Project management hasn’t always been a top priority in the marketing world, but it certainly has useful applications, which is perhaps why the topic of marketing project management has become more popular in recent years. The processes and products of project management lend themselves well to marketing, which requires logical progressions and coordination of resources to ensure successful and productive outcomes. Some agencies and organizations are even taking steps to implement marketing project planner positions as an element of standard teams.
This, in turn, requires that marketing specialists be aware of and embody marketing project management best practices in order to see improved outcomes from their efforts. Here are just a few best practices to help you get the most out of project management in the field of marketing.
The SMART Model
Setting goals is an important part of any project management process and for many companies, marketing project management best practices include utilizing the SMART model by setting Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic and Time-sensitive goals. This can be done both at the outset of a project and throughout as the project develops and it can be applied to both overarching and smaller goals. Following this model is perhaps the simplest way to create and accomplish actionable goals.
The role of a marketing project manager is not exactly new – there always has to be someone in charge of a campaign or branding exercise, such as a client account manager. However, the inclusion of a clearly defined role for project management is not exactly traditional in the field of marketing. It is, however, becoming more necessary for those in the marketing world to develop strong marketing project management skills.
This may require a change in mindset, notably when it comes to communications. Marketing projects and teams are becoming more complex, but those in charge of projects need to maintain open lines of communication with both clients and team members in order to keep work on track and ensure client satisfaction. As a marketing project planner, your responsibilities span the entire scope of work, including managing resources, budgets, timelines and client expectations. Clear communications are essential for efficient workflow and successful outcomes.
Planning is only one part of marketing project management best practices, albeit the most important part. However, things don’t always go according to plan, unless your plan incorporates some measure of flexibility. When you run into roadblocks, charging blindly ahead with a set plan won’t serve you well – you need to reassess and adjust. Allowing for some flexibility and having contingencies in place for just such occasions will save you time, money and stress when setbacks and delays inevitably occur.
Choosing the Right Tools
Unless you have some kind of miraculous computer brain, you’re going to need technologies and tools designed for project management to help you. Options like Clarizen’s cloud-based project management software can help you to observe project management best practices by providing the foundations and structure needed to get you on track, while also offering customization to tailor workflows, processes, reports and more to your needs and your projects Marketing project management need not be a mystery or a thorn in your side when you understand how to set realistic goals, communicate effectively, proceed with flexibility and utilize suitable software solutions.