Marketers Have a Couple of Things to Learn From Project Managers

Recently, in the context of an interview, I was asked about my project management skills and what I felt were the keys to success. In thinking about my experiences as a marketer and consultant helping companies develop social media strategies, improve their search and email marketing programs, or redesign their websites I have found two common themes noticeable in the projects that went well, but especially apparent in the projects that did not go well.

From my experiences, the keys to success are properly managing expectations and proactively mitigating risks. While these concepts may seem obvious and simple in the context of project management, I think many marketers could benefit from leveraging these concepts in a variety of ways throughout their marketing planning and execution processes.

Project management is first and foremost about clearly defining, communicating and hopefully exceeding expectations. While this burden is placed on the project manager, the fate of any project is often decided well before the project is kicked-off. Translated to marketing terms, defining expectations is about setting business relevant marketing objectives and the appropriate metrics to measure them before the campaign is launched. Secondly, communicating those expectations with the rest of the organization in words they understand. This means translating things like Engagement into terms that business owners can understand and care about. Finally, exceeding expectations is not only about the goals you defined within the organization but also the brand promise you communicated to consumers.

Project management is also about identifying potential pitfalls and proactively mitigating risk. This concept has become increasingly important with the rise of social media and the technologies that have allowed consumers to shift power away from institutions. Translated to marketing terms, identifying potential pitfalls can be best highlighted by Motrin’s “Wearing Your Baby” campaign where a few mommy bloggers blasted the brand resulting in an apology and abandonment of the campaign. Identifying this risk could have lead Motrin to create a plan where they reached out to any detractors and leveraged their passion to further connect the brand with moms. Finally, proactively mitigating risk by using listening tools from vendors like Nielsen BuzzMetrics and TNS Cymfony to help mine a variety of data sources real-time and extract insights to help shape your marketing strategy.

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One Response to Marketers Have a Couple of Things to Learn From Project Managers

  1. Project Management can (and probably should) be applied in every business. One of your points, communication, is the heart of Project Management (according to many Project Managers, PM is 90% communication).

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