Even the most well-thought-out marketing strategy can only get your business so far without planning to ensure everything goes as it should. Using marketing planning tools will help you effectively optimize your campaigns and tactics. There are obsolete options, such as spreadsheets and presentation software, that will help, but you can use more robust modern options that offer automation and third-party system integrations. The latter is the most powerful option on the market, and having a clear understanding of features, prices, and pros and cons is beneficial—so I created this list to help you narrow down your choices.
Best Marketing Planning Tools Shortlist
Here’s the shortlist of the best tools that I’ll cover in this article.
- Google Analytics
What are Marketing Planning Tools?
Marketing planning tools allow you to plan, manage, track, and accurately predict the outcome of marketing campaigns. These platforms are critical for complex marketing campaigns that need input from various stakeholders or require effectively timed launches across multiple channels. Marketing teams can use this software to collaborate on strategies and organize creative assets so they can successfully execute their plans.
Overviews of the 12 Best Marketing Planning Tools
You can use the simple overviews of each tool below to understand how each tool stands out from other marketing planning tools.
1. Trello - Best Kanban marketing planner tool
Trello is a simple platform that provides an adapted version of a Kanban board that visualizes marketing plans.
Why I picked Trello: One of the reasons why I started this list is Trello’s Kanban board approach which makes collaboration simple for any sized marketing team. Trello incorporates a system of workspaces that contains boards, which contain cards or lists of cards you can use to add tasks and assign each card to individuals or entire teams. You can use Trello to map your marketing campaigns and workloads in boards, timelines, and other beneficial views to match your needs.
Trello Standout Features and Integrations
Features that are available within the Trello platform include its automation capabilities, where you can create rules, buttons, and commands to handle almost any action. Each plan from Trello supports automation to help improve team performance by allowing you to automate actions, such as task updates.
Integrations are available to help your team get work done by connecting with popular applications you’re probably already using. These include Automate.io, Beeminder, Clockify, Hubstaff, Intercom, Jira Cloud, Pipedrive, Salesforce, Slack, Zoho Cliq, and other software options. Trello also supports custom connections for those with a paid Zapier account.
Trello costs from $5/user/month and has 14-day free trial + free plan available.
- Clean, user-friendly design.
- Enables real-time collaboration.
- Excellent third-party integrations.
- Creating multiple boards and cards is tedious.
- Customizing the platform is complex.
2. Asana - Best for distributed teams
Asana helps distributed marketing teams orchestrate their campaign plans so they can move faster and accomplish more no matter where they are.
Why I picked Asana: I wanted to add Asana to this article because it has a strong focus on streamlining processes to save time and eliminate older methods like email. It has a real focus on marketing with capabilities that help you manage multiple, real-time creative workstreams. Asana allows you to set marketing goals and quickly assign tasks and track them, which makes this beneficial for those with distributed teams.
Asana Standout Features and Integrations
Features available within Asana that make it an excellent option are its ability to help you organize marketing plans and keep everyone involved on schedule. Asana provides templates to help you fast-track your marketing campaigns, or you can create tailored workflows to match your team’s requirements.
Integrations that are available with Asana include native integrations that are popular with marketing teams, such as Canva, Figma, Google Drive, InVision, Jira Cloud, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Power BI, Salesforce, Slack, and other software options. If you have a paid Zapier account or have developer expertise, you can create custom integrations to fit your needs.
Asana costs from $10.99/user/month and has a 30-day free trial + free plan available for up to 15 users.
- Intuitive and easy to use.
- Ranks what’s most important.
- Keeps teams on track.
- Steep learning curve.
- Free plan is limited.
3. HubSpot - Best for removing team silos
HubSpot helps marketing teams remove silos to help them work together and achieve unparalleled alignment to create excellent marketing plans.
Why I picked HubSpot: Many marketing teams work in silos where they’re not working together with sales teams due to using multiple different tools, but these employees need to work together to create effective marketing campaign plans. I chose to add HubSpot to this list because I wanted to showcase an option that will allow your marketing and sales teams to work together and create aligned campaigns. Doing so can help you create marketing plans that use steps that have campaigns that increase engagement with target audiences.
