4 essential project management skills for marketing managers
Whether it’s marketing or project management that you practice, there are a few basic, yet highly complex skills that make the core of your role in the team. While the responsibilities and working style vary quite a bit – a project manager puts together a plan, distributes tasks and makes sure that everything is done on time, and a marketing manager is more responsible for the creative aspects of the job – both roles are still based on teamwork and in that regard, the core skill set should be available to both the project manager and marketing manager.
Smart marketing managers combine their creative aspects with more technical and teamwork skills to get the most out of their time and efforts. Here are the four core skills that are essential for every manager to have in order to maximize project success rate.
Usually, marketing managers put together a strategic idea and spend tons of time brainstorming with his or her team and improving the concept to achieve maximum impact with their audience. But the problem is, after the brainstorming sessions are over and an ideal concept is ready, it’s never documented: it’s just there in the heads of the team members.
This is where problems start coming up:
- Although everybody was present at the brainstorming sessions, if there is no action plan to follow, things might get messy. Team members may forget small, yet important aspects, task overlaps, communication issues, misunderstandings – the list can go on forever.
- There is a chance that team members didn’t understand the whole concept clearly, or misinterpreted some parts of it. An action plan will allow to solve those issues since it states clearly what should be done, step by step.
- A documented plan isn’t just a piece of information that takes a lot of time to put together. It’s a good way to make sure you don’t lose any important ideas while in the working process. Also a plan will help minimize the chance of losing sight of your main goals and allowing you to focus your attention on what really matters.
We know you’re creative and often focus on the big picture, but sometimes leave smaller details unattended. That’s totally okay. This can work out just fine in some cases (team members will figure out themselves what to do with details and manage to get everything done correctly themselves), but most of the times it’s a matter of vision.
As the marketing manager you are the one who understands the idea best and it’s your job to deliver your vision to your team as clearly and as detailed as possible. This is where detail orientation starts to become a priority.
It’s not enough to conceive an idea and brainstorm around it. Having an idea is one thing, getting it properly executed is totally different. At the end of the day, a broad concept can be interpreted and implemented differently. It’s all a matter of small details that will make the difference between them.
As the marketing manager, you absolutely need to take risks into account. As much as an idea may seem great, certain risks are always present, always trying to mess up your plans and goals. As a smart manager, you need to be able to identify those risks and decide how you deal with them in case (or rather WHEN) they come up. Some risks can be avoided from the start if you know about them and take action beforehand, others will certainly cause problems.
Your job is to minimize their impact and make sure they do not affect your project goals. In cases when the risks are too high, you may want to consider taking an alternate route however tempting the rewards may seem to be: better safe than sorry. If something goes wrong, you will be the one to blame and take responsibility for everything.
Project managers have so much stuff to do, it’s physically impossible to make it all happen during the workday (even when overstaying the workday, it’s still close to impossible). This is why they are the masters of task delegation.
There is no shame in delegating some tasks to other team members. In fact, it will improve the work processes by a lot. Here are a few reasons to that:
- Some tasks are incredibly easy to perform, but require very long time. Delegating such tasks to employees with smaller workload is an effective way to get it out of the way and not worry about those any more.
- Delegating tasks frees up some time for you as a manager to focus on more important stuff like project/campaign goals and success.
- An excellent way to delegate responsibilities is to get the job done by 90% and have somebody finalize and polish the work afterwards. Details are what take the most time and make a good job look excellent. This is another way to squeeze in some more time for more important stuff.
What to do
Ideally, a working team needs to have both a marketing manager and a project manager. This way each person can focus on his/her tasks with no problems or overlapping. But the problem is, nothing goes ideally, ever (you guys know this, don’t you?). These 4 project management skills are important not only from project management perspective but from the management perspective as a whole.
Whether your company doesn’t have a project manager, or you have accidentally filled the role, this article a good place to start your new life and try to make it happen. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! (well, not exactly. It’s damn hard.) I have faith in you though -)
Pavel is a doctor who happens to have an MBA degree and a strong passion for writing. "I am a do-it-all kind of person: When I am not writing, I am busy curing people, when I am not curing people, I tend to kill WCG competitions. Life is fun, and full of wonders: Do what you enjoy most, even if it’s everything at once."