Project management software: what features are needed for marketing?

Jack Wallen offers his thoughts on what constitutes a solid project management platform for marketing teams.

Image: iStockphoto/Jirsak

Project management is essential for an effective and efficient business. Almost any 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 efficient in their work, but you can also grant other teams access to their data to help create an incredibly collaborative environment.

TO SEE: Feature Comparison: Time Tracking Software and Systems (TechRepublic Premium)

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

But what features should you look for in a project management tool that can help 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 business, your marketing department needs to be able to keep track of schedules and manage tasks. They will need to be able to share calendars with other teams (or team members) and track the progress of tasks (which can take the form of kanban or Gantt charts). Even better if some of these tasks can be automated (to save your busy staff from having to deal with so many repetitive tasks).

Social media integration

At this stage of the game, you cannot avoid social media as a form of marketing. This means that your marketing team needs a social network directly integrated into the project management system. With this social component, your marketing teams can better communicate and collaborate. This integration will also help these teams reach a much larger audience, which is absolutely essential for effective marketing.

Collaboration tools

Marketing teams not only need to collaborate internally, but they also need to be able to collaborate with other teams in your company. They will need information from developers, operations, management and more. If your project management platform includes collaboration tools, it will be considerably easier for these teams to share data with each other and do so without having to leave the platform. The more work left on this platform, the more effective it will be.

Real-time reports

Marketing teams rely on real-time reports. They’ll need it to keep abreast of product developments throughout the software lifecycle, how supply chains react to day-to-day changes, trends, customer demand, and more. But more important is the need to know how projects are progressing and changing, so they can more effectively market your products and services. With real-time reporting dashboards, your marketing team will have information at a glance that can help them better personalize 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 must include marketing campaign management. This doesn’t have to be a separate feature included in the platform, as marketing teams can always modify 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 functionality can include scheduled email campaigns, campaign templates, project roles, and more.

Project budgeting

Marketing can be expensive. If you don’t want those budgets spiraling out of control, find a project management tool that includes budgeting and make sure your marketing teams are working with this feature. With project budgeting included, your marketing teams will not only be able to control their spending, but also spend more wisely.

Billing and invoicing

Speaking of budgets, you will need a project management platform that includes an invoicing 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 that, you’ll want to be able to view reports on their billing and invoicing, so anyone who deals with budgets and funding has up-to-date information.

time tracking

Time tracking is an important feature for project management. Applying this idea to marketing is equally essential. Marketing teams need to be able to track the time and effort they spend on a campaign so they can later gauge the effectiveness of their efforts. Consider this: what happens when your marketing team tests out a new style of campaign? They spend weeks on this campaign and once it goes public it fails. Not only can they see how much time has been spent on the campaign, but they should also be able to break it down to see how much time and effort has gone into each piece of the puzzle. This data can help them improve and will keep your managers up to date on how resources are being used (and if they are being used effectively).

Integration of customer data

Although project management and customer relationship 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 on this information. They need to know the distribution of markets and customers in order to better target their campaigns. For example, if the majority of your customers are millennials, your marketing team will have a better idea of ​​what verbiage to use in a campaign and which platforms to use to send those campaigns. Data and information are absolutely crucial these days, so the more information you can give your marketing team, the more effective they will be.

why it matters

While you might not find a project management platform that includes all of these features, plus the features you need for other teams, you should at least know which features would be essential for your marketing efforts. Once you know this, you will be better able to purchase the best tool for your business.

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