For non-marketers, managing creative projects might seem like nothing more than traditional project management: Set deadlines. Hit milestones. Formalize communications. Check! I mean, marketing is just some occasionally-clever copy and a handful of pretty pictures, right?
But marketers know what non-marketers don’t: when you manage a creative project, you abide by different rules than traditional project management. Creative projects take a mind-boggling variety of shapes and sizes, from thumbnail images for a single blog post to global branding for a popular product.
And the processes necessary for each type of creative project vary. Small creative projects require agility. Large creative projects require detailed tracking and cross-functional coordination.
The unfortunate reality is that most project management software fails to meet the unique needs of marketing, because it isn’t designed to handle the diversity of creative projects. As the leading provider of Marketing Project Management technology for marketing and communications teams, BLUE has some experience with best practices for Marketing Project Management. Here are some of the most critical, yet often overlooked capabilities from which you can benefit when you leverage a Marketing Project Management solution.
Most creative projects involve multiple functional teams. For example, a web design project might involve a marketing team as well as an IT team. Without Marketing Project Management technology to unite stakeholders from different disciplines in one platform, you can easily fall prey to:
- Time wasted in meetings
- “Email overload”
- Information silos
- Mixed strategies
Because Marketing Project Management software is a single, central solution for managing creative projects through the end-to-end project lifespan, creative project stakeholders always have access to the information they need, exactly when they need it. Information silos are eliminated, as are the number of email requests and update meetings. Issues can be dealt with as they arise. Furthermore, when everyone accesses the same information, it’s easier to keep everyone on the same page and your decision-making, as well as your creative quality, improves.
Workflow management for creative projects is distinctly different from managing projects in other disciplines. Requests usually come into a marketing department at an unpredictable pace, and the size and scope of each request varies. This often creates a “fire drill” mentality within creative teams, where priorities shift and any number of projects are interrupted. Often, the end result is that deadlines are missed and work can be lost or forgotten.
With workflow management features in a Marketing Project Management solution, however, marketing teams can access a single platform to track projects, tasks, and timelines. Managers can assign to-do tasks, set email notifications, manage timelines against deadlines, and download reports to better understand the creative projects in play and the capacity for resource planning. In addition, managers can monitor alignment with priorities and allocate resources in accordance with these priorities. Ultimately, project delivery time is improved, marketing team productivity is increased, and with creatives out from underneath the “fire drill” mentality, creative quality improves as well.
Online Collaborative Proofing
Creative projects typically include a wide range of people both inside and outside of the marketing department: graphic designers, copywriters, agencies, printers, freelancers, bloggers, etc. And then there are the creative “approvers,” who may include executives, sales, clients, and partners.
Because creative projects can cut across so many functions, creative processes often entail multiple hand-offs… and with so many hand-offs, the approval process can be exhausting. Marketing teams are often plagued by seemingly endless re-work, conflicting feedback, and poor-quality feedback. It becomes easy for these team members to experience burnout and professional disengagement.
Marketing Project Management software enables online collaborative proofing. This means you have the ability to share large digital asset files online with your team, your partners, and your clients – in any file format, and from any device. And you can capture feedback on those files in a single online tool.
When you have online collaborative proofing, you streamline the approval process, capture all feedback at the point of hand-off, and gain access to feedback history. Marketing teams find they can move work forward without additional meetings, conference calls, and burnout. And with this kind of granular control over your artwork assets, you can improve creative quality, manage brand value, and ultimately drive customer engagement.
Digital Asset Manager
How many times do your marketing teams receive requests that are nothing more than, “Can you send me the .png version of our logo in the right size for this ad?” Now imagine: various departments, various users, and various partners and clients make this same type of request of your marketing department multiple times a day. Can you say with absolute certainty that the right versions of your files are in use in each instance?
With Digital Asset Manager features in a Marketing Project Management solution, you can store all of your assets (pictures, photographs, videos, logos, etc.) in one single location. Rather than ask marketing team members to search their own hard drives or email inboxes for the right asset when these requests come their way, you can simply create a single location where the right version of each asset is stored. Marketers can easily search, sort, and filter to quickly retrieve the asset they need, and even better – the Digital Asset Manager protects your assets’ integrity by ensuring only those with permission can access files.
When marketing teams add technology to their marketing stack the most common types are seemingly a no-brainer: CRM, email marketing software, social media management tools, etc. But if you’re considering a project management solution, remember that marketing has different needs than, for example, IT. A simple project management solution won’t enable you to deliver the best creative content possible. Instead, you need a Marketing Project Management solution that offers workflow capabilities, online proofing, and a digital asset manager. Getting all of your marketing projects onto a single platform will provide you with visibility into each project and the opportunity to complete projects faster without sacrificing design attributes, content quality, or brand integrity.