With so many elements involved in producing meaningful marketing campaigns in 2019, it's imperative that companies follow a careful planning and execution process. No matter how clear your strategy and goals for your marketing campaign might be, they are just hopes and dreams without a clear plan and timeline of how you are going to accomplish them. This is where so many organizations and marketing agencies fail and how they shred through budgets without seeing results.
So if you've built a plan and timeline and actually want to see your team follow through on it, how can you manage your timeline and deliver results that come in ahead of schedule and under budget? I've got three "Ps" in mind that help our agencies develop and manage our marketing timelines with our clients that will help your next project run smoothly.
Project bloat and scope creep can ruin the marketing campaign management of your timeline and add unnecessary time and tasks that aren't actually helping you accomplish the plan you set out to complete. When launching your project and sharing the vision with your team, it's imperative to clearly demonstrate the priorities of the project and your timeline and why it needs to fit within the time and scope you've set. Great projects are slowed to a halt because of too many other ideas that get pulled into the plan and distract from your priorities. Even if these other ideas are great, there's a time and place for prioritizing them, and if it's going to hurt the objectives of your plan and delay the timeline, they might be better suited for a future project.
Whether your project has one person or one hundred working on it, you need buy-in from the team on the plan, timeline, and priorities if you want to succeed. Clarity of purpose and vision of the big picture is vital for your team to connect the dots, especially between different departments, divisions, or agency/client barriers. Understanding the timeline and how a delay of hours/days/weeks on one task will ripple through the rest of the project helps people plan to meet deadlines. This sort of visibility encourages people to stay on task and dissuades people from dropping the ball when they see how it will disrupt the flow of the project and the team on it.
There's a difference between target dates and deadlines. Know which ones you want to hit and which ones you need to hit as a team. If your plan and timeline is organized well, managing your priorities and people through the process to make progress will be easy as you knock down tasks and see your project come together. Managing progress is a blend of keeping your team focused on what they need to do, making sure they have all the resources they need to be successful, and keeping the decision-makers who need to see the project completed informed on where things stand.
So how can each person involved in this project help manage the timeline?
Team Members: understand your role, what you need to complete you tasks, and when they need to be done to help keep everything on pace
Managers: helping your team members gather all the information they need to complete their tasks on time, informing the decision-makers on progress, and identify potential pitfalls or snags in the upcoming timeline.
Decision-Makers: Don't freak out over a single late task if the overall timeline is still on track. Understand that individual target dates can move if the project is still able to hit the final deadlines.
If marketing timelines were easy to manage, every project would be on time. Unfortunately, that's not the case, but if you and your team are able to focus on the priorities, people, and progress throughout that timeline, you'll have a better chance of reaching that final deadline with a successful project. Start improving your timeline process today and see better projects in the future.