Why Project Management Is Critical For 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 tasks 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.

Organization and communication tend to be the core skills that separate good marketing project managers from the great. The ability to stay organized against all the inputs and outputs is important and good project managers understand the importance of open and visible communications about where things are and what roadblocks are preventing proper execution.  It may even border on OCD or overcommunication, but with so many people and departments in the mix more information is better than less and will make sure you and your team are on top of everything.

Marketers are in a good place with project management because there are more tools available 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.  Big projects can be run well with only an Excel spreadsheet, a giant whiteboard or a pile of sticky notes if you have a system and process that keeps it all locked down.

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.  The one challenge with PMOs in marketing is that it can push the responsibility of project success into one group’s hands and in reality everyone in marketing should understand their role in the department’s ability to deliver on time and on budget.

A strong project management orientation, both at the personal and departmental level, is a critical success factor in today’s marketing landscape. Make sure you have the people, tools and processes in place to get things done great and fast and you will see your marketing efforts return even better results.