« Smart Business: Tips for Marketing Project Management Success » smart business-this image shows a diagram utilizing arrows to represent a smooth work flowIf you're serious about starting and completing projects smoothly, ASSUME NOTHING. Those two words are the secret to marketing project management success.

Make It Easy for Clients To Keep Projects Constantly Moving Forward

Top marketing project managers define their success by how easy they make it for clients to keep projects moving forward. This means anticipating every nuance of a project and anticipating viable solutions. The only way to do this well is to be willing to do a lot (if not all) of the leg work for the client. It's the project manager's job to carefully map out every step of a project (and its associated billable rate).

It is a best practice in effective marketing project management to present this information to the client in writing. Tasks and costs for creative projects can be divided among three main categories: 

  1. Creative Development (everything from initial project meetings to writing, illustration, photography, design, proofreading)
  2. Production (printing of an offline project)
  3. Distribution(for print projects)Implementation (for inbound marketing, social media marketing and other online projects).

It's a good idea to summarize all of the project planning information in an "Authorization To Begin Project" form that the client must sign and return to you before actual work begins. The information in the Authorization Form needs to be thorough, but it's important to keep the language simple. Deadlines and costs will shift as the project progresses, but having that initial project summary signed by the client helps manage expectations and helps to hold busy clients accountable to deadlines (or their subsequent shifts).

Make It Easy for Subcontractors To Deliver Their Best Work

It is also a good idea to summarize all work, costs and deadlines in writing with every subcontractor you’ve assigned to the project creative team. (TIP: I use the online project management tool Basecamp for this type of communication.) The more clearly project expectations, rates and deadlines are communicated to subcontractors before a project starts, the more relaxed and confident they will feel about their assigned role within the project. As a result, they are likely to deliver their very best creative solutions. 

Why Careful Marketing Project Management Is Essential

It would be a dream come true if projects simply organized themselves and then stayed on track all on their own. But, the reality is, they never do. It takes careful management. While the steps described in this post may seem like a lot of work, they are definitely worth the effort. Your careful and effective project management means:

  1. LESS (if any) conflicts or misunderstandings with subcontractors or clients
  2. LESS (if any) late payments on your invoiced work
  3. FASTER project turnarounds  
  4. GREATER profits per project (because less time is wasted)

BONUS: Valuable Business Management Resource for Creative Firms is a tremendous resource for small creative firms and corporate in-house marketing departments, offering a wide range of advice pertaining to the business side of creativity. In particular, they offer a large library of FREE sample forms (including project management forms) that can be easily adapted to the specific needs of any creative firm or in-house marketing department. 

What Do You Think?

If you have any project management tips you'd like to share with others, please include them in the comments section. And, as always, thanks for reading.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.