Project management software (PM software) is the contemporary incarnation of the practice of project management. While projects have been executed by humans since time immemorial (you could say the earliest recorded managed projects were the construction of the pyramids of Giza), project management as an organized business practice has only been around since the mid-20th century.
Praise the heavens that we have the internet today, because…
…in the past, project management involved paper, lots of paper. It involved logging, filing, and time-intensive data retrieval for solving problems and moving the project forward toward completion. Now, cloud-based PM software bypasses the clunky mess of the past method of project management, and decentralizes the access to project information.
Decentralized, cloud-based project management provides access to project developments, edits, etc. at the fingertips of every team member, at all times. The collective intellectual hive is everywhere there is an internet connection.
However, marketing teams have traditionally not been the best project managers, and have required managers to be in place to ensure that deadlines are met, and that the project goals are steadfast, and adhered to by every team member. There is more than enough reason why the highest performing organizations complete 89% of their projects.
You do not want to be developing a campaign aimed at marketing your brand of paper towels that highlights how white they are, when your key feature is their absorbability versus the competition. That would be a silly waste of time and resources. While your marketing team is supposed to be the creative geniuses at your company, the ones that are persistently thinking outside the box, their job is to deliver your message, and think of ways to publicize it, without getting off track.
Projects will always need a manager. But, for marketing teams, PM software enhances the ability to complete tasks, stay on schedule, and communicate ideas to fellow team members to build a more effective campaign than if using a standard, paper-based project management system, which hinders direction and communication. The software accomplishes much of what a project manager does, on its own via its design.
You want to establish and build your brand awareness, right? Cloud-based PM software is simply a tremendous ROI for your marketing team, as it works to save you precious time, foster creative development, and comes in every shape and size to suit every type of marketing endeavor. 87% of high-performing marketing companies are using PM software.
Whether you are a small tech startup or a seasoned, multinational corporation, PM software facilitates growth and development in every facet of your enterprise. Let us touch upon why PM software can improve every stage of your marketing project.
Death to email for team communication
How excited do you become when you log in to your email account and there are dozens of messages in your inbox, all concerning a single project? Likely, you desire to make like an ostrich and bury your head in the sand. It’s OK to admit it; there is no shame here. By implementing PM software in your company, you streamline the dissemination of directions and instructions for your marketing team.
PM software liberates you from the hassles of email as a means of marketing project communication.
The marketing department is the most dynamic, creative, evolving, and thus chaotic departments of an organization. New ideas are fluttering about, and deadlines need to be met. Wasting time and mismanagement of data is anathema to productivity.
Consider this: on average, workers are spending 28% of their time on reading and writing emails in the workplace. That’s more than a quarter of the workday! Emails used for developing marketing ideas quickly pile up and information can easily be lost. Say, your project manager asks for feedback from the marketing team on a campaign strategy. When you send an email out, each time someone on the team responds with an idea, you need to open your inbox, read the email, write a response, and the whole time each message is being sent, it piles up on top of previous messages. What if there was a great marketing idea, but it became buried beneath so many previous replies?
By using PM software, your team can communicate in real-time, and save much of the time spent on email communication. Ideas and strategies for marketing can be posted as cards on the project dashboard. Being cloud-based, PM software allows for better organization of information, such as updates, which can be moved as cards from “in progress” to “ready for review.” Why not save time, and forego email by using a project dashboard? All of the advantages of PM software that we will discuss here are based on the streamlined communication, organization, and rapidity that comes with using PM software instead of emails.
It is one thing if you have a team of three marketing personnel all working at the same table, but in today’s globalized marketing industry, that is no longer the typical arrangement.
Organization of deadlines, monitoring of progress
Your marketing department, more so than any other department, is working to accomplish goals ahead of fixed deadlines. The to-do lists and calendar features of PM software keep deadlines in the forefront of your marketing team’s minds. Project managers can track the development of marketing strategies, and see whether campaigns are running ahead of or behind schedule, and take the necessary steps if the latter is the case.
Emailing deadlines for marketing development and execution can lead to deadlines being missed. If your team needs to develop and present a marketing strategy to a customer in one month, unless you are sending an email every few days to remind them, it is easy to forget when the project is due, and your team will have to go back on a regular basis, find the email with the deadline, and remind themselves of how close or far away it is.
Huge time waster. Incredibly inefficient.
PM software circumvents the issues here. With calendar features, you can program your PM software to inform your marketing team on a regular basis, say, each morning, of how soon a deadline must be met. Because cloud-based PM software tracks task development in real-time, project managers are able to observe how swiftly or sluggishly marketing developments are coming along.
If a marketing plan is losing momentum in its development, the project manager will be able to take notice far more quickly when using PM software instead of old fashioned methods.