HubSpot Standout Features and Integrations
Features that work well for marketing teams are the ability to track complex campaigns with a single source of truth. Typically, marketing team members collect customer data from multiple sources to help them create personalized, targeted campaigns. Since HubSpot’s marketing platform is built on a customer relationship management solution, all of your customer data is available in the same place as your campaign features.
Integrations are available from HubSpot, including over 500 native connections, such as Domo, GetResponse, Improvado, Mailchimp, Monday.com, Nutshell CRM, Pipedrive, PipelinerCRM, Wrike, Zendesk, and other software options. Those with paid Zapier accounts can create custom integrations with their current systems.
HubSpot costs from $18/month and offers a free plan + free demo available.
- Excellent user interface.
- Easy to use.
- Great customer support.
- Social media tool needs improvement.
- Not many customization capabilities.
4. Marketplan.io - Best for visual marketing plans
Marketplan.io is a planning solution that will help you visually review and monitor marketing campaigns and make changes in real time.
Why I picked Marketplan.io: For those who prefer to map out their entire marketing journey, I picked Marketplan.io for your consideration. Marketplan.io allows you to align marketing efforts and arrange them in a linear sequence that will allow you to understand and optimize your campaigns. It uses a drag-and-drop mapping too that also incorporates a Kanban board that allows you to visualize your entire marketing plan.
Marktplan.io Standout Features and Integrations
Features are available that make Marketplan.io an excellent option, specifically, its projection tools that will help you test campaign ideas and predict performance to ensure all KPIs and other numbers add up. You can use this information to make necessary price changes to offers, upsells, down sells, and other promotions to ensure everything remains profitable.
Integrations are available that allow you to load most page builders from the platform. Other native integrations include ClickFunnels, Digistore 24, Keap, OntraPort, PayPal, SamCart, Shopify, Stripe, ThriveCart, and WooCommerce.
Marketplan.io costs from $94/year for up to three users and offers a free plan available.
- Plans the entire marketing campaign.
- Structures custom marketing journeys.
- Live tracking capabilities.
- Not many third-party integrations.
- Vendor doesn’t update the platform often.
5. Hootsuite - Best for planning social media campaigns
Hootsuite helps marketing teams confidently plan social media campaigns across multiple networks and gain actionable, real-time insights.
Why I picked Hootsuite: As social media’s popularity continues to grow, using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is becoming a necessity. So, I wanted to add Hootsuite to this list because of how it’s able to help your teams plan, launch, and optimize social media campaigns from one platform. The calendar overview of your content that’s scheduled for distribution will help you map out your campaigns and fill in any content gaps.
Hootsuite Standout Features and Integrations
Features that will help you plan your social media campaigns include Hootsuite’s AI. You can use the OwlyWriter AI to create engaging descriptions in the tone or voice you want it to use. The AI can also create a list of content ideas after giving it a simple prompt.
Integrations are available from Hootsuite to connect your essential marketing tools. These integrations include over 100 systems, such as Bynder, Dropbox, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Microsoft Teams, Monday.com, Rambox, Salesforce, Slack, Zendesk, and other software options. If you have a paid Zapier account, you can create custom integrations with your tech stack.
Hootsuite costs from $99/month for one user and offers a 30-day free trial + free demo available.
- Easily delegates roles.
- Simple scheduling and analytics tools.
- Excellent customer success managers.
- Data discrepancies between Facebook and Hootsuite.
- User interface needs updating.
6. Buffer - Best for planning content schedules
Buffer helps businesses and individuals plan effective content schedules to increase results on social media.
Why I picked Buffer: If you already have an idea of the content you want to publish on different social media networks, Buffer can help you plan out the most efficient posting schedule. Buffer puts you in complete control of what you share and when by helping you queue content using an automated schedule, or you can use a custom time for every post. The calendar view provides a quick overview of the content you have waiting for publishing so you can make any necessary changes.
Buffer Standout Features and Integrations
Features that make Buffer an excellent choice for marketing planning are the in-depth insights the tool provides to help you monitor your social media campaigns’ performance. You get a single dashboard that provides insights into social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Buffer can also generate fully customized reports that are shareable with teams and stakeholders.
