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Marketing Project Management: A Thorough Step-By-Step Guide

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11 B2B Content Ideas to Fuel your Marketing (with Examples)

Over the past decade, the rise of digital platforms and content marketing has launched us (ready or not) into a new era — and project management has become critical to a marketing department’s success. 

In fact, recent data from PMI reveals that companies with strong project management capabilities are far more likely to meet goals, stay within budget, and deliver content on time. They’re also far less likely to experience scope creep or project failure. 

So we’re going to take a deep dive into marketing project management — what it is, what the stages are, and how you can get started right away. 

Stages of marketing project management: 

  • Project definition 

  • Determining the best marketing channel(s)

  • Creating strategies for each channel

  • Budget planning 

  • Identifying deliverables

  • Timeline creation

  • Task delegation and scheduling

  • Execution

  • Quality assurance

  • Delivery and evaluation 

What is marketing project management?

Marketing project management is the process of guiding a marketing campaign from idea to finished product. It means organizing things in a way that maximizes both creativity and efficiency — enabling teams to consistently create content on time, on brand, and on budget. 

Key stages of a marketing project management

In this section we’re going to go over the different stages in the marketing project management process, showing you how to take your team from idea to finished product like a pro. 

1. Project definition 

The first thing you need to manage when kicking off a new marketing project is the idea itself.  Specifically, you need to transform it from something that’s glossy and vague into something specific and actionable. 

Meet with your client and key stakeholders to determine the following: 

  • Project goal(s) – Why are you taking on this project in broad terms? Example: To increase online sales.  

  • Project objective(s) – What are some specific, measurable things you need to do to meet your goal? Example: Increase your conversion rate by 50% in 12 months.

  • Project strategies – How exactly will you achieve your objectives? Example: Implement an email marketing campaign to drive traffic to your website. 

As you can see, it’s important to define your project in both broad and specific terms, answering questions of why, what, and how. This provides your client and team with a purpose while also identifying key indicators that will define success. 

2. Determining the best marketing channel(s)

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Once you’ve defined the project, the next phase involves choosing the best marketing channels to meet your objectives. When doing so, it’s important to consider both the project’s audience and type of business. 

If you’re working with a B2B brand, for example, LinkedIn is the place to be. Consider these statistics

  • LinkedIn drives 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs.  

  • 80% of all social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn. 

  • Among executives, LinkedIn is the number one choice for professionally relevant content. 

If you’re working with a B2C brand, on the other hand, marketing on LinkedIn doesn’t make much sense. Social platforms like Facebook and TikTok are going to be a better choice to reach B2C customers. 

Beyond social media, here’s a summary of commonly used marketing channels that work for both B2B and B2C brands: 

3. Creating strategies for each channel

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Once you’ve chosen your channels, it’s time to create a strategy for each one. Ask yourself a few key questions to get this ball rolling: 

  • What type of content does your audience normally consume on each channel? Do they watch videos, for example? Read white papers? 

  • What does your audience need or want the content to do for them? In other words, what purpose should it serve?  

  • How often should you reach out to your audience on each channel? What is considered reasonable and not spammy? 

Then, you can create specific strategies for each channel based on your responses. Here are a few examples: 

Channel: Website

Type of content: Long-form blog articles

Purpose of content: Educational

Frequency: Once a week

Strategy: Create educational, long-form blog articles and publish to the website once a week. Distribute via SEO, paid ads, and organic social media.

Channel: Social media (TikTok)

Type of content: Short videos

Purpose of content: Entertainment

Frequency: Once a day

Strategy: Create short, entertaining videos for TikTok that can be posted daily

 

4. Budget planning 

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The next phase in marketing project management involves the budget. Oftentimes, the client or c-suite will give you a budget in the beginning and ask you to work within those parameters. 

If this is the case, you’ll need to work backwards from the total allotment to create a specific budget. If you’re given $10,000 to work with, for example, then you have to look at the strategies you’ve developed and assign each piece its own line item in the budget. 

When doing so, you may find that you need to trim down or eliminate certain parts of the project due to budget constraints. When this happens, it’s important to communicate with the client about any changes to the original objectives. 

Other times, a client or executive will ask you to come up with a budget that would allow you to meet the defined objectives. In this case, you’ll work the other way around, tallying up the cost of each individual strategy until you have a complete budget and then pitching it for approval.   

5. Identifying deliverables

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Once you have an approved budget, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty — identifying specific deliverables. 

