Professional marketing project management is becoming an ever greater challenge within marketing teams and marketing departments. After all, the ad hoc organization of the average marketer today is no longer aligned with the complex marketing environment and ever-increasing pressure from above in the organization. I see 3 major drivers for marketing project management.
The first: marketing is more multimedia than ever, so marketing communications are handled by more different marketers. The second: the marketing organization is more digital than ever, so there is a risk that the team will get stuck in a morass of digital tools. The third: marketing teams are working more agile than ever, putting pressure on internal communications and reporting to management. Seeing Marketing Project Management as the ultimate panacea is an exaggeration, but without it, the marketing team is bound to continue to struggle with a lack of overview and insight, with lame internal communication, and with incomplete reporting to management.
Marketing Project Management is the collective term for the complete management of marketing projects. Think of content marketing projects (e.g. Website or social media), event marketing projects (e.g. Seminars or trade show participations) or advertising projects (e.g. Media campaigns). Those projects must be taken from A to Z by multiple marketers and any external stakeholders (e.g., Marketing Agencies). Project management then consists of time planning (what needs to happen when and by whom), task planning (who needs to do what by when) and budget planning (what are the budgets and costs of the various project components?). Around this, an exciting ecosystem of mails, discussions, meetings, briefings, notes, approvals, analyses, ... also emerges, all of which have an effect on the quality of the marketing project management in question.
Ask "What's it like at work?" of 10 marketers. The most common answer given: 'Good, but busy'. Where the "but" betrays the fact that, in fact, things are not going so well. Tell me: why do we always assume that drowning in work is "part of the job" for marketers? An unavoidable destiny. As if being busy means that you are sending out the right signals within the company and you are fine in terms of status. Pressure-pressure-pressure as a status symbol.
My advice: work hard and a lot, but do it smart and with pleasure. The truth lies - as always - somewhere in the middle. Efficient Marketing Project Management ensures that you can move many projects forward in an efficient manner. For this, 3 components are of particular importance:
You read it: Integrating Marketing Project Management within a marketing team doesn't happen without a struggle. Marketers need to be convinced that their 'individual' way of working should best evolve into a 'collaborative' way of working, conclusive processes need to be set up and digital tools need to be set up and integrated. But the benefits of efficient Marketing Project Management are enormous. Below you will find 10 good reasons for marketers or marketing teams to professionalize or optimize the way they manage the various marketing projects.
In a recent survey, "lack of insight and overview" was perceived as the biggest stumbling block among the marketers surveyed. Marketing data spread across dozens of individual Excel, Word or Powerpoint documents, servers and emails is the biggest culprit. Marketing Project Management tools and processes that bundle all strategic and operational data in a well-organized way put an end to this. It encourages "good" control, which is a blessing not only for control freaks.
Marketers get so many stimuli thrown at them that it becomes a hassle to maintain peace of mind. Marketing Project Management tool allows you to distinguish priority projects and tasks from the less urgent ones. And every day it presents you with a delineated list of to-do's and tasks. Just tick them off. No stress.
It is busy-pressure-pressure for most marketers. But do they get the full return from the hours worked? Isn't an immense amount of time lost due to inadequate planning and organization? Marketing Project Management tools and processes put an end to this because they bring together projects, tasks and a calendar of communication actions into one clear entity. And that gives you peace of mind. So that you are no longer chasing the facts, but can take control of your own returns.
What is our social media strategy? What strategy will we use to approach the press? What is our pricing strategy for the fall? I bet the average marketer breaks out in sweat when management asks one of these strategic questions. Tough marketers are more than work ants. On the contrary. They are wise forward thinkers who set and write down the lines for tomorrow. Marketing Project Management tool neatly maps out this strategic info with a few clicks.
Anyone who spends a day in the average marketing department knows: marketers are champions at extinguishing fires. One peak moment alternates with another deadline and yet another delivery. Nothing is less frustrating than having to continuously chase the facts. Take a trade show participation as an example. As soon as the exhibition date approaches, the fever and stress in marketing rise sharply and urgent tasks and deadlines are ticked off at a furious pace. Things work differently thanks to Marketing Project Management. Through project, task and campaign planning, it ensures that work is not reactive but proactive and that marketing management becomes predictable.
Marketing meetings are often time-consuming and inefficient. Why? Because there is no meeting agenda. That means participants come to the table unprepared and encourages everyone to crawl back into their own organizational cocoon after the meeting. Not so when there are clear Marketing Project Management processes. These processes prepare the agenda in the system, ensure immediate reporting and assign the right tasks to everyone afterwards.
Poor communication between marketing colleagues results in wasted time and frustration. Who is responsible for what and who completes what task? What was the deadline and what did we agree on at the last meeting? A few clicks later you have the answer, provided that the data is not in people's heads but in a Marketing Project Management tool. This ensures that many communication problems are solved even before they arise.
Real marketers work toward razor-sharp goals. That means you need a system to set goals. But also to measure them! What good are KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or metrics if no one can measure them? Marketing Project Management tools and processes enable ready-made marketing reports that tell you how marketing efforts are translating into results. So that your (year-end) bonus becomes tangible ... but also that the motivation to stop unprofitable projects or extend profitable projects is substantiated with numbers.
As a marketer, do you know at any time of the year how far your marketing budget has shrunk? Which actions did the costs go to? Which actions went over or under budget? If you don't know the answer, you urgently need a common budgeting across the entire team, quickly available in a digital system that tells you anytime and anywhere what your budget is and how that budget evolves throughout the year.
Bet a lot of CMOs or CEOs wonder at their marketers "What is this godly one putting out?"? Or the other way around: for example, I know a lot of marketers who are frustrated because they don't get the attention and appreciation they deserve within a company. It's only logical: they would do better to work on a clear and regular reporting of achievements, ambitions, goals and results to the (top) management. Don't wait until your manager asks for data or figures. Have them ready, up-to-date. In a Marketing Project Management tool like Husky.
So. Could I convince you of the value of Marketing Project Management in the marketing department? I realize that it takes time and effort to change the way you work as an individual marketer or within a marketing team. That it takes commitment and discipline to nurture Marketing Project Management processes and tools. But the bonus is huge: a streamlined organization where hard but process-oriented work is rewarded and appreciated.
Do you want to manage your marketing projects better? Then don't hesitate to test Husky as a Marketing Project Management tool for free. Quickly set up your first marketing projects and share the planning and tasks with your colleagues.