“Marketing is not easy. It’s hard.” Those words might have been uttered by any junior marketer, in any organisation, anywhere. In fact, they come from a conversation about marketing complexity Simple’s marketing team had with the former chief marketing officer of a major international banking group.
Why do even the most experienced marketers find marketing hard? Because it’s the result of a complex series of actions and decisions pushed through dispersed or convoluted organisational hierarchies, using a burgeoning array of tools, leading to a complex arrangement of activities that take place across an ever-growing number of channels, attempting to reach an increasingly fragmented audience – and in the process, generating so much data that it’s hard even to know what has worked, and what hasn’t.
Essentially, this is the reason Simple’s marketing resource management platform exists: to reduce marketing complexity by transforming the way marketing teams plan, orchestrate, understand and improve their marketing activity so they can focus on the things that generate growth and maximise the return on their marketing investment. Here are some of the key ways we do it:
1. Centralised, operational marketing plans
Most marketing teams plan their activity in spreadsheets that, once approved, are infrequently consulted and almost immediately are out of date. In fact, according to Simple’s recent study MRM in the Age of Intelligence, 52% of marketers use spreadsheets as their primary planning tool, with a further 15% relying on shared documents.
It’s hardly surprising then, that only 10% say their planning tool is very good at providing an up-to-date view of marketing. Almost two in three (64%) say their planning tool is ‘somewhat’ suitable or not at all. Similarly, just 10% think their planning tool is more than adequate at providing a segmented view of marketing by key attributes such as customer segment, channel or geographic territory.
Simple’s marketing resource management platform enables teams to create centralised, operational marketing plans, with budgets and resources allocated, a calendar of activity that is visible across the organisation, and tasks and timelines that fall directly out of it.
When timelines or activities are changed, the plan is instantly updated — and vice-versa; and marketing activity can be tagged and categorised according to a variety of attributes that enable CMOs easily to ensure resources and spending are effectively allocated to achieve the organisation’s strategic goals.
And when results are captured in the platform, Simple provides the basis for next quarter’s or next year’s plan, with budgets, resourcing and results attached – meaning marketers can plan in the light, rather than in the dark.
2. One platform for orchestrating marketing operations at scale
Ever spent hours looking for one elusive piece of creative work, searching for that email from your boss requesting detailed changes to a campaign, or oscillating between 4 or 5 communications tools trying to collate the feedback of key stakeholders and colleagues in order to get marketing work out the door?
Imagine most of your marketing team doing that for a couple of hours a day, most days. Now throw your agencies into the mix. Not only is your marketing team communicating stakeholder changes to your agencies, they’re liaising on the other end with those stakeholders, be they product, sales or another team. The time spent doing this quickly mounts; and any inefficiencies are quickly magnified.
Simple provides one unified platform that captures the end-to-end process for getting marketing work done from briefing to review, and from amendments to approvals. It covers internal and external stakeholders, agencies and suppliers, compliance, legal and risk. It ensures everyone is clear about their role in the process and their deadline, and automatically prompts team members to execute their work on time. In fact, 52% of marketers say the single most important factor in saving them time is simply for all involved parties to complete their part of the process by the required date.
3. Control over your brand IP and creative assets
When marketing was a simpler discipline, with fewer channels, it was common for the creative agency to manage the creation, distribution, editing and storage of a brand’s campaign assets. But times have changed.
In our digital, agile, multi-channel world, marketing teams need control over their own intellectual property, and access to existing approved, brand-safe assets so they can update, re-use and distribute them across as many channels as required — within minutes or hours rather than days – and at minimal cost.
Are you still paying your agencies to update headlines and manage your rights to use creative material? Simple’s digital asset manager puts your approved assets at your team’s fingertips so you can amend and execute quickly and easily across multiple channels at speed.
And by leveraging Microsoft’s expertise in artificial intelligence, assisted asset search and recognition makes asset discovery and retrieval faster – and your team more efficient than ever.
4. An end-to-end view of the brand experience
Almost two-thirds (59%) of CMOs are now in charge of managing the customer experience, according to our study, MRM in the Age of Intelligence. But while 87% say brand consistency is extremely or very important, fewer than half believe their own messaging, visual appearance or brand personality measures up.
That puts brand governance issues at the heart of marketing’s ability to manage the customer experience. Because Simple offers one platform for the end-to-end management of marketing activity, regardless of the execution channel, it also provides a single platform to view, track and manage the brand experience, from visual appearance and messaging down to regulatory compliance and audit requirements.
5. A unified brand technology ecosystem
There are almost 7000 marketing tools in the technology-enabled CMO’s toolkit, according to Chiefmartec’s marketing technology landscape for 2018, many of them distribution-oriented products that focus on one particular channel to market. But how many of these tools talk to each other? And just because you’ve bought a tool, how can you ensure your team is using it as they should?
Built on Microsoft’s technology stack, Simple offers native integration with the hundreds of marketing tools that are already integrated with Microsoft, as well as with the suite of Office 365 tools that are already so familiar to enterprise marketing teams. That makes integration to create a unified marketing technology ecosystem easier than ever.
And the detailed marketing workflows and results capture in Simple mean CMOs can mandate when and how other tools are used, and ensure that those results are captured in Simple – creating one technology ecosystem and one tool to make sense of them all.
6. A clear view of return on marketing investment
If a campaign on YouTube generates particularly good results but takes a team of people months to put together – are those results as efficient as they seemed at first glance? Perhaps an Instagram campaign with results that were almost as good, that took one person a few weeks to produce is a better use of marketing resources for a CMO who is focused on achieving growth.
And in marketing, growth — as we know — is the new black (and the old black).
Simple’s campaign dashboards enable marketers to display all their key campaign results, drawing on the strength of Microsoft’s Power BI data visualisation system. And our native reports include team activity inputs — finally providing CMOs with a complete picture of the return on their marketing investment.
Nowhere else can marketers find campaign assets, timeframes, team allocation, tools and budgets all rolled up into results.
7. An intelligent marketing platform
As we continue to develop the Simple platform, we are leveraging Microsoft’s Azure intelligent cloud to build machine learning and artificial intelligence into the Simple platform.
This can be seen in automated asset tagging, identification, discovery and usage recommendations based on campaign performance; the development of intelligent briefs and smart campaign templates supported by best-practice workflows; and machine-learning-assisted help for managing work – among other initiatives.
All of this simply makes Simple the one intelligent marketing resource management platform that can help enterprise marketing teams reduce marketing complexity, regain control and get a single view of all their marketing activity and the real return on that investment.
From planning and review to optimisation, Simple’s intelligent marketing platform helps reduce marketing complexity and drive growth at every stage of the marketing process. Reach out to one of our consultants to see how it works.