As a marketer, you’re probably familiar with this term, but for any newbies out there, a deliverable refers to any output or product created as part of a marketing campaign. This includes things like blog articles, email funnels, video scripts, social media posts, and more. 

You can identify specific deliverables for a project by breaking down your strategies into individual pieces. One of the strategies above, for example, was to create educational, long-form blog articles and publish to the website once a week. 

If this was approved in the budget for 3 months, your deliverables would include 12 long-form blog articles. The other strategy was to create short, entertaining videos for TikTok that can be posted daily. 

If this was approved in the budget for one month, your deliverables would include 30 TikTok videos. 

6. Timeline creation

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Ok, so now you know exactly what type of content needs to be created to achieve the project’s  goals and objectives. The next phase involves creating a timeline — an organizational tool that helps you and your team see the overall schedule for your marketing plan.  

Many marketers find this to be one of the hardest parts of marketing project management because there are so many different moving parts in any given campaign, each one dependent on the other. Scheduling it all is a challenge for even the most organized of people. 

Madeline A. Veltri, Project Director at iXL Corporation gives this advice:  “Don’t just make ‘To Do’ lists. Good project scheduling considers all tasks, their durations, and their dependencies. Dependencies are particularly important (…) because so much of the work of cross-functional teams is interdependent. Good project schedules are also resource-constrained (consider the availability of human resources and schedule accordingly).”

Because of these complexities, many marketers use project management software to put together the timeline — keeping everyone on the same page and streamlining an otherwise cumbersome task. 

7. Task delegation and scheduling 

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Once you’ve worked out the overall timeline, you’ll need to delegate specific tasks to specific people and assign deadlines. 

Some marketing departments have large in-house teams that handle the work of content creation and editing while others outsource it to agencies or freelancers. 

Whichever bucket your organization falls into, the nuts and bolts of delegation remain the same: break each deliverable down into specific tasks and assign to appropriate. A blog article, for example, might look like this:

  • Keyword research – assign to content strategist

  • Develop the topic and outline – assign to content strategist 

  • Write the article – assign to content writer

  • Add images or graphics – assign to creative director

  • Edit the article – assign to content editor

  • Approve the article – assign to content strategist 

As with creating the timeline, this is a stage that’s ripe for using project management software. A good PMS (like Welcome 😉 ) will allow you to assign tasks to people and set deadlines, keeping everyone on the same page. 

8. Execution

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Now that all the planning and organizing is done, it’s time to get down to work and execute your strategy. Writers should be writing, creatives should be creating, and managers should be managing. 

During this phase, communication needs to be very strategic. This is not the time for long pie-in-the-sky meetings or never-ending email chains. Your team needs the time and space to create.

They also need a straightforward way to collaborate with each other, since many tasks are intertwined. And managers need a way to monitor progress that doesn’t interfere with creativity. Enter: project management software (again, lol). 

A good PMS will facilitate the flow of information during the execution process, keep users from multiple departments aligned, and track progress on every task.

9. Quality assurance 

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Once your deliverables are created, the final stage is quality assurance. When it comes to marketing campaigns, this means making sure all of the content that’s heading out the door is on-brand and aligned with the project’s goals, objectives, and strategies. 

Most organizations do this by having a content strategist or someone in a similar role give their stamp of approval before content moves on to production or publication. 

If you’re using project management software, you can set up workflows that automatically route content for approval — making sure nothing slips through the cracks. 

10. Delivery and evaluation  

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At last! Your content is finished and it’s time to send it off to your client or publish it via your chosen distribution channels. Then you wait for the metrics to come in so you can evaluate performance in terms of the objectives you set back in the beginning. 

Sometimes it’s tempting to skip the evaluation step, especially in busy marketing departments where there’s always another project waiting in the pipeline. But it’s critical to take the time to do it. 

Evaluating the campaign’s performance based on actual data will give your team valuable insight for the next project. 

How to get started with marketing project management software

If the thought of managing all of those stages makes your head spin, you’re not alone. That’s why so many organizations use project management software. Here’s how you can get started:

1. Define your needs

The first thing to do when considering a new software solution is to define your needs. This means taking a good hard look at your current processes. Where are your bottlenecks? What causes the most headaches? How are you communicating with your team? 

Take the experience of SFI Health, for example. Their global content team was supporting affiliate and distributor markets all over the globe, each one with its own unique product portfolio and market restrictions. 

They needed a solution that would streamline their efforts and make it easier for different stakeholders to produce on-brand content. 

So they implemented a new marketing project management system (using Welcome’s software) and doubled their content output year over year. They were also able to unify their brand experience by creating a single content library for regional markets to leverage approved assets. 

