Marketing initiatives can be crucial to your business’s bottom line. These initiatives give you the chance to build awareness for your brand and send leads down the sales funnel. Without effective marketing, you may struggle to secure customers and bring in revenue.
Effective project management is important to make sure all your marketing initiatives are going as planned. Implementing a marketing project management process will result in streamlined workflows, improved communication, and collaboration, and increased project efficiency and success.
In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about marketing project management, including:
- What marketing project management is, and why it’s important
- The 5 phases of the marketing project management process
- Tips for running a successful marketing project
- Why marketing teams should use project management software
Let’s get started.
What Is Marketing Project Management?
In general, project management involves planning, organizing, collaborating, implementing, and completing tasks and goals for a project within a set budget and time. Marketing project management takes it a step further.
These two elements differentiate marketing projects:
Marketing projects usually incorporate a research component. Marketers will usually invest time and effort into research before a new campaign or project starts. The findings from the research are used to inform the marketing initiative.
For instance, if you want to roll out a new product, you can conduct customer segmentation research to understand the best methods to reach product buyers. Teams can also research as the project goes on.
Every marketing project involves data collection. Marketing managers must validate their projects and their return on investment. This is only possible through data collection.
Now that’s clear what marketing project management is, let’s talk about why it’s important for your business.
Using a defined project management framework to plan, manage, oversee, and deliver marketing-related projects allows marketers to be more organized and efficient and increase their chances of having successful marketing projects.
Project management helps marketing managers organize, communicate, and carry out their vision across multiple teams and campaigns all at once. Marketers who stay organized are 397% more likely to deliver successful projects.
A proper project management framework enables managers to allocate resources to their projects effectively, automate and monitor budgeting payroll, and enjoy the benefits of time tracking. These project management features ensure teams can efficiently manage work, invoice, and bill with ease, and eliminate communication breakdown within the team and with clients.
5 Phases of the Marketing Project Management Process
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to managing marketing campaigns, but every project has a life cycle. Most marketing projects can be broken down into a five-phase project lifecycle:
Phase 1: Planning
To kick things off, key project stakeholders, including clients (for marketing agencies), start with defining and agreeing on the marketing project’s goals and objectives. Marketers who plan their projects and follow through on them are four times more likely to report success.
52% of marketing experts struggle to communicate strategy with people that are not marketing-savvy. By breaking down projects into specific goals, objectives, and deliverables, marketers can share their vision with all stakeholders, including people who might not be marketing-savvy.
With goals and objectives clearly articulated, the marketing project manager adds them to the project charter. All the leading stakeholders then sign the charter signaling that everyone is on the same page.
From here, we move to the next phase, where the project manager is tasked with figuring out what’s needed on a granular level to meet the project goals and objectives.
Phase 2: Organization
In this phase, the marketing team agrees on a budget and comes up with the deliverables necessary to complete the project. In most cases, deliverables for marketing projects will be campaigns themselves and crucial pieces such as blog posts, graphics, or ads.
In this phase, you also need to define the extent of work involved in the project (project scope). This step is vital as it ensures that you don’t overburden your teams by avoiding the dreaded scope creep—and stay within budget.
After defining the project’s scope and deliverables, the team draws up a marketing project plan outlining the tasks to be completed and the team member responsible for each task. A project plan is an invaluable tool that helps managers keep track of the tasks, resources, and budgets involved. It allows teams to adhere to the required timeline for completion. A project plan is also a vital communication tool that keeps people across the organization updated on the project status.
Every project comes with a deadline. To beat your deadline, you need to ensure teams complete all tasks within a schedule. This is the phase where you create a project schedule—the chronology of activities required for the project.
Represent your project schedule visually through a tool like Gantt Charts. You can update your Gantt chart in real-time as team members add and complete tasks.
Phase 3: Execution
Now it’s time to get down to the actual work. In this stage, the team tackles the tasks associated with the project. The marketing project manager oversees the work to ensure it gets done on time and within budget. The project manager should outline team expectations to ensure everyone knows what needs to be done and the corresponding timelines.
In this phase, the project manager needs to track and report on task progress, create new tasks as required, and take action when projects aren’t moving forward. A tool like a Kanban board can make this process easier as it gives everyone in the team a visual overview of work and the entire project life cycle.
Communication with team members is vital throughout all project phases, but it’s particularly critical during the execution phase. This is because managers need to be aware of any bottlenecks affecting task completion, tasks running beyond deadlines, or budget overruns. Regular communication with the team is necessary to stay abreast of such issues.
