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Is your marketing budget still “chained” to Microsoft Excel?
While spreadsheets still have their place for certain activities, many small businesses (especially those with dispersed or virtual teams) are turning to the cloud for greater visibility and collaboration. A successful marketing function in today’s economy requires a multi-faceted approach, tying together paid ad budgets, campaign-level tracking, marketing automation initiatives, freelance team members, link building efforts, and forecasting. Unless you’re an Excel wizard, you can’t do all this in a spreadsheet (at least not one that your team can understand).
In this article, we’ll explore why business owners are moving away from Excel. I’ll also introduce you to an amazing new tool that will streamline your budgeting and decision-making processes.
Not Collaborative: With multiple players contributing to your marketing team, sending spreadsheets as email attachments just isn’t efficient. Team members may be looking at different versions of the document, which can cause confusion and frustration. This is especially troublesome if you have a blended marketing team.
Not Scalable: Also, traditional spreadsheets aren’t scalable, which will become an issue as your organization grows. The more complex your marketing plan gets, the more insane the spreadsheet becomes.
Not Integrated: Your spreadsheet isn’t integrated with any other application such as a CRM (Salesforce, Insightly, Zoho, etc) or Marketing Automation platform (Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Infusionsoft, etc). You’re already spending big bucks on these systems, so remind me why you’re using a “free” spreadsheet?
Not Very Pretty: Finally, from an aesthetics point of view, formatting becomes a mess when multiple players are adding and saving files.
Labor-Intensive: Lastly, the highly mechanical nature of a spreadsheet can drag down your ROI (or ROMI as discussed in the following webinar). After plugging in the numbers, data sits until you are able to find time to put formulas together for calculation and analysis. Then, the spreadsheet sits in your team’s inbox until they decide to develop a plan of action.
The following webinar touches on a few more things to consider.
Google Spreadsheets are Better than Excel: Google Spreadsheets solve some of the issues listed above. With the collaborative feature, at least all users will have instant access to up-to-the-second updates. However, the numbers are still sitting there, waiting for you to draw correlations and build trend lines.
Microsoft’s Collaborative Version of Office: Recently, one of my clients was quick to point out that Microsoft has its own equivalent of Google Docs. This feature allows you to collaborate real-time on an Excel doc. Way better than emailing attachments!
A Cloud-Based Marketing Budget Tool is Even Better (Introducing Allocadia): Imagine a results-focused, cloud-based software that is built on the logic of Excel but solves many of the problems mentioned above. Introducing Allocadia, a tool that does the dirty work for you – so you can devote more time to making value-added marketing decisions.
Instead of plugging numbers into spreadsheets (and dealing with the inevitable errors) Allocadia will format your data for you into a user-friendly, Excel-like interface. With all of the data in one place, users can easily access the dashboard to pull reports and answer questions on spending. Allocadia tracks your marketing investments and results to predict revenue based on historical trends and best-in-class analytics.
From a budgeting standpoint, management has never been easier. By inputting your budgeted spend, forecasts, commits, and actual spends, Allocadia allows you to always have the end in mind.
If the planning and budgeting wasn’t enough, Allocadia also offers in-depth analysis features. Keep investors, department managers, and other key stakeholders in the know with easy-to-generate reports.
Check out the following webinar for an in-depth preview of the software.
I’m excited to announce that my company, Keener Marketing Solutions, LLC, has partnered with Allocadia to bring intelligent marketing budgeting to the emerging tech and small business sectors. To request a risk-free demonstration of how Allocadia could benefit your organization, click the button below and request more information. After receiving your request, I’ll schedule a free demo with your team to explore if Allocadia is a good fit or not.