Campaign Planning in Adobe Workfront and Uptempo: where they compete and complement

Jim Williams
March 11, 2024

So many enterprise marketing executives we speak to complain about their inability to manage the business of marketing. More specifically, they lack a solution for campaign planning and managing marketing investments. There is no centralized marketing plan, no universal calendar. So marketers default to communicating their plans using PowerPoint and managing their budgets in spreadsheets. A LOT of spreadsheets.  

To improve team productivity and collaboration in the delivery of marketing campaigns, especially around content production, most large organizations have deployed work management tools. And in the enterprise space, Adobe Workfront is the solution of choice.  

But is it the right tool for marketing planning?  

In a word, no.  

Workfront is an excellent tool for project management. But it lacks critical capabilities that organizations need to improve plan visibility, velocity and agility. This blog explores where Uptempo and Workfront integrate, and where they compete.  

TLDR (we get it, it’s a long blog).

  • Workfront and Uptempo are both essential for managing enterprise marketing operations, but were designed for different purposes.  
  • Workfront lacks key marketing financial management features that are essential for planning and performance measurement.
  • Workfront’s inflexibility around plan and budget hierarchies limit its utility for campaign planning.
  • Integrating these applications will give enterprise marketing teams better visibility and management of the entire marketing lifecycle.  

Workfront streamlines project management

Adobe Workfront is a cloud-based work management solution designed to help teams collaborate, manage projects, and streamline workflows.  Its emphasis on workflow automation ensures tasks are efficiently managed, reducing the likelihood of bottlenecks in the marketing process. It is ideal for teams seeking enhanced project coordination like content production, event management, website enhancements and more – especially at large, global enterprises where marketing is inherently complex.  

Workfront’s key capabilities include: 

  • Project Management: Allows teams to plan, track and manage projects with schedules, assigning tasks, and monitoring progress. 
  • Work Collaboration: File sharing and discussions for projects 
  • Resource Management: Allocate resources with insights into availability, workloads, and project timelines. 

Workfront excels in streamlining project and work management processes, providing visibility into project status and resource utilization. 

How Workfront and Uptempo Work Together

When integrated, these solutions form a powerful pair that improves team efficiency. Uptempo’s management of campaigns and finances complements Workfront’s management of projects and tasks, creating a comprehensive solution for streamlined operations.  

This is just one element of the sophisticated integration in place at Commvault, where marketers can simply click a “create Workfront request” button in Uptempo to send all the campaign information to Workfront, which creates a project. Details are entered only once; with a few clicks Commvault marketers are able to populate programs and campaigns across their MarTech stack. 

The Challenge with Campaign Planning in Workfront

Problems arise when marketers try to fit a round peg in a square hole. Workfront is an excellent project management tool. Its DNA revolves around projects, tasks, capacity management, collaboration, and approvals. But it falls short in marketing planning – both campaign-level planning and financial management/budgeting, because it lacks critical capabilities that enterprise teams desperately need. 

Workfront’s project-based budget tracking doesn’t give marketers the financial management capabilities they need.

Financial planning is an essential component of marketing planning, but Workfront does provide basic bottom-up spend tracking. Marketing budgets can be manually entered at the project and task level. However, there is no financial hierarchy, so marketers can’t aggregate spend data and view it through multiple lenses for investment analysis. Most glaringly, Workfront budgets aren’t linked to marketing plans and activities, so marketers can’t track how campaigns are funded, or shift dollars to best performing initiatives.  

And without financial data, you can’t get to ROI – at the plan, campaign, or individual tactic level.  

Enterprise organizations track financial data in ERP tools and have dedicated applications for purchase requests and approvals. But none of these integrate with Workfront projects, so there is no accurate reconciliation of spend to budgets. If marketers don’t know what’s left in the budget, they risk overspending or leaving money on the table. Not good.  

To overcome these gaps, Workfront pushes its integration with Anaplan, an Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) tool. But Anaplan is built for finance teams, not marketers. Customers complain that it lacks granular spend tracking down to the individual tactic level, that it is hard to use and requires an “army of developers” to configure it for marketing purposes.  

Square peg, round hole. 

Marketers trying to use Workfront for spend management often end up retreating to spreadsheets. 

Uptempo’s best of breed marketing financial management gives marketers unprecedented visibility and agility for investment planning.

With Uptempo, marketers do not have to adjust their way of working to manage their planned, committed, and actual spend. It provides Marketers with a highly flexible and configurable financial planning hierarchy, through which marketing leaders can set top-level budgets. Teams can plan objectives, tactics, and targets within the set budget in one centralized platform. Automated workflows can be used to approve activities, budget adjustments, reallocations, and transfers so teams can optimize marketing spend on the fly.  

Marketers get accurate visibility into the budget at any time, including planned spend vs. actual spend, and can save hours of manual work by automating budget reconciliation. 

