Comparing the Best Marketing Budget Software: Pros and Cons

Category

Marketing

Read Time

16 min

Published

21 March, 2024

Choosing the best marketing budget software can be difficult as there’s so many options available.

This makes finding the right tool that combines functionality with user-friendliness key, as you want to feel confident that you’re able to use it and draw the right insights when reporting to your senior team.

The whole point of marketing budget software is to help you identify which areas you are spending money in so that you can make informed decisions and optimise your marketing strategies in the future.

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In this blog, we’re comparing the best marketing budget software available, delving into what these platforms are, what they do, and the pros and cons of each.

Instead of scouring the internet, we’re doing the work for you and collating the best tools in one handy list!

With this information in mind you can make decisions that align with your marketing goals and budget constraints. Whether you’re managing a small team or developing the marketing strategy on a bigger scale, this blog will help you understand the software solutions available so that you can maximise your marketing budget.

Let’s take a look.
computer illustration showing workday adaptive planning software

Workday Adaptive Planning

Workday Adaptive Planning is a cloud-based financial planning and analysis tool that can be used by marketing departments for budget management.

Best known for its capabilities in budgeting, forecasting, and reporting, Workday Adaptive Planning allows marketers to understand their spending patterns and to optimise where and how their resources are being used.

The platform also allows users to create detailed marketing budgets so that they can track expenditures, analyse performance, and identify the most effective channels for campaigns.

As its cloud-based, it can be accessed from anywhere, making it ideal for remote and global teams. With a range of features and a user-friendly interface, Workday Adaptive Planning improves the overall budget management experience, enabling marketing teams to make informed, data-driven decisions.

Pros:

  • Financial planning: Numerous financial planning features, allowing users to create detailed and in-depth marketing budgets.
  • Real-time collaboration: The cloud-based nature allows for real-time collaboration, seamless communication, and data sharing.
  • Scalability: Suitable for businesses of various sizes, from small businesses to large orgnsiationss, ensuring adaptability as requirements change over time.
  • Integration capabilities: Offers integration with other business systems and tools, including CRM systems like Salesforce or HubSpot.

Cons:

  • Cost: Might be quite expensive particularly for smaller businesses with limited budgets due to ongoing subscription fees.
  • Training requirements: Although the platform aims to be user-friendly, the complexity of financial planning tools may still require training for users to fully leverage its capabilities.
  • Limited customisation: Businesses with specific or unique requirements may face challenges in tailoring the platform to meet their exact needs.

computer illustration showing ActiveCollab software

ActiveCollab

ActiveCollab, while mostly known as a project management tool, can also be used for parts of marketing budget management.

Thanks to features such as project tracking and collaboration tools, this provides a platform for marketing teams to coordinate efforts and monitor project progress.

The time tracking and invoicing features can also help with tracking expenses and managing budget-related activities. However, it’s important to note that ActiveCollab might lack some of the specialised financial functionalities found in dedicated marketing budget software tools which we’ve included in our list of cons below!

That said, the application can compute the profit margin for each project, enabling effective management of your marketing budget while planning your workload. This provides a measure of the profitability associated with different marketing activities, allowing you to prioritise tasks based on their potential revenue.

Pros:

  • Project profitability: Being able to calculate the profit margin for each project is a significant advantage as you can assess the financial viability of different activities.
  • Workload planning: The software’s integration of profit margin calculations helps teams balance workloads while considering the financial impact.
  • User-friendly: It’s accessible to team members with varying levels of expertise thanks to the intuitive design.

Cons:

  • Possible limited financial functionality: It may lack some of the specialised financial functionalities found in dedicated marketing budget software tools.
  • Cost: Depending on the size and needs of your business, the pricing structure and subscription fees could be a potential drawback.
  • Dependency on additional tools: Users may need to integrate ActiveCollab with additional financial tools which is an additional investment.

computer illustration showing FunctionFox software

FunctionFox

FunctionFox offers project management and time tracking features that contribute to effective budget management.

This allows marketing teams to monitor project timelines, track expenses, and gain insights into resource allocation so they can be confident they’re spending the money in the right places.

