As a marketer, you know how important projects are.
They are your path to success. Your path to excellence. Action plan.
You also know how projects can get out of hand. Without successful marketing project management, deadlines can slip, quality can slip, standards can be missed, and work experience can suffer.
So what is it that makes marketing projects deviate?
Having managed numerous marketing projects for Premier Marketing, I have encountered my fair share of obstacles and challenges and have learned from my experience with them. Below, I share the most common barriers to marketing project management success and how to overcome them so you can too. And to illustrate my point, I enlisted the help of Schitt’s Creek – a show I just started and can’t get enough of. I hope you excuse my delay at the party on this show, it’s a gem.
Barrier # 1 – Lack of clarity
Clarity is easily the number one barrier to successful marketing project management. Be it goals, responsibilities, direction, deadlines, standards, etc. unclear, lack of clarity permeates even the best-planned marketing projects. It creates chaos, frustration, confusion and disorganization, all problems or barriers in their own right.
So how is it going ?
Most often, a lack of clarity comes from a lack of communication. From vagueness to contradictions to outright withholding of information, communication errors lead to unclear guidelines and actions. And when the team isn’t clear, work often stops until more clarity is added.
How to overcome: More to communicate with your team. If that seems like an unnecessary detail, include it anyway. Always include links to resources. Have regular briefings.
Obstacle # 2 – Lack of resources
Project resources are all that is needed to get the job done – they can be people, tools, materials, and equipment. As requirements for the job, they are an essential part of any marketing project and you need a sufficient supply of both to keep projects on track and lead to a successful outcome.
For marketing projects, resources are most often tools and people. Your digital advertising strategist doesn’t have access to the correct Google Analytics account? It is a problem. Does one of your marketing copywriters take a two week vacation right before a campaign is launched? It is also a problem. Both examples are a lack of resources, and both examples require forethought to detect these instances before they occur so that the project does not suffer.
How to overcome: Plan ahead. Assess the resources (people, tools, materials, time, etc.) for the entire project lifecycle. Look for gaps. Proactively fill them out.
Barrier # 3 – Lack of time
There is another type of resource for a project: time. Projects take time to complete. And when you and your team juggle multiple marketing projects at once, it becomes clear that the time is not endless.
Marketing projects also have deadlines, which makes time management crucial for any marketing project manager. Rapidly approaching deadlines reduce the maximum time available to us to complete a task or project. Overlapping projects with conflicting deadlines further reduce the time available. Keeping a close eye on your team’s available time, required time investment, and time remaining on a project or task are all critical to success.
How to overcome: Evaluate the time invested for each task of your projects. Make sure your resources can match this time investment. Check for overlapping projects and deadlines. Complete your deadlines just in case.
“Evaluate the time invested for each task of your projects. Make sure your resources can match this time investment. Check for overlapping projects and deadlines. Fill in your deadlines just in case. – Anne Leuman @annieleuman Click to Tweet
Barrier # 4 – Lack of change
Throughout the lifecycle of a marketing project, you learn what works and what doesn’t. From launch to completion, you identify processes and workflows that need to change or stay for the next project to be successful. For example, you might find that your workflow for launching a new marketing campaign only has a one-step approval process – a two-step approval process would help ensure the quality of each. campaign components. To help initiate this change, you document the new process and present it to the team. But it’s easier said than done.
Enter: resistance to change, our fourth barrier to marketing project management. As projects progress, whether successful, unsuccessful, or neutral, it’s common for potential improvements in the way we work to emerge. The team, however, is not always receptive to this change. Behavior change is hard, habits are hard to break. In order for your improvements to really stick and have a positive impact on your projects, you need the buy-in and commitment of your team to change.
How to overcome: Carefully document new workflows and processes. Gain team buy-in and commitment early on. Review work for process compliance. Remind team members of their commitment when process adherence slips to encourage accountability.
“Carefully document new workflows and processes. Gain team buy-in and commitment early on. Review work for process compliance. Remind team members of their commitment when process adherence slips to encourage accountability. – @annieleuman Click to Tweet
Barrier # 5 – Lack of planning
Our fifth and final hurdle is perhaps the most important to overcome, as a lack of planning can easily lead to a lack of clarity, resources, time and change. As the saying goes, « To fail to plan is to plan for failure. »
It does happen, however. Sometimes marketing project managers don’t have all the information they need to thoroughly plan a project. Or, they plan for the best case and forget to cover their bases and create backup plans. Be clear about your project requirements, plan for potential obstacles, involve other stakeholders, and make sure your planning goes ahead before launch.
How to overcome: Don’t start a project until you are fully informed and planned. Request information that may be lacking. Create a backup plan and a backup plan for your backup plan.
“Don’t start a project until you are fully informed and planned. Request information that may be lacking. Create a back-up plan and a back-up plan for your back-up plan. – Anne Leuman @annieleuman Click to Tweet
The greater the barrier, the greater the glory
« The greater the obstacle, the more glorious it is to overcome it. » – Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (alias Molière)
Obstacles. Barriers. Challenges. Hang up. No matter what you want to call them, they are a fact of life and work. No matter which path you take, you are going to run into them. Marketing project management almost guarantees that you will encounter all five of the above obstacles, and maybe others as well. But even though they may seem like mountains that are impossible to climb, the tips above should help you find a workaround or hidden shortcut to the top, where the views are well worth the work. As Molière said, it’s glorious.
Need more advice on creating efficient processes and juggling multiple marketing projects? Read our guide on effective project management for marketers.