Effective project management is a cornerstone of success for marketing teams. It’s about more than managing tasks. It’s a compound approach that includes collaboration, motivation, productivity, priorities, experiments, learning, and more.
If done correctly, marketing team project management drives performance and marketing strategy execution. But how can we achieve it? In this article, we’ll explore the importance of project management in marketing and strategies for achieving marketing team success. Let’s dive in!
What is marketing team project management?
Marketing team project management involves planning, organizing, and controlling resources to achieve specific marketing goals within a set time frame. It also manages risks and issues that may arise during the project lifecycle, correcting the strategy if needed.
It is one of the most effective structured approaches for successful project completion. In a nutshell, it’s about guiding a team to reach a particular marketing goal, like launching a new product, executing a content strategy, or hosting an event.
A marketing project manager, for example, a team lead, CMO, or head of marketing, is usually responsible for initiating and leading marketing project management. This ensures marketing projects meet deadlines, budgets, and goals.
According to a study, organizations that don’t value project management as a strategic competency for driving change experience a 67% higher project failure rate. It also found that projects are two and a half times more successful and 13 times less likely to waste money when implementing project management practices.
These numbers underscore the significance of efficient marketing team project management. But let’s review its value from a broader perspective.
Importance of marketing team project management
Marketing project management serves as a proactive shield against cascading effects within team projects: identifying issues, managing resources, mitigating risks, and establishing precise task dependencies to prevent setbacks.
At the same time, there are four key impacts of marketing team project management.
Detailed planning sets the foundation for a successful project. Confidence in the project’s success is directly proportional to the level of detail and thought in the planning stage. With proper project management, marketing planning gets a backlog of activities and tasks, explicit descriptions, deadlines, priorities, and implementation steps.
Alignment with business strategy
Alignment with business goals is a critical aspect of project management. It ensures that all marketing activities are strategically designed to support and achieve the business’s objectives. It’s about creating a cohesive, focused, and practical approach to marketing. In practice, the lack of clearly defined objectives is one of the most prevalent reasons for project failures.
Marketing team efficiency
In marketing, teamwork is crucial, much like the harmony in a symphony orchestra. Effective marketing team project management ensures that each team member has a scope of projects.
With each project, team members improve their skills and understanding through cross-team communication, knowledge sharing, and experiments. It leads to fruitful teamwork for the whole group and its leader.
Marketing consistency means that all marketing initiatives align with the overall strategy, ensuring the brand message remains consistent across all channels.
The project management for marketing methodology keeps marketing campaigns on track and stakeholders informed throughout the project lifecycle.
This consistency strengthens the brand’s identity and brand awareness. It also ensures that all team members are on the same page, reducing confusion.
Key challenges of marketing project management
To effectively use marketing team project management, you must anticipate potential issues. Among various challenges, there are four main.
Scope creep is when the scope of a project increases over time, often without the necessary resources or budget. It can lead to delays, missed deadlines, and poor-quality work. Scope creep can occur when the project scale is poorly defined, documented, or controlled.
To fix scope creep, the project manager identifies its root cause, communicates with stakeholders about potential risks, establishes a change process, and monitors the project scope for corrective action.
Marketing teams often consist of people with different skills and backgrounds. This can make it challenging to ensure all team members work towards the same goals. Following this, it’s crucial to establish clear roles and responsibilities and hold regular team meetings to keep everyone on track.
Marketing attribution assigns credit to different marketing channels in driving conversions or sales. However, it can be challenging to track the results of marketing campaigns and determine which channels drive the most results.
Therefore, marketing project managers must understand the marketing attribution models to allocate their budget and resources to the most effective channels and tactics.
Concerning this matter, enabling comprehensive marketing analytics is a must. Marketing managers must gather and monitor marketing data. Using analytics tools and marketing dashboard examples, you can solve marketing attribution challenges and, as a result, optimize project management for marketing.
Marketing projects can be expensive, so it is essential to demonstrate their return on investment. This can be tough, especially for big or complicated projects, because it’s hard to trace how each marketing action directly affects revenue.
To overcome this challenge, marketing analytics again comes in handy. It helps you to track your progress and make adjustments on the go. Before starting a project, it is crucial to establish clear metrics and KPIs as well. The final point here is a careful budget and resource allocation for marketing campaigns and experiments.
How to improve your marketing project management
Reapproaching your marketing team’s project management strategies can be a game-changer, improving productivity, efficiency, and results.
It can be demanding but worth it in the long run. Following the recommendations below, you can develop a system to help your team and improve the overall PM processes.
Based on lean manufacturing principles, this philosophy emphasizes continuous improvement, efficiency, agility, and quick action.
Lean marketing is an Agile approach to marketing activities that perfectly fits the current dynamic business environment. It lets you focus on the most significant activities and eliminate/postpone less important ones.
In parallel, the approach encourages marketing project managers to emphasize customer-centric projects. The approach involves running quick experiments with campaigns and testing hypotheses. The goal is to learn from these experiments and make necessary adjustments.
To effectively implement lean marketing in your department, you should consider:
- Agile techniques. Lean marketing teams can adapt quickly to market changes and customer needs. You can achieve this by using short feedback loops and iterative processes.
