It’s been a decade since marketers around the world settled into Office 2007 and got addicted to a productivity software suite that that filled their calendar, taking bite after bite out of our already-busy days.
Outlook stuffed our inboxes with ‘Thank you’ replies cc’d to 35 colleagues; meanwhile, our presentations were peppered with a thousand Powerpoint bullets.
And while Microsoft’s Office suite single-handedly transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of workers, taking productivity software to previously unimagined levels, many marketers sense the pendulum has swung a little bit too far to the left-brain camp: the creative flame that burned inside so many of us has been snuffed out by a hurricane of spreadsheets and slide-decks and documents and calendar invites.
The good news? The pendulum is swinging back, with the emergence of a raft of productivity software-as-a-service solutions that are showing marketing leaders a different, more agile way to run their marketing teams.
Email is far from dead, but the Outlook is not as bright
Email revolutionised the way colleagues and teams communicated at work. And it’s still the pillar around which so many of our days revolve. But as Bill French wrote in 2003, “Email is the place where information goes to die”.
And marketers across the world are starting to realise that siloed conversations buried deep in inboxes are hard to retrieve, and result in campaign-critical information falling between the cracks. (Who amongst us hasn’t experienced an “I swear I didn’t get the brief” moment in the past 12 months)?
Help is on the way in the form of team messaging apps such as Slack, HipChat and Jostle, which keep relevant conversations on the surface, while providing real-time visibility over what the marketers are working on and talking about.
Silver bullets can be automated
Marketing automation is a powerful weapon and has become a buzzword for marketers across the globe, with platforms such as Marketo, Hubspot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud front-and-centre of the automation revolution.
Marketers are realizing that there are simply insufficient hours in the day — no matter how big their teams — to track, score and feed enough content to their always-on prospects and customers.
Automation is the silver bullet marketers need — or so we’re told. But many an unsuspecting marketer has ended up with a hole in her foot due to a carelessly loaded gun.
Bill Gates once observed that automation applied to efficient processes would magnify those efficiencies, but that the reverse was equally true. Many marketers are learning the hard way that the promise of automation is very hard to realise when you are dealing with humans.
A ‘CRM for marketers’?
For so many years, the sales team have lived in their customer relationship management system, the finance guys have had their enterprise resource planning system, and even the HR team has its own software hub.
But we poor marketers never had that single lens: forced to flit between emails and spreadsheets to brief jobs, jump in and out of Adobe’s Creative Suite to annotate and approve assets, then hop back into a calendar app to schedule our long lunches with clients.
All of which made it difficult to report on what the marketing team was up to, and contributed to a lack of credibility at best, and a loss of trust at worst. (“What the hell does the marketing team do all day, anyway?”)
Today, the emergence of marketing productivity platforms such as Simple has answered that last question in emphatic terms. Marketers now have access to a single source of truth, which handles briefing, amending and approving jobs, workflow-management, planning, and even digital asset management, taking productivity to new levels and eliminating time wasted jumping between multiple tools.
Many of today’s marketers are finally moving out of Office and into a different suite of productivity tools, giving them far more visibility, flexibility and credibility than they’ve ever had before.
As the patron saint of Office once said: “We always overestimate the change that will happen in the next two years, and underestimate the change that will happen in the next ten.”
Marketing generally, and the tools available to marketers specifically, are changing much faster than most of us realise. Mr Gates wouldn’t want you to be lulled into inaction. Nor would I!
To find out how Simple’s marketing productivity software can help your marketing team to be more efficient and effective, Book a Demo.