Experienced project managers are well paid due to the value they bring to any organization. These talented professionals create and maintain timelines and outcome expectations for everything from IT software development to building construction projects. The concepts they use can be applied to any area of business, but marketing teams can especially benefit from project management principles. They regularly plan and execute long-term marketing campaigns with timelines, milestones, and budget restrictions.
But you don’t have to be a trained project manager to expertly oversee your marketing campaigns. Even experienced specialists rely heavily on software to plan and monitor their projects. Here are a few ways you can use project management solutions to make sure your next marketing campaign goes smoothly.
Chart it out
Project management software serves as the foundation of every project manager’s work. Microsoft Project is often the go-to solution, but it can be difficult to learn. In order to unlock the full capabilities of its charting features, you may need to set time aside to learn how to use the software. Online training courses make it easy for time-challenged marketers to get up to speed on popular solutions. Even if you choose a different solution, learning how to chart your entire project in a standardized way that you can easily share with others is essential to successful campaign planning.
Make collaboration easy
Project managers no longer have to wait for scheduled meetings to discuss a project’s progress with participants and stakeholders. Collaboration solutions combine project management with document management that appeals to today’s social media-geared workers. Software like Wrike gives team members a central location to communicate with each other and clients, pull reports, and upload documents for editing and approval. Instead of emailing files back and forth, which results in various versions of the same document existing, collaboration software saves time and effort. Marketers can not only track progress and delegate responsibilities, but they can also make assignments to content writers, review them, and post them, all on the same platform.
Despite the best planning, unexpected changes occur. You need to be prepared to adjust your project plan quickly when that happens. Traditional projects call for a fixed plan, with protections put in place to prevent scope creep. Stakeholders are required to sign off on the project plan before work begins and any additions after that require budget and timeline adjustments. Your marketing campaigns are usually not quite as fixed, however, with marketing teams even adjusting their plans after reviewing the analytics surrounding their initial efforts. Solutions like Workzone are designed specifically for marketers, building in flexibility to allow them to change plans as a campaign progresses. But you can also use basic office software like Microsoft Excel to collect the data you need to make the right decisions.
Marketers can often feel overwhelmed by the long list of tasks awaiting them. This can even be true when you’re only dealing with one campaign at a time. One of the biggest assets a professional can have is the ability to prioritize, balancing tasks that will get the greatest reward against those that are time sensitive. LiquidPlanner builds in priorities, making it clear which tasks team members need to focus on at any given time. Priorities can be adjusted as the campaign progresses to make sure someone is always working on the most important task.
Marketing no longer involves one-way communication. Part of any good marketing campaign is interacting with your customers as they react to your messaging. Social media monitoring tools like Mention can help you monitor social media activity in real time, sending alerts when someone mentions your brand or identified competitors on any social media site. This not only gives your team the ability to reply or share, but it also lets you know how well your efforts are paying off. Because of the information you learn, you may be able to gain insights that help you improve your marketing campaigns moving forward.
A project management approach can help keep your marketing campaigns on track. With the right solutions in place, you can equip your marketing team to get the most out of your efforts. When combined with reporting and measurement tools, you’ll soon find that you’re creating campaigns that get results without wasting resources on efforts that don’t work.
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?