- Quick actions. With project prioritization embraced by lean marketing principles, you can shape your scope and take further steps structurally. Also, you should consider training marketing specialists to be decisive and to be able to work independently.
- Customer-centric schemes. You can conduct regular customer development research, conjoint analysis, revise user personas, and analyze competitors. It gives you an understanding of your customers and potential leads; based on this knowledge, you can polish your marketing projects.
- Experiments and hypotheses testing. Lean marketing gives you space for experiments and testing, though you need to do them quickly. It’s possible through epic decomposition and the use of short, iterative test cycles.
As a result, lean marketing principles can impact project accomplishment and boost team productivity and adaptability. Particularly, it is beneficial when shaping a marketing strategy and roadmap.
Flat team structure
A flat team structure has few or no hierarchy levels at all. This type of structure is well-aligned with lean marketing principles.
A marketing team consists of different roles, but they all work towards the same strategy. They work independently, but everyone can collaborate freely with each other, including the head of marketing, who also does hands-on tasks.
Each team member, from marketing interns to senior marketers, have key responsibilities and projects. They each make intervening practical decisions, while strategic decisions are discussed within the team.
The benefits of a flat team structure include:
- Improved communication and collaboration. There are fewer communication barriers, and team members are more likely to feel empowered to share their ideas.
- Increased flexibility and adaptability. Team members can make decisions and take action without going through multiple levels of approval.
- Improved employee motivation. With a flat team approach, team members feel more valued and respected, and their expertise is utilized. It may impact proactivity and interest in new tasks, projects, and experiments.
A flat team structure can be highly beneficial in project management for marketing. As a result, you’ll have a team of T-shaped specialists with a wide range of skills and deep expertise in one area.
In marketing, you should ground even seemingly minor decisions in data. A data-driven approach offers greater accuracy and effectiveness than decisions based on intuition.
To adopt a data-driven strategy, you should delve into comprehensive studies of users, markets, competitors, previous marketing campaigns, and experiments’ outcomes. By harnessing these records, you can shape hypotheses and adjust both your strategy and ongoing projects.
Moreover, each marketing channel demands its dedicated analysis. So, each marketer should evaluate and share the outcomes of their own projects. It’ll help to prioritize tasks, improve processes, or even postpone or decline some projects due to inefficiency.
Also, a well-structured analytics and reporting approach will enable you to build a data-driven culture within a team and navigate the complex marketing landscape.
Marketing goals setting
Your marketing goals, setting, and planning should include several key elements.
Firstly, marketing goal setting should involve forming both realistic and optimistic goals. You can use SMART goals. It’ll provide clarity in goal setting and should motivate the team.
Secondly, you should align marketing goals with overall business goals. It’s critical for supporting your company’s growth. Interim marketing goals have to follow the marketing strategy and roadmap.
Thirdly, when planning marketing activities, adopting a customer-centric approach is paramount. Prioritizing your customers’ needs and preferences lets you focus on what truly matters to them. This perspective fosters stronger customer relationships and brand loyalty.
Lastly, being consistent in setting and pursuing marketing goals is vital to long-term marketing success. With lean marketing, you can adjust objectives promptly, but the core canvas should remain consistent. It will help team members to focus better and achieve better results in the long run.
With goal setting, there’s planning and monitoring. Goals are typically set monthly, with bi-weekly review sessions. It is a way for team members to get results, re-organize activity, and discuss further steps.
When marketing planning is done in a team meeting, all team members understand their colleagues’ work scope, and there’s a space for knowledge sharing and brainstorming.
Collaboration with a product team
Collaboration with the product team is about working closely for successful product launches and campaigns. It means talking often, knowing who does what, and sharing the same product vision.
By working together, the two teams can ensure that the products and services meet the target market’s needs.
By collaborating with the marketing team, product teams can gain valuable insights into the needs and wants of the target market. This information can be a source to develop product features and services.
Meanwhile, marketing teams can better understand the products and services they promote when they connect with product teams. Besides, notes for upcoming product updates shared by a product lead or owner can help marketers better plan their future campaigns.
You can use project management software to establish proper collaboration between teams. One such tool worth considering is Backlog by Nulab. Backlog offers Kanban boards, task tracking, Gantt charts, and other features to streamline project management effectively.
In conclusion, revamping your marketing team’s project management can significantly improve your team’s performance and results. Here are the key takeaways:
- Lean marketing. Stay agile and customer-centric, run quick experiments, and test hypotheses.
- Flat team structure. Foster a collaborative environment where everyone contributes, shares ideas, and is self-managed.
- Data-driven decisions. Make marketing decisions based on data rather than intuition.
- Marketing goals setting. Set realistic and optimistic, monitor and adjust them quickly.
- Collaboration with a product team. Work closely with the product team for successful product launches and campaigns.
Remember, adaptability and constant improvement are key to successful marketing team project management. Don’t be afraid to try new strategies and adjust your approach based on the results. Start implementing these tactics and witness your team thrive!
Dmytro Zaichenko is a Marketing Specialist at Coupler.io, an all-in-one data analytics and automation platform. He has over three years of experience in digital marketing, particularly in SaaS. Apart from experimenting with marketing tactics, he’s a huge NBA fan.