Marketing positioning
Image: iStockphoto/Jirsak

Project management is essential for an efficient and effective business. Nearly every team in your company could benefit from such a platform, including your marketing teams. By empowering your marketing with project management, not only can they be more effective at their jobs, you can grant other teams access to their data to help create an incredibly collaborative environment.

SEE: Feature comparison: Time tracking software and systems (TechRepublic Premium)

On top of that, your marketing teams will be far more capable of working with the ever-changing landscape of business. Anyone who has ever run a business understands that now, more than ever, companies need to be able to pivot quickly, according to trends.

But what features should you look for in a project management tool that can assist your marketing teams? Let’s take a look at some of the key elements that could help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your staff.

Scheduling and task management

This one should go without saying. Like every other team in your company, your marketing division needs to be able to keep track of schedules and manage tasks. They’ll need to be able to share calendars with other teams (or team members) and keep track of tasks progress (which can be in the form of kanban or Gantt Charts). Even better if some of this can be automated (to keep your busy staff from having to handle so many repetitive tasks).

Social networking integration

At this point in the game, you cannot avoid social networking as a form of marketing. This means your marketing team needs social networking directly integrated into the project management system. With this social component, your marketing teams can better communicate and collaborate. This integration will also help those teams reach a much wider audience, which is absolutely key to effective marketing.

Collaboration tools

Marketing teams must not only collaborate internally, but they must also be able to collaborate with other teams in your company. They’ll need information from developers, operations, management and more. If your project management platform includes collaboration tools, it’ll make it considerably easier for those teams to share data with one another and do so without having to exit from the platform. The more work that stays within that platform, the more efficient it will be.

Real-time reporting

Marketing teams rely on real-time reporting. They’ll need this to stay abreast of how products are moving along the software lifecycle, how supply chains are reacting to daily changes, trends, customer demand and much more. But most important is the need to be in the know of how projects are coming along and evolving, so they can more effectively market your products and services. With real-time reporting dashboards, your marketing team will have at-a-glance information that can help them better customize their campaigns.

Marketing campaign management

This one should be a no-brainer. For a project management platform to be truly effective for your marketing teams, it needs to include marketing campaign management. This doesn’t have to be a separate feature included in the platform, as marketing teams could always tweak a kanban board to help them manage their marketing campaigns. But if you can find a project management platform that includes campaign management, your teams will be better off. This feature might include scheduled email campaigns, campaign templates, project roles and more.

Project budgeting

Marketing can be expensive. If you don’t want those budgets to get out of hand, find a project management tool that includes budgeting and make sure your marketing teams work with the feature. With project budgeting included, your marketing teams will not only be capable of reining in their spending but spend more wisely.

Billing and invoicing

Speaking of budgets, you’ll want a project management platform that includes a billing and invoicing component. This is especially true if your marketing teams work with third-party services (such as printers, TV/Radio stations, freelancers, etc.). Along with this, you’ll want to be able to view reports on their billing and invoicing, so anyone who deals with budgets and funding will have up-to-date information.

Time tracking

Time tracking is an important feature for project management. Applying this idea to marketing is equally as critical. Marketing teams need to be able to track the time and effort they put into a campaign so they can later evaluate how effective their efforts have been. Consider this: What happens when your marketing team tests out a new style of campaign? They spend weeks on this campaign and, once it’s released to the public, it fails. Not only can they see how much time was spent on the campaign, but they should also be able to break it down to know how much time and effort was put into each piece of the puzzle. This data can help them improve and will keep your managers aware of how resources are used (and if they are used effectively).

Customer data integration

Although project management and Customer Relations Management are two very different beasts, you should look for a project management tool that integrates customer data. Why? Because your marketing team lives and dies by this information. They need to know the breakdown of markets and customers so they can better target their campaigns. For example, if the majority of your customers are millennials, your marketing team will have a better idea of the verbiage to use in a campaign and what platforms to use to send out those campaigns. Data and information are absolutely crucial in this day and age, so the more information you can give your marketing team the more effective they’ll be.

Why it’s important

Although you may not find a project management platform that includes all of these features, along with the features you need for other teams, you should at least find out what features would be critical for your marketing efforts. Once you know that, you’ll be better able to purchase the best tool for your business.

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