Are you frustrated trying to keep up with all of your marketing projects? Heck just tracking the individual items in a massive multi-channel advertising campaign is tough. Need to show your management team the huge amounts of work you crank out? And then out of nowhere, now the auditors need to see that one random approval from last year and you sure don’t have the time to look through countless emails for it. Maybe it’s time to tame the wild beast known as your project list.

Project management is a great taming tool and can get implemented in no time. And speaking of time, you’ll find the time you gain and the peace of mind you’ll enjoy is well worth the effort to get a system in place.

So how do you get started managing your marketing & advertising projects?

1. Identify your specific needs

Some teams need more information about approvals. Or maybe your priority will be tracking due dates. Other important goals could be getting team members on the same page or having easy access to shared files. Selecting one or two top priorities will help narrow down the specific project management tool for you.

2. Identify your project management tool

There are so many tools available for managing your projects. Lots of free options even! If you need to track longer-term projects which have lots of various pieces and parts, say building a website, you might look into tools which use Gantt charts. Most of the marketing & advertising professionals we work with though need to manage a high volume of shorter-term projects. Sound familiar? While new tools are coming out all the time, here are some of the more popular ones we’ve seen as of this posting:

3. Identify the projects and people

The first part is easy – put in EVERY project. Even the ones which might take as long to complete as it takes to put into the system are well worth tracking. You’ll have a record of doing it, the due date, what it looks like and whatever else you track, which will come in handy when it comes time to report to your boss and/or your clients.

The people? Certainly include your staff, then think about those who need to review and approve your marketing and advertising pieces. You might also consider including the support staff for those reviewers, maybe an administrative assistant or a department coordinator who can help chase down the reviewer when needed. We also recommend including the vendors that help you get work completed – designers, printers, etc.

4. Input the data & train, train train

The system is only as good as the data going in, so get a solid start by entering in the details of your projects and your people. Encourage those who are going to use the system to help – that will foster ownership and buy-in, two key ingredients for successful adoption. Most of the project management options available these days are really easy to pick up. User experience just keeps getting better, doesn’t it? We recommend taking some time to get the group of users together early on so questions can be answered more easily. Those group sessions are also a great place to share ideas on how to make the system work for your team – another key element to a successful adoption rate.

Follow those steps and you will be well on your way to taming the tiger (AKA your project list)! Have any questions about the specifics? Or maybe you have some tips to share about your own project management system? Let us know in the comments below! We’re also glad to show you our system to help inspire, just give us a call at 256-714-6596 or email us.