Project Management & Marketing

One of the keys to success in marketing - as an individual or for an entire department - is effective project management.  The slate of marketing deliverables across multiple channels that have to coincide with the proper market timing requires that several items are in queue simultaneously. The fact that some take longer than others and there are usually revision points and key gates that have to be met in order for everything to be ready on time demands a strong hand on the wheel with the proper project management skills and tools.

As for skills, organization and communication tend to be the ones that separate the good from the great.  I always felt that my borderline OCD provided me an advantage in managing projects, time and budgets.  If you are not naturally organized look below at the tools paragraph to see how they can help.  Communication is an art as we all know and good project managers understand the importance of open and visible communications about where things are and what roadblocks are ahead.  It may even border on overcommunication, but with so many people and departments in the mix more information is better than less and will make sure you are on top of everything.

There are also more tools available for project management than ever before.  The internet has exploded the number of free and SaaS-based tools that help you organize tasks and timelines, which are all great and you should find one that fits your style and needs.  However, you don't need fancy tools to be a great project manager, and having great tools doesn't guarantee that your projects will run on time.  I've seen big projects run well with only an Excel spreadsheet or a giant whiteboard because the people leading the project had things under control.  Make sure you have the skills and experience underneath the tools to make the tools work for you.

Several large marketing departments have set up project management offices (PMOs) to deal with these challenges, while others rely on their brand professionals and/or the management teams to ensure delivery on time in the proper manner.  Both have their merits and the decision to establish or not establish a PMO is basically a cultural or organizational one.  My one negative about PMOs in marketing is that it can push the responsibility of project success into one group's hands, where in my opinion everyone should own it.  That doesn't mean PMOs won't work but everyone in marketing should understand their role in the department's ability to deliver.

If you don't have the right project management skill inside you or within your team invest the time and training to get them.  It will benefit your ability to get things in market better and faster.