Import, Export, Drip, Drip, Drip: The Inefficiency of Manual Budget Tracking

August 12, 2014 Matt Keener

Import, Export, Drip, Drip, Drip - The Inefficiency of Manual Budget TrackingA guest post by Matt Keener of Keener Marketing Solutions

Something is better than nothing. However, “something” might be costing you more than you think. If your budgeting and ROI analysis process relies on the exporting, importing, and manual entry of marketing data, you’re wasting time and money.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the inefficiencies associated with manual processes – and how each inefficiency is dripping your ROI dry.

Drip #1: Agreeing on a Budgeting and Reporting Template

Before you can allocate your first marketing dollar, your team has to agree on the basics, such as how your budgeting and reporting template will look. If you’re using a spreadsheet, this could take a lot of back and forth to get it right. Marketing managers like to see campaign-specific data, whereas executives often prefer more of a “dashboard” experience. Achieving both at the same time is challenging (if not impossible) with spreadsheets.

Drip #2: Manually Exporting Data from Multiple Sources

Marketers love to try new things. Some marketing programs work, while others fail miserably. Each program typically has a unique landing page, call-to-action, promotional campaign, and budget.

To properly track each program in a spreadsheet, someone on your team may have to export data from dozens of sources. Marketo, Eloqua, Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter each offer proprietary analytics with their own twist on terminology and reporting. That’s a lot of data to manually aggregate on a monthly basis. True, most systems offer the ability to download a CSV file. But how will you merge all of these CSV files into a meaningful report?

Drip #3: Associating Results with the Correct Analysis

Some channels are more effective at driving leads, while others are more effective at building brand awareness. Take for example Google AdWords and Twitter Ads. In a B2B setting, Twitter Ads can’t compete with Google AdWords for lead generation (at least that’s my opinion). If you ran the same budget across those two mediums for the same period and expected the same lead results, you’re going to be disappointed.

When you’re doing all of your tracking and reporting manually, it becomes easier to forget about the “brand building” activities you set out to do at the onset of the marketing program. When numbers start to fly into spreadsheets, decision makers tend to go straight to the lead generation numbers. No amount of anecdotal evidence will help. Your spreadsheet simply doesn’t have the power to allocate and track program-specific custom goals.

Drip #4: Formatting Data into Something Useful

Remember all that time you spent setting up your template back in Drip #1? Well, your senior management team has slept a lot since then, and they now realize that your original template needs some “modifications.”

In addition, you now have dozens of CSV files from Drip #2 that you have to work into your final report. Video impressions, unique visitors, users, downloads, trial requests, opt-ins, and social shares all fill your mind. How will you ever make sense of it all? What does your team really need to see – and what will only create confusion? How will this impact next Quarter’s budget? You’ve got a lot to consider.

Turn Off the Faucet with Allocadia

Of course, there is a better way to approach marketing planning and performance measurement: Allocadia. Build your plan, set your goals, assign budgets, collaborate in real time, and never use a spreadsheet to track marketing performance again. Sign up for a demo of Allocadia to find out how to better understand and optimize your marketing initiatives and how they contribute to the overall revenue of your organization.

Matt Keener, Keener Marketing ServicesMatt Keener is President of Keener Marketing Solutions, LLC and is also the author of the book, Executive in Sweatpants: A Handbook for Launching Your Work from Home Career. As an outsourcing coach, he helps both clients and contractors reach their fullest potential. Visit his blog for helpful tips on managing online workers, growing virtual teams and more, and follow Matt on Twitter @ExecInSweats.

The post Import, Export, Drip, Drip, Drip: The Inefficiency of Manual Budget Tracking appeared first on Allocadia.

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