Data & Tech

What tools marketers use most, miss, and could do without

More than 100 Marketing Brew readers recently shared which platforms and resources they rely on at work.
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Francis Scialabba

· 5 min read

It takes a village to raise a child—and it takes a lot of platforms to help a marketer get through the day.

Last week, we asked Marketing Brew readers to share which platforms they rely on to do their jobs—as well as which ones they miss, could do without, and more. About 150 of you responded, sharing all sorts of thoughts (and let’s be real, grievances).

We’ve recapped some of the highlights below, and we’ll be spending some more time this month covering tools and resources used by marketers.

By design 🎨

Canva got a lot of love across the board. Several respondents—including a customer experience manager, an administrative office assistant, and a VP of marketing—cited the graphic-design platform, which is expected to make more than $1 billion in revenue this year, as a tool they rely on most.

Emily Loof, development and marketing manager at nonprofit Colorado Youth for a Change, told us she uses it “every single day to make our social posts, emails, and more stand out more and look clean.” Loof said the nonprofit pays $13 per month for Canva, which offers various plans (including a free one).

“As Marketing Manager, graphic design is a big part of my job, but I detested art in school and dropped the one graphic-design class I signed up for in college. I like to joke that I got a graphic-design degree from Canva University because it really is that helpful. It does so much of the work for us—I use what they’ve already created and add our spin,” Loof said.

Holly Engel, marketing and communications specialist at Community West Credit Union, said she uses Canva to create marketing materials like a quarterly newsletter, social media images, and graphics. “To do everything with one of our vendors or take the time it requires to create in Adobe, I’d have [to have] a full-time graphic-designer role! That isn’t practical for a mid-sized credit union. So, I get creative with the paid version of Canva. There are a lot of cringey things you can make with Canva, but you can make nice things as well,” she said.

Bye bye bye

Which marketing tools are on the chopping block? The short answer: it depends on your role, responsibilities, and company. But some readers suggested that tools that help marketers schedule social posts are becoming less valuable or even needed.

“We just recently cut Hootsuite because there are many ways to schedule social posts for free, and that’s all we were using Hootsuite for,” one respondent said.

Another said they’d ditch a “social media scheduler” if they had to pick one tool to stop using for work, opting for “a more organic approach” instead, while a third said they think most social schedulers are overhyped: “They’re never seamless and I always end up having to log onto one social platform or another to fully get the job done,” they wrote.

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Others said they’d get rid of audio-transcription services if they had to make cuts. “I can go old school to transcribe interviews if I have to,” one reader wrote. Another said that Gong “records our calls but we don’t really use the other features...[we] could just record on Zoom. [It] helps that it does audio transcripts, but not super necessary.” And one respondent wrote that while Otter is “great,” they “don’t use it consistently enough to warrant paying for it.”

Baby come back

We asked readers what tools they missed, and the answers were all over the place. Some of our favorites? “Old-school TweetDeck,” “the Final Cut of 10 years ago,” “phone calls,” and “a high-quality camera. Phones just aren’t the same.”

Another “tool” that marketers find themselves missing? In-person meetings and brainstorms.

“I think remote meetings are an essential ‘lesser of two evils’ option – with the other option being no virtual collaboration at all,” Mark Whitney, senior copywriter at ad agency Walk West, told us.

“I feel like my multitasking ability has grown incredibly working from home, which does make me more productive on smaller, executional projects. But for larger campaigns and new creative, I feel like agencies do better work working in person,” he said. “At Walk West, we’ve shifted to being in the office together one day a week, so now all of our big creative brainstorming / planning happens on that day—and I really feel like it’s gotten us into a great groove that has produced demonstrably better work than we did [when we were] 100% remote.”

Alex Ross, senior content marketing manager at Clearbit, said she misses the “good old-fashioned whiteboard” that’s gone by the wayside with so many companies going remote.

“As much as I love working for a fully remote company, I do miss those collaborative brainstorming sessions that took place in the office using a whiteboard,” Ross said. “You can get all your ideas on the board. Erase the ones you can’t commit to right now, highlight the ones that are important, and dive deep into specific concepts. I know there are dozens of virtual tools that do this, but something about physically writing down ideas and plans seems to make it stick a little more.”

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Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.