales and Marketing operations can engage together.

The strategy behind creating a Campaign Naming Convention allows you to bridge the gap between Sales and Marketing by:
Learning about the strategic initiatives of the company
Better understanding the comprehensive set of Sales and Marketing programs that are in flight

Digesting both aspects will enable you to get that edge to think of digital marketing programs that can both acquire new qualified leads and engage existing potential buyers who need just a few more touches until they become a customer.

Campaign Naming Convention Exercise:

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 11.57.15 AMAlthough the end outcome of the Campaign Naming Convention is to supply this as values into the ad platforms in the form of a Campaign Name or utm_campaign=,etc., it’s really just the beginning and enables you to slice the data as your business leaders see fit.

To cut to the chase, here are a few campaign naming conventions that I have constructed through various discovery conversations with B2B clients of how they measured their data.

Campaign Name used to align to budget initiatives

Examples are:

Campaign Name use to delineate between program efforts

Examples are:

Commonalities of Successful Campaign setup

  • Campaign name has a range of 6 - 11 placeholders values with the delineation being an underscore between the value sets.
  • You can use hyphens instead of spaces.
  • Always use lowercase
  • No other special characters

Determining what works best for you

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 11.57.23 AMListening to your business leaders at your company will enable you to translate their vision into business requirements for your campaign naming convention strategy.

When your business leaders share their vision, what are key ways you can slice/segment the data to help inform them about how the digital marketing performance is doing against that initiative?

Here are a few examples of how you can translate their vision into business requirements for your campaign naming convention strategy:

  • If the focus is on capitalizing on EMEA performance, ensure that you can use that as a placeholder to segment out against other geo regional performance.
  • If the focus is on budget allocation and you need to submit the actual spend to your finance team, include the placeholder values for source such as “Google” or “Bing” or “Facebook” in your Campaign Naming Convention.
  • If the focus is on determining if new content such as messaging or thought leadership accelerates the sales velocity, then ensure you include a placeholder around the specific content messaging.

How-To-Guide on Naming Your Campaign Exercise

Step 1: Develop a core list of Attributes that you want to be able to strategically segment performance by.


  1. Engage with your Marketing & Sales Operations Leaders and let them know that you want to collaboratively come up with a standardized naming convention so you can better inform them on what’s working and what’s not working.
  2. While you wait for that meeting, do your homework and come up with a core list of that have been historically tracked or are top of mind in your latest All Hands or QBR Meetings.

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Step 2:
Populate the values into the Campaign Name worksheet using the core list of attributes to derive your campaign name which is a formula using "_" (underscores) as placeholder breaks to delineate between the attributes.


Notable Considerations:

  • Use lowercase in assigning the values
  • Use a hyphen character as a replacement for spaces between words
  • Between placeholders, use the “_” (underscore) as the delimiter

Step 3: In the Ad & Marketing Tech Platforms, ensure that you use the derived campaign name in both the name of the campaign and also the utm_campaign attributes.

As an example:

  • For Ad Platforms such as Google or Bing or Facebook, name your campaigns based on the derived “campaign name” and utm_campaign if applicable.
  • For Marketing Automation Platforms such as Marketo or Pardot, ensure that your utm_campaign values are setup in the link to assign credit to the derived “campaign name”

Extra Credit: Create naming convention at the ad level. You can use the same strategy of campaign naming on ad naming. You create an ad name made of up the qualities of the ad (Blue image + Free Trial CTA + feb 23 2019 001 =blue_freetrial_02122019001) and then put it in the utm_content param.

Step 4: The Payoff - Measuring Performance

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 11.57.36 AMAfter you successfully implemented your campaign naming strategy, the payoff is worth the time investment in the strategic planning of rolling out the campaign naming convention.

The below examples will show you how you can slice/segment the campaign performance data to help your business leaders measure the impact of digital marketing efforts against the key strategic initiatives

Step 4a: Export Data from Ad & CRM Platforms by Campaign Name

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Step 4b:
Use the campaign performance workbook to parse out the campaign name into the placeholder values so you can pivot the performance in the next step.

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Step 4c: Create a pivot table from the performance workbook template to provide better decisions for both your Marketing & Sales leaders to create actionable insights.
Example of an Insight & Action Item by rolling up the data by “Geo”:

  • Insight: For every $1 that the business has spent on marketing in the emea geo region, it has resulted in 15x pipeline.
  • Action Item: If the sales team is noticing that they need more pipeline created, then the marketing team can better understand how much additional budget is needed to secure that gap in pipeline.

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Example of an Insight & Action Item by rolling up the data by “Source”:

  • Insight: In the “Emea” Geo, Google and Bing platforms are performing relatively as efficient in achieving pipeline with their respective spend.
  • Action Item: Continue to spend additional marketing investments in both platforms and re-run analysis next month to see if performance continues to stay the same.

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Example of an Insight & Action Item by rolling up the data by “Content”:

  • Insight: The CEO’s pet project to engage prospects appears to be the least effective marketing content that is generating pipeline, however it appears that the “na” geo region is causing the lower aggregate performance while “apac” & “emea” are doing well with the same content.
  • Action Item #1: Worth a conversation around personalizing the “ceo message” content to the specific regions to make it more relevant for your prospects.
  • Action Item #2: Also, it perhaps would be a good idea to set aside separate budgets for testing content so this allows you to safely reach your goals with channels and content that is performing well.

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Overview of the Value of creating a Robust Campaign Name:

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 11.57.45 AMBy creating a robust Campaign name, this will allow you to systematically parse out key attributes about the campaign so you can slice and report on them without much manual work. In addition, this sets the foundation to be able to report through to your marketing technology platforms such as Marketing Automation and CRM platforms.

Going through the exercise of strategically aligning your campaign names to the business initiatives will enable you to Be Better and get your next promotion!

Resources to Implement Campaign Naming Conventions:

Campaign Naming Convention Strategy Worksheet: Save this Google Sheets Template

AdStage Team