5 reasons to use a project management tool for your next marketing campaign. http://wp.me/p61i5y-1LLOne more sign pointing to the convergence of IT and marketing is there are increasingly more communications professionals interested in project management training or even Project Manager Development Program (PMDP) certification. It’s no secret that integrated marketing involves a level of detail beyond most traditional campaigns. Multiple messaging channels, diverse audiences and the need for real-time engagement and an enhanced customer experience all contribute to a greater need for project management skills.

Running a successful integrated marketing communications (IMC) project requires sophisticated planning, and implementation mechanisms are challenging, and time-consuming, to create manually. Learning and adopting a strong online project management tool into an integrated communications practice can be the difference between a good marketing campaign and a great one.

Here are five reasons why project management tools make sense, particularly for integrated marketers.

  1. Project management tools require the design of a careful plan. Project management and business solution technology is what forces marketers to think about the goals that need to be accomplished during the campaign, not just at the end. These tools (and the project overall) are much more efficient if tasks are broken down into manageable increments, usually those that can be accomplished in two weeks or less. Better planning means a better campaign.
  2. Complex integration is automatic within a project management tool. With IMC, timing is everything. Synchronizing an integrated marketing campaign requires paying careful attention to the sequence of components. However, IMC is also about understanding the dependencies between those components. Examining a project from both its linear progression, as well as its interdependencies, can be a complex task if done manually. The right project management tool will handle this automatically and allow more time to test those dependencies and sequences to determine what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Online collaboration within a project management tool delivers immediate communication to team members. Project managers (and let’s face it, modern marketers are just that) need to know who’s on track with their tasks and, more importantly, those who are behind. An online project management tool enables managers to quickly track progress without having to waste time and energy chasing down status reports. This kind of early warning helps balance the task load and eliminate risk.
  4. Project management tools store the latest information. Important documents like content/frequency charts, editorial calendars and other materials can be immediately updated, shared and saved in one location. The ability to log into an online dashboard to access the latest versions can be a lifesaver and helps keep all team members on the same page – sometimes literally.
  5. Reporting is simple with a project management tool. Clients and superiors might request status updates on short notice. The ability to quantitatively report that progress easily helps provide accurate, professional status reports without a lot of spreadsheet updating or writing. Overall status can be ascertained at a glance with a good project management tool so you’re not left scrambling at the last minute.

While there are many marketing project management tools out there, tools designed using a foundation in traditional project management may be a better fit for integrated marketing campaigns. Be wary of those tools that try to provide more of the “softer” capabilities, like built-in editorial calendars, and less of the important task and reporting capabilities. Best practices for IMC often require understanding more than just graphics and a robust online project management tool may be a little more complicated to learn, but will pay off in the long run.