How PwC Streamlined their Planning and Demonstrated ROI

How the marketing planning and budgeting platform has become a vital part of PwC’s marketing transformation

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As PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has evolved its marketing strategy over the past few years, Uptempo’s planning and financial management capabilities have proven to be an essential part of the journey.

According to PwC’s Mattias Eklund, the multinational, multibillion-dollar company has been increasingly focused on digital marketing, necessitating changes in how they’re able to view and manage all their moving parts around the world.

Eklund—who heads up digital marketing—has been using Uptempo for the past several years, following a switch from spreadsheets and other martech tools. Since then, PwC has been able to streamline its marketing planning, improve campaign cost control, demonstrate ROI, and improve collaboration and transparency across the organization.

However, the real difference, according to Eklund, is more holistic, with Uptempo complementing PwC’s evolution by enhancing the marketing organization upstream to downstream.

Before Uptempo: no closing the loop

A few years ago, PwC set out to significantly digitize its marketing efforts.

“We’re on a path to making the switch from traditional, events-based marketing to much more online, multichannel and closed-loop-type marketing,” Eklund explains. “And [Uptempo] is one of the components of that.”

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The impetus for the change, according to Eklund, was the company’s growth, industry trends, and increased pressure to demonstrate marketing’s impact on revenue.

Previously doing marketing “more from a branding point of view,” he explains, their successes weren’t connected to sales in a way that was clearly measurable. However, seeing marketing as a “vital part of building business revenue,” they sought more of a closed-loop environment through which they could show ROI.

“We increasingly see marketing as an investment, not a cost,” he adds.

With their former marketing software, the company viewed it “more as a financial tool.” Then, as PwC’s requirements changed because of their “maturity” and “how [they] did marketing,” they sought “more features and a better overview of what [they] were doing”—especially on the planning side while the company multiplied its digital marketing campaigns.

“[Uptempo] catered better to our needs as we advanced in our digital marketing program,” says Eklund.

In turn, PwC ultimately decided to adopt Uptempo, implemented it within 4-5 weeks and did away with its previous software, leaving no gaps in between.

A key step: streamlining planning

Based on his marketing experience, Eklund deems planning “probably the most difficult thing to do in marketing.”

Noting specifically the “nature of the complexity” of planning—especially at such a large organization—he says PwC’s “primary need” for marketing was streamlining its planning process, eliminating silos.

“Uptempo helped us a lot in doing so because we plan directly in the tool,” says Eklund, explaining that marketers have gained a “much better overview” of activities at a detailed level: plan, program, campaign and tactic.

With marketing budgets “pretty much differently structured for each team,” he explains, there could be six or seven marketing teams who all “plan a bit differently.” Previously, to make sense of these plans, PwC had to compile conversations marketing teams were having “with their respective product owners in the business,” proving to be a hassle to reconcile, he says.

Instead, with one single place to plan in Uptempo, with data updated in real time, everyone stays up to speed on what’s happening, with marketers around the organization enabled to go into the tool, make plan changes and know they’re being seen across the board.

“You can see the marketing plans kind of growing over time and being updated continuously,” Eklund says, adding that marketers can also see if they’re staying within budget if they, for example, exchange one campaign for another.

Although marketers may have “different requirements between them,” he adds, Uptempo enables them to have “flexibility and the ability to work in quite an advanced way themselves with the tool.” For instance, with Uptempo’s calendar view, they can filter and save calendars based on any combination of standard and custom attributes, enabling them to have “different views on the same data,” he says.

“Everyone can see what everyone is doing,” he adds. “We can see exactly when we are doing which email campaigns and search ads—and we had real difficulties before, on an aggregated level, with what we were doing.”

Streamlining the company’s various marketing plans and programs at such a large scale will always be a learning process, notes Eklund, but Uptempo9 has helped reduce a lot of headaches.

“Without a tool like this, [streamlining planning] would be incredibly difficult,” he says.

Further, to accommodate pandemic-related plan changes, Eklund says marketing teams were enabled to “restructure their programs very quickly within a given budget.” For example, if they needed to switch from live events to virtual events or accelerate or limit advertising, they were able to communicate these changes in one tool and ensure budget alignment.

“Uptempo was a very important tool in doing that,” says Eklund.

“Without a tool like this, [streamlining planning] would be very difficult.”

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Mattias Eklund
head of digital marketing, PwC

The results: showing ROI

With Uptempo’s financial management tool, marketers can integrate their plans with both purchasing and financial systems, creating a closed-loop actuals reporting environment that can be reconciled to finance while still being compared to marketing plans.

Establishing marketing as “more in the loop,” explains Eklund, enables PwC to clearly show marketing ROI.

“This is one of the key benefits of having a structured planning process and a tool like Uptempo,” he says, “because then you can see the whole marketing program and the total cost overview.”

When financial data from other tools used by PwC is integrated with Uptempo, marketers can then “put the cost in relation to the direct outcome,” such as the number of generated leads or the number of clicks and downloads in an email campaign, he explains.

Then, with access to this data, they can make marketing decisions—e.g., which campaigns to trigger— based on what they’ve learned.

“Having that data available in the same tool is really powerful,” says Eklund, adding that “from a financial point of view,” Uptempo has been “critical” for PwC.

Sample data of Uptempo’s financial management solution

The holistic value of a marketing management platform

Going back to the company’s overall marketing transformation, Eklund points out the holistic value of Uptempo for PwC’s marketing organization.

“The real gain here is not a direct cost- or time-savings,” he remarks. “It’s part of a wider journey that we as a marketing department are going down.”

Instead of untangling the value of Uptempo numerically, Eklund looks at “the whole spectra”: all the way from upstream, which is planning, and all the way downstream, which is collecting data and “feeding back into the loop again.”

“For anyone who is evolving their marketing and digitizing it,” he says, “this is an essential tool.”

Sample data of Uptempo’s marketing planning solution

Notably, Eklund also underscores the value of being a part of the Uptempo software development process, enabling PwC’s marketers to use features they’ve requested specifically for their needs.

“It’s a constantly evolving platform that keeps getting better,” he says, noting that Uptempo also has a “transparent road map” that facilitates ample opportunities for client input.

Indeed, on the support side, deeming Uptempo Customer Success “the best support we have for any of our platforms,” Eklund points out how truly invested the “five-star” success team is: from listening to feedback on features, from sharing best practices, to solving problems.

“There’s a deep understanding of how we use this tool and how we could use it [in the future],” he explains.

Accordingly, going forward, PwC plans to adopt the Uptempo performance module alongside its existing planning and financial management modules, enabling marketers to further visualize their insights.

Since switching to Uptempo, PwC has certainly gotten more out of their marketing performance solution than just financial management—from closing the loop on marketing, to taking the hassle out of planning, to supporting their marketing organization’s overall digital evolution.

“It’s far more than just a financial and ROI tool,” says Eklund. “It’s also a really powerful planning tool that gives us full transparency of what we are actually doing.”

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