The marketing department is all about executing projects: from simple ones like conducting market research to massive ones like planning an event for thousands of people. Nevertheless, the success of a marketing team is determined by the success of each of these projects.
This is why implementing project management in marketing is now a necessity. Here we will look at how to apply project management best practices in marketing to ensure success in your marketing projects.
What Is Project Management?
In a nutshell, project management is a practice of planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling all aspects of a project to ensure we can meet the project’s objective. Project management was initially developed to improve factory efficiency in manufacturing but has now been adopted by other industries and departments, including marketing.
The bigger the team—or organization—project management becomes increasingly complex, and the importance of improving efficiencies to meet budget and deadlines also increases.
In marketing, project management can improve the marketing team’s workflow by:
- Defining a structure: one of the biggest benefits of implementing project management is that it can help define the structure of the project so everyone involved can understand their roles and the tasks that must be completed. This lays a solid foundation for achieving the objective of the project.
- Enforcing a clear schedule: project management keeps every team member on a defined schedule so the project can meet the assigned deadline.
- Improves communication and collaboration: once everyone is on schedule and understands their responsibilities, project management encourages everyone to collaborate in achieving the goal.
- Streamlining workflows: even when the project doesn’t involve a deadline, time is valuable, and project management can help you with workflow automation and mapping so we can use our time more effectively.
- More efficient use of resources: proper implementation of project management can allow you to use your resources more efficiently.
- Staying on a budget: project management can ensure your projects stay on-budget to maximize cost-efficiency and ROI
- Eliminate compliance risks: project management can ensure you’ll have the best chance of delivering high-quality deliverables by ensuring your team clearly defines objectives and accountability for everyone involved in the project.
- Improving future projects: project management is also about proper documentation, and things you’ve learned from a project can help us better plan future projects like setting more appropriate schedules, planning our resources better, and so on so we can further improve efficiency in the future.
How To Successfully Implement Project Management In Marketing
Step 1: Map out tasks to achieve the project’s objective
You’ve defined the scope of the project, its objectives, and requirements for success. The first step in implementing project management is to determine how you will achieve the project’s objectives.
We can do this by identifying the tasks that must be completed to achieve your objective and the required resources, budget, and deadline of each task.
We can do this by:
- Defining measurable KPIs: determine the KPIs the project will use to define success. For example, if it is a lead generation campaign project, then the number of leads generated might be a KPI. Quantify all objectives as granular as you can.
- Brainstorm: talk to stakeholders and team members working on the project. Collect inputs on which tasks they deem important for the project’s objective. They can also help estimate how much time is realistic to complete the task. Collect as much feedback as possible.
- Research: obviously, research is essential for any marketing project, if not any project at all. You might want first to conduct market research to determine your target audience, and if necessary, the research aspect should be a part of the whole project.
Step 2: Plan your project
Creating a proper project plan is very important so you can list the tasks, resources, budget, and deadline of the whole project. Everyone involved in the project (and everyone affected) should access this project plan to view the project’s status and each task.
It’s recommended to use a marketing project management software to build a centralized project plan where you can assign roles, track progress, and collaborate in a single place. Using the right software can significantly help you focus on the project’s execution rather than updating the spreadsheet or emailing back-and-forth to update a project.
In building your project plan, here are some important considerations:
- List the tasks in sequence: add the list of tasks to your project management software. If any task has dependencies with others, you should input the task in the software as such.
- Resources, roles, and deadlines: assign who is going to be responsible for completing a certain task, assigning resources, and assigning the estimated deadline for each task
- Set objectives: set objectives and milestones to help your team keep track of their progress towards completion. If some tasks take a long time to complete, it may be necessary to include smaller milestones.
You might want to hold a kickoff meeting with your team to present and discuss the plan.
Step 3: Execution
As the name suggests, this step is about the execution of the project. Here, the marketing project manager supervises all team members’ work to make sure all tasks are accomplished on budget and on time.
In the execution phase, maintaining good communication is very important. Having a project management software that can also act as a communication/collaboration tool is very important.
- Monitor your progress according to the defined KPIs
- Provide status reports to stakeholders, and everyone involved regularly
- Perform regular check-ins with the team to help monitor progress
Step 4: Evaluation
Once you’ve completed the project, the last step is about analyzing the project’s outcome so we can improve future projects with what we’ve learned.
- Compare the actual results to the defined KPIs
- Collect feedback from the team members and stakeholders about the project
- Create a clear action plan of areas that you can improve in the next projects
In implementing project management in marketing, having the right task management software is very important to quantify whether the team’s workload is assigned correctly to ensure maximum performance. Simultaneously, the management software should also act as a hub for your communications and collaborations. This way, you can adequately track all feedback, comments, and reports to monitor and optimize the project.