• Marketing

How To Manage Marketing Projects Effectively?

  • Crystal King
  • 6 min read
How To Manage Marketing Projects Effectively?

Intro

Developing effective interpersonal communication is an essential key to success for inbound marketers. Successful projects involve communicating well with your coworkers, bosses, and partners. These same skills are essential to effectively work with customers and prospects.

A lack of strong interpersonal communication skills can lead to frustration, poor morale, bungled projects, and missed opportunities. Additionally, it can harm both you as an individual and your company as a whole. The following tips will help you to be a more effective interpersonal communicator:

  • Pay attention
  • Listen actively
  • Understand nonverbal communication
  • Practice empathy
  • Be genuinely curious
  • Be honest
  • Practice flexibility and positivity

Practicing these skills can improve your communication, and in turn, improve your projects, productivity, and collaboration. Communication skills are essential for effective collaboration. Let’s take a deeper look at what makes collaborations successful.

Effective collaboration

There are a few collaboration skills you can master that will make working with colleagues, partners, and customers easier and more productive. First, setting clear goals and expectations is key to collaborations that work. Next, using meeting times effectively and being respectful and appreciative of others no matter their title or position in the company is helpful in having successful collaborations with others. We also recommend asking great questions, being ready to help solve problems, and being disciplined and organized are tools integral to success.

Effective collaboration

In addition to these, it is helpful to keep other collaborators abreast of setbacks and shifting priorities. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, being kind is integral to effective collaboration.

Now that we’ve addressed the interpersonal skills and communication necessary for successful collaborations, let’s talk about the tips and skills for managing projects.

Effectively Managing Marketing Projects

If you’ve been working at an organization for any given time, you are likely familiar with the idea of project management and the planning, organization, and implementation of a project, often with the involvement of many contributors. Marketing project management is more specific, in that it's the management of the entire process of developing and implementing a marketing campaign.

Managing a marketing project isn’t always easy. There are often a lot of moving parts that need to be accounted for, especially when managing multiple projects and team members. Projects are a lot to keep track of and sometimes, things don't always go as planned. Successful completion of a project can depend on numerous things: support from leadership, a stable budget, and realistic goals. Unfortunately, poor project management is more common than you think – only 55% of marketing projects are completed on time.

Effectively Managing Marketing Projects

The good news is that by developing a process that you and your team can follow, you’ll be able to stay on top of timelines, tasks, and budgets.

There are a multitude of project management models out there, and many marketers have adapted product development versions such as Agile and Waterfall to help them manage marketing campaigns. Most companies opt into using a CMS tool, such as HubSpot, to aid in managing their marketing campaigns more effectively. Regardless of which model you choose, there are steps that help shape every successful campaign:

  1. Project conception and initiation
  2. Planning
  3. Scope
  4. Content creation
  5. Prepare for launch
  6. Launch
  7. Post-launch review

Project conception and initiation

Project conception and initiation

Conceptualizing a project and initiating that project includes the development of a project charter and the kick-off meeting, or materials, to inform participants how the project will proceed. This template can guide you through your project, as you conceptualize the project, the overview and description, resources available, and other important items to consider when initiating the project.

Planning

Planning

The planning stage is arguably the most important of all the steps in your marketing project. In this stage, you’ll define the project scope and budget, create task lists and timelines, determine ways to mitigate risk, and develop a plan for communicating with stakeholders. Additionally, you'll want to make sure you are setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for the overarching project. When you make specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals, you're increasing your odds of success. You're verifying that the goal is achievable, identifying the metrics that define success, and creating a roadmap to reach those metrics.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

  • Specific: Work with clear intentions, not broad or vague goals.
  • Measurable: Provide a method to gauge your success by setting benchmarks to meet.
  • Achievable: Sensible objectives that are realistic and able to be achieved.
  • Relevant: Cut out unnecessary or irrelevant work that could take away from what’s important.
  • Timely: Set a clear beginning and end to adhere to in reaching your goals.

To stay focused and on track, you'll want to make sure to have a clear and structured framework, your goals are specific and not abstract and a concise deadline to adhere to. Developing these concrete goals will also help you avoid scope creep.

