Marketing as a process can involve many different tasks and involve many other people in the marketing team. This is why for marketing managers and directors, marketing and technical knowledge are sometimes not enough, and project management skills are also necessary to achieve marketing success.
This is where marketing project management comes in.
By implementing advanced project management in marketing, marketers can better reach their target audiences, which will lead to increased profits and more overall success for the business.
However, implementing project management to marketing might require some unique approaches to ensure a successful implementation, and in this guide, we will learn how.
Overview: Marketing Project Management
Just with any other project management in other departments and industries, there are two key elements to marketing project management:
- Research: research component is essential for any project. Research can be done before, in preparation for the project, or research can be an actual part of the marketing project itself. For example, when we want to launch a new product, customer/market research is necessary to ensure our product can reach the right target audience.
- Data: every marketing project should collect data to measure whether a project has met its objective to measure the ROI of the marketing project/campaign. Without a data component, we can’t classify the initiative/campaign as a project. Preliminary data should be analyzed to check whether a project is worth executing in the first place. Modern marketing is increasingly becoming data-reliant to ensure that marketers can better meet the target audience’s demands.
There are marketing tasks that don’t include both/any of these elements. For example, a monthly team gathering won’t require research and won’t have any data element, so we can’t consider it a marketing project.
Five Phases of Marketing Project Management
By considering the two main elements in marketing project management, as discussed above, we can divide the marketing project management into five phases, just like in classic project management:
The first phase is about figuring out your project’s scope, so much research is going to be involved here. The general tasks that must be accomplished in this phase are to document the list of objectives/goals of the project, the steps required to meet these objectives, the list of deliverables, and the budget listing all the costs involved in meeting the objectives. Last but not least, the deadline of the project.
By considering the initial lists we have created in the previous step, here we will discuss the technicalities of actually creating the project to accomplish the deliverables. The main task in this phase is to plan and prepare the required resources to meet the objectives of the project. Resources can include a project management solution, human resources, equipment, and other tools.
This phase is pretty self-explanatory, executing the aforementioned plan into motion.
4. Monitor and Control
It’s essential to understand that although we’ve written a comprehensive plan, we might need to make adjustments and respond to changes quickly to ensure we can achieve the objectives on time. It is imperative to monitor the project’s progress by having the right monitoring/analytics tools to measure the progress according to the defined KPIs/metrics. When there’s an issue with the project, we must try to identify and resolve it as soon as possible not to hinder the project in meeting its objectives.
Once we’ve successfully produced the marketing deliverables via the project, we are not finished yet. Closing the project is a phase on its own, and in this stage, the project manager/marketing manager must seek approval from all the stakeholders. Stakeholders must approve the deliverables before we can finally publish these deliverables, send them to clients or others. In this phase, managers must also evaluate the whole project to see what went well and any areas that can be improved in future projects.
Tips for Successful Marketing Project Management
1. Define your project objectives as clearly as possible
When planning and executing a marketing project, it’s essential that all your team members and stakeholders correctly understand the project’s goal(s) and its impact on your business.
In general, your goals should:
- Be as clear and specific as possible: Everyone involved must understand it thoroughly.
- Measurable: You should be able to assign KPIs and metrics to measure the project’s progress in meeting this objective.
- Realistic: The objectives must be attainable to maintain the morale of your team and stakeholders. Break down bigger goals into smaller milestones when necessary.
The more objectives, the more difficult it will be for your team to focus on the ones that matter. So, generally, less is more. Also, make sure your list of objectives is easily accessible by your entire team.
2. Ensure your plan is well documented
It’s ideal to have a marketing project management software like Aproove to build and document your project plan so you can easily track your progress.
Aproove enables you to focus on the project’s execution rather than spending time making any changes and updates to the plan to respond to the situations. You can use your project management software to build your plan with the following steps:
- Add the tasks: add the list of tasks to your project management tool. Identify tasks with dependencies (other tasks that must be executed first) and define this on the plan.
- Add other elements: especially resources and deadlines projected to complete each task
- Set milestones: use the objectives you’ve listed above and set your milestones along the path to completion.
3. Define your KPIs for each project
It might not always be easy to define a marketing project’s objectives in measurable, quantifiable terms, so it’s quite often many marketers execute a project without defining KPIs. This usually happens when team members and stakeholders can’t agree on which metrics to use in the project.
However, without KPIs, we can’t measure whether the project is on the right track in meeting its objectives, so we might end up achieving failure and loss of ROI. While it might be difficult, always set up KPIs with highly measurable outcomes with each project.
Marketing is often regarded as a creative field, so a ‘rigid’ process, like marketing project management, is often shunned by many marketers.
However, it’s essential to understand that a proper workflow will enable creativity rather than limit it. Still, at the same time, we’d have to create a flexible workflow structure to avoid rigidity.
Proper marketing management software can bring transparency and accountability to your creative project, so everyone involved in the project can understand their responsibilities, leading to a higher quality of deliverables.
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