Improved internal communication & collaboration
What aspects of business were significantly improved by project management software?
Your marketing team members are your creative geniuses, right? The sharing of creative ideas is essential to developing successful marketing campaigns. Maybe an individual team member will come up with a comprehensive, from start to finish, detailed, targeted marketing strategy for your company or client, but that’s a rarity; marketing is not a one man show.
Marketing demands that novel ideas be explored, combined with the knowledge of tried and true practices. During development, PM software makes team collaboration all the easier. Project management software keeps everyone on the same page, and team members are able to monitor what their peers are creatively brewing in the present. No phone calls, emails, no waiting to hear good ideas from fellow team members; once a project manager has assigned staff to a task using the software, their peers and themselves are in perpetual communication with each other, fostering creative development.
Improved external communication
You know how when you are building a marketing campaign you should “put yourself in the customer’s shoes?” Well, PM software allows your team to practically be in the customer’s shoes, and for every step of the way. Planning, development, feedback, honing, to execution, the customer for which your marketing project is for, can provide instantaneous feedback and guidance to your team. As you can see below, well over half of PM software users exploit its ability to communicate with clients:
Do you use your project management software to communicate with clients?
More often than not, a marketing campaign does not get things right the first time around, as much as we try to. It could be something as simple as the customer wanting the slogan content to be blue text instead of green, or perhaps a differently shaped design. Whatever the case, the customer knows what they want.
Traditionally, marketing development was seen through by working on a marketing project, believing you have done a swell job, and then sending over the results to the customer for feedback, and spending time making adjustments. In the worst case scenario, what if you had almost completely missed the mark and had to waste time starting from scratch?
Project management software allows marketing teams to let the customer observe the creative process in tandem with the team, and provide feedback at the very moment that content and design are happening. This saves valuable time. Perpetual feedback assists in developing a product that is ideal for your customer, and both ends of the exchange share in the success. Also, when a project is completed, it is immediately given to the customer, as they do not need to wait to receive an email the next day. This is also extremely valuable for international customers in different time zones, as they can log in with their own username and password whenever is convenient for them.
Enhanced communication with your customer leads to a better marketing development and execution, and results in a happy customer. Who doesn’t like a happy customer?
Your customer’s degree of involvement during the development process of the marketing campaign is up to them. Some will want to be hands on every step of the way, and others will be more relaxed during development. That being said, PM software affords you the option to get them as involved as they wish/need to be.
Building on the aforementioned aspects of how PM software positively affects each stage of a marketing project, and the withdrawal from email as a means of communication among marketing team members and customers, the flexibility of PM software cannot be overstated.
There are myriad PM software vendors, and each makes a product that fits a niche. However, all if not most offer increased flexibility for your project management, and bespoke features for your project.
Unexpected events happen, and adjustments need to be made to your marketing project. There can be changes in scheduling, creative direction, marketing strategies, but no matter what, these adjustments are addressed and completed more quickly with PM software rather than traditional project management methods.
Priorities can change during creative development. By using a single project calendar, all members of your marketing team are kept abreast of any shifts in priority or direction in real-time. Remember, your entire team is on the same page with each other in real-time. Think of the time you will save by using PM software for your marketing project if, for example, you need to scrap a project. Instead of continuing to work on a pointless project, your marketing staff are informed immediately when changes occur to their schedule.
When working on a marketing project, ideas and inspiration can occur in a piecemeal fashion among your marketing staff. The flexibility of cloud-based PM software, to be accessed at any hour and any place, is invaluable for creative development. One of your content writers might be at home watching television and see a commercial that inspires them, but their laptop is at the office.
No problem. They can log in to the project from their smartphone, tablet, or home computer as soon as inspiration strikes. Even when your marketing team is not working on the project, they can still work on the project. In marketing, inspiration can strike at any time, so cloud-based PM software is a terrific boon for your creative team.
In every stage of a marketing project, from planning, campaign development, to customer feedback and final delivery, cloud based PM software makes your marketing project a breeze, and is a marketing game changer for the industry. An immensive time-saver with tremendous ROI is right at your fingertips, with enhanced idea-sharing among your marketing team. In closing, we will leave you with a final tip for you when searching for which software to go with: invest time in checking out more than a few softwares, as each is have varying minor features that might be worth the money, or not for your next project.
About the Author
Pavel is a doctor who happens to have an MBA degree and a strong passion for writing. "I am a do-it-all kind of person: When I am not writing, I am busy curing people, when I am not curing people, I tend to kill WCG competitions. Life is fun, and full of wonders: Do what you enjoy most, even if it’s everything at once."More Content by Pavel Aramyan