Top Project Management Advice for Digital Marketing
Do you want to ensure that your next marketing campaign is the most successful ever? Here’s something important to keep in mind: it’s all about stellar project management skills.
Sure, marketing knowledge is important. Absolutely! Of course! But to be the best digital marketer you’ll need more than just technical know-how and theory. What you really need to be successful are top-notch project management skills, because strategizing and then bringing a marketing campaign to fruition is genuinely a multi-tiered project that requires sophisticated management.
Motion vs. Action
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “Never mistake motion for action.” That’s especially poignant when you think about digital marketing. As an outstanding project manager, understanding the difference between motion and action is critical. A good project manager is always in motion, but a really great project manager knows how to adapt to changing information and trends and takes action by adjusting the overall strategy and implementation process to meet those changes.
In a continually changing world, the project manager needs to be action-driven, able to course-correct as necessary and have the courage to pivot when it’s really needed. In the digital world, you must be agile and able to change directions. It can take a lot of guts and leadership to make that happen when you’re already heading down a path. You need to be the kind of agile project manager who isn’t afraid to turn back and try a new path and who’s flexible enough to deal with change while ensuring incremental progress is measured and accomplished.
The Right Team is Everything
A great digital marketer also knows how to bring the best out of the team of experts that they work with. From graphic designers to copywriters to SEO specialists, the best social media marketing campaigns are led by a team leader who knows how to guide a project in the right direction from start to finish, leveraging the strengths of each specialized team member. Exceptional project managers demonstrate collaborative leadership skills, including evaluation, agility, and strategy on a daily basis.
Speaking of teams, while there are certainly individuals who work alone in the world of marketing, you would have to be a unicorn (i.e. a very rare and exceptional individual) to have strong enough skills and expertise in all of the areas necessary to pull off a professional campaign. Consider all the moving parts of a digital marketing campaign:
Marketing Strategy – high level, big picture thinking
Content Writing – copywriting that expresses value, benefits, and lets customers see themselves in your writing
Graphic Design – compelling visuals are a must, and professional graphic design should be a non-negotiable for your brand
Technical Execution – leveraging the best tools to maximize the effectiveness of your campaign
Engagement Monitoring – putting in the time and care required to engage audiences actively
Ad Management & Conversion Tracking – constantly tweaking and optimizing digital ads for the best results at the lowest costs
SEO – search engine optimization at the deepest level of execution
Reporting & Analytics – providing a detailed analysis of key performance indicators and a calculation of return on investment
Another essential quality to have as a project manager in the field of marketing is understanding the art of people. By knowing how to use each person’s skills the right way at the right time and leveraging the specific talents of each team member, not only will the project be completed successfully and on time, but everyone on the team will be excited to get behind the task at hand.
A great digital project manager is committed to moving the team forward. They recognize the incredible value of each expert, whether it be in content creation, graphic design, or IT, and they know how to speak the right language to each of those people in order to drive the campaign to its successful outcome.
Nothing is constant but change. A great marketing project manager can align themselves with their client’s strategic vision and do their homework to uncover where they want to go with a campaign and how they can hit the right benchmarks to reach the client’s objectives.
While the client is, of course, a top priority, it’s important to remember that the even bigger priority is to help both customers and products succeed. If the market doesn’t respond positively to an initial ad initiative, it doesn’t matter how great a strategy you set forth, you need to be able to adapt. That means that the work you set in motion with your team might all need to shift based on the result.
It’s not just about sales and money. The end goal should be about helping people, and that means helping your clients who have hired you and also helping their customers. By watching the results of the campaign and prioritizing people, a great PM will recognize that priorities often shift throughout the campaign based on the market’s response and all of the people involved, from client to customer.
Ask the Right Questions
Part of having great problem-solving skills is knowing how to ask the right questions. Have your team members thought of everything from every angle? Are they up on the latest digital marketing news to be able to adapt their components of the projects to meet the latest trends? What about that new tool they just heard about? Have you thought about X?
A great project manager doesn’t just do things the same way because that’s what’s been successful in the past; they examine the ‘what ifs’ of a project and think about new ways to achieve an end goal. They show a natural curiosity for how things work and how things can be improved. And they continue to improve by asking lots of questions.
Note: there’s a difference between asking questions and not trusting your team’s expertise. Be careful that you’re never undermining your team of experts or undervaluing their contribution. Ask questions for the sake of curiosity but not in a way that makes them feel that you don’t believe them capable.
To be a great project manager in digital marketing, you’ve got to have some stellar administrative skills. It’s not just about the nitty gritty day to day work; the administrative details of your projects serve a higher purpose. As a great project manager, you need to be able to see both the micro details of a project but also the big picture. You need to understand the minutia of your project along with the long-range, strategic view. This helps you understand what your team is working on and how it all fits together.
As a project manager, you’ll continuously be receiving new information and juggling many tasks at once. Write everything down. Trust me, if you try to remember all the details, you’re going to drop the ball.
The tools that you use to stay organized are essential. Whether you’re an Asana, Airtable, or spreadsheet kind of project manager, the systems you implement to organize and record information are critical. Putting as much care into your process and systems as you do into the actual marketing projects is one of the keys to successful project management.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Speaking of administration, all well-managed projects run smoothly due to the processes and efficiency behind them. It’s so important to always strive to improve your efficiencies and processes. Document every performance method and tool that was successful so you can use it again and again, and continue to grow. Make sure to get all of your team members on board with the process too. After all, you can never be too efficient.
And remember, no matter which project management processes you use, ensure you’re using the same process for all projects. This will help prevent any confusion from yourself, your team, and the client, and it will help things run like a well-oiled machine.
Tying it All Together
Whether you’re a project manager striving to be a better marketer yourself or you’re a business looking to benefit from great marketing led by an expert project manager, we can help! We offer a free marketing consultation; we’ll take a look at your existing marketing efforts and make suggestions on how you can scale and grow your business with proper marketing project management in place.