I would like to thank AMI for giving us the opportunity to share something that we at Workamajig are very passionate about; helping creative agencies optimize their workflow and increase accountability to improve performance.

For over 30 years, Workamajig has been helping agencies streamline their operations and unclog their bottlenecks –first as a consultancy firm and eventually as a project management tool for creative agencies

We pioneered the SaaS model for the creative industry by combining sales, accounting, reporting, and collaboration functionalities in one piece of software for an affordable rate. Today, we work with over 3000 agencies, and 20% of Fortune 500 marketing departments rely on us to scale their excellence. 

Working with new clients, we usually encounter one common confession: many rely on spreadsheets for most of their marketing and company operations. While spreadsheets are great, they also have limitations.

Let’s talk about what makes them awesome, and what makes them less than ideal for our purposes.

Why We Love Spreadsheets

It’s Free

Google Sheets was released on March 9, 2006. Since then, anyone who had access to the internet could use spreadsheets for free. This allowed professionals from all industries to maximize its functions until it eventually became a staple in most workplaces.

In 2017 and 2018, data shows that Microsoft Excel was the most used software by market researchers. Years later, spreadsheets stay in the same position, with 77% of respondents (from staff to upper management) spend over 10+ hours a week working with Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet software, according to a 2022 MarTech Career and Salary survey

Spreadsheets are versatile, and they’re cost-efficient. This makes them the go-to option for many parts of a business.

It’s Flexible

Many industries use spreadsheets –from architecture to statistics, marketing to finance. Its many formulas and data visualization options allow for effective analysis and reporting. You can use your sheet to track tasks, project expenses, monitor timelines and inventory, document sales, etc. 

Spreadsheets can give you graphs, charts, and tables. The same data set can be visualized differently, depending on what your stakeholders find relevant.

Formulas Help Process Massive Data

One of the best things about spreadsheets is how easy it is to scale information by typing in a formula and dragging your cursor to see the values. With just a few clicks, you can create graphs to help you identify trends and visualize them for reporting.

This functionality makes it handy for data recording, analysis, and projection. Bookkeeping and expense tracking is also made easier for market researchers, finance professionals, and data scientists.

Why It’s Time To Ditch Spreadsheets

Despite all its strengths, it’s also important to recognize the limitations of our beloved spreadsheet.

Poor Collaboration Features

Collaboration is a big part of marketing operations. Teams must align to make integrated marketing efforts effective. Feedback needs to be documented, along with revisions and discussions.

Reports show that in marketing operations, documents, chats, and emails are the most used tools for collaboration. And right now, spreadsheets have limited functionality regarding this.

If you want to optimize your marketing workflow, use tools that accommodate file exchange, messaging, and other team communications necessary to amplify your creative efforts.

Limited Support For Images

With the rise of Instagram, Tiktok, and other social media platforms, videos and images have become incredibly relevant in marketing. 52% of marketers say that visual content is vital to their strategy. Meanwhile, spreadsheets have very limited support for images and no support for video.

Many creative agencies use spreadsheets to organize content calendars because it’s easy to copy and paste information around. However, with the lack of visual elements to support your posts, it will be hard to imagine how they’ll look on your feed and to your viewers.

To effectively plan out your content and share them with your clients before posting, pick tools that support different types of media. This way, you can manage both assets and captions and schedule them accordingly.

Learning Curve

Excel can be very comprehensive. If you want to learn all its ins and outs, you’ll need to spend approximately 18-20 hours. Numerous courses and bootcamps are also available for your consumption.

Unfortunately, not everyone has that time. Time spent learning and navigating spreadsheets is time that could be spent brainstorming for new strategies or analyzing the pieces of information that’s in them.

Making the most of all the strengths of spreadsheets requires skill. As much as possible, it’s more optimal to go with software with an intuitive interface that’s made especially for your industry.

Hard To Manage With Too Many Clients

We’ve seen so many agencies use spreadsheets to keep track of all their client campaigns and it ain’t pretty. One client folder can contain over 15 spreadsheets, decks, and documents. Multiply this with the number of clients they have and you can pretty much imagine how challenging it can be to find things.

Many agencies can make this work. But when you start having more and more clients, can you imagine how many tabs you’ll need to have open whenever you work?

Aside from this, spreadsheets still lack automation features. A few examples are automatically assigning tasks to team members, sending requests and reminders to clients, and automatically pulling details from client records. This results in manual work in updating and encoding information or outdated trackers.

Prone To Error

Spreadsheet errors in many fields have resulted in catastrophic outcomes. From Olympic audiences being locked out of stadiums to Harvard researchers being shamed by students because of coding errors and missing data in their computations.

Mistakes can be because of wrong logic behind formulas, typos, auto-correct, or accidental omissions. Because of how easy it is to duplicate information in spreadsheets, these small mistakes can scale into vast proportions.

Today, many companies take a close look at how they make spreadsheets and take the time to create guidelines to avoid these costly errors. However, not all companies have this type of system. This makes many spreadsheets users at risk for inconsistent information and flawed analysis.

A Better Alternative

With so many marketing technology options available, agencies are no longer forced to depend on spreadsheets. 

If you find that your agency is ready to find better ways to manage your clients and campaigns, we’d love to help you out. 

Reach out to us at BABA or visit our website to request a free demo.