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Start Your Marketing Cloud Project Right: What to Ask First!

Are you asking the right questions before you start a project in Marketing Cloud?

Asking the right questions is one thing I see a lot of people struggling with in Marketing Cloud.

A lot of people aren't taught how to ask the right questions before a project begins, and it's frustrating as heck.

Today, I'm going to show you how to ask the right questions before you begin a Marketing Cloud project.

TLDR - If you want to skip to the bottom and save some time, I'll give you the secret formula for asking the right questions.


The problem with not asking good Marketing Cloud questions:

  • You're working with clients that don’t know what they want out of Marketing Cloud.

  • Then the client asks you to do work, but you don’t know what questions to ask the client, and it becomes a cycle of confusion.

  • You don't know where to begin, and you feel stuck.

  • Feeling stuck causes you to lose all hope and feel lost.

  • Feeling lost causes you to feel like you could end up looking stupid and potentially being kicked off of the project and lose your job due to poor performance.

  • This causes resentment because you're mad that the client doesn’t know what they want.

  • The client’s lack of direction and confusing communication causes all sorts of pain for everyone involved.

Do any of these problems sound familiar?

There's gotta be a solution, right?

You can't go on forever living like this as a Marketing Cloud consultant.

There's too much money to go around and too much opportunity for freedom in the Marketing Cloud world to be stopped by a few silly questions!


Benefits of Asking The Right Questions:

  • Being stress-free when you're asking the client questions.

  • Feeling a sense of childlike curiosity when you're asking questions - (All you're doing is figuring out what needs to happen).

  • Asking questions is like being a kid and asking “Why” a bunch of times until you get to the root and understand exactly what to build.

  • Knowing exactly what to build for the client so everyone on both sides of the contract are happy with the work that has been done.

  • Feeling excited at the beginning of every project. (You shouldn't start a project off with stress or anxiety).

  • The beginning of a project should be fun for everyone involved - (The beginning of the race is when people have the most energy).

  • Clients will be happy to know that you know what you're doing.

  • Clients will be happy to know that you're invested enough to ask the tough questions even when things don’t make sense.

  • You'll be happy to have a set of questions that you can ask every time you do a project.

  • You'll be happy to know exactly what needs to be done before starting a project.

  • This makes the technical work easy to do. All you have to do is knock out the basic work once it’s been documented.

  • This makes the developers happy because they’ll know exactly what their job should be.

  • You'll also be happy to do work that impresses your manager and the people on your team.

  • Managers will be happy to know that you can ask the tough questions.

  • It lets them know that the work is going to get done.

  • Managers will be happy to know that they don’t have to micromanage a project, because all the requirements are being done.

  • The company will know that the job is going to be done the right way, which will lead to more business in the future - (Through referrals and up-sells)


I know what you're thinking right now.

And it's probably along the lines of something like:

  • I don't know where to begin.

  • I haven’t done a lot of projects before, so I don’t know what questions to ask.

  • I'm new to this type of work.

  • I don’t have a formula or set of questions to ask.

  • Why don't my managers don’t have more information for me already?

  • It's crazy that there’s not someone on my team that knows what questions to ask already. (Why do I have to be the person to figure out what to ask?)

  • The client is the one that's unorganized.

  • If the client doesn’t know what they’re doing or what they want, then it's a waste of time.


And that's completely fine!

It's normal to feel that way.

Heck... I've felt that way before.

So I know exactly what you're going through.


Here's how I figured out how to ask the right Marketing Cloud questions!

I’ve experienced doing a project where I had no idea what the client wanted because the client didn't know what they wanted.

The problem was that the client was migrating from Marketo to Marketing Cloud, and they had their own processes for the way they did their marketing campaigns in Marketo.

They had no idea how Marketing cloud works, but their company paid for it, and they were told that they had to migrate over ASAP.

When we had business requirement gathering (BRG) sessions with the client, they had no idea where to begin.

Every day of the sessions were 8 hours long, and they were filled with whiteboard drawings, note-taking, follow-up questions, and long drawn out discussions.