Whilst it wasn’t designed to be a dedicated marketing budget tool, its features can help in the financial aspects of project planning and execution. With tools for time tracking, expense management, and project tracking, FunctionFox enables marketing teams to streamline their workflow, optimise their resources, and gain visibility into project costs.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the software comes with templates as part of every paid plan. These are a game-changer for speeding up project planning, and if your team tackles similar projects in the future, it’s a real time-saver.

Pros:

  • Templates: There are templates with every paid plan, streamlining project planning and saving time for your team.
  • User-friendly: The software is very easy to use which allows for quick adoption and collaboration within the marketing team.
  • Time tracking capabilities: Robust time tracking features, allowing teams to monitor and analyse time spent on various tasks. This can help with accurate project costing and resource allocation.

Cons:

  • Limited financial features: While suitable for project management and time tracking, FunctionFox may lack some of the advanced financial functionalities found in dedicated marketing budget tools.
  • Integrations: Integrating FunctionFox with other tools or software may pose challenges, potentially limiting its compatibility with an businesses existing tech stack.
  • Limited automation: FunctionFox may offer limited automation features compared to more specialised tools, potentially requiring more manual input for certain processes.

computer illustration showing Pro Workflow software

ProWorkFlow

ProWorkflow is a comprehensive project management tool that can also serve as a valuable tool for managing marketing budgets.

Designed with a user-friendly interface, it allows marketing teams to easily collaborate with features such as task management, time tracking, and document sharing.

The platform’s reporting capabilities are also something to highlight as this allows marketers to gain insights into project costs and performance metrics. Overall ProWorkflow is a robust solution for marketing teams looking to streamline project management processes and improve financial control within their campaigns.

Pros:

  • Intuitive interface: ProWorkflow has an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it accessible to team members with varying levels of technical expertise.
  • Project management: The platform provides a range of project management features, including task tracking, time management, and document sharing.
  • Reporting: ProWorkflow offers robust reporting features, providing insights into project costs, resource usage, and overall team performance.

Cons:

  • Limited features: While ProWorkflow is strong in project management, it may lack some of the advanced financial functionalities found in dedicated marketing budget tools such as forecasting tools.
  • Training: Some team members may need additional training when adapting to the platform’s various functionalities, particularly if they’re new to project management tools.
  • Integrations: Users may face challenges in seamlessly connecting ProWorkflow with other essential business applications.

Dreamdata

Dreamdata is a marketing analytics tool that offers insights into the impact of marketing efforts on revenue generation.

This tool comes in very useful when attributing revenue to specific marketing channels, campaigns, and customer touchpoints. It provides a comprehensive overview of the customer journey, allowing businesses to understand the financial returns on their marketing investments.

With its advanced attribution capabilities, Dreamdata enables marketers to optimise budget allocation by identifying the most impactful channels and strategies. By offering clarity on the direct correlation between marketing activities and revenue outcomes, Dreamdata helps businesses make informed decisions.

Pros:

  • Revenue attribution: Dreamdata is great for providing advanced revenue attribution, offering insights into how different marketing channels contribute to revenue generation.
  • Customer journey analysis: The platform provides a whole view of the customer journey, allowing marketers to understand the path to conversion.
  • Data-driven decisions: Enables businesses to make informed, data-driven decisions by offering detailed analytics on marketing performance.

Cons:

  • Implementation: Implementing Dreamdata may require a level of expertise and time, as it involves integrating with various data sources and setting up attribution models.
  • Cost: The cost of implementation and ongoing subscription fees may impact the accessibility of the platform for businesses.
  • Learning curve: Due to its advanced analytics capabilities, there might be a learning curve for users who are new to sophisticated marketing tools.

computer illustration showing Acoustic software

Acoustic

Acoustic is known for its marketing technology solutions, particularly in the areas of email marketing, marketing automation, and analytics.

While Acoustic is not solely marketed as a dedicated marketing budget software, its suite of tools can play a role in supporting aspects of budget management. Acoustic’s offerings may provide features for tracking campaign performance, analysing marketing metrics, and optimising engagement with customers.

The platform’s analytics could also potentially offer insights into the effectiveness of different marketing efforts which helps with decision-making when it comes to allocating the marketing budget.

