Marketing Project Management: A comprehensive Step-By-Step Guide
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 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:
Determining the best marketing channel(s)
Creating strategies for each channel
Task delegation and scheduling
Delivery and evaluation
What is marketing project management?
Marketing project management is the process of guiding a advertising 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 look at the different stages in the marketing project management process, showing you how to just take your team from idea to finished product such as 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 in to 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 are you going to 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)
Once you’ve defined the project, the next phase involves determing 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 may be the place to be. Consider these statistics :
LinkedIn drives 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs.
80% of most social media B2B leads originate from LinkedIn.
Among executives, LinkedIn is the number one choice for professionally relevant content.
If you’re dealing with a B2C brand, alternatively, 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 networking, here’s a summary of commonly used marketing channels that work for both B2B and B2C brands:
Websites and blogs
Search engine optimization
Search engine marketing
3. Creating strategies for each channel
Once you’ve plumped for your channels, it’s time to create a strategy for each one. Ask yourself a few key questions to obtain 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 complete for them? In other words, what purpose should it serve?
How usually should you reach out to your audience on each channel? What’s considered reasonable and not spammy?
Then, you can create specific strategies for each channel based on your responses. Here are some examples:
Type of content: Long-form weblog 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
Intent behind content: Entertainment
Frequency: Once a day
Strategy: Create short, entertaining videos for TikTok that can be posted daily
4. Budget planning
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 sum total allotment to create a specific budget. If you’re given $10, 000 to work with, for example , you then 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 keep in touch 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 will allow you to meet the defined objectives. In this case, you’ll work one other way around, tallying up the cost of each individual strategy and soon you have a complete budget and pitching it for approval.
5. Identifying deliverables
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, however 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 in to individual pieces. One of the strategies above, for example , was to create educational, long-form blog articles and publish to the internet site once a week.
If this was approved in the budget for 3 months, your deliverables would include 12 long-form blog articles. Another strategy was to create short, entertaining videos for TikTok that can be posted daily.
If this was approved in the plan for one month, your deliverables would include 30 TikTok videos.
6. Timeline creation
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 begin to see the overall schedule for your marketing plan.
Many marketers find this to be one of many hardest parts of marketing project management because there are many moving parts in any given campaign, each one dependent on another. Scheduling it all is a challenge for even the most organized of people.
Madeline A. Vei, 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 essential (… ) 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
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 although some outsource it to agencies or freelancers.
Whichever bucket your company 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 development – assign to content strategist
Develop the topic and outline – assign to content strategist
Write this 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.
Now that most of the planning and organizing is performed, it’s time to get right 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 method 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 pc 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
Once your deliverables are created, the final stage is quality assurance. When it comes to marketing campaigns, this means making certain all of the content that’s venturing 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
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 ahead 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 planned. 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 computer software
If the notion 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 very first thing to do when considering a new pc 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 world, each one with its own unique product portfolio and market restrictions.
They needed a solution that will streamline their efforts and make it easier for different stakeholders to produce on-brand content.
So they really implemented a new marketing project management system (using Welcome’s software) and doubled their content output year over year. They were also in a position 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 level of content out the door, and that wouldn’t be possible without the Welcome platform. Our projects are moving through and getting completed more speedily, and we’ve even had the opportunity to repurpose existing content — the wheel is turning a lot quicker than before. ”
2 . Think about your existing MarTech stack
Once you’ve plainly 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 locate you already have a tool with project management features.
If that’s the case, compare the tool’s features with your set of needs. If it can tackle all of them, it’s certainly an alternative worth exploring. Be careful not to sacrifice long-term efficiency, however , in the interests 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 which can be specific to marketing are likely to offer the most in terms of efficiency.
Welcome‘s content marketing platform , for example , was created 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 heading out, to whom, and when.
Centralize the way your team plans every campaign. Plan the effort, craft the communication strategy, and ensure everyone else 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 your built-in editor. This allows one to author an original piece and upload content directly. This 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 produce, 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 plumped for 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 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’s the role of a project manager in marketing?
The project manager in marketing may be the one responsible for guiding a campaign from idea to finished product. They oversee all the stages we discussed 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 has to be highly skilled in the areas of communication and organization, and marketing is no different.
You’ll need to communicate with team members, executive leadership, clients, vendors, agencies, and freelancers. And you need certainly to keep everyone on the same page throughout the various stages of the project, always targeting 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 turn into a project manager in marketing?
To become a project manager in marketing, you’ll want 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 stick 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.
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:
Determining the best marketing channel(s)
Creating strategies for each channel
Budget planning and project scope
Task delegation and scheduling
Delivery and evaluation