Getting Started with Canvas Matrix Views

Canvas Overview

How is your team executing against strategy? How does the content you create align with your objectives? The tactical execution of strategy is essential to marketing success—yet seems so difficult. 

Kapost's Canvas tool creates layered views to visualize alignment with business objectives, ongoing progress, and coverage of content across BUs, channels, or any other aspect that's important to you.  

With matrix views, your team can create charts to represent the essential aspects of your content operation. Whether you structure marketing plans around objectives, themes, personas, business units, product lines, or something else entirely, Canvas utilizes pre-defined custom data to support the execution process.  

Bonus: Kapost also handles the actual content execution. Accordingly, content is ready and waiting to be worked on in Studio as soon as plans are created in Canvas. Canvas automatically reflects any updates that occur. Because these updates happen in real time, you and your team can stay organized to communicate effectively with stakeholders. 

Steps Toward Success

1.  Identify your use case. First, consider what views might be useful and the purpose they serve. Your needs will guide any configuration and determine the right structure for your Canvas plans and charts.  You'll want to consider:

  • If you want to show content or initiatives
  • What data should appear as your rows and columns
  • What initiatives should be included in your views (only content associated with an initiative can appear in Canvas)

An easy way to start thinking about your use cases is to start with spreadsheets that you currently use to view your content strategy.  What do you look at in meetings to update stakeholders?  What spreadsheets do you email regularly to communicate key information?  We have seen the following common use cases from users:

  • Plan against marketing or company objectives, which ensures that marketing activities line up with objectives as well as enabling you to identify and fill gaps.
    • Initiative matrix
    • Typical data used: initiative type or content type; custom field for themes, channels, business units, product lines, or any other field that represents your primary strategic concern.
    • You can begin with empty charts and add initiatives or content to the appropriate cross sections.
  • Ensure content coverage, which ensures that current activities are addressing the full market.
    • Content matrix
    • Typical data used: content type or initiative type; persona or buying stages.
  • Track production against a plan, which is used to track the progress of initiatives and/or content during the execution phase. It also enables you to adjust plans as production status changes.
    • Content or initiative matrix
    • Typical data used: initiative/content stage and initiative or members or custom fields for themes, channels, business units, product lines
    • Pro tip: For a more effective view, put your members into member groups and roll up content or initiatives being worked on by group instead of viewing by individual.
  • Provide visibility to regional teams, which provides visibility to relevant subsets of planned or in progress initiatives and content with distributed teams.
    • Content or initiative matrix
    • Typical data used: region custom field; initiative type or content type
  • Update tags on content, which applies or update metadata tags quickly to a subset of content. It's especially useful for content that hasn't been rigorously tagged in the past.
    • Typical data used: Any two fields you need to tag content with
    • You can set up the view and bring in the appropriate content. Content without a tag will be identified in the last column and/or row.  Easily drag and drop content into the appropriate sections to apply tags.  Don't forget to hit save!

Based on your needs, consider what breakdown of current activities would be most informative. In many cases, you'll already have your activities broken down in planning or tracking spreadsheet.  

2.  Confirm and/or create custom fields. In many cases, your most important strategic consideration--theme, program, product line, etc.--will already be configured into a custom field. If so, great! You're ready to jump into Canvas. If not, simply create a new field that captures that strategic consideration.  If you find that your current custom fields are almost right but need reconfiguration to capture your considerations, contact your success manager to adjust field definitions. Click here for directions on how to add custom fields.

3.  Determine which initiatives you want to include. Canvas displays initiatives or content associated with initiatives (content that isn't associated with an initiative can not be displayed in Canvas). Each matrix view in Canvas lets you choose which initiatives should be included. When creating matrix views focused on content, you'll need to select an initiative that includes appropriate assets. For most users, initiatives will already cluster content into logical groups.

What if I don't use initiatives today?

Using initiatives is a key feature to organizing your content more strategically. Since Canvas helps you think about content strategically, it's a great starting place for using initiatives; teams can brainstorm what might be useful to visualize in Canvas. You should also ask yourself what content do you typically view together in status meetings, executive briefings—anytime you're required to tell the story of what your team is doing. Though initiatives are capable of having their own workflow and metadata (custom fields, stage, etc.), they can also be used as simple grouping functionality that also makes working with views throughout Kapost easier. If you'd like further assistance thinking through implementing the use of initiatives, contact your Customer Success Manager for extra guidance.  

What if the initiatives I have don't work for Canvas?

If you currently use initiatives, yet are struggling to capture the group of content you would like to see in Canvas, keep in mind that a single piece of content can belong to several initiatives. For example, a single asset could be in an initiative for the "Spring Release" but also for "CES Materials." If needed, create additional initiatives that capture the grouping you need for a plan.

4.  Experiment. The best way to get familiar with Canvas is to start using it! Just like the spreadsheets everyone uses to track plans and status today, getting the right view takes some experimentation. Take those same spreadsheets as a starting point and start to build out various views. Unlike your spreadsheets, Canvas will stay up to date as things change! 

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