We had a whole week dedicated to the client just for business requirement gathering (BRG) sessions and even that entire week wasn’t enough to gather everything that they needed.

It was like pulling teeth because some questions led down rabbit trails, and there were some questions that the client didn’t know the answer to.

After a while, I realized that every single business requirement gathering (BRG) session that we did was a new set of questions and that we were covering a different area of Marketing Cloud every single day.

That’s when I started to get a realization that a framework was needed.

But I didn't create that framework because I didn’t recognize the importance of it and how much time it could save.

Fast forward, and I was asking a group of marketing cloud consultants to do a project, and I realized that they knew the technical side of marketing cloud, but they didn’t know which questions to ask in order to solve problems.

That’s when I realized that a framework of questions was required so people had a starting point before doing any project.

And that’s where my framework came into play. Check out the step-by-step process I created to figure out how to ask the right Marketing Cloud questions before doing a project.


How to ask the right Marketing Cloud questions (The exact framework)

  • It all starts with the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW script.

Who will be working on this feature in Marketing Coud? (Ie - Who will be using this feature?)

Who is responsible for building this feature?

Who does this feature affect when it’s built out? (Which users or customers does this feature affect?)

What does this feature need to do? (What is the purpose of this feature?)

What does this feature need to look like? (From a UI perspective)

What other processes does this feature affect? (When it’s fired, what will be the after effects?)

When does this feature need to be built?

When does this feature need to fire? (Everyday, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, etc)

Where does this feature need to be built (Does it need to be built alongside another feature that already exists?

Where does this feature already exist, and can we get a link to it so we can see what it looks like and how it works. (We need to review it so we have a starting point).

Why does this feature need to be built? (Ie - What is the purpose of this feature?)

How do you want us to build this feature? (Manually or programmatically?)

How do you see this feature working in an ideal world?

(Walk us through the process step by step so we know exactly what you’re looking for)

Does this feature already exist in your current system?

If so, where is it, and can you send me an example of it?

If not, is this within our scope right now to build?

If it’s not in scope, let’s save it for later.

If it is in scope, we’ll need to ask you the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How script to get it built out.

There’s a few VERY important notes to add in here: DO NOT SKIP THIS.

Every question that you ask should be scripted.

Every follow-up question that you ask should be written down.

At the end of each business requirement gathering (BRG) session, you should have a list of questions that you asked the client, and they should be put into a document for future use.

You need to categorize and sub-categorize questions - (For Example)

Data Modeling Questions:

  • Data management questions

  • Data integration questions

  • Data import questions

  • Data Segmentation questions

  • Data Export questions

Content Builder Questions:

  • Content Type questions

  • Email Template questions

  • Personalization questions - (AMPscript, Dynamic Content, etc)

Automation Studio Questions:

  • Starting source questions

  • Automation Workflow questions

Journey Builder Questions:

  • Entry source questions

  • Data flow questions

  • Journey Mapping questions

  • Journey Flow Questions

Report Questions:

  • Standard reporting questions

  • Custom reporting questions

You’ll see from above that every question can be categorized.

The number of questions you can ask is virtually limitless.

The client will have no idea that you’re following a script, but it’ll keep everything simple for you.

Once you do this enough times, you’ll develop your own flow, and it’ll be a breeze to gather what you need from clients.

Every project looks the same after a while.

Sure the data changes, but if you have the technical team to get the job done, the questions are sometimes the easiest part of the process, because you’re not actually building anything just yet.

You’re figuring out what needs to be built (or building the blueprint).


Alright, that's all I've got for you today.

I hope this helps you ask the right questions in Marketing Cloud when your manager gives you a new assignment to work on.

If you're doing something in Pardot or Sales Cloud, you can use this exact same process to ask questions there as well.

This framework works on every project you do.

It's a universal system you can plug in anywhere.

If this helped you, share it with a friend and help them clear their mind.

Good luck on your Marketing Cloud project, and have a great day!

Kaelan Moss - MinuteAdmin Out ✌🏽


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