Have you ever worked on a project that has unclear objectives? Ever felt like a project was never ending and just continued to go on and on and on? Have you ever been on a project where you spread yourself too thin? You or others were too busy to execute everything you initially hoped for? Well friends, I have the solution for you! In order to create successful marketing campaigns, there’s one major aspect every campaign needs. That’s successful project management.
What happens when you don’t have solid project management? High stress, a constant scramble, reactivity instead of proactivity and put simply….a big burning dumpster fire. According to Alexa Hubly, a leader in content marketing and project management, typically issues that arise from poor project management fall into 3 categories:
First: Resource Issues
Resource issues arise when you don’t have a good process, and don’t project manage your work. Resource issues can further be broken down to people and time. Maybe you don’t resource the right people, or even the right amount of people needed for the project. Maybe the people you chose are too busy and don’t have the bandwidth which then leads us to time. Rushing to complete a project and assuming you can finish it in a certain amount of time when in fact, you might not be able to.
Second: Scope Issues
Missing deadlines and missing timelines are all aspects that fall under scope. Scope issues are all about overcommitment, and under commitment. By overcommitting, you can promise the world and not be able to deliver. Or you’ll under commit and create something subpar with not the best resources or the best content. One of the biggest scope issues is something Hubly likes to call “scope creep” where the deadline constantly keeps getting pushed back and back and the project feels like it’s never ending because well...it’s never ending.
Third: Attribution Issues
Not knowing what your metrics are, missing your targets, or how to achieve your goals fall under Attribution. If you don’t know what you’re striving to, you can’t attribute what you’re doing. If you’re not hitting targets that are set towards achieving your goals, then you will never be able to learn what worked, what didn’t, what you can improve on, and how to make it better for the future.
When you don’t have a winning project management process, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Project management is a huge key to winning marketing campaigns. Let’s dive into establishing what processes to implement for a repeatable framework to successfully launch your campaigns. The Good... For a marketing campaign, it is up to the project manager to coordinate the right:
Coordinating these aspects will get you more sales, more leads, and more signups. But the key here is every campaign should have a clear objective. What is the goal of project management and what does the campaign actually achieve? From there, the project manager becomes the conductor of the symphony - successfully arranging people, priorities, and processes in a way to achieve only ONE OBJECTIVE.
Only one objective per campaign. As a project manager, that means making tough choices between what your objectives are for that particular campaign, and for that particular goal. By picking only one objective, that means you will have to slight some others in order to make sure that campaign is the most effective it can possibly be.
Ever heard of the DACI framework? Alexa Hubly breaks it down in her course at the CXL Institute. She explains “The DACI framework is a really effective strategy for assigning roles and responsibilities to your team and creating a launch squad that is moving and operationalizing towards achieving that one specific objective and ultimately hitting your metrics and targets.”
The DACI frameworks consists of a Driver, Approver, Contributors, Informed.
Driver: The Driver is the person who keeps the project moving forward and keeps the team on track.
Approver: The Approver will likely be the project manager or the marketing manager but it doesn't necessarily need to be. It all depends on the project and picking the right person for the job. The approver is the one who makes the ultimate decision. They say yes or no and set the path and objectives to achieve.
Contributor: The Contributors will be stakeholders from teams across the company. Their main purpose is to provide expertise that can affect how you create your marketing campaign. They are not driving anything forward but are instead key resources for your project.
Informed: These will most likely be senior leadership in your company and people that might be affected by your campaign. You often don’t need to consult with Informed to keep things moving.
By assigning the DACI framework to your launch squad, you are creating a clear framework for a successful marketing campaign. Each person knows exactly what they're working on and what their responsibilities are.
Here is an example Hubly used on how she applies this framework in the real world:
Notice how deliverable tasks are stated clearly, and then each person is assigned a role for that task. You do not need each task to have DACI, and you can have more than 2 roles at once (ex. multiple contributors for one task). However, you can only have 1 person be the Approver per deliverable. You only want one person making the final decision and saying yes or no.
Once you have the right people, you've got to set the right priorities. That means diving into precise, calculated campaign steps to set proper priorities.
There are 4 steps to make that happen:
1. Look back
The first step is to start by looking back which is super important to figure out what you have done in the past, what worked, what didn’t work, what are some lessons you learned, and what changes can be made to create a better campaign moving forward?
From there, you take a deep dive. What does marketing look like for the quarter? Or just for that campaign? Or just for that single goal you are trying to achieve? Once you’ve created an overarching plan, it’s important to score them based on urgency, effort, and feasibility. You then want to document the scoring in a worksheet to start to create your gameplan and choose your best options.
Once you’ve looked back at what and what not to do, doneyour deep dive into potential initiatives and tactics you could accomplish, that’s when you build your objectives and key results. Your objectives should be pretty aggressive, qualitative, very specific to the time and scope, and very actionable by the person or team. Your results are how you plan to achieve and measure that objective. You can for example 3-5 objectives quarterly, max 15 per year, but it’s all dependent on the size of your company, and the manpower you have to successfully execute those objectives.
Lastly, it’s time to map it out. This is the nitty-gritty way of seeing all the specific tasks planned out and put on a calendar, week by week. This allows your team and people to see exactly what each person should focus on week to week. Visibility and responsibility is crucial for your team to be successful.
A sprint is a way to break down a project into smaller actionable objectives that enables a team to focus on one goal before moving to the next.
It always begins with collecting as much research as possible so you can eliminate assumptions from your campaign. From there, set your targets to achieve your goal, pitch ideas and vote on the ones to focus on. Then decide the actual game plan, build your prototype just enough so you can test it (it does not have to be perfect). Lastly, test that prototype, do interviews and eventually launch it!
Ultimately the role of project management is to help you launch products or services in a creative way that is clear, organized, and impactful. As a project manager, you are in charge of the symphony making sure each instrument plays at the right time so that in the end have a beautiful masterpiece (aka a killer marketing campaign). It’s by coordinating people, priorities, and processes towards one critical objective that creates a big flow of successful marketing campaigns. In the end, it all comes together to create more sales, more leads, more signups, more success!