Project management in advertising is like traffic control at an airport. You must manage what’s coming in as well as what’s going out, and much can be happening with both at the same time.
From preparing creative briefs for review to processing requests for revisions to drafts and formulating budgets to forecasting resource demand, you must know what is going on anywhere at any time during your project.
You also must do all of this while ensuring that you complete your project on time, within budget, and in line with your client’s expectations. With so much going on, there is so much that can go wrong.
When it comes to project management in advertising, avoid the following eight things.
1. Acting without planning
Actions without goals may not be totally meaningless, but they don’t necessarily mean much either. What good is a brilliant idea for an ad if it doesn’t support your client’s objectives, for example?
Confirm that your project aligns with your agency’s creative strategy for your client. Clarify your client’s goals and plan in detail how you will achieve them through your advertising campaign, including the message it will send and the outcomes it will produce.
2. Ambiguous expectations
Each team member should know his or her role and responsibilities from the outset. Set expectations and increase accountability by outlining tasks and deliverables. Then confirm that each team member understands what is expected of him or her and that he or she is committed to delivering.
3. Guessing at workloads
You may want to pull in your best copywriter to put your client’s project over the top. But what if he or she can’t get to your project for days or even weeks? Can your client wait that long?
Competing demands for resources can slow your project and compromise productivity by sapping team members’ creative juices. Optimize creativity by reviewing resource forecast and usage regularly and shifting work between team members who are overburdened and those who have the capacity.
4. Complex email chains
Email is no longer the cutting-edge technology it was long ago. Not only is it slow compared to alternatives like texts, chats, and video conferences, it can also be confusing. How much time have you spent reading down through emails to discover why a message has landed in your mailbox and what you are expected to do with it? How much time have you spent searching your mailbox for previous messages?
Speed your project up by consolidating communication with ad agency software designed specifically for the creative process. As an example, you can save time emailing drafts to clients, waiting for their responses, and then plodding through their revisions by allowing them to mock up the deliverable in real time. With all of the changes in one place, and the ability to get more detailed feedback instantly, your team could make the revisions more quickly and then push your project along.
5. Relying on memory
Even those of us with the best memories could use some help remembering upcoming deadlines. Setting your ad agency management software to send project alerts can help your team work ahead of schedule. You can also automate notifications of completed tasks, changes in responsibilities, and revisions to due dates.
6. Focusing only on the creative
Integrating software with other departments like sales and accounting can greatly simplify project management in advertising. For example, you can simplify media billing by automatically preparing accurate invoices based on media orders. You can also automate timekeeping and expense tracking, which can help you recoup every cost.
7. Working in silos
Don’t depend on your team to keep you up to date on its progress. Don’t assume that one person will tell another when a task has been finished either.
Cultivate collaboration among team members by facilitating communication about work that has been done as well as work that remains. Consider using project collaboration software that provides shared access to files and streamlined communication methods to help.
8. Not measuring success
Quality is subjective. Quantify the return on investment made by your client and your agency. Demonstrate how an effective campaign has measurably improved your client’s business, like by increasing website visits, as well as how an efficiently executed project has increased your agency’s profitability. The more value you demonstrate, the more demand you will generate for your services.
Advertising and project management are each challenging fields on their own. Combining them can make for a daunting endeavor indeed. When it comes to project management in advertising, avoid these eight things to please clients by delivering great work, on time, and within budget.
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