S.M.A.R.T. goals

Scope

Scope creep is a phenomenon in project management where a project's scope grows — either continuously or at random — as the project progresses. It typically occurs when a project's scope isn't well-defined, accounted for, or documented. Though it's not always detrimental, it tends to be harmful and should be avoided. In the planning phase, it's crucial to determine all the ways your project may miss its targets, and determine how you’ll mitigate those risks. Common risks include unrealistic time and cost estimates, long review cycles, budget cuts, changing priorities, and lack of committed resources (people, money, equipment, etc).

Here are a few additional tips for the planning phase:

  • Hold a kick-off meeting for stakeholders. Go over the plan and what will be needed to make the project successful. Get their opinions and buy-in on tasks needed to complete the project.
  • Develop a project roadmap. This timeline is important for you or your team to stay on track to meet deadlines. You might also consider using a project management tool such as Airtable, Monday.com, CoSchedule, ClickUp, Trello, or Asana.
  • Set your means of communication. For example, you might decide to send out a weekly email with updates, or use Slack for real-time communication. Make sure that stakeholders know how they will receive information that is most important to them.

Content creation

Content creation is the heart of the project. You’ll determine the creative aspects of the campaign, whether it's through video, email, blog posts, advertisements, social media, a website, white papers, or other components.

Make sure that you have a central location for storing these materials and that there are processes in place to review, edit, and approve the various pieces of your campaign.

Content creation

Along the path of content creation, you’ll also want to be managing the process with regular check-ins. Plan your content marketing strategy. Documenting and tracking your progress is also important. There are visual tools you can use such as Gantt charts or Kanban boards to help with your project management. These tools give you an at-a-glance representation of how a task is progressing through a project. Kanban boards have multiple columns, which you can label for project stages (i.e. charter, research, writing, review, launch, etc.). When a task progresses to the next stage in the process, the card is moved to the appropriate column. Visualizing a project makes it simple to understand what needs to happen from start to finish.

Prepare for launch

At this stage you may be engaged in quality control, setting the metrics and developing forecasts for success, and putting together your communication plans. This stage of the project can sometimes be hectic, and that’s why your previous preparation is so important. Having clear goals and expectations throughout the process, leading to launching your project, will help this part of the process go more smoothly.

Launch

Launch

The launch of the marketing campaign. This is all you have been working toward, and it is a big moment for you, your team, and your company. Sometimes the launch will include a large marketing campaign, such as promoting your launch on social media or other avenues, or it may be a smaller focus. Whichever route you choose for your launch, remember that communication is key.

Post-launch review

In this stage, you’ll review your results against the forecasted goals, determine what worked and what didn’t, and share your findings with stakeholders. You should be constantly optimizing your campaigns based on performance results. The HubSpot CMS has contact attribution reporting, which allows you to see which marketing channels are driving the most leads.

In all these phases there will be a lot of collaboration and a need to communicate with a variety of individuals, potentially external as well as internal. But, with a solid plan of action in place and the right tools, you’ll be on your way to developing and delivering a truly successful marketing campaign.

Effective inbound marketing

Altogether, with these tips we’ve shared regarding interpersonal communication, effective collaboration, and managing marketing projects, you can become an effective inbound marketer. Being respectful and kind, along with asking great questions and flexibility, are the foundation of great communication and successful projects.

Having clear goals and expectations for your meetings and your marketing projects will set you on the right course, leading to success. Check out this HubSpot video with some tips for how inbound marketing can help you and your business grow. (Plus, if you’re still confused about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, that’s discussed, too.)

If this all seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Building these skills takes time, and nothing is a better teacher than practice. Practice, practice, practice and you’ll soon become the best inbound marketer!

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Crystal King

Crystal King

Crystal King is a Social Media Professor for HubSpot Academy. Crystal created HubSpot Academy’s popular Social Media Marketing Course which has awarded over 50,000 certifications to professionals across the globe. Crystal has led global social media programs for companies such as Keurig and CA Technologies and has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, UMass Boston, and GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US. She is also the author of two novels, The Chef’s Secret and Feast of Sorrow. Follow her on Twitter: @crystallyn.

Link: Social Media Marketing Course

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