To effectively utilize today’s technologies to reach and influence potential customers, a marketing organization needs resources who have both digital marketing and project management skills. However, such dual-skilled individuals are rare. Therefore, one of the following is required:
- A digital marketer must learn to manage projects.
- A project manager must master digital marketing.
- Both a project manager and an digital marketer expert must lead the effort.
While the third option would be ideal, many marketing organizations cannot arrange this level of staffing for all projects. In this post, some basics of project management are described for use by digital marketers along with the nuances specific to three types of digital marketing projects.
Before proceeding further, some definitions are in order:
- Digital marketers promote their organization and its services and products using modern technologies including Internet and mobile devices and networks.
- Project managers lead a team in planning, implementing, monitoring an effort with a definite goal as well as a beginning and an end. Project managers differ from process managers who oversee activities that repeat.
Digital marketing typically consists of both projects like major trade shows and new product launches and processes such as creating periodic performance reports.
While many think of project management as concerned only with schedules and budgets, these are only two of the seven steps required in project success. They are not the most important steps. The seven steps are:
- Purpose: why the project is being done, i.e., what benefits will it provide for what individuals or organizations. Agreement on project purpose is the key to success of any project. This step is often neglected leading to confusion, delays, and cost overruns.
- Scope: what the project will produce, often called the deliverables. These deliverables need to be described in detail including for which geographies, languages, and market segments they are intended. The deliverables are typically organized into a work breakdown structure. This is another neglected step; it gets done too quickly and without adequate detail.
- Methodology: how the deliverables will be produced: e.g., purchased, developed, or reused from an earlier project. Knee-jerk ‘business-as-usual’ misses an opportunity to find more cost-effective and faster means to achieve the project purpose.
- Staffing: who will produce the deliverables.
- Schedule: when will each step in the project be completed.
- Quality: how good the deliverables will be.
- Budget: how much will the project cost in money, equipment, goodwill, systems, and any other scarce resource.
The two most neglected steps are Purpose and Scope.
For each type of digital marketing project, the most important steps and their management will vary.
- Email campaigns: The purpose of an email campaign may be to announce a change to the service or product to the installed base of customers, to invite customers and/or prospects to an event or webinar, to entice customers to visit the website, and others. Maintaining excellent quality is extremely important because goodwill is at stake. Any error in the address lists, content of the email, direction to the landing page, or violation of anti-spam laws can create a major embarrassment. Attention to detail is essential.
- Analytics and reporting projects: with mountains of data available in the marketing automation system, the sales system, web traffic data, and other sources, scope is the essential step in this type of project. Marketing executives need accurate, concise, current, actionable reports rendered in graphical format. More time spent in defining the deliverables will save days or weeks of reworking the reports. Among the most valuable reports are campaign effectiveness, return on marketing investment (ROMI), and marketing influence on the sales and marketing funnel.
- Webinars: methodology is the key factor here. Essential factors include defining the target audience and the desired response from that audience and carefully selecting the webinar tools. Attention must be paid to the invitation system and the video/audio mechanics. Methodology also includes follow-up communication with both attendees and no-shows.
Other types of digital marketing projects include database growth, trade shows, road shows, tool selection / implementation / integration, transitioning to Account-Based Marketing (ABM), and more. RightWave can provide assistance in any digital marketing project. RightWave services and solutions are based on sound knowledge, deep experience, best practices, attention to detail, and commitment to customer success. The company has talented digital marketers and project managers. For more information, contact RightWave.
- Cheryl Conner: “What Marketing Experts Can Learn From Project Management Pros”, September 6, 2014 http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2014/09/06/what-marketing-experts-can-learn-from-project-management-pros/#678749d24c85
- Jami Otting: “Improve Your Collaboration: 18 Project Management Tools for Marketing Agencies” March 4, 2016 http://blog.hubspot.com/agency/agency-project-management-tools
- Nathan Ellering: “11 Easy Ways to improve your marketing projects” http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/marketing-project-management/