Working on a marketing team is a constant game of choosing which tasks to prioritize and then acting quickly to execute. There are always a hundred things to do, half of them might work, half of them might not. Half of them may be coming as a directive from your C-suite, and half of them may be your own initiatives. Whatever the case may be, a successful marketing department acts thoughtfully, quickly, and identifies priorities with conviction. But that really isn’t possible without strong project management skills and senses. Here’s how investing in project management tools and following best practices could provide big benefits to your marketing team.
One way to improve both the productivity and agility of your team is to organize your calendar into sprints. A sprint can be one to four weeks, but two weeks is most common. By thinking about projects in this way, you are forced to prioritize a sprint’s worth of work at a time. You don’t change the work in your sprint once it has started. Everyone agrees on what the priority is, what’s involved and gets it done in the allotted time. In this way, using sprints can help stop your team from being distracted by “hot issues.” Anything that comes up during a given two-week period can be evaluated at the start of the next sprint to determine its priority. This simple way of thinking about your projects and deadlines can prevent your team from context switching while helping you be more efficient and responsive to new projects and challenges.
Enhancing time and resource management
If you’re lucky, you have a fully staffed team, and use smart project management tools and methods to get the most of them. If you’re like most, your marketing team leverages other resources at your company or outside vendors. Use a tool to house your communication with those outsiders, if you can. Gantt charts and Kanban boards are simple tools that can help keep track of when work is assigned, especially to people outside your department, so you don’t get lost in the coordination. Anything other than Outlook can provide lots of organizational help. Even a dedicated Slack channel where files can be stored, alerts can be set up and communication can be organized will be better and more efficient than email.
Proving your worth
A constant challenge for marketing teams is to prove your value to the organization. You have to not only be effective, but also find a quantifiable way to demonstrate that effectiveness. Project management tools can make this a lot easier. For example, you can use project management tools to keep track of all time spent on projects to determine their cost. You can then measure that against the value of the opportunities created. Remember too that this is your data. Don’t feel like you have to broadcast it to all forms of scrutiny. But leverage it where necessary to sing your team’s praises.
Refining your processes
The same data that can be used to prove the value of your team can also be used to increase efficiency for your team. Tracking work will show patterns in your team’s behavior. Strengthen the patterns that are good and offer help and training if you notice patterns that are wasteful, or change up how you use your resources. Combining the hard data with your own intuition and management skills will yield the best results for your team in the long run.
Marketing teams are often thought of as creatives who work somewhat autonomously, and the nature of the work can make it seem ill-suited to defined workflows and project management principles. But there can still be significant benefits to taking a project management approach to your marketing activities. Whether you’re consolidating communications with team members and outside stakeholders, tracking project metrics, or using that data to demonstrate the value of your team, project management tools and best practices can increase efficiency and productivity for your marketing team.