As a marketer, especially a freelance one, I love a schedule. It’s the only way to manage multiple clients, tasks, responsibilities, and keep track of countless deadlines. I’ve been an avid list keeper all my life and I’ve got an Excel spreadsheet tucked away for just about every project I’ve ever worked on.
More recently, sophisticated project management and scheduling platforms like Monday, Asana and Hubspot have upped the game. I’ve tried them all and they all promise to empower you to create a schedule with clear plans, processes and responsibilities; to keep your team on track and increase efficiency, accountability, and clarity. Sounds great in theory, but from my experience, they don’t always live up to the hype.
They are all a bit laborious to set up, and the effort involved in the initial input and then in keeping projects up to date, doesn’t equal the outcome. That’s because they have been built generically to use across all sorts and sizes of businesses, and for all sorts of projects and can come with a hefty price attached. After you set them up and share them with your team, you often find that nobody ever refers to them, or adds their own updates or comments. That’s because they fall short of basic marketing needs and are not always intuitive or user friendly. You can get specialised programs for social media, emails and/or SMS like Hootsuite, Loomly or Sprout Social, but that is just a part of any marketing project, and each program comes at an extra cost.
So, I was pretty interested, (and a little sceptical given my past project management platform experience), when Daily Press asked me to test drive their new CRM/Project Management Platform called Indy.
The first thing that struck me was the simplicity of the dashboard layout. It has been purpose built for DP’s clients and therefore the hospitality industry. It is laid out in such a way that anyone can use and follow it immediately, marketer or not, and it has all the necessary information at your fingertips. I love that it is a truly collaborative platform, and you can share with your team or business partners/suppliers and view, communicate and work straight from the platform.
Setting up a new project is as simple as clicking a button, naming your project and adding in the information or files, then ticking what services you require from the menu. So instead of sending a brief by email, you do everything on the platform and add it directly to your planner. The dashboard also displays how many active jobs you have on the go, any pending jobs, and also the current status of every project in the system. You can edit and make changes to any project at any stage.
The comprehensive menu covers all digital assets including print, social media, videos, websites, SMS messaging, EDMs and a marketing planner, as well as a new project brief. There is even the capability of scheduling the content for your in-venue digital TV screens. You can create, schedule, track and store all your communications in the one space.
Other added bonuses include a ‘My Files’ library that stores all of your past work. Need to see what last year’s Mother’s Day promo looked like? Just click on the folder that is housed on site. There is also an animation library to draw from for last minute campaigns, as well as a folder with all the latest compliance signage that you can simply download and use. On the demo site it only shows NSW compliance examples, but the live site will house folders for each state.
A key feature of the platform is the Data Analytics section, which has the ability to integrate with third party suppliers. Some of it is even intuitive, as I noticed when the demo site interfaced immediately with the Grammarly program I use on my computer. Theoretically you can check to see how effective your F&B promo was through POS data; or the reach and engagement of your SMS or Google campaign; or how many opens and click throughs you received from your last email. You can also check the effectiveness of your gaming promos through integration with your gaming system if it has an open API.
However, because it was a demo site, I couldn’t actually see any live accounts to check data, but Daily Press assures me that this section is a bespoke integration set up with each venue’s third-party suppliers, which obviously makes sense.
A nice touch on the righthand side of the dashboard is a simple tracking indicator of the DP client retainer and how much of that retainer you have used that month. There is also a notification pane for instant updates. Indy even comes with a mobile app so you can work on the run and check, change and approve wherever, and whenever you need to.
Indy has been purpose built for the hospitality industry, although I can see it being invaluable in many other marketing environments which have multiple components, channels and timeframes, like retail for example.
While it is not a total planning system, Indy certainly covers all communications which is the bulk of most marketing activities, and I have to say, I’m impressed. In fact, I think Indy should be a mandatory tool for every club and pub marketing operation, large or small. I can see myself using this everyday and I will definitely be asking DP to hook up all my client venues so I can keep my finger on the pulse and manage them all in one space, anywhere and anytime.
And the good news is, is that if you are an existing client currently on a Daily Press retainer, the Indy platform is absolutely free!
To find out more about Indy and arrange a demo to see how it would work for your business contact Ross Macdonald at Daily Press.
M: 0412 125 164