Cassandra Brill, Global Head of Digital at SFI Health, puts it this way: “We’re getting a huge volume of content out the door, and that wouldn’t be possible without the Welcome platform. Our projects are moving through and getting completed much quicker, and we’ve even been able to repurpose existing content — the wheel is turning a lot quicker than before.”

2. Consider your existing MarTech stack

Once you’ve clearly defined your needs, the first place to look for solutions is your existing MarTech stack. After all, marketing stacks are notoriously underleveraged and you may be surprised to find you already have a tool with project management features. 

If that’s the case, compare the tool’s features with your list of needs. If it can tackle all of them, it’s certainly an option worth exploring. Be careful not to sacrifice long-term efficiency, however, for the sake of short-term convenience. 

For example, if your existing tool isn’t specific to marketing project management, it probably won’t have all the features that an industry-specific tool would offer. 

3. Evaluate software options

Now that you’ve identified whether you have any options in your existing stack, it’s time to take a look at other solutions on the market. As we mentioned, project management platforms that are specific to marketing are likely to offer the most in terms of efficiency.  

Welcome‘s content marketing platform, for example, is designed specifically to enable large marketing teams to create faster, repeatable processes. Here are a few things you can do with our project management platform: 

  • Keep a pulse on what’s going out across every internal and external channel. Our powerful-yet-flexible calendars allow you to easily visualize what’s going out, to whom, and when. 

  • Centralize the way your team plans every campaign. Plan the effort, craft the communication strategy, and ensure everyone can help amplify the story using tools like shared campaign briefs, project workspaces, and collaborative content editors. 

  • Create and proof content of all formats with our built-in editor. This allows you to author an original piece and upload content directly. That way, your team can create, proof, and version work — all in one place.

  • Leverage‌ ‌real-time‌ ‌search‌ ‌data‌ ‌and‌ ‌recommendations‌ ‌that‌ ‌help‌ ‌inform‌ ‌your‌ ‌content‌ ‌strategy,‌ ‌optimize‌ ‌content‌ ‌so‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌ranks‌ ‌well‌ ‌for‌ ‌search,‌ ‌and‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌it‌ ‌resonates‌ ‌with‌ ‌your‌ ‌audience.‌‌‌

  • Invite internal and external contributors to create, review, and approve content. Whether you work with a staff of writers or an external agency, you can easily empower your team with the tools they need to collaboratively perfect every brand story.

4. Integrate with existing solutions 

Once you’ve chosen your software, the next step is to hook it into all of your existing solutions, and vice versa. This makes everything work seamlessly and removes friction from the creative process. 

If you’re collaborating on everything inside your project management platform, for example, you don’t want to have to hop outside of it once it comes time to distribute content. 

That’s why Welcome acts as a centralized platform that integrates with the marketing tools you need most, from Marketo to WordPress to Jira and everything in between.

Marketing project management FAQs

Still have a few burning questions about marketing project management? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions: 

What is the role of a project manager in marketing?

The project manager in marketing is the one responsible for guiding a campaign from idea to finished product. They oversee all the stages we talked about earlier, from defining the project to creating the timeline to evaluating results. 

What skills do you need to be a marketing coordinator or project manager?

Any coordinator or project manager needs to be highly skilled in the areas of communication and organization, and marketing is no different. 

You need to communicate with team members, executive leadership, clients, vendors, agencies, and freelancers. And you need to keep everyone on the same page throughout the various stages of the project, always aiming for the same goal. 

You also need to have some expertise specific to marketing in order to understand the projects you’re managing. This can include everything from blogging to website design to product launches. 

How do you become a project manager in marketing?

To become a project manager in marketing, you need to have a combination of education and experience. Most companies, for example, require at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communication, business, or management. 

A master’s degree in project management is sometimes preferred and can help you stand out in a crowded field. You can also beef up your educational background with certifications.

The Project Management Professional (PMP) is the most popular project management certification, run by the Project Management Institute. Other certifications include:

In addition to the education requirements, you also need to have a certain level of experience in the field. Most companies typically prefer between two and five years of experience as a marketing manager, depending on the specific role. 

Conclusion

Hopefully you’re feeling more confident about tackling project management within your organization. Here’s a quick recap of the stages so you can get right to work: 

  • Project definition 

  • Determining the best marketing channel(s)

  • Creating strategies for each channel

  • Budget planning and project scope

  • Identifying deliverables

  • Timeline creation

  • Task delegation and scheduling

  • Execution

  • Quality assurance

  • Delivery and evaluation 

Marketing Project Management A Thorough Step By Step Guide


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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

How long has it been since your marketing team got restructured? 

