It take a lot to effectively market a business. From blog posts, email campaigns and social media updates; to audience research, ad spend and partnership building; the average marketing director has A LOTon their plate at any given time.
In order to get everything done effectively and efficiently, you must master a few project management techniques. Especially if your company isn’t currently able to hire a dedicated project manager!
In this post, we’ll discuss a full-proof plan for marketing project management success. Once these six simple steps are understood and implemented, you’ll have a much better chance of staying “on target” with your marketing strategy and project due dates.
A 6 Step Plan for Marketing Project Management Success
Successful marketing project management doesn’t typically just happen. You need a plan. Here’s our 6 step process for effectively managing any marketing project.
Step 1: Goals
The first step is to define the overarching goals of your marketing efforts. Ultimately, what are you trying to achieve? Not on a project level, but on a general marketing level.
A good rule of thumb is to have three main goals. For example, your overarching marketing goals could be:
- Drive more traffic to the company website.
- Convert more traffic into qualified email subscribers.
- Convert more email subscribers into paying customers.
The goals for your marketing team may look quite different. But the point is that you have tangible goals that you gear all your marketing efforts towards and your entire team understands.
You can’t successfully manage any marketing project without a firm grasp of what exactly it is (big picture) you’re hoping to achieve.
Step 2: Prioritize
Next, you need to prioritize the different ways you and your team can begin to achieve your goals. For instance, there are so many techniques and strategies you and your marketing team could use to drive more traffic to the company website.
Your job, as the project manager for your company’s marketing efforts, is to decide which techniques and strategies will have the greatest positive impact and prioritize those above the rest.
Sticking with our current example, to drive more traffic to your company’s website you could run a barrage of Facebook ads. After all, many companies have used such methods to great success!
But perhaps past research has informed you that your unique audience uses Facebook more for personal reasons and doesn’t respond well to business-oriented offerings. Prioritizing another approach would be in your company’s best interests.
The key to this step is asking yourself, “what does our audience want from us?” Rather than, “how can we reach our audience?”
It’s a subtle difference, but by always giving your audience what they want from you, you’ll be better prepared to prioritize the right projects; thus improving your marketing project management approach.
Step 3: Assess Resources
Once your goals and priorities are in order, you need to assess the resources currently available to you. What do you have and what do you need to complete your list of top projects?
This step requires a bit of juggling between the people and money at your disposal. Start with your team and the unique talents they bring to the table. Where do each of them excel and what tasks would be better completed by others?
Also, what does your company’s current marketing budget look like? Do you have the finances to bring in additional team members or hire any freelance specialists?
Though the resources at your disposal may be limited, we never recommend cutting high priority projects. You labeled these these tasks as “high priority” for a reason; because they’re the kind of projects your audience wants and represent tremendous growth potential for your company!
So rather than cutting them from your marketing strategy completely, look for any and all ways that you can still complete them. Perhaps you need to rearrange finances, or work on a project in increments; bringing it along at a doable and realistic pace.
No matter how you go about it, make sure you find a way to get your highest priority projects done! Your audience and your company will thank you.
Step 4: Schedule
By now, you’ve defined your goals, prioritized different potential marketing projects and analyzed the resources available to you. Now it’s time to break out your calendar and schedule!
To schedule each project effectively, you need to break them down into small, manageable pieces and assign each step of the process to the team member best suited to complete it.
For example, in order to drive more traffic to the company website (yes, we’re still trying to drive traffic!), you and your team have decided to implement an ambitious blogging strategy. Your goal is to publish three long-form blogs posts a week on your own site and two on other sites you know your target audience frequents.
You know that John and Katie are strong writers so you task them, first, with coming up with relevant blog ideas (which you yourself will approve), and then writing detailed posts on the topics.
You also know that Erin has quite the eye for detail and majored in English in college. So you assign all blog editing to her.
Finally, Ethan is a talented artist and has designed much of the company website as well as the logo. You give him the responsibility of crafting engaging images to accompany each post.
Everyone of these tasks should now be added to a department wide calendar so that each team member full understands what’s expected of them and when each “leg” of the project is due. The calendar you use doesn’t need to be fancy and could be something as basic as the chart below:
|John:||Submit potential blog ideas for the week.||Submit blog drafts for review and editing.|
|Katie:||Submit potential blog ideas for the week.||Submit blog drafts for review and editing.|
|Erin:||Submit all edited blog posts for review and finalization.|
|Ethan:||Submit initial blog image drafts.||Make any necessary changes.||Finalize blog images.|
Step 5: Create
Following the schedule you’ve laid out, it’s time to start creating the marketing content you’ve prioritized for! As the marketing director and (consequently) also the marketing project manager, it’s your job to make sure the entire team stays on track.
Be sure to check in with each of your team members and see how they’re progressing on their assignments. If they seem to be falling behind, find out why. If they’ve hit a roadblock, work with them to discover a viable solution.
Much of the success or failure at this stage in the process relies on your ability to effectively communicate with your team. So keep the lines of communication open.
Step 6: Optimize
The final step in our marketing project management strategy is the optimization phase. Just like every other marketing task, you project management approach must be monitored, assessed, and, if possible, improved upon.
Regularly ask yourself what’s working and what’s not. There are probably at least a few things you and your team could do better. Again, keep the lines of communication open and bring your team in on this process. How do they feel like things are going?
Also it’s important to note that you need to be assessing two different things during this step:
- Your Project Management Approach: Is the way you’re managing each project proving effective? Is your team happy and thriving? Is the work being consistently completed on time?
- Each Project’s Goal Impact: You also need to measure whether or not the projects you’re completing are having the desired effect on your business. Is your audience happy with the content you’ve created? Is it driving growth for your business?
Monitoring and optimizing for both these two questions is essential! How else can you expect to improve and move both your individual team and your company as a whole forward?
The Importance of Marketing Project Management
Much like successful marketing requires a strategic approach, an effective strategy must also be put in place to ensure that each project you and your team embark on is well managed. And as the marketing director at your company, there’s a good chance this task falls to you.
The simple, six step strategy we’ve outlined in this post is a great place to start if you’re new to marketing project management. We encourage you to take what we’ve outlined here and adapt it for your own purposes and preferred workflow.
Though it may seem like a lot of extra work now, once you’ve mastered the art of marketing project management, you’ll be able to reach your marketing goals much more efficiently and with a lot less hassle.
Have you attempted any sort of marketing project management strategy before? Let us know in the comments how you fared and what you plan to do differently in the future!