When you’re a project manager in the world of marketing, it may sometimes feel like you need to know everything. You might meet with clients who ask you about the creative process, or partner with team members who expect you to understand what they’re saying about collapsing cookies. The good news is, in these hyper-specific instances, it’s OK to simply say, “Let me verify with my team,” or, “What on earth is a collapsing cookie?” There are technical skills that project managers in marketing should possess, though. So what are the essentials?
Tool-Based Project Management
Project management software has become an essential tool in PM’s toolkits, and for good reason. Companies who use project management software are 20% more likely to complete projects on time than those who don’t, and software saves the average employee 498 hours per year. Understanding which platform features are essential for the success of your team, and then implementing that platform, are essential technical skills for project managers. Some of the basic must-haves often include things like a Kanban and Gantt project view, calendar, task assignment and delegation, file storage, and approval workflow. By identifying which parts of your team’s workflow would best be integrated into software, you can make a list of the must-haves and select the software of best fit from there.
Team Time Management
Time tracking is one of the most-used features of any project management software, and for good reason. If your project team tracks their time, you’ll be able to manage it better. From a technical standpoint, when you understand how long a task takes someone to complete on average, you can better delegate tasks because you’ll understand the true workload of each team member. This will also enable you to provide more accurate timeline estimates to your stakeholders, and place a more informed due date on your project. There are lots of ways you and your team can track time — just make sure you have access to everyone’s logs for analysis and management.
In the more general world of project management, there are lots of different types of reports that PMs are expected to review and share. For marketing project managers, the list is a little more hyper-focused. While reports on your team’s performance will be helpful to you as you continue to manage your team through client projects, the report that your clients care most about involves how a project is performing. Whether it’s a content campaign, specific explainer video, or a new logo for the brand, your client will want to understand the impact of the asset on their business. This is why marketing PMs need to understand analysis provided by platforms like SEMRush and Google Analytics. Not only will you be able to share wins with your clients, but you’ll also be able to understand approaches that aren’t working with a target audience and adjust messaging. The more you understand what works and what doesn’t, the better you’ll be at guiding your project team and clients moving forward.
Ultimately, marketing project managers don’t need to be an expert in everything. However, it’s essential that they’re able to utilize top-tier tools to keep their team organized, keep the workload balanced, and keep improving campaign results.