Your marketing department is probably one of the busiest in the company. A single marketing department may handle several projects regarding strategies like:
- Door to door marketing
- Business to business marketing
- Digital marketing
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Event marketing
- Online/offline marketing
- Outbound/Inbound marketing
- Mobile marketing
- Social media marketing
Research shows that 97% of companies strongly believe that project management is crucial for business performance and organizational success.
If you are in those 97 percent, then you may need some kind of a tool for project management. Gantt charts for marketing department may be a good idea from the viewpoint of mind-mapping and progress-tracking. It’s interesting to note that only 64 percent of projects meet their goals. The most common causes of project failure involve changing priorities within organization, non-accurate requirements, altering project objectives, failing to define risks and/or opportunities etc. As you can see, projects fail also because of undefined risks, although 64 percent of organizations say they conduct risk management frequently.
If used accurately, Gantt charts can help predict risks especially regarding the deadlines and, accordingly, the milestones set. Hence, a Gantt chart may be a strong project management tool for your marketing department. Following are several brief facts about Gantt charts in general (for those who are not yet familiar with this tool)
- A Gantt chart shows what tasks need to be completed and when
- You enter a task on the left bar, then mark a start date and duration and the software defines the finish date for you
- Gantt charts also show percentages of performed (or not yet performed) tasks
- On the right bar team members (managers, coordinators, experts, employees) can be tagged for each task
- Colorful bars represent the activities and/or tasks and show how long they will last
- Dependencies between the tasks can be seen
- A milestone is usually marked on a Gantt chart, too
- The whole chart is located on a single page
Let’s see what advantages Gantt charts may have for your marketing department. As it was said above, a marketing department may handle a bunch of projects each of which will most probably need a time schedule and a project plan. Hence, following are five advantages of Gantt charts:
1. Generate tasks based on your marketing plan
No marketing department can operate efficiently without a comprehensive marketing plan. Based on situation, competitors and client analysis as well as the overall socio-economic and political climate in the country, you will be able to set your own marketing strategies. It is up to you to decide whether you will give more priority to the promotion strategy or the retention strategy. Accordingly, your marketing plan will include objectives that you should fulfill in order to achieve the desired outcome (which may be increasing client retention rates, attracting new customers and bringing more revenue to your company, etc.)
As soon as you outline marketing department objectives, you can start generating tasks. For example, if you need to deal with a range of content marketing objectives, you can assign tasks to your SEO and SMM specialist, your market research specialist and graphic designer. As a result, tasks similar to the following may be generated
- Analyze backlinks and build new links
- Create content for the website’s main pages
- Create unique content for the website’s blog
- Create banners and slides for the website
- Provide interesting facts and statistics about the product
- Create infographics based on research and statistics
- Create social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit etc.)
For example, if your department is to handle a door to door marketing project, you might want to include the following tasks to your Gantt chart:
- Find active youth or students by making use of HR resources and social media
- Carry out staff trainings on door to door sales
- Provide Door to door salespeople with booklets, brochures and similar promotional materials
- Provide door to door salespeople with survey sheets to collect statistical data from citizens along with the sales
- Analyze statistical data provided by door to door salespeople
As soon as you are done with generating tasks, you can pass onto indicating start dates and durations for each task. End dates will be calculated automatically after you enter start dates and durations;
2. Show complex data on a single page
Whether it is a group of tasks concerning mobile marketing, a single task on undercover marketing or anything else for that matter, you will have it all in one place. Gantt charts for marketing department provide ease of use and a user-friendly design that will make you feel like you are brainstorming ideas and drawing lines between them.
Yes, you can really draw lines or arrows next to the tasks in the right bar of a Gantt chart. This will help you set dependencies between the tasks. Moreover, you can set the same color for all the related tasks in order to easily differentiate them from others.
Let’s take an example of a dependency between tasks: If you need to conduct Email marketing by sending newsletters to your clients, your first task will be designing newsletters and creating relevant content for them. But before that, you will need to gather client emails (by asking them to provide emails when buying a product or when making payments in your service centers).
As you can see, the two tasks are interdependent; if no emails are gathered, no Email marketing will be possible. Gantt charts let you see all these things in one place and consider the importance of each of them. A great time saver isn’t it?
3. Communicate with the staff
A Gantt chart is a good communication tool between the employees. Rather, it’s an interactive tool to help staff get involved in the whole process. As soon as the marketing department sees the chart, they will start communicating with one another to achieve the milestones set. More importantly, your marketing team will be on the same page with your sales team (you can provide access to the Gantt chart to several teams in your department), which is the key for successful implementation of most marketing strategies.
With a Gantt chart, the interaction between the teams will flow by itself, which means that little intervention will be needed on your part as the manager. Two more things:
- No confusion with the deadlines; start and finish dates, as well as task durations are visible for everyone.
- Human resources are allocated effectively; people responsible for each task are mentioned on the chart and this is visible for everyone, too.
4. Communicate with stakeholders
A Gantt chart is a great tool to help you make a delicate proposal or show your clients and stakeholders where the project is at the moment. One image is worth hundreds of words when it comes to reporting progress. Your clients or stakeholders will be able to visually see the steps you will be taking to reach the milestones set. Creating a single Gantt chart for multiple teams in a marketing department will help you save time and allocate resources intelligently. Accordingly, stakeholders will benefit from this too.
5. Report to the head of marketing department
Gantt charts can also be useful for reporting. Instead of getting a bunch of papers from your employees, you can be presented with the Gantt chart and see everything clearly. With such a tool, you can see:
- Who did what?
- What was completed when?
- What was interconnected with what?
Bonus advantage of Gantt charts
Along with other responsibilities, a marketing department is responsible for training their staff. A nicely written marketing plan and a Gantt chart showing how that plan can be implemented are great tools to help train your potential marketing specialists.
So, Gantt charts for marketing department – interactive, editable, cost effective, time saving and communication-driven. 96% of marketing departments believe the breadth of marketing skills needed for team success has increased drastically.
Be open when it comes to planning and tracking progress, mind-mapping and reporting results. If you have ever used a Gantt chart in any field, don’t hesitate to share your experience with us and comment below.