How To Incorporate Project Management for Marketing

Christy Walters


February 13, 2022 (Updated: October 4, 2023)

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:

What Is Project Management for Marketing?

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.

project managing for marketing is a complicated task

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:

What Does a Marketing Project Manager Do?

Product marketing manager

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:

  • Leading a project from brainstorming to completion
  • Carrying out the vision of the marketing director or chief marketing officer (CMO) for each project
  • Managing teams of employees, clients, vendors, and other staff involved with each project
  • Assigning tasks and setting deadlines for team members
  • Determining a project’s budget and resource allocation
  • Monitoring and adjusting projections throughout a project
  • Communicating with clients and stakeholders to collect information

Different Types of Project Managers for Marketing?

Marketing project management may be an overreaching title that can encompass many roles under different names, including:

  • Agency project manager: This role helps make sure that all deliverables make it to the clients on time and within budget. They work with external clients, team members, freelancers, and vendors.
  • In-house marketing project manager: This role works with one company or a group of companies to coordinate projects that advance the marketing goals of the organization. This differs from an agency project manager because it doesn’t deal with external clients.
  • Marketing program manager: This role oversees a group of marketing projects and tracks their successes against company goals. They use analytics and data for each campaign to ensure that the projects are helping the company reach broader objectives.
  • International project manager: This role helps coordinate campaigns and projects for companies that work overseas or in other countries. They know much about international markets and how to best coordinate and design campaigns that can integrate into other cultures.
  • Digital marketing project manager: This role oversees all digital projects or campaigns. They may work on projects such as planning video campaigns, managing social media channels, or optimizing websites.

4 Phases of the Marketing Project Management Process

product marketing planning

There are four primary phases to any campaign that takes place within the project management life cycle. These include:

1. Initiation

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.

2. Planning

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.

3. Execution

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.

4. Closure and Evaluation

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.

How Does Project Management Help Marketing Teams?

Using project management can help marketing teams in multiple ways, including:

Better Planning

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.

Easier Collaboration

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.

Related: 11 Features To Look For When Choosing the Ideal Project Management Solution

Efficient Deliveries

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.

Increased Communication

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.

How To Conduct Project Management for Marketing

Use these steps to help you work through phases two through four of the project management life cycle:

1. Identify Tasks

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:

  • Quantify goals: Measure the goals with data and numbers. Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for each goal can help.
  • Gather feedback: Talk to your team members and stakeholders to get their opinions on how they envision getting from the idea to the end reality. This can help you see different viewpoints and paths to completion.
  • Conduct research: You may look at past projects or the methods of industry professionals or competitors to determine how to execute your plan. Looking at templates or examples may help you create an outline or framework for your own project.

2. Build the Project Plan

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:

  • Tasks: Include a list of tasks and how they depend on one another for the project completion.
  • Resources and time constraints: For each task, you can include the necessary budget, tools, and time frame for completion.
  • Milestones: Determine where your smaller goals are throughout the larger project to show progress towards completion.

3. Share the Project Plan

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.

4. Start the Project

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:

  • Monitoring progress: The project manager uses KPIs and data to make sure the project progresses as planned.
  • Scheduling team check-ins: The project manager meets with individuals or small groups to track their progress and ensure that employees are confident and clear in their work.
  • Providing updates: The project manager generates status reports for stakeholders or clients to let them know about the progress of the project.
  • Marking it complete: When the team finishes all the project goals and shares the deliverables, the project manager informs everyone, from team members to stakeholders, of the outcomes.

5. Evaluate the Finished Product

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.

Tips To Improve Project Management for Marketing

Use these tips to help you implement or improve your project management for marketing:

Keep It Simple

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.

Prioritize Projects and Tasks

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.

Review Your Resources

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:

  • Talent: The employees and people necessary to complete a project
  • Tools: The programs, materials, partnerships, and technology needed to complete a project
  • Budget: The money allotted for the department or each project

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.

Use a Calendar

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.

Author Image - Christy Walters
Christy Walters

CopyPress writer

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