Audit Your Account

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Conduct an audit of your account.
  • Identify an action plan for account improvement.

Picture this: It’s Friday afternoon and you’re about to head out the door, when your boss calls you into an emergency meeting. The legal team has asked that you remove one of the emails in your welcome journey immediately. Can it be fixed tonight? Of course! How can you be sure? Because you have an account audit of all your important account communications—helping you quickly find the email you need to remove.

But what if you don't have an account audit? You're in the right place. In this module, we're here to help you become a Marketing Cloud account emergency prepper. We cover how to audit your account, identify risks, and fine-tune your data and processes to ensure your account is optimized for peak performance—exactly when you need it. 

Start with an Account Assessment

To become a prepper with an emergency action plan, you first need to conduct an account audit and risk assessment. An audit is an inspection of a person’s or organization’s accounts. Not the most appealing task for most people. However, audits are an important step in helping you proactively identify risks and fix issues. So when there is an emergency, your account is ready. A good place to start is in the Setup screen of your Marketing Cloud account. Here you will find high-level metrics of your account, including journeys, automations, data extensions, content, and users.  

Metrics from Marketing Cloud setup with account overview of journeys, automations, data extensions, content, and users.

While the Setup screen provides a general overview of volume for these areas, you need to dig further into your account and evaluate these specific areas in more detail. Here are some questions to consider based on account areas like journeys, automations, content, and more. 

Account Area
  • How many journeys are active vs. drafts?
  • Are there any outdated journeys that can be archived or deleted?
  • Do your journeys have set goals?
Automations and Integrations
  • How many active automations are running?
  • Do you know what each automation’s purpose is? (Send email, run a report, and so on)
  • What automations are inactive or paused?
  • Are there any common errors or reoccuring query failures?
  • Are you using verification activities?
  • Any outdated automations that can be archived or deleted?
  • Are you using error notifications?
Data Architecture
  • Are you using Contact Builder?
  • Are you using a common contact key?
  • Are you using lists? How about data extensions? How many?
  • Are there any outdated data extensions that can be archived or deleted?
  • Are you using data retention?
  • What type of data are you storing in Marketing Cloud? Any sensitive data?
  • Are you using naming conventions for organizing?
  • What type of content blocks are you using? Templates? HTML?
  • Do your content blocks use a programmatic language like AMPscript or JavaScript?
  • Does anything seem out of place, outdated, or something you want to investigate further?
  • Are you using naming conventions to organize?
Users and Setup
  • How many active users are in your account?
  • Is there anyone you don’t recognize?
  • Are there any user accounts that should be disabled?
  • What users have API access?
  • How many sender profiles are set up in your account?

After answering these questions, you have a good overview of your account’s status and structure. And, if you are an overachiever, you might have a list of changes you want to make or issues you want to investigate. There’s just one more step to complete your account assessment. Let’s talk about automations.

Audit Your Automations

For proper emergency preparedness, we suggest you conduct a more thorough audit of areas key to performance, like Automation Studio. No automations? No problem—feel free to skip this section. Still here? OK, let’s start by listing out all active automations in your account and what they are doing. This helps you know what’s going on in your account and provides documentation for your team (so you can take a vacation and rest easy). Here’s an example of an automation audit.

Automation Name
Automation Type
Email Information
Error Notifications
Team Notes
Campaigns> Daily Email Send
Scheduled (9 AM ET)

  • Audience is created from a query of master subscribers.
  • Typically 1 hour run time.
  • Do not update DailyEmailDE in the morning.
Transactional> New Account Notifications
File Drop
  • Data team drops a new file into the transactional folder every other day.
Extracts> Monthly Account PerformanceExtract
Scheduled  (12 AM ET on the first day of the month)

  • Used for company reports.
Extracts> Data Update Extract
Scheduled (2 AM ET weekly on Sundays)

  • Automation completes in time for Monday morning operations.
  • Used to update our external data system used or company mailings.

Not only do you have an idea of what is currently going on in your account, your audit can help your team plan and schedule times for new automations. Knowing when your account is processing the most data can help you determine when those ad-hoc, one-time-only sends will perform best, like during a period of lower activity.


