The 12 Pains of Excel for the Marketing Planning, Budgeting and Holiday Season

First, there was the song “The 12 Days of Christmas.”  It was a wonderfully uplifting song, although I still have no idea what “lords leaping” and “maids milking” have to do with the holiday.  Next, came the parody song “The 12 Pains of Christmas,” which shed some light on the aggravation the holidays create (very funny if you haven’t heard it).  Since ‘tis also the season for annual marketing planning and budgeting, and I don’t have a beautiful singing voice, I thought I would write a blog post about the 12 pains of using Excel for creating and managing your marketing strategy for 2020.

The 1st thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Excel offers no best practices or templates to help marketers get started on their plans or budgets.  On your own, like a lone partridge in a pear tree.

The 2nd thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Setting up formulas is hard and they break all the time making the process error-prone and fraught with risk.  Why not live dangerously, it’s not your money. Maybe after the holidays, you can get an elf to balance your budget.

The 3rd thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Excel is not optimal for including details about campaigns, programs, and activities (where do I put messages and content so I have everything in one place?).  If you do decide to stuff all those wonderful words into cells, then congratulations, you must be a person with a nimble index finger adept at scrolling... perfect for online holiday shopping on Amazon.

The 4th thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Excel is acceptable for basic budgeting but horrible for marketing planning which is why plans tend to be in slides or documents creating two separate places for your strategic marketing (no unification). If you are looking to hide your marketing (like your presents) from everyone, including yourself, well played.

The 5th thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Since spreadsheets are the primary tools for finance and marketers are skilled at creating slide decks and documents, not spreadsheets, it creates a disconnect between the teams for the creation, management, and tracking of the budget.  Don’t let Excel create a Heat Miser vs. Cold Miser scenario with finance.

The 6th thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

What the heck is a pivot table?!

The 7th thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Maintaining data in Excel is a highly manual process.  Now add in the pain of expenses in other currencies and the detail of having to calculate the conversion rate. Just like I always say to holiday fruit cake: no thank you, no gracias, non merci, no grazie, and nein danke.

The 8th thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Frankly, detailed plans and budgets in Excel are both daunting and boring to both look at and work with.  And Excel spreadsheets don’t make good holiday gifts for grandma and her glaucoma.

The 9th thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Excel is hard to integrate with other systems, therefore limited automation and tedious, time-consuming manual work.  Perfect for a do-it-yourself control freak who finds rigging up the holiday lights therapeutic.

The 10th thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Limited collaboration, no version control or change log, and tracking results is hard.  I get it, you are a lone wolf, free spirit who likes to wing it. But remember, having to hit the “undo” button to see what you have done in Excel will only succeed in “undoing” your career.  Good luck paying off the 10 months of holiday bills on their way.

The 11th thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Using Excel, everything might look logical but there can be all sorts of hidden gremlins that go undiscovered, and the more marketers collaborating on the same spreadsheet, the more diverse and well-hidden the gremlins.  Stuffed Gremlins are a great holiday gift for little Johnny, but you don’t want them anywhere near your spreadsheet.

The 12th thing of Excel during planning & budgeting season that's such a pain to me:

Excel is terrible for doing the pragmatic things marketers want to do - like roll-forward budget, close quarters or campaigns, re-assign budget, display and enforce budget ownership, support permissions, and so on.  You know, the work you do every day after the holidays.

And a partridge in a pear tree… whatever that means.

If you want to get rid of the pain of the marketing planning and budgeting season click here to schedule a demo of Plannuh and see how you can create and manage your marketing goals, plans, campaigns, budget and ROI all in one place for efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration.

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