From CMOs to junior brand managers, Agency CEOs to account execs, pretty much everyone in business has their life ruled to some degree by spreadsheets. Can’t Technology help us do a bit better than that?
Here’s an example. In the absence of anything better, Excel has come to be the tool of choice to manage two very different Marketing processes – campaign planning and delivery.
Excel’s struggle between planning and delivery
Planning isn’t so bad in a spreadsheet. It’s about looking ahead, thinking about strategy and making informed decisions that will guide Marketing activity over the year or quarter. For example, the process of optimizing retail Marketing.
On the other hand, campaign delivery is very different. Despite looking similar to planning – calendars, media plans, audience data etc – it’s actually about the nitty-gritty day-to-day tasks, like getting work created, booked and trafficked, making reactive decisions on the fly and managing the general craziness of business-as-usual.
Again, it’s not perfect, but you can certainly get by with Excel here too.
The issue arises when you try to dynamically align the two i.e. reflecting the effect of actual Marketing activity on strategy, remaining budgets and so on – that certainly isn’t best done in a single, static spreadsheet.
This reconciliation of the planning and the doing is why we created our Marketing Planning tool.
Technology shifts the goalposts
This is a classic scenario for the Marketing Technologist. Whether it’s in Excel, on paper or anywhere else, people are often pained by the boring, the fiddly and the repetitive. Clients tell us they’d give their right arm to take this pain away.
Unfortunately, like all of us, our openness to alternatives is limited by our knowledge of what’s possible (there must be a name for this in the psychology world?).
So the challenge for Marketing Technologists isn’t just fixing the problem, it’s first educating people that life can be better.
Are you running to stand still?
Technology can help you feel less like a hamster in a wheel, spending your time faffing in a spreadsheet, administering your job rather than actually doing it, but we have to know you’re unhappy.
So please raise your hand if you think there might be a better way of doing things. Technology has and is changing the business of Marketing and advertising in pretty profound ways, but it’s also helping us banish those annoying repetitive tasks.
So back in your box, Excel, let’s replace inflexible tools with simple, inexpensive ways of freeing us all from the tyranny of the mundane.