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Though there are considerable differences between the roles of project managers and those of marketing operations managers, their worlds are always destined to intertwine when it comes to the field of marketing. So, what are the big distinctions between the two roles and what’s the best way for them to collaborate and benefit each other?

Project Manager vs. Marketing Operations Manager

The main distinctions between the two positions can be broken down into the main roles they perform. Let’s take a closer look.

Project Manager

  • Focused on completing a project 
  • External and client-focused
  • Improves how work is estimated
  • Facilitates setting and reaching project objectives
  • Tracks and reports on team performance

Marketing Operations Manager

  • Focused on driving marketing operations processes
  • Internal and staff-focused
  • Improves how tasks are performed
  • Facilitates setting and reaching department objectives
  • Ensures that teams have the best available employees and resources to perform at their maximum

Now more than ever, though, marketing operations is called on to become more organizationally aligned. So how can marketing operations managers take from the project management playbook and glean mutual benefits from working alongside project managers within their organizations? We’ll explore a few ways.

Clear Communication Between Positions

One of the biggest problems with siloed teams or positions is the duplication of tasks or the performing of unnecessary work. Successful collaboration means simplifying communication and removing all barriers between the sharing of knowledge.

Think of email threads with Excel spreadsheets being passed back and forth, added to and altered. Anyone coming in from outside the team would first have to find out who has the latest version of the document, then try and decipher what it all means. Now imagine either the project or marketing operations manager having to do that 15 times a week.

One solution is smoother and cleaner communication, such as using online workspaces or task boards which clearly show what everyone’s working on and how it’s going. Task management software does precisely that, offering an easy-to-use interface that separates tasks and work teams into navigable locations that allow both managers to track and communicate about overlapping tasks in an organized, efficient way.

Having an Outside-In Approach

One important way project managers and marketing operations depend on each other is in the flow of information from the customer interface back to the organization. With an outside-in approach, the marketing operations manager has a broader overall view of the user experience with the service or product, while the project manager is responsible for actually feeding those data and insights into the system to make sure processes are improving.

Increase your business agility with Clarizen’s project management software

This set-up can be hugely beneficial to both departments, keeping business output in tune with changes in the market. But it requires a marketing operations manager who is not afraid of a horizontal or bottom-up system.

Improving Outcomes by Combining Data

Knowledge sharing is the key to success in both project management and marketing operations. Each manager’s unique knowledge and experience can make a huge difference in how the other manages to perform their role.

Take, for example, the important process of team-building and recruitment. Though it may be the remit of the marketing operations manager to hire new staff, it is the project manager who knows best what role they might need to perform or what kind of personality or work style will best suit the team.

The mutually beneficial data which managers hold spreads through pretty much every area of marketing operations, from customer reaction to metrics on click-through success or A/B testing. It is up to both parties to work together to build an effective system of data transfer and ensure that it is carried through.

Collaboration between team members and higher-level roles has taken a huge step forward with the development of software that has been designed with Agile work practices in mind. The industry-leading suite of Clarizen project management software gives everyone the platform to work together with ease and without barriers. To find out what an advanced approach can do for your collaboration, get in touch to organize a free demo.

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