Pros:

  • Marketing tools: You will have access to a suite of tools automation, and analytics, providing a comprehensive approach to marketing.
  • Campaign tracking: Effectively measure the performance of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions.
  • Intuitive navigation: Acoustic’s UI is designed with user-friendliness in mind, offering an intuitive and easy-to-navigate experience.

Cons:

  • Limited customisation: Acoustic’s workflow planning features might lack the flexibility needed to accommodate unique workflows, leading to limitations in adapting the tool to diverse project requirements.
  • Lack of automation options: Users might find limitations in the extent to which they can automate customer journeys, impacting the efficiency of marketing campaigns and potentially requiring more manual intervention.

computer illustration showing Media Tool software

Mediatool

Mediatool is designed to improve your marketing activities from planning to evaluation.

It offers a valuable platform for tracking and analysing performance metrics while also providing the capability to document the plans for your marketing strategy.

With the calendar feature, you can map out projects, tactics, and even establish approval workflows. The system allows you to set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and budgets for both individual campaigns and your overall marketing strategy, providing one place for monitoring and tracking.

The data on the dashboard offers insights into budget distribution, enabling you to compare planned versus actual spend on each campaign.

Pros:

  • Campaign roadmaps: This feature facilitates strategic planning by providing a visual representation of the entire campaign timeline, allowing teams to align their efforts and coordinate tasks effectively.
  • Centralised budget planning and tracking: This streamlines financial management, providing users with one location to plan, allocate, and monitor budgets.
  • Connectivity: By integrating with different data streams, the platform offers a more comprehensive view of campaign performance, enabling data-driven decision-making.

Cons:

  • Complexity: To use the platform, team members might need some extra training to navigate the different features and reports.
  • Time consuming: The setup process can be time-consuming and the need for thorough training might contribute to delays. This might not be ideal for teams looking to get started immediately with their marketing budget management.

Sugar

It’s important to highlight that SugarCRM mainly focuses on customer relationship management (CRM) however it offers features that can help you manage your marketing budget.

For example, SugarCRM allows you to plan and track different marketing campaigns so that you can analyse their performance. Whilst it may not have extensive budgeting features, it can help you monitor performance metrics so you can see what strategies are working. In turn, this influences how you spend your marketing budget in the future.

It also helps with lead tracking and conversions so that you can understand the effectiveness of different marketing efforts in terms of lead generation and conversion. Again, this is crucial for optimising your marketing budget as you can invest more in the areas that produce the most conversions and less so in the areas that are falling flat.

Pros:

  • Integrated customer data: You’ll have access to customer data such as interactions and preferences. This insight into customer behaviour allows you to tailor your strategies and marketing budget to appeal to their needs.
  • Campaign tracking and analytics: Monitor different campaign metrics and understand where your budget is being spent.
  • Lead management: Understand how leads are generated, nurtured, and converted, ensuring resources are allocated to the most successful lead generation channels.

Cons:

  • Lack of customisation: Whilst the platform allows for tailoring the system to specific needs, extensive customisation is limited.
  • Integration challenges: Ensuring seamless data flow between customer relationship management and budgeting tools is crucial so any challenges with integrations could impact overall efficiency.

computer illustration showing Hubspot software

Hubspot Marketing Hub

HubSpot Marketing Hub offers users a range of features that help with marketing budget management and financial planning.

This includes streamlined campaign planning, monitoring, and tracking of budgets for individual campaigns. Being able to view this dashboard and understand which campaigns are excelling in comparison to others is valuable for identifying where the marketing budget should be spent.

A great feature of Hubspot Marketing Hub is the analytics and reporting functionality. This helps teams assess the return on investment and make informed decisions about the marketing budget.

It’s also really easy to navigate, and if users experience any issues, they can always look at Hubspot academy. This contains lots of free, useful content and guides to help people get the most out of the platform.

Pros:

  • Analytics and reporting: Robust analytics and reporting tools, offering insights into the performance of marketing activities.
  • Easy to use: HubSpot is known for being user-friendly and intuitive, making it accessible to marketers with varying levels of expertise.
  • Automation and workflow tools: HubSpot’s automation features streamline repetitive tasks and workflows, reducing manual efforts and contributing to cost savings.
  • CRM Integration: Integrates seamlessly with the HubSpot CRM, providing a unified platform for managing customer interactions and marketing activities.

