How are you currently using Smartsheet for Marketing?

Kevin Branscum
Kevin Branscum Employee
edited 09/13/23 in Show & Tell

Hello fellow marketers! My name is Kevin Branscum and I am the Marketing Solutions Manager here at Smartsheet. I've spent my career in various marketing roles (brand marketing, product marketing, creative project management) and have been using Smartsheet in most of them.

For my first question to the group, I'll keep it broad: How are you and/or your teams using Smartsheet for marketing? Are there any particular features or functions that you use most?


  • Barry Bowles
    Barry Bowles ✭✭✭✭
    edited 08/22/20

    Hi @Kevin Branscum - looks like this thread needs a starter comment - so I will jump in. I'm not sure how much detail you are looking for here so I will give you what I think might be helpful with the conceptual use and some detail of how it was implemented.

    A small group from our business development team started using smartsheet when their planned marketing event sponsorship for an event in Las Vegas was cancelled due to COVID19 and then converted to a virtual event. We needed tools to track attendee interest in our solutions offering and to manage the team's meetings and our own marketing department did not have anything suitable. We had very little time to prepare so smartsheet came to the rescue with its rapid development capability.

    Background: We are working with an event organizer who brings Csuite attendees and solutions provider sponsors together at the same event. Its a clever and well run campaign and it needed us to provide a small team of professionals to work with the organizer to identify qualified attendees and then execute around 100 individual meetings with attendees all within one week. This meant that every team member needed to have visibility what each other was doing to ensure we had the resources to attend and run each of the meetings.

    We are using smartsheet to track every attendee with a single row allocated per attendee. The first function we needed was to rank each attendee as to its importance to each of our team. We did that using a column for each team member and giving them a dropdown choice list (High/Medium/Low/No) Those rankings were then consolidated into a single weighted number in a result column for the Team score.

    In the second phase of our campaign our marketing event partner arranged meetings for us so we used smartsheet to record the meeting details and allocated members to each meeting. Columns were added to record the result of the meetings including no-shows, cancellations etc. Another column houses "progress" beyond the meeting and is a multi-select drop-down with check boxes for marking off each step as it is reached. This saved a lot of space on the sheet instead of having multiple columns (or multiple rows) for each meeting. There are also some compliance requirements which were also added as columns either as drop-downs or checkboxes. We also had to store information sheets on every attendee as well as the attendees' answers to a qualification survey. A consolidation sheet was created to extract data from the main sheet and used to drive a dashboard to give the team quick access to the important information. Multiple reports are being used as part of the dashboard to focus attention on specific areas of interest and having team members updating that information directly on the reports (live reports are opened by clicking on the report in the dashboard). I did use a smartsheet labs feature to map the attendees on to the map to identify the best resources to allocate to attendees but as this is a feature that is being removed by smartsheet I did not incorporate it into the dashboard as these are going to be ongoing events we run several times a year.

    Some monitored items on our dashboard include : # meetings actually held, # interested in more discussion, conversion ratios, # of attendees at each stage of campaign progress, # of records outside of marketing compliance policy, Industry and revenue demographics of prospects etc.

    As far as features use goes, contact list columns were used quite a bit ( we had 5 separate contact columns). There are some issues with smartsheet displaying email addresses instead of names randomly throughout the sheet despite being restricted to a pre-typed list of choices -(not resolved yet).

    A big issue with the scheduling of meetings was smartsheet's inability to handle time of day and only being able to use the day of appointment in calendar view. A request was sent to smartsheet about this as I see the lack of using time in smartsheet as a significant limiting factor. for any time of day based marketing in smartsheet. Time of day information recording and use in formula are important functions in marketing especially online marketing. It is almost inconceivable that smartsheet cannot handle time od day functionality given that functionality has been basic and core to excel forever - how did this get missed in smartsheet's development? I did put in an enhancement request for it of course.

    Another missing feature for marketing is the lack of mapping - I know that can be addressed by connecting to an outside reporting system like Power BI or maybe Tableau but smartsheet has a basic deficiency in its dashboard reporting capability and needs to either be married to (closely integrated) with an external partner or to add the functionality into smartsheet itself.

    Dashboards in smartsheet are extremely limited and those limitations will drive most marketing people up the wall and they will have to ask their IT department to spend significant time (and cost) getting smartsheet driving an external dashboard app. Its a very basic dashboard and requires the interim step of creating a consolidation sheet of some sort for much of the summary reporting.

    But the bottom-line is smartsheet got the job done for us in record quick time. Only one person in the team had ever used smartsheet before this event (myself) and users had to learn how to use it on the fly. Indeed much of it was built on the flay - as we found a need for a function it was added - and that's a big strength of smartsheet. We had a functioning campaign tool up and running in a few hours. Teaching collaborators to use it has also been pretty easy.

    I should say that our organization has a global IT department and a worldwide CRM (Dynamics 365) but it is not configured to do what we needed in this campaign and would have taken months if not years for the IT department to add the functionality we needed to the global system. A classic case of smartsheet empowering marketing and business development at the field level.

    I know many people in marketing will have quite different uses for smartsheet to what is described above but this is what we use it for in our marketing and I hope someone finds it of interest.

  • Kevin Branscum

    Hi @Barry Bowles - than you so much! Yes, we absolutely needed a starter comment and you went above and beyond here.

    This is an excellent example of using Smartsheet for Marketing and its general flexibility. I'm curious, did your Biz Dev team use a Template Set to get them started with the event planning? It's one of the tips I always tend to share: more often than not, there's no need to start from scratch. Even if they didn't, it sounds like your team built a solid solution quickly so I applaud you for that.

    Noted on your comments regarding the inability to handle time of day and dashboard reporting - it's not the first time I've heard it. Thank you for beating me to the punch and submitting an enhancement request!

    I think many people will find this example useful. It's one of the many, many use cases we like to focus on when it comes to Smartsheet for Marketing.

  • Emily Worth

    Hi! Thanks for starting this group! I've been a Smartsheet user on and off since 2015. For two years prior to COVID, I was using it just for my own tasking as our company's event manager. I did use a template and I loved it! I am now our team's marketing pm and I use Smartsheet for tasking for our very busy team of 6. We were previously using Basecamp and I figured out quickly that it didn't do nearly close to what I wanted it to do. We have started with a very basic tasking sheet and we utilize one sheet to track all of our campaigns and projects. It isn't perfect, but we are getting better everyday. I'm working with the SS team to get some help with our sheet and I can tell it is going to be a huge improvement from where we are currently.

    Our biggest painpoints as it pertains to SS functionality are 1. Creating dependents for tasks that have ever-changing deadline dates. ie: would love to say, "When status field changes to "complete" auto-change next field to "active"" and 2. Having a good way to aggregate data across multiple sheets into one roll-up (I think this might be an add-on though).

    Other than that, I'm being patient with myself and phasing our progress rather than building Rome in a day. Looking forward to Engage20 and working my way up to "Super User".

  • Kevin Branscum

    Hi @Emily Worth - thank you for joining! Have you seen our Campaign Management Template Set to manage your campaigns and projects? It's worth exploring for some inspiration at the very least.

    Regarding your paint points, here are some suggestions:

    1) I would recommend using Formulas (specifically the IF Function) to have and change cell values depending on other cells.

    2) You can absolutely aggregate data across multiple sheets without a premium add-on, using Reports. Helpful hint: make sure your column names are the same across different sheets if you want them to roll up in the same column on the report ("Task Status" in Sheet A and "Status" in Sheet B will populate two separate columns... but if they're both named "Status" they'll populate the same column).

    Hope this helps. You're certainly on your way to being a Super User and I hope you enjoy ENGAGE!