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Over the years, our agency has worked with manufacturers of all shapes and sizes. So, when it comes to the challenges that are often faced by manufacturing marketing departments, it’s safe to say that we’ve seen it all. Compared to other industries, the challenges faced by these marketing departments are unique.
The biggest challenge that we see is almost always a lack of resources and time as a result of having a small team and a small budget.
Though this is something that affects the entire marketing department, in our experience, it’s typically the Marketing Manager who bears the brunt of the issue and is forced to overcome this obstacle. With so much on the line as Marketing Manager, you can’t afford to waste a minute of your time if you want to meet your marketing goals for the year.
Faced with this challenge, how do you ensure that you allocate enough time in your schedule to focus on and implement your strategic marketing plans? How do you spend less time answering emails and worrying about an endless to-do list, and more time executing your goals?
If you truly want to focus on the important stuff, structured project management and planning is your answer. Don’t just take my word for it; According to Peter Drucker,
Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.
Whether your goal is to simply increase site traffic on an individual landing page, or to redesign an entire section of your website, using this simple PM guide can help you to better manage both your time and your team, and ultimately lead your company to greater profitability and success.
First, you must have a set list of goals. If you already have your marketing plan in place, then you will want to start there. Each goal should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound. Once you have your goal list created, you should spend some time ranking your tasks and projects in order of priority. If it isn’t going to get you closer to your goals, should you really be spending time on it?
Let’s say that one of your goals for the year is to increase annual sales. After evaluating that site traffic has been moderately lower on your product pages over the past 6-12 months, you decide that this section is outdated, and that redesigning this section of your website is a major priority in order to increase site traffic and sales.
Next, you need to define your budget. Before you get started, you should ask yourself how much money, time, and resources you have to work with. Make sure that every step of the way is quantifiable. This will help you to stay focused and track progress along the way.
For instance, redesigning a section of your website is a large project that requires copious time and resources. Before you can begin, you will need to estimate how much time your team should spend on prototyping, meeting with web/UX designers, reviewing designs, structuring or entering content, and quality assurance. Not to mention, additional production expenses such as photography & video, and other content for your new website could also be necessary.
Now that you have a quantifiable goal and budget to work towards, you should set some time aside to create a schedule that holds yourself and your team members accountable. Just remember to create realistic deadlines, as it’s equally important that you set yourself up for success and continue marching towards key milestones.
There are a handful of simple, easy-to-use project management tools to help you schedule larger and more robust projects like a website redesign. For example, you might try using a Gantt chart (we recommend TeamGantt) to map out each major phase and milestone such as design & prototyping approvals, deadlines, and launch dates. You could also use an action list or a shared calendar (try Asana or Google Calendar) for your team to help track all of the small, day-to-day items. Combining these methods will help to keep you on track from one task to the next, without getting sidetracked along the way.
Every project, whether big or small, should have a kick-off, followed by reoccurring meetings and check-ins to help monitor your project’s progress. Make sure to schedule the necessary amount of time with your team members to make sure you’re all on the same page. As a Marketing Manager, remember that you can’t do it all; you should leverage your team and then lead them to success. By checking in daily, weekly, or monthly (depending on the size of the task/project) this gives you and your team a structured time to review outstanding questions or status updates.
For example, before your website kick-off, you should determine which team members will need to be involved on a daily basis, versus who you will need for weekly prototyping or design meetings. You should also determine when you will need to involve key stakeholders. By planning ahead and scheduling these meetings, you can make sure everyone stays updated at the right times, guaranteeing that your project runs smoothly.
Once the project or task is complete, you should always set up the time to review the outcome and its success. How did your team do? What would you do differently in the future? Did you come in within budget? Depending on the project, set time to review analytics, timeline, budget, and gather any feedback from your team. By documenting this, you can improve on future projects that you work on and avoid making the same mistakes twice. After all, practice makes perfect, which ultimately leads to efficiency and success.
Everyone can benefit from practicing simple, project management skills, but for Marketing Managers in the manufacturing industry in particular (or other small B2B companies), using a strong project plan/management system can be the difference between being a good Marketing Manager and a great Marketing Manager. If you’re constantly faced with the challenges of having few resources and team members to get stuff done, then project management and project planning can especially help alleviate some of the stress felt on a day-to-day basis.
By following these 5 simple steps, and investing in project management, you can be sure to spend your marketing budget more efficiently and reach your marketing goals quicker.
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