Wearing our magic mind-reading hat, we’d guess it was within the last two years. 

Impressed by the guess? Don’t be.  

Research from Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds that almost half of marketing teams restructured in the last 12 months. (And the other half probably did it the previous year.) 

Why do marketing teams restructure so often? Is this a new thing? Is it just something that comes with marketing? What does it all mean for now and the future? 

CMI chief strategy advisor Robert Rose offers his take in this video and the summary below. 

Marketing means frequent change 

Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds 46.5% of marketing teams restructured in the last year — a 5-percentage point increase over 2023 when 41.4% of teams changed their structure. 

But that’s markedly less than the 56.5% of marketing teams that restructured in 2022, which most likely reflected the impact of remote work, the fallout of the pandemic, and other digital marketing trends. 

Maybe the real story isn’t, “Holy smokes, 46% of businesses restructured their marketing last year.” The real story may be, “Holy smokes, only 46% of businesses restructured their marketing.” 

Put simply, marketing teams are now in the business of changing frequently. 

It raises two questions.  

First, why does marketing experience this change? You don’t see this happening in other parts of the business. Accounting teams rarely get restructured (usually only if something dramatic happens in the organization). The same goes for legal or operations. Does marketing change too frequently? Or do other functions in business not change enough? 

Second, you may ask, “Wait a minute, we haven’t reorganized our marketing teams in some time. Are we behind? Are we missing out? What are they organizing into? Or you may fall at the other end of the spectrum and ask, “Are we changing too fast? Do companies that don’t change so often do better? 

OK, that’s more than one question, but the second question boils down to this: Should you restructure your marketing organization? 

Reorganizing marketing 

Centralization emerged as the theme coming out of the pandemic. Gartner reports (registration required) a distinct move to a fully centralized model for marketing over the last few years: “(R)esponsibilities across the marketing organization have shifted. Marketing’s sole responsibilities for marketing operations, marketing strategy, and marketing-led innovation have increased.”  

According to a Gartner study, marketing assuming sole responsibility for marketing operations, marketing innovation, brand management, and digital rose by double-digit percentage points in 2022 compared to the previous year.  

What does all that mean for today in plainer language? 

Because teams are siloed, it’s increasingly tougher to create a collaborative environment. And marketing and content creation processes are complex (there are lots of people doing more small parts to creative, content, channel management, and measurement). So it’s a lot harder these days to get stuff done if you’re not working as one big, joined-up team. 

Honestly, it comes down to this question: How do you better communicate and coordinate your content? That’s innovation in modern marketing — an idea and content factory operating in a coordinated, consistent, and collaborative way. 

Let me give you an example. All 25 companies we worked with last year experienced restructuring fatigue. They were not eager creative, operations, analytics, media, and digital tech teams champing at the bit for more new roles, responsibilities, and operational changes. They were still trying to settle into the last restructuring.  

What worked was fine-tuning a mostly centralized model into a fully centralized operational model. It wasn’t a full restructuring, just a nudge to keep going. 

In most of those situations, the Gartner data rang true. Marketing has shifted to get a tighter and closer set of disparate teams working together to collaborate, produce, and measure more efficiently and effectively.  

As Gartner said in true Gartner-speak fashion: “Marginal losses of sole responsibility (in favor of shared and collaborative) were also reported across capabilities essential for digitally oriented growth, including digital media, digital commerce, and CX.” 

Companies gave up the idea of marketing owning one part of the customer experience, content type, or channel. Instead, they moved into more collaborative sharing of the customer experience, content type, or channel.  

Rethinking the marketing reorg 

This evolution can be productive. 

Almost 10 years ago, Carla Johnson and I wrote about this in our book Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing. We talked about the idea of building to change: 

“Tomorrow’s marketing and communications teams succeed by learning to adapt — and by deploying systems of engagement that facilitate adaptation. By constantly building to change, the marketing department builds to succeed.” 

We surmised the marketing team of the future wouldn’t be asking what it was changing into but why it was changing. Marketing today is at the tipping point of that. 

The fact that half of all marketing teams restructure and change every two years might not be a reaction to shifting markets. It may just be how you should think of marketingas something fluid that you build and change into whatever it needs to be tomorrow, not something you must tear down and restructure every few years.  

The strength in that view comes not in knowing you need to change or what you will change into. The strength comes from the ability and capacity to do whatever marketing should. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:  

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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