Excel at Marketing (Part 2)

As a former investment analyst I am no stranger to using Excel. In the past I generally concentrated on creating financial models and using Excel to forecast revenues, cash flows and profits. Since setting up BuzzSmart, a business solutions business focused on digital marketing, I have used spreadsheets in three main ways and am always considering additional ways to leverage this highly versatile tool. If you haven’t seen it already, here is part 1 of this article.

Managing and monitoring an advertising campaign
In a pure marketing sense the spreadsheet can be used to project manage and monitor progress with particular marketing plans. One use is as a super-CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program. One of the particular attractions for a young company is that the whole CRM side of things can be initiated in a simple and low cost manner. Importantly it can be shared with colleagues through collaboration tools such as google drive.

Looking ahead my colleagues and I had assumed that we would have to graduate to increasingly sophisticated forms of generic CRM packages which one can find on the market as the business grew. Having met Richard we are already starting to rethink our approach here as the option of developing an increasingly sophisticated and bespoke Excel based system is becoming increasingly attractive.

A connected use of spreadsheets is to collect, collate, make sense of and present the masses of data collected during an online marketing campaign. Having exported data from tools such as Google Analytics, an intelligently designed spreadsheet can enable focused analysis and interpretation of the results, resulting in ideas for new initiatives based on scientific testing.

Getting business by demonstrating potential Returns On Marketing Investment
A second and highly effective way of using spreadsheets, is as a “business getting” aid. Our central declared USP (Unique Selling Point) is that we will provide a specific digital marketing solution for the client’s particular need.

To do this we have to understand the business to a much greater extent than is common in a more traditional approach. One very persuasive way in demonstrating our understanding, and at the same time show the potential rewards of following and executing our advice, is to make a financial forecast of the campaign.

We have done this in a number of cases and have clearly shown the revenues and profits which can be generated from a certain course of action together with the associated costings.

One really useful side effect of this approach is that the ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) can be clearly calculated from these figures, and our clients can see exactly what they are getting from a particular course of action, and compare the returns offered by alternative choices.

Systematising the campaign production line
The third way in which we use spreadsheets is not as a strict marketing aid, but it is very important in keeping our costs as low as possible, and at the same time enabling us to offer a great value for money business. We tend to contract out an element of our work to contractors. In all cases however we want to retain the management and strategic input to a campaign, in-house.
By using “interactive” spreadsheets we can give line by line instructions to contractors who can then perform tasks – particularly some of the more repetitive (and lower skill) ones – needed when setting up an advertising campaign. By using these methods we can hire a VA (virtual assistant) to perform a task which might previously have been performed by a much higher paid Marketing executive. Moreover we can re-focus the marketing executive onto more value added tasks delivering enhanced value and timeliness for our clients.

I hope that this article has opened you to some fresh new ideas, if you require any assistance in these areas, please visit Spreadsheet Solutions or BuzzSmart.

Matthew Stainer
Finding you profitable customers online

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