Phase 4: Control
Now that your project is in motion, the main focus is to ensure that everything’s on schedule and budget. In this phase, the marketing project manager tracks whether team members are hitting deadlines and if there are any hold-ups or missing deliverables. If there are any issues, the PM jumps in and intervenes before escalating. With these checks in place, we’re edging closer to finalizing the project.
Phase 5: Evaluation and delivery
Finally, we are at the end of the project.
Once you’ve met the project goals and are ready to deliver the project, one final step remains: evaluation. It’s crucial to analyze the project outcome to determine any improvements you may want to make in future projects for better success.
Evaluate project performance relative to the KPIs you’d set during the planning phase. Did you meet the success metrics? If yes, how can you replicate the project plan? If not, figure out why.
As you conduct your evaluation, collect feedback from your team and other project stakeholders. Find out what they think of the project. Do they think it was a success? What areas would they say were most successful, and which ones would they like to see improve? Use this feedback to create an action plan of follow-up items or improvement areas for future projects.
Tips for Running a Successful Marketing Project
Ready to start managing your marketing projects better? Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
Create SMART marketing goals and objectives
Start by creating SMART goals and objectives. Think about what you expect from your marketing efforts, and let that help you pinpoint your marketing goals. Then clearly define your goals and communicate them with your team. Sharing goals and objectives with your team will help them get on board with your vision from the start.
Prioritize your marketing projects
Time is always going to be a limited resource that doesn’t allow us to pursue every marketing campaign we dream up. . Prioritize the most critical projects. Prioritization ensures you focus on marketing efforts that truly move the needle.
Create a comprehensive list of the marketing projects you wish to carry out. Next, rank each project in terms of growth. The projects that will bring you the most ROI should be ranked high on your priority list.
Know your resource availability and capacity
Resources are vital to executing a successful marketing strategy. But are you aware of how many resources you have, their capabilities, and availability? You can gain these insights through resource planning. Resource planning involves identifying, scheduling, and allocating resources so that you can optimize time and budgets. Additionally, resource planning ensures that you allocate your resources where they’re needed most and prevents overbooking them.
Understand your marketing needs
To manage a marketing project effectively, you must first understand its requirements. Ensure that teams have everything they need before working on a project. Without all the requirements in place, teams may be unable to complete tasks, leading to project delays and likely causing the project to fail.
Why Marketing Teams Should Use Project Management Software
The thought of adding yet another tool to your marketing technology stack may not be pleasing, and you may be leaning towards the good old spreadsheet. But, let’s be honest, spreadsheets aren’t really what a marketing manager looking for a seamless process, engaged teammates, and high-quality projects needs. A perfect solution is a dedicated project management tool.
Here are five benefits of project management software:
1. One management hub
Marketing project management software allows you to plan, execute, and manage all your marketing projects in one place, consequently boosting your efficiency.
2. Easy integration with other marketing tools
Most project management tools come with pre-built or support integrations and tools you need to streamline workflows, plan marketing campaigns, collaborate, and access all your project assets.
3. Effective communication and collaboration
The communication component of project management software offers a centralized hub where teams across the whole department can communicate and collaborate seamlessly. This central hub makes it easier for all stakeholders to access information and project assets anytime and anywhere.
4. Project planning templates
The tools also offer project planning templates that you can use to plan your projects. Additionally, you can duplicate project plans from your most successful campaigns and replicate that strategy in future projects.
5. Powerful analytics and reports
Project management tools also have reporting capabilities that enable managers to collect data and create reports vital to marketing projects.
With all these features in one tool, you can say goodbye to multiple platforms and take full advantage of the functionalities available in a single project management software.
Speaking of project management tools, have you heard of Mission Control? Yes, that’s us!
Mission Control is a project management software that integrates seamlessly with your other marketing tools, giving you a holistic view of your entire project. It comes with all the features you need to manage all the moving pieces of your campaign in one place.
Here’s how Mission Control’s different features can be helpful for better marketing project management at your organization:
- The Console offers a 360° overview of the status of your projects. This allows you to stay on top of every marketing project in your pipeline.
- The Project Generation launchpad enables you to streamline the initial project planning process. It comes with project planning templates that allow you to launch a new project framework quickly.
- The launchpad allows you to clone an existing project and quickly initiate a new one. This saves you time, especially if you have recurring marketing projects.
- Kanban boards make assigning and managing tasks easier. With a Kanban board, project managers can prioritize tasks and ensure that team members don’t start on new jobs before completing previous ones.
- Gantt charts are another great feature that make it easier for managers to track milestones and see when they’re off track so they can take necessary actions.