Is your organization failing to close the gaps between strategy and execution?

If you answered “yes†to yourself, you aren’t alone…

The truth is many small businesses or agencies will put in a great deal of effort brainstorming and planning a beautiful digital marketing campaign, only for that plan to go nowhere. Most projects and plans fail due to poor planning or lack of execution.

In fact, according to the PMI’s Pulse of the Profession Report 2107, many project leaders and executives claim that a primary challenge for their organizations is bridging the gap between strategy formulation and day-to-day implementation. Project leaders also reported that only 60 percent of their strategic initiatives and goals were met.

It might be relatively easy for a team of marketers to build a digital marketing campaign, but organizing and executing it is a little different… 

In our experience, executing a digital marketing campaign requires careful coordination and high-level project management.

In this article, we will explain how and why to project manage your digital marketing campaign to ensure that your campaign launches on time and yields the best results.

The Concept of Project-Based Marketing

We have seen too many clients make the same mistake: approaching their marketing efforts as a “quick fix†rather than looking at it as a long-term project that is properly aligned with organizational goals and initiatives. 

We have also seen many companies that hire an outside agency to “outsource†their marketing projects and efforts. 

Yes, working with an agency on a long-term basis might ensure that projects get done, however, few agencies fully grasp the culture of your business. In many cases, agencies might solve one problem or accomplish one project, but might miss the mark (or two) when considering your marketing strategy as a whole.

In our experience, developing a strategic project plan based on your business’ culture and needs, goals, direction, and that is also aligned with your overall marketing strategy will not only get more projects done but will deliver more desirable results. 

How to Develop and Project Manage a Strategic Marketing Plan—and Execution Model

Step 1: Determine Key Goals and Objectives

You can’t very well jump ahead with a project or marketing plan or strategy without first taking time to think about your goals and objectives. 

Take the time to ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you trying to accomplish with this project? 

  • What are the goals?

  • What are the challenges we are trying to solve? 

  • How are we currently managing projects?

  • What do the current systems look like?

When setting goals and planning projects, follow the SMART formula to ensure that goals are realistic, attainable, relevant, and timely. Above all, goals should be in line with high-level organizational goals and direction.

Step 2: Resource Allocation and Management

One common mistake many businesses make is not fully assessing resources. In fact, more than 40 percent of certified project management professionals (PMPs) indicated that resource management and resource optimization are their top project management challenges today.

If companies and teams don’t take the time to fully assess their resources and determine whether or not their resources even have the time, availability, or capability to work on a project, then quality, execution, and even on-time delivery all suffer.

Therefore, when planning a marketing project, it’s important to assess the following:

  • What and who are our resources?

  • Do our resources have the right skillset and capabilities to work on this project?

  • Do our resources have the availability to work on this project?

Step 3: Develop an Action Plan

Once we have all the above pieces to the project puzzle, we can begin developing an action plan. This could mean a Google Doc or Google Sheet organized into tabs that break down the tasks and milestones for each marketing project and goals for each, a slide deck, or a project management tool. 

The action should be just that: It should show clear action on who is working on what, and when each task is due. This not only minimizes the risks of task misalignment and miscommunications, but it also increases team workload visibility as well as accountability. 

Once you have outlined an action plan, the next step is to circulate it with the team and review it to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

Step 4: Execute

Of course, you can document a plan all day, but it won’t go anywhere unless execution is initiated. In fact, this is where most plans and projects sit stagnant or fall through the cracks. After reviewing the action plan, be sure to also discuss a plan for execution. 

  • How will the project start? 

  • Who will take the lead? 

  • What is the first thing that needs to be done and who will do it?

Step 5: Monitor, Adapt, and Evolve.

If at this point in your project and process, it’s important to review, monitor, and check in with the team to ensure that everyone and everything is progressing smoothly. Be sure to also ask team members for their feedback and input in order to further adapt and evolve your marketing project management process.

In the 2018 PMI Pulse of the Profession survey, 82 percent of project leaders claim that it is extremely important to not only gather insights and learnings from previous projects but to also adapt processes to turn those learnings into action for future projects. 

In order to do this, there needs to be a greater sense of accountability, a process for adapting existing workflows, and a communication plan for communicating when process changes occur. 

By approaching strategic plans and projects with a continuous improvement mindset, project leaders and teams can help to ensure successful project outcomes—every time.

A Proven Marketing Project Management Framework

At Jaguar Media, we have worked with hundreds of clients over the years, and many of the challenges they experience are related to insufficient resources, inefficient processes, and poor project planning.

Not only do we have a great deal of experience planning, executing, and managing marketing projects for clients, we have also developed our own flawless execution model as well as a process for helping clients to improve their internal processes.

Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help your business operate more efficiently.