Cons:

  • Data storage: HubSpot’s pricing is dependent on data storage, so teams requiring more storage could incur additional costs. Particularly important for large businesses with extensive data storage needs.
  • Dependency on HubSpot ecosystem: Whilst integration is one of the platform’s strengths, users may find that the full benefits are realised when using the entire HubSpot ecosystem. This dependency might limit flexibility for businesses with existing tools.

computer illustration showing Expensify software

Expensify

Expensify allows users to track and manage marketing expenses associated with different campaigns.

Through the platform, users can store receipts, organise expenses, and build extensive reports that give them visibility over the marketing spend.

Expensify’s functionality also includes features such as real-time expense tracking, automatic receipt scanning, and the ability to link expenses directly to specific marketing projects thereby giving a more holistic view of total expenditure.

It also has an intuitive interface and user-friendly design across both desktop and mobile, allowing people to conveniently manage marketing expenses on the go.

Pros:

  • Real-time expense monitoring: The software gives users instant insights into their spending, enabling marketing teams to stay updated on how and where the budget is being used.
  • Receipt scanning: Automates the receipt scanning process, reducing the manual effort required for expense management, improving accuracy and saving time.
  • Integrations: Expensify integrates with various accounting and financial tools, such as QuickBooks or Xero allowing for seamless data flow between expense management and other financial processes.
  • Mobile accessibility: This is a big plus for marketing professionals who may incur expenses while working remotely or attending events.

Cons:

  • Dependent on user input: The accuracy of expense tracking relies on users manually inputting data and attaching receipts. If users fail to do this, the system’s effectiveness may be compromised.
  • Complexity: While Expensify allows for expense approval workflows, some users may find the configuration and management of these workflows complex.

computer illustration showing Adplugg software

AdPlugg

AdPlugg offers a range of features to streamline advertising and promotional efforts.

It’s designed to simplify the process of managing and optimising digital advertisements across various channels so that marketers know which channels are performing best.

In just a few clicks, users can create, schedule, and track the performance of their online ads through an intuitive interface.

AdPlugg comes in very useful when planning and executing advertising campaigns, allowing for easy budget allocation and monitoring of marketing spend.

Standout features include easy ad scheduling, real-time analytics, and compatibility with different ad formats such as images, HTML5, and video. Users further benefit from the ability to precisely control when and where their ads appear, optimise campaigns based on real-time insights, and make data-driven decisions to maximise the return on their marketing investments.

Pros:

  • Ad scheduling: AdPlugg offers highly customisable ad scheduling options, allowing users to control when and where their ads are displayed.
  • Real-time analytics: Offers immediate insights into ad performance metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversions.
  • Ad rotation capabilities: The platform allows you to rotate your ads, preventing ad fatigue by rotating different versions within the same campaign.

Cons:

  • Limited targetting: AdPlugg may have reduced advanced targeting options, potentially limiting the ability to precisely target specific audience segments.
  • Dependency on external platforms: AdPlugg’s effectiveness may depend on its integration with external platforms for ad placements, and any limitations or in compatibility could impact campaign performance.
  • Ad Blindness: There’s a risk of ad blindness among target audiences, especially if ads are displayed frequently or repetitively, potentially reducing overall campaign effectiveness over time.

Comparing the Best Marketing Budget Software: Pros and Cons

Choosing the best marketing budget software is one of the most important decisions you will make as a marketer.

This tool will act as your central hub for managing your marketing spend, giving you visibility over what channels and strategies are performing, and crucially, what channels and strategies are falling flat.

When presenting your marketing budget to your senior team, marketing budget software will be your best friend as you’ll be able to easily collate the numbers and metrics you need instead of scouring several different places.

This will save you both time and stress as you’ll be able to confidently report on the numbers knowing they have all been stored in your marketing budget software.

At Canny, we partner without clients helping them to maximise their budget in the right areas. We treat their budget as if it were our own, helping our clients get the most out of their marketing spend so that they can enjoy the actual results. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you.

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

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