Budget Roll Ups

Workfront’s limited hierarchies make it challenging for enterprise campaign planning 

Enterprise marketing teams have complex go to market motions. Plans must account for a wide mix of requirements across various verticals, markets, and channels, not to mention multiple products with different brands targeting various buying groups.  

To provide clarity and keep teams aligned, marketing teams rely on multiple hierarchies for their plans. These organizational structures help marketers break down their plans into levels of detail, from broad strategies to specific tactics. Plans are visually represented via these hierarchies, which can become very complex. 

Flexible hierarchies are required for both the plan and the budget, since these two artifacts are viewed differently, sometimes by different teams. 

Unfortunately, Workfront doesn’t support this kind of flexibility, forcing users to adapt to its work management structure. While Workfront has talked about new planning capabilities that may offer additional flexibility, that’s just not the case today. For now, it default to just 5 levels, which quickly descend into “projects”, “sub-projects”, “tasks”, and “issues” – terminology suitable for task management, but not marketing plans. Marketers have to painstakingly fill out lengthy forms and fields like “stakeholders”, “project condition”, “working time”, and “due date” which are more relevant to the execution of work. And by default, the projects show up in a list, without any kind of hierarchy and organization of how different plans, campaigns, programs, and tactics fit together.  

Finally, there is no notion of corporate objectives that campaigns ladder up to, so it is challenging for marketing leaders to understand and report on how marketing efforts support company strategy. While Workfront also offers a scenario planning feature, it is a separate license that again is oriented towards resource capacity, requiring marketers to fill in hours, available FTE, etc. The entire Workfront construct is oriented towards projects management.  

Users express their frustration with trying to plan within Workfront, citing its “hacky” nature. On the Workfront community board, a user explained:  

“I created our Marketing Calendar and used the Gantt view. It’s not great, but it’s functional. Since you can’t add programs (which we use for campaigns) to a calendar I created a project for each functional area, then a task for each campaign we planned for that area. This is only for a high-level view of the year – I wouldn’t want to do it for hundreds of campaigns.” 

Square peg, round hole. 

When marketers are forced to use Workfront for planning, problems arise:  

  • It’s difficult to tie strategic objectives to day-to-day activities.
  • It’s difficult to easily organize, manage, and visualize complex campaign structures.
  • Without flexible hierarchies, it’s challenging to get the reporting and insights marketers need on campaign performance.    

As a result, many Workfront customers end up using spreadsheets for their planning. This leads to plans being disconnected and visibility of plans becoming a task of routinely sharing and presenting the current state. 

Uptempo reflects the way modern marketers think about campaigns, programs and tactics.

Uptempo offers a purpose-built marketing campaign planning tool, designed for creating detailed plans, managing hierarchies, scheduling activities, allocating funds, and adapting in real-time using predictive insights. It provides marketers with the campaign planning tools they need to pivot quickly in response to changing market dynamics. Flexible, repeatable workflow automation improves efficiency for common tasks like plan and budget approvals, budget transfers and purchase requests, and order approvals.    

Flexible and customizable hierarchies 

Uptempo’s hierarchies are incredibly flexible, supporting distinct planning and budgeting structures with customizable levels, branches, and attributes. Different types of activities can be created at different levels, with different attributes, access controls, timing, and more, but can still easily roll up all information to the plan level or even to a strategic level (OKRs, etc.). Any number of custom attributes can be documented with activities, like activity type, target audience, strategic objective, customer journey stage, in-market dates, and more. You can quickly zero in on different parts of the plan and view programs through multiple distinct lenses. For example, you can expand plan hierarchies, or group and filter by any attribute to see what’s happening at any time. And if you need more details, simply open the activity details panel to see all the relevant information, including budget source and balance. 

Compare Uptempo plan hierarchies to Workfront 

Separate planning and financial hierarchies allow teams to focus on strategic elements and financial aspects independently since both have different approaches. The planning hierarchy is designed to reflect the level of granularity required for capturing performance insights, while the investment or budget hierarchy is designed to reflect the level of granularity needed to capture costs. Users can then see a consolidated view of campaigns and activities with their corresponding budget versus actual spend in a separate view.   


Workfront is a powerful tool, and the work management solution of choice for enterprise marketing teams. But when it comes to campaign planning, its project and task management capabilities limit its utility. It is a clunky solution at best, forcing marketers to painstakingly document project attributes that really aren’t that useful for visualizing complex, multi-faceted go to market plans.  

The obvious solution is to continue to use Workfront for what it does best, and instead combine it with the more flexible, purpose-built campaign planning and budget management features of Uptempo. These two solutions, when properly integrated, give marketing teams a powerful solution that governs the entire planning continuum – from setting strategy all the way to governing work and content creation. Finally, enterprise marketing teams can run the business of marketing on one, integrated system that provides the kind of visibility, velocity and agility organizations need to thrive in today’s environment.  

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