By Trenton Reed
You’re probably familiar with the general idea of project management (PM) by now. Perhaps you’ve even implemented some common PM concepts across your own marketing campaigns—intentionally or without even knowing. Whatever the case, PM strategies can undoubtedly impact your overall marketing strategy.
We know what you’re thinking by now: “Isn’t project management designed for agencies and teams in IT, finance, and engineering?” Sure; it originated in the 1950s as a structured approach for military defense and construction projects, and it’s gained traction in the tech industry over the past decades.
However, thanks to technology and globalization, PM has extended its influence into the marketing realm. From incorporating the latest and greatest tools to producing integrated campaigns with advanced analytics, these days, projects are increasingly complex—and client demands are high. To keep up with this breakneck pace, effective marketers use these five strategies:
1. Effective Communication
While every marketing team is different (and some teams are just one person!), they are all built around one central component: communication. Likewise, PM techniques are built on the same idea. In fact, project managers spend 90 percent of the time of a project on communication, according to a paper presented by Sivasankari Rajkumar at the Project Management Institute's research conference on PM in 2010.
However, as Rajkumar also points out, more effective communication results in better PM. These days, effective marketers leverage communication tools that go above and beyond basic technology such as email. Robust PM technology leaves a paper trail for all messages so that there’s no miscommunication. These tools also rely on a centralized communication platform to keep both employees and stakeholders on the same page.
No more lost messages. No more forwarded emails. No more lost time.
2. Matching Workflow to Work Style
It’s a manager’s responsibility to understand how his/her team operates. From introverted copywriters to extroverted account managers, it’s not uncommon for certain roles to be stereotyped with specific work styles. However, these days, marketing roles are becoming more and more integrated. It’s not uncommon for teams to blend SEO and CRM, UX and design, and designer and developer roles. It’s your job to be cognizant of all preferences while still requiring your team members to follow an established workflow.
Your teams are the backbone of your projects. It’s up to you to ensure that all team members know who is working on what and how their roles contribute to the greater success of the team. In fact, 71 percent of employees don’t think their managers spend enough time explaining goals and expectations. Effective marketers build their teams around workflow rules and processes.
3. Transferring Ideas into Information
In the marketing world, ideas are constantly thrown back and forth. But in the digital age, projects fizzle out without solid information. Effective marketers borrow from stringent PM strategy and funnel key data into digestible bits of information so that team members work effectively and efficiently and stakeholders are always in the loop.
By tracking budget data across projects and job responsibilities, the best project managers are able to view projects comprehensively. They also know how to leverage data. Effective marketers utilize PM tools that automate reports based on historical and forecasted data. In doing so, they can analyze the specifics of their projects and share standardized, yet custom, reports with clients.
4. Seamlessly Managing Multiple Projects
We can bet that you and your team members have multiple projects going on at any given time. Clients come and go. It’s the nature of the industry. However, PM was designed to manage multiple moving parts and simplify their inherent complexities so that both managers and their team members have an idea of what’s going.
Project managers leverage tools to track open items and project communications—including client comments—in one centralized location. By integrating calendars and deadlines that update in real time, these tools make it possible for everyone to consult the current project status at all times. By following this PM strategy, marketers can ensure projects are completed within budget and on time.
5. Leveraging the Right Software
We’ve already mentioned some of the inherent benefits of using the right technology across your marketing firm. However, the difference between old-school, enterprise tools and modern, robust PM tools is astronomical. Whereas traditional software provides you with the nuts and bolts to manage project teams, integrated PM software incorporates resource, sales, financial, and creative management into a single platform.
Why deal with the hassles of maintaining several systems at once when you can manage your marketing projects under one roof? The best software generates reports, eliminates manual input, accelerates data, and encourages collaboration; this way, your team can focus on what they do best: developing innovative, modern marketing campaigns.
What's your favorite PM strategy?