The Basics of Project Management for Digital Marketing
Written by LaFleur
Here at LaFleur, we involve skilled project managers in nearly everything that we do. However, if you’ve never worked with a project manager before, you might be skeptical. You may even wonder, “Is project management worth the time and effort?” This question is common.
Think about the composition of your company. It’s filled with a lot of talented, hard-working people who are dedicated to helping your company achieve their goals. However, without project management, your communications about deadlines and priorities can quickly turn into an old-fashioned game of telephone. It’s easy to derail projects when there’s miscommunication or siloed information.
A project manager makes sure that each person on the team has what they need to be successful. This often means considering elements and resources that you might not think of if you’re only working on one part of a project. Now, let’s explore some of the ways project managers set teams up for success.
Clarifying Roles and Holding People Accountable
When you’re working with large teams, a client, outside consultants, vendors, and other professionals, it can be all too easy to lose track of the details. The people who are delivering the work should focus on their area of expertise, not worry about the overall health of the project. That’s where a project manager comes in; they keep track of timelines, budgets, individual deliverables, communication, any changes that need to be made to the project, and more. Because they’re not personally responsible for any of the deliverables themselves, project managers are positioned to hold everyone accountable and keep people on the same page.
No matter what you’re working on, whether it’s preparing for a trial, managing your advertising campaigns, or launching a new product, your highly skilled team should be able to focus their energy on what they do best, not chasing down creative briefs, missing files, and other details. Project managers make sure everyone has the information they need at the start of a project and can help teams track down the things they need mid-project too.
Project managers can also help clarify expectations between your team and your clients. As the objective organizing force behind the project, a project manager can set expectations about project timelines, budgets, the number of team members you’ll need to include, the number of outside resources you’ll need to employ, and other details. They also help the different parties communicate with one another. With a good project manager on your side, everyone will be held accountable for their piece of the project, ensuring its timely, on-budget completion.
Tried-and-True Tactics for Successful Digital Marketing Project Management
Just like any other profession, there are a variety of approaches, tactics, and skills good project managers use to keep their teams on track. These go beyond simply staying organized.
If you’re looking to get your digital marketing project on track, or simply need new tools to make your process even better, here are three things that have helped the LaFleur team stay on task, on the same page, and producing consistently excellent work.
At LaFleur, we run weekly, if not daily, reports for our projects. Our team uses time tracking software to record how long we spend on different tasks throughout the day, from checking daily emails to web builds. Our project managers pull this data into reports that help us identify how many hours we’re spending on specific projects. This helps us monitor our progress, overcome roadblocks, and keep to our original timeline.
Frequent reporting also helps us stick to budgets, make sure we’re pricing things correctly, and provide clients with accurate timelines when we’re quoting a project. We feel confident that a web build or social campaign will be on time and on budget because we have the historical data to prove that we can, rather than relying on a guess or throwing out a number that makes us seem impressive.
Team Check-In and Stand Up Meetings
Just like it’s easy for separate departments to get siloed from each other, it’s easy for individual team members to feel disconnected from the group, especially when your team is working remotely. To avoid this disconnect, LaFleur has weekly check-in meetings to review workload, the progress of specific projects, and overall wellbeing. Managers check in with the people they supervise, teams meet to review their collective status, and our whole company gets on Zoom to review where we’re at with different deliverables. These frequent meetings (which are more effective than a quick Slack message or email) help us stay accountable to one another and make sure everyone has what they need to be successful. And if people are already on track, it’s a great opportunity to praise and credit them for their hard work.
Identifying Challenges and Roadblocks
One thing that we’ve found helpful to review in your check-in meeting is challenges, roadblocks, and trends you see with our deliverables. Some common trends our team reviews regularly include:
- The organic performance of different pieces of content
- The effectiveness of different pay-per-click campaigns
- How different graphics affect social media campaigns
- Adjusting campaigns to reach our target audience more effectively
What’s great about these project check-ins is it gives us insight into trends that often span different clients or projects. You may discover that one of your colleagues has fresh insight into a shared challenge, or that you can improve their efficiency or processes. This project management tactic gives a team structure to address our issues early and often.
How to Choose a Project Management Software Platform
Good project management software can do many things: schedule project timelines, assign tasks, track the team’s progress, and integrate with your budget software. However, if your project management software doesn’t help your team meet your unique needs, it won’t be effective, no matter how many cool features it has. In fact, when software doesn’t meet your needs, it’s easy to place the blame on the project manager when, in fact, they need a better project management tool.
How to choose the right project management platform? We start by making a list. Write down the challenges you’re having and your team’s needs and assess each solution’s approach to those problems and requirements. For example, if you want to streamline and integrate your project management and budgeting processes, look for software that includes a built-in billing tool or that offers a plugin. Or, if you have clients or freelancers that want or need to be involved in your project management software, look for a platform that allows you to invite guest users so they can see what you’re doing and check in.
Ready to get started choosing a platform? Some great options include Asana, Monday.com, and Trello. However, there are lots of different options that range in features and price. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your team!
Get Your Digital Marketing Projects on Track With LaFleur
If you’re ready to work with a digital marketing agency that can help you keep your projects on track, on budget, LaFleur is here to help. Our team is full of bright talent and experienced project managers, so you can trust that your deliverables will be carried out on time, on budget, and with transparency.
We look forward to hearing from you!