Integrations from Buffer that will help you create effective marketing plans include over 100 third-party applications. These include Audiense, CoSchedule, Google Drive, Klipfolio, Mailchimp, ProjectManager, PromoRepublic, Slack, Trello, Zoho Flow, and other software options. You can also create custom connections with a paid Zapier account.
Buffer costs from $5/channel/month and offers a 14-day free trial + free plan available.
- Customizable reports.
- Straightforward scheduling tools.
- Top-notch analytics.
- No email notifications.
- Large volumes of data slow it down
7. Google Analytics - Best for collecting marketing data
Google Analytics is a data tool that collects and displays in-depth website data that marketing teams can use to create more helpful marketing plans.
Why I picked Google Analytics: I wanted to add a solution that can provide this data for you when you’re creating new marketing plans. Google Analytics isn’t a marketing planning tool per se, but it provides in-depth data you can use to create the best possible plan for future campaigns. It automatically detects and surfaces actionable insights from your website’s data, such as new trends, crucial changes, and other growth opportunities you can capitalize on and create new marketing plans around.
Google Analytics Standout Features and Integrations
Features available from the Google Analytics dashboard include the ability to integrate with various tools that will help your teams use the data as necessary to make robust marketing plans. You can integrate the platform with your marketing tools to create a simple workflow to analyze the data.
Integrations available with Google Analytics include over 1,000 options, including GetResponse, Improvado, Jotform, Mailchimp, Orange Logic, Salesforce, SEMrush, Smartlook, Zendesk, Zoho CRM, and other software options. If you have a paid Zapier account or someone on your team with development expertise, you can create custom integrations with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is free to use.
- Top-line data tracking.
- Shows where marketing is lacking.
- Simple data exporting.
- Steep learning curve.
- Confusing dashboard.
8. SEMrush - Best for market research
SEMrush helps marketing teams understand what their competition is doing and what’s working for them so they can create plans around the same methods.
Why I picked SEMrush: As with most marketing decisions, it’s smart to understand your competition, and SEMrush provides several tools that I believe will help you perform excellent market research. You can use the Market Explorer tool and enter your domain; from there, you can let SEMrush find your industry’s competitors, or you can create your own competitor list. Afterward, you’ll get a full breakdown of your competition, including market share, traffic sources and trends, and other vital details. You can then use SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics feature to get more in-depth information about each competitor and get important information that you can use for your marketing plans, such as metrics that identify their online strengths and weaknesses, reports, and audience insights.
SEMrush Standout Features and Integrations
Features available from SEMrush include its reporting capabilities that allow you to build, manage, and share custom reports immediately. After implementing your marketing plan, you’ll want to see what’s performing as it should, and SEMrush provides a simple drag-and-drop tool that allows you to move data into a PDF and start sharing. You can also set up recurring emails that will send you daily, weekly, or monthly reports.
Integrations are available with SEMrush that will work with your current systems, including AgencyAnalytics, Google Analytics, HubSpot CRM, Improvado, Klipfolio, Kontent.ai, Renderforest, Reportz, Trello, Whatagraph, and other software options. SEMrush also allows you to create custom integrations with a paid Zapier account.
SEMrush costs from $99.95/month for up to five projects and has a free plan available.
- Offers a significant amount of data.
- Provides valuable insights.
- User-friendly interface.
- Expensive for limited budgets.
- Some details are difficult to locate.
9. Mailchimp - Best for planning email marketing campaigns
Mailchimp helps businesses bright audience data and insights together to help their marketing teams create high-performing email marketing campaigns.
Why I picked Mailchimp: If you’re looking to create an email marketing campaign to add to your current campaigns, Mailchimp can help you map out your campaigns and manage them from one platform. Mailchimp provides a calendar tool that allows you to monitor all of your campaign’s tasks, touchpoints, and reporting through a single source of truth. The software can help you get an overview of your email campaign’s performance across multiple marketing touchpoints.
Mailchimp Standout Features and Integrations
Features that make Mailchimp stand out from the rest include its segmentation tools that simplify processes for targeting audiences based on behavior and interests. This can enhance your marketing plans if you need to focus on specific customers so you can plan your campaign around them.