In addition to automations, an analysis of triggered sends or user profiles can be helpful for ongoing account maintenance.

Account Red Flags

Once you are familiar with all aspects of your Marketing Cloud account, start to look for red flags that can cause performance issues, like slower email sends, failures, or even system-wide issues. Here are some common red flags you might find.

  • Data risks (storing personal data, user accounts that should be disabled, and so on)
  • Complicated email code that writes (insert/upserts) content at send time
  • Procedures that interact with external-to-SFMC resources using HTTPGet / HTTPPost
  • Data sources that need to be refreshed or validated before use
  • Overall bad data or data inconsistencies
  • Failing queries
  • Reoccurring errors in automation or sends

With these red flags in mind, grab paper and pen or open your favorite note-taking app. It’s time to review the areas you audited, along with any notes you’ve collected, and assign a risk score to each area (think: high, medium, or low). Need some guidance on what a high risk or low risk might look like? Scoring is subjective, but you can use this scorecard to guide you as you assign a score to each account area.


Risk Rating
Look For
Already is or can be a threat if not addressed.

  • Personal data about customers stored in data extensions
  • Reoccurring errors or problematic procedures
  • Multiple automation failures
  • Old or out-of-date emails in automations
  • Enabled Marketing Cloud users who no longer need access
Can become high risk if scale increases or if a mitigation strategy fails.
  • Large number of API calls being made
  • Not following performance best practices
  • Poor deliverability and subscriber retention
  • Inconsistent subscriber or contact keys
  • Data extensions that don’t use data retention
  • Not using Data Designer/Contact Builder
  • High subscriber volume (greater than 1 million)
  • Manual campaign sends versus automations
Not an area to focus on regarding risk mitigation but maybe worth reviewing.
  • Old data extensions or lists that aren’t being used
  • No personalization in content blocks
  • Email notifications not assigned in automations
  • Not using helpful features in your account like campaign association tagging or Einstein Engagement Scoring
  • No naming conventions, organization of external keys, or folder structure

Now that you’re ready to start scoring. Here’s an assessment template that you can use to document your findings.

Account Area
Specific Areas/Content
Risk Assessment
Active journeys

Automations and Integrations
Active automations (including imports, data extracts, file transfers, queries)


Triggered sends

Email templates

HTML paste emails

AMPscript blocks

Dynamic content blocks

SMS or MobilePush


Landing pages or CloudPages

Data Extensions and Data Storage

Data extensions

Shared data extensions

Synchronized data extensions

External integrations

Users and Setup
Enabled users

Reply Mail Management (RMM)

Sender profiles

Send classifications


Use this template to create your own audit review.

Emergency Action Plan

Once you have your risk assessment completed, it’s time to create an action plan. Instead of emergency numbers and evacuation routes, your emergency action plan should identify S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound) action steps to help reduce issues and risks associated with your Marketing Cloud account. 


Learn more about creating S.M.A.R.T. goals and roadmaps in the module, Digital Marketing Roadmap Development.

Here’s a sample action plan that shows what specific steps are planned, the risk level and details, and when it needs to be completed.

Specific Area/Content
Specific Action Steps
Risk Assessment
Reason for Risk
Due Date
Enabled users
  1. Disable two users who have left the company.
Enabled users who have left the company.
By the end of the week
  1. Investigate use of JavaScript in welcome email.
  2. Test updating code for better performance.
Content is causing slow performance.
By the end of the month
Active automations
  1. Update automations with email alias (
  2. Conduct a full inventory of all active automations.
  3. Investigate causes for automations that fail frequently.
Automation Studio has a few failing automations.

Team hasn’t added notification emails.
By the end of the month
Data extensions
  1. Complete an inventory of existing data extensions.
  2. Determine an archive strategy.
  3. Clean up data extensions.
Old data extensions need to be deleted or archived.
By the end of the quarter

Once you have a plan in place, start working on those updates and revisit your list regularly. 


Before you forget, set a reminder to revisit the audit on a monthly or quarterly basis to make sure on-going maintenance is a priority.  

Good start prepper. You’ve got your plan in place, now let’s cover another key emergency preparedness topic: Data quality and data processing.


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