It’s not sexy, it lacks sizzle and it is definitely not fun for most people, however effective project management is the single most important factor in successful digital marketing and website design and development.
It’s the glue holding everything together, keeping people accountable, setting deadlines, managing priorities and more. Project management in digital marketing takes the blame when things go wrong and gets very little credit when things go right.
In part one of this three part series we discussed digital marketing strategy and its importance to driving results. In part two we reviewed digital marketing tactics and how to select and prioritize tactics to get you to your sales and marketing goals.
In the third and final part, we look at project management. The unsung hero of website development and design projects and the key to digital marketing success.
Why Project Management in Digital Marketing?
Why devote an entire section on digital marketing to project management? Because without effective project management, all the best developed strategies and tactics will fail.
Digital marketing is multi-disciplined, more so than any other form of marketing or sales. It requires people from very diverse types of skill sets to come together and produce results. There are too many opportunities for bad communication and conflicts that can derail a project, from as complicated as a new website launch to content marketing and more. The best prevention for these problems is effective project management.
The Project Manager’s (PM) Role in Managing Tactics
The PM tracks all action items within each digital marketing tactic. The action items should be written and descriptive and include the people assigned to each task and the due date. The PM will then have a global view of the workflow and make sure things get done. It’s hard to believe anything can get done in digital marketing without this key role.
Project Management Starts with Team Assignments
The PM will hold people accountable to their roles as well as assigned action items. Leadership will help assign the team roles, the PM will keep them on task. Let’s take a look at the most common roles of a highly functional digital marketing team.
Digital Marketing Director – this position is the final decision maker on digital marketing tactics, approaches and budgets. This includes content and design approvals and over decision making authority. Digital marketing needs a leader. Decisions by committee are not as effective and this person is the project lead. The key scorecard for this position is overall sales and revenues.
Project Manager – A dedicated project manager should be on the client’s team and the agency. The key metrics and action items completed on time and under budget.
Digital Marketing Manager – This position is responsible for inbound marketing and attracting the target market through SEO efforts, Google Ads and other tactics.
Digital Marketing Funnel Manager – This position is responsible for managing the customer journey including email marketing, HubSpot or other marketing automation tools, social media efforts, webinar and event promotions and other tactics moving prospects through their research and to becoming a lead.
Content Writers – A critical member of the digital marketing team and most likely a contracted position. Keep in mind writers, can learn about any topic and write great content after interviewing key team members. This includes content for blogs, websites, social media and email.
Media Producers – This may be a variety of people and they produce video, audio, take photos and other media for all digital marketing channels.
Graphic Designers – This includes website designs, illustrators, logo designers, PDF designs and all other aspects of design for digital marketing channels.
Website Developers – These are the professionals who develop websites and are responsible for hosting, security and all aspects of the technology needed for an effective and safe website. There is a wide variety of skill sets in this area from basic website updates to website coding.
Each person on this team should have metrics attached to their digital marketing work as measured on a scorecard and reviewed in regular meetings. The PM set-up the action items and tracks the results in a scorecard.
Project Management and Strategy
A savvy project manager (PM) will take a strategic plan and break into specific action items and priorities assigned to the digital marketing team. This includes digital marketing tactics along with website design and development tasks. The translation of strategy to tactics is led by the project manager working closely with the key marketing strategist. They don’t have to write a strategic plan, but they must know how to translate it into action.
Checklists and Digital Marketing Project Management
Website design and development and digital marketing tactics are best implemented by following specific checklists. The PM should have checklists for each part of the digital marketing process. This includes checklists for all tactics to be implemented by the digital team. Checklist examples include the following areas:
- All parts of the website design, development, hosting and launch process.
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Marketing Strategies for Blogs, Email and Social Media Postings
- Social Media Topics and Calendars
- Google Ads and Social Media Ads
- Content Marketing
- Homepage and Landing Page Layout and Content
- Influencer Marketing
- The Digital Marketing Funnel
- Email and Marketing Automation
- Digital Marketing Meeting Agendas
- Digital Marketing Reporting Tools
Project Management’s Role in Digital Content Development
Content is one of the biggest deterrents to a successful website launch and ongoing digital marketing progress. Content can bring a website to life, drive engagement and conversions or cause digital marketing efforts to fall flat.
The PM must work with the team to clarify the content process, set a schedule and assign content tasks. The PM ensures all digital content works within the design templates. Content must be in an appropriate format as well so developers can easily move content to the website or other digital channel. The PM does not usually drive the strategic intent of digital content, however they can help determine if content is going to work effectively.
Agency and Client PM Roles
Digital marketing agencies will have a PM assigned to the client’s account. What is oftentimes missing is a PM on the client side. The client’s internal PM is critical to digital marketing success as they pull together the client’s team in driving action items and work closely with the agency PM.
Project Management and Digital Marketing Meetings
Digital marketing meetings require an agenda which includes a review of issues to discuss, a scorecard and action items to review and complete. A strong PM will run digital marketing meetings, bring an agenda and keep them on time.
There is an argument to be made that without a PM your digital marketing objectives will almost certainly fail and not get the results you hope to achieve. A strong PM can save you money, reduce delays, accelerate time frames, catch issues before they happen, improve communication and more. Take the time to hire and assign a PM and watch your digital marketing reach new levels of success.
The Project Manager’s Tools and Apps
The project manager must have the best tools for the job. The following are must have tools:
- Asana or similar
- Shared Calendar
- Project Manager and Google Docs
- Time Tracking Software
Project Management Action Items
- Identify the person responsible for digital marketing project management.
- Share and explain the company’s strategic digital marketing plan with the PM.
- Meet weekly to review content and develop digital marketing checklists.
- Select a PM tool to be used by the team like Asana.
- Assign team members and develop scorecards for accountability.