Integrations in Mailchimp that will help simplify your campaigns include over 300 options, such as Adobe Photoshop, AgencyAnalytics, Asana, Canva, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Monday.com, SugarCRM, Whatagraph, Zendesk, and other software options. You can also use a paid Zapier account to create custom integrations.
Mailchimp costs from $13/month for up to 500 contacts and has a 30-day free trial + free plan available.
- Easy to use.
- Automated customer journeys.
- Managing audiences is challenging.
- Drip campaigns are complex to establish.
10. Monday.com - Best for workload planning
monday.com helps marketing teams plan the workload involved when implementing new marketing campaigns.
Why I picked monday.com: monday.com is primarily a project management system, but I wanted to add monday.com to this list because it provides a library of project templates you can use to quickly create marketing plans. This includes a dozen marketing-specific templates such as a content calendar, social media planner, marketing strategy, and other beneficial templates. These templates can help you put together schedules and workloads that make good use of your resources and maximize productivity without overwhelming your team.
Monday.com Standout Features and Integrations
Features from the monday.com platform include its performance insights capabilities that allow you to visualize project performance and workflows. This will help you manage tasks at the team and individual levels when planning your campaigns.
Integrations are available within monday.com to help marketing teams improve productivity, including Bynder, Canva, Figma, Hootsuite, Klipfolio, Miro, PandaDoc, SEMrush, Supermetrics, Trello, and other software options. Monday.com also provides an API that allows you to create custom integrations with your current systems.
monday.com costs from $8/user/month for three users and has a 14-day free trial + free plan available.
- Easy to create workflows.
- Very customizable.
- Excellent user interface.
- Doesn’t track subitems on dashboards.
- Limited reporting features.
11. Wrike - Best for task management
Wrike helps marketing team leaders assign tasks to each team member and measure progress.
Why I picked Wrike: You can use Wrike’s pre-made templates to start planning your teams’ tasks immediately or use the platform to develop custom workflows. Wrike also provides a customizable dashboard that will help you keep everything organized. It provides AI-driven task automation capabilities that can recommend tasks and priorities based on your current campaigns’ statuses and performance.
Wrike Standout Features and Integrations
Features that are available in the Wrike platform will help your teams collaborate efficiently, no matter where they are in the world. Everyone can work together in real-time and eliminate unnecessary email threads.
Integrations available from Wrike include over 400 third-party apps, including Airtable, Asana, Basecamp, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, HubSpot, Insightly, Intercom, Pipedrive, and other software options. Wrike also provides an API that will allow you to connect the platform with your current tools and workflows.
Wrike costs from $9.80/user/month and has a 14-day free trial + free plan available.
- Very affordable.
- Excellent customization capabilities.
- Intuitive system.
- Steep learning curve.
- Bug reporting is slow.
12. ConvertKit - Best for planning customer journeys
ConvertKit enables marketing teams to create ideal customer journeys and ensure emails reach the right people.
Why I picked ConvertKit: The automations that you can set up can bet set up quickly and be as complex as necessary. ConvertKit provides a visual builder that will help you map out your interactions with an audience and guide them through their journeys. You can use ConvertKit to build automations with single or multiple entry points to ensure your audience goes down the customer journey you build for them. The automations you build can instantly react to your audience’s behavior, so every email they receive from you is relevant to where they are in your customer journey.
ConvertKit Standout Features and Integrations
Features include tools that will keep your emails relevant to your audience, thanks to its audience management system. With these tools, you can tag, segment, and organize audiences based on behavior and interests to keep your messages from ending up in their spam folders.
Integrations are available, including applications such as Acuity Scheduling, AgencyAnalytics, ClickFunnels, Coda.io, DeBounce, Monday.com, Outgrow, Personalizely, SegMetrics, WordPress, and other software options. You can also use Zapier’s paid account or ConvertKit’s API to create custom integrations.
ConvertKit costs from $9/month for up to 300 subscribers and has a 14-day free trial + free plan available.
- Simple navigation.
- Intuitive list management features.
- Pricing can become expensive.
- Needs more tracking metrics.
Here are a few more options that didn’t make the best marketing planning tools list:
- ClickUp - Best for creating plans using a visual whiteboard.
- Jira Software - Best for agile planning.
- Seismic - Best for planning content at scale.
