Marketing managers are among the most disciplined and committed professionals. After all, marketing management is a demanding profession requiring the intelligent applications of marketing orientation, techniques and tools in organisations for the management of its marketing resources, activities and audience.

But marketing managers are not traditionally considered effective and efficient project managers – or at least, this is the conventional wisdom. But we know otherwise because marketing managers are project managers in their own right, too, in the sense that they also manage their own projects.

Such, however, is the divide in disciplines between the disciplines of marketing managers and project managers that the former believe that project management principles and practices are best applied to software development, product assembly, and building construction, among other projects, but not to marketing-related activities. This is far from the truth!

Marketing managers can learn from project managers in so many ways. Even the best marketing managers in the industry can think, decide and act like project managers and, in the process, enjoy the benefits of effective and efficient project management.

Think about it: Timelines can be met, if not shortened. Metrics can be achieved, if not exceeded. Teams can operate better, if not at their best.

Elements of project management

Marketing managers can adopt the following elements of results-effective, cost-efficient, and client-responsive project management.

Elements of project management

Project planning

Think of the marketing program and its plans as a large project requiring the best principles and practices in project management – and it starts with a project plan. According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, a project plan is a formal, agreed upon and approved documents used in guiding both project implementation and evaluation (i.e., control). It is used primarily for documenting planning assumptions and decisions as well as facilitating the communication of the project’s scope, cost and baselines, among others.

Document and task management

This element pertains to the effective, efficient and secure recording of the tasks, activities and accomplishments related to the project. Keep in mind that document and task management is a systematic approach in planning, organizing and tracking both the document and the tasks during the course of project implementation.

Organised document storage

Since the project’s progress must be monitored and documented from the planning to the evaluation stages, the documents should be stored in a safe and secure place. Just remember that organised document storage does not begin and end with storage per se – it is a cycle of records creation, followed by records storage, and then records retrieval that will then start another cycle.

Project cost tracking

Marketing managers, like project managers, must work within a set budget. Project management accounting is then must-have knowledge for the new generation of marketing managers since it provides them with a deeper understanding of budgeting resources, determining returns on investments, and tracking costs and expenses. Marketing managers then become more adept at executive and strategy decision-making as well as in portfolio management, thus, setting them free from an all-too-myopic point of view.

Return on investment analysis

Marketing managers are also held accountable for the returns on investments that the company made on their marketing programs and plans. Their deeper understanding of ROI analysis including its factors will then make them appreciate the process and its benefits better, too.

Independent and collective task management

Arguably, many marketing managers adopt a “seat of the pants” approach that makes their teams appear disconnected from each other and from the realities of the market. But when project management comes in, the team becomes more connected because an effective project manager spends time on ensuring that every team member knows their roles and responsibilities, the status of the project in relation to their jobs, and the deliverables expected of them based on schedule. Think of project management as the glue that holds the project in place.

Project managers can also teach marketing managers about analysing data and metrics. Keep in mind that metrics is just as important in marketing management as in project management as these allow everybody concerned to see the project’s present status and direction, thus, allowing for effective identification, even prevention, of potential problems while time is on their side. Such quantification is of crucial importance in both individual processes and overall progress.

Ways marketing managers can benefit

Marketing managers will benefit from their adoption of project management tools, techniques and technologies in so many ways. First, the use of cloud-based project management software with full integration resources – Microsoft Outlook is a prime example – allows the marketing team members and manager to enjoy transparency in all activities. Participants are notified in real-time about the changes, progress and milestones of the marketing plan, which is of crucial importance for teams working on several time zones and across several devices.

Second, marketing managers can learn the methods of uniting the team members toward the achievement of their common goals. This is because project management practices can alleviate the lack of communication and organisation in a team, one of the banes of marketing managers who are more of the creative type. Keep in mind that while marketing people can produce great works, their tendency is to work either on their own or with a select (i.e., small) group of individuals – and that’s not possible in the modern world where large groups are often necessary for success especially across international borders.

Marketing managers are then well-advised to take up project management courses to strengthen their knowledge and skills and, in the process, become better managers.