Managing a marketing team and the projects that go with it can take a lot of time and effort. If you don’t have a workflow or plan, you may feel overwhelmed trying to develop and execute marketing tasks. Luckily, project management for marketing can help you prepare for all your projects and make your team run more smoothly. In this article, we cover:
Project management for marketing is a work style that provides a framework for completing and delivering marketing products. It can help you complete more tasks on time and within budget. The exact type of marketing project management your team uses may vary depending on the tools, methods, and practices you choose. The work style focuses on producing deliverables or specific outputs from your team, such as blog articles or brand strategies.
Marketing project management allows work to flow and progress through well-defined phases, like planning and execution. It encourages you to set a timeframe and budget for each part of the process. Most teams that use project management also implement tools, like digital workspaces, where you can plan and track project progress and create opportunities for team collaboration. You can use project management for many marketing and campaign activities, including:
A marketing project manager is like a project manager in any other industry. They oversee the coordination, planning, and execution of tasks for marketing campaigns. They may supervise a team of marketers who work on projects and even take part in that work themselves. Marketing project managers may work as employees for larger organizations or as contractors to come in and manage single projects. These professionals use many of the same basic principles of project management that apply to other departments but also have specific knowledge of marketing tools, channels, and best practices. Some of their primary tasks may include:
Marketing project management may be an overreaching title that can encompass many roles under different names, including:
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There are four primary phases to any campaign that takes place within the project management life cycle. These include:
The initiation phase is where the partnership and idea for a project begin. Here, the client, marketing team, and any key stakeholders meet to define what exactly the project is and agree on the objectives. These later become the basis for the project goals, which help outline the project charter or a document that guides its purpose and aims.
In this phase, you can start to name specifics about the project, such as the budget and deliverables. As we mentioned, a deliverable is any intentional production or output for your project. The most common and easily recognizable are your campaigns or pieces of content. Some projects have secondary deliverables, which are not as obvious, such as project data you can use to help plan future campaigns.
It’s important to define the deliverables in this phase so you can understand what you intend to get out of each project. This also helps you create your marketing project plan with all its tasks. The more complex a project is, the more tasks may be necessary. Also, in the planning phase, you choose which teams or members to assign each task, estimate the scope and budget of the project, and create a timeline for activities and completion.
This is the phase where the team implements the project plan and gets to work. Those leading the project use task management to make sure everything distributes to the right people, and that new tasks get created as necessary to meet the timeline and demand. Those in project management also monitor the status of the overall process to make sure tasks get completed on time. They provide progress reports to stakeholders and clients and also work to overcome obstacles that may delay production.
This phase takes place when the project is complete and the deliverables make it to the client or out into the world. The exact things that happen in this phase depend on the project itself and the marketing team’s relation to it. If it’s solely a marketing project, completion may happen when the campaign finishes and there may be a data review before the team moves to the next project.
If it’s a larger project with a client deliverable or it’s tied to some other form of work, there may be an evaluation or grading process with stakeholders that takes place during this phase.
Using project management can help marketing teams in multiple ways, including:
Because project management has a built-in planning phase, this can help teams become more prepared for each project. It allows managers to create specific tasks that lead to the desired outputs and deliverables. Better plans can also help develop some of the other benefits you receive from using project management in marketing.
Project management often uses specialized programs to plan and distribute tasks and work to employees. This makes it easier for teams to collaborate. They can send actual project materials back and forth amongst themselves, leave notes, and share information. This makes it easier for team members to work together from anywhere, whether they’re in the same office building or working remotely.
Project management runs through specific tasks and on a certain regimented schedule. This can make project delivery more efficient. Project management allows you to estimate the time it may take to share a deliverable or reach a certain outcome, then provide all the steps to make it happen. Knowing these things in advance can help you set a schedule and be more confident in your deadlines rather than facing multiple unforeseen setbacks.
Project management for marketing can help encourage better communication among team members. You often use project management tools that include messaging and note options. This makes real-time, instant communications among team members or even entire departments easier. For this to work, it’s important to set up a reporting structure or best practices for communication, so everyone uses the same system. Many programs may allow you to set these kinds of parameters so your team members don’t even have to think about it.
Use these steps to help you work through phases two through four of the project management life cycle:
Once you’ve met with your clients and stakeholders to set your goals, you can put together an actionable plan to reach them. Do this by figuring out what tasks are necessary to complete reaching the goal. There are a few ways to do that, including:
Use marketing project management software to build a project plan. These programs can cut the time it takes to create one so you can have more time for execution. This type of software also helps keep everything in one central location that’s accessible for everyone involved. While the functions of each program may differ slightly, the general components are likely to be the same. Your project plan may include:
Once you’ve finished creating the plan, you can present it to the team. You may hold a kickoff meeting not only to share the plan but to get your team motivated for the upcoming project. This is also a time where you can take and answer questions and clear up any potentially confusing steps or tasks before work begins.
This step is where you begin work on the execution phase of the project lifecycle. It’s important to have team communication throughout, and pay attention to how things progress. During this step, the project manager often completes the following tasks:
Review the workflows and outputs of the project to see what worked and what could use improvement. The evaluation can help show you what to use or change for your next project. Consider comparing your results to the KPIs set in step one, gathering feedback from the team and stakeholders, and creating any follow-up plans that can help you improve for the next project.
Use these tips to help you implement or improve your project management for marketing:
Project management for marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. Even if your team doesn’t have a designated project manager, you can still use the four phases to plan and distribute tasks to complete your project. Consider investing in project management software and working as a team to set basic goals and timelines for each project. As you perfect your system, you may develop a logical framework that’s compatible with your team.
Project management thrives on organization. A large part of being organized is learning how to manage your time and prioritizing what needs to get done in what order. You can do this with entire projects and for smaller tasks within them. There are many ways you can prioritize things, such as based on the expected return on investment, time constraints, or money constraints. The option you pick may be unique to your team.
Before you start a project, it’s important to be aware of what resources you have, need, and can get. Resources for most marketing projects fall into three major categories:
It’s important to define the resources you need for each project and make sure you have them or can get them before it starts. This can help assure you stay on track with the project plan and produce the deliverable when expected.
Consider using a single calendar for your team to mark all phases of the project from start to finish. This may include planning sessions, individual task completion dates, progress meetings, and wrap-up sessions. Even if every meeting or task doesn’t involve every team member, it’s important to keep everything on one calendar. This is so everyone can see the progression of the project, where it currently stands, what’s upcoming, and due dates. Sharing this information can help with organization and preparation and give team members an incentive to be productive with their work.
Project management for marketing is like project management in other industries, but with a marketing background. If you’re looking to get your marketing projects done without the hassle, start a free call with CopyPress today. We can handle all the project management aspects and deliver just what you need: stunning, engaging content.
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