- Moz - Best for planning mobile and local search campaigns.
- Slack - Best for team collaboration.
- Ahrefs - Best for planning website search engine traffic.
- Salesforce Pardot - Best for customer journey analytics.
- ActiveCampaign - Best for personalizing email campaigns.
- Constant Contact - Best for email campaign planning templates.
- Campaign Monitor - Best for creating campaign engagement plans.
- Klaviyo - Best for planning SMS campaigns.
- Drip - Best for planning lead interactions.
- Segment - Best for creating marketing plans using clean customer data.
- Edgar - Best for social media sharing plans.
- Loomly - Best all-in-one social media planning tool.
Other Types of Marketing Tools
When planning your marketing campaigns, you might need other tools that will help you effectively manage them after the planning stage. You can use the following marketing tools to manage, optimize, and enhance other types of marketing campaigns.
- Best Marketing Software
- Content Marketing Platforms
- Email Marketing Software
- Social Media Management Software
- Affiliate Marketing Software
How I Selected the Best Marketing Planning Tools
Perhaps you're wondering how I selected the best marketing planning tools for this list? To build this top list, I evaluated and compared a wide range of marketing planning tools with positive user ratings.
After determining my long list of top choices, I further honed my list by using the selection criteria below to see how each platform stacked up against the next one. I also drew on my years of marketing experience to pinpoint the features that add a lot of value.
Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best marketing planning tools for this article:
Marketing planning tools will help set your organization up for success by establishing clearly defined, achievable steps that set your business apart from the competition. To accomplish this, marketing planning software will have the following core functionalities:
- Ability to track, plan, and collaborate on marketing projects, tasks, and campaigns
- Justifications for why its core features can be applied to market team projects specifically
One of the important things to consider when looking for marketing planning tools is the features that will help you effectively plan your campaigns and strategies. Here are the features you should expect to see from a marketing planning tool.
- Marketing Goals and Milestones: This allows you to define your marketing plan’s goals, such as lead generation, conversion rates, or other key targets, and milestones are smaller, relevant targets to achieve to complete broader goals on time.
- Campaign Simulation: Simulating marketing campaigns is an advanced planning feature that will predict the outcome of campaign ideas so you can decide which is your best idea and prioritize those actions.
- Campaign Management: Mapping out schedules, compiling team members, and assigning tasks are essential functions of marketing planning, and your solution should help you control campaign settings, track goals, and optimize budgets as campaigns run.
- Marketing Project Templates: These allow you to plan campaigns faster, and a library of different types of campaigns, such as social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing, will help create a significant impact.
- Team Collaboration: The most common team collaboration tools are messaging, roles, file sharing, video calls, and notifications, and they will help your teams effectively develop winning marketing ideas.
- Automation: This is an essential feature of any tool that focuses on saving time because automation features will handle repetitive tasks and help you plan campaigns and strategies faster.
When deciding which marketing planning tool to use in your organization, your team will prefer to use a platform that fits with your current tech stack. So, I made sure that the software in this list can connect with the essential systems you’re already using and any platforms you choose to use in the future. This can include native integrations that come with the software after subscribing or connecting the tools through a third-party application like Zapier.
Value for Price:
I did the proper research to find marketing planning tools that not only provide the features to meet your business’s requirements no matter its size but also match various budgets. Many tools will use a subscription model that provides multiple price tiers that fit different businesses. Some plans are better for smaller teams, whereas others fit larger enterprises, and provide matching prices.
How much do marketing planning tools cost?
What are the benefits of marketing planning tools?
What are the different types of marketing planning software?
Other Marketing Tool Reviews
Marketing tools come in all shapes and sizes, from social media platform management to website and product reporting. You'll probably need several tools to cover the whole gambit of needs. Here are some other tool review lists that I recommend checking out:
The most effective marketing teams don’t just wing it when creating new campaigns; they put in the right amount of time and effort to plan marketing strategies. There are many marketing planning options, and some will provide better value for your organization than others. But now is the time to test out some of the options I provided in this list yourself and choose which one will help your team create winning campaigns.
If you need other marketing tool suggestions or advice, sign up for The CMO newsletter to receive the latest software lists and advice from top marketing professionals to optimize your business’s marketing strategies.