Project Management, Resource Management

3 Ways to Build a Project Management Hub

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As work becomes increasingly complicated array of moving parts, digital marketers should think of themselves more as project managers. But without a centralized project management hub, this transformation is difficult. However, if marketers consider the following suggestions for creating an all-in-one project management hub, they'll find themselves breathing a little easier amid the chaos of their day-to-day, writes, Jennifer Dodos, Director of Marketing Communications, Mavenlink​​​​​​.

By 2021, Gartner believes at least 50 percent of large organizations “will have incorporated citizen integrator capabilities into their strategic integration infrastructure.” That is, large companies will make it easy for anyone, regardless of role, to connect the applications they need to the company’s central resources. Nothing better exemplifies this phenomenon than the Slack IPO news.

Slack not only makes it easy for anyone to start using it, but it also touts more than 1,000 application integrations easily downloaded and installed with just a few mouse clicks, without the need for technical assistance.

As marketers today, we must manage people as well as project details. As more of our workforce becomes blended — a mix of in-house employees, independent contractors, and third-party professional services organizations — the ability for us to manage these disparate and often geographically dispersed components of our team is becoming more important.

Marketing professionals in this day and age may have asked themselves something like, “How do I keep track of the assets for this campaign when my lead designer is in Des Moines, my social media agency is in Los Angeles, the web designer is a bit behind on getting the landing page up and running, and I’ve only got a month to launch?”

Especially when budgets are a major constraint, the answer to this multifaceted question lies in just how well we can keep track of all the moving parts swirling around us. It’s time to think of ourselves as project managers and adopt project management tools and processes to succeed.

Slack’s go-to-market approach leverages the potential of citizen integration. The company has been rewarded for its strategy. And for marketers, the ability to quickly link tools, like marketing automation, work management, and analytics software to a central workstream collaboration app is a productivity boost. Here is how we can, as citizen integrators, create an all-in-one project management hub.

Start With a Central Project Management Solution

Marketers typically track the progress of our activities with a project or resource management tool. It’s the only way to adequately monitor processes like lead generation, brand awareness campaigns, and cross-selling endeavors. With a centralized productivity hub, we can put our citizen integrator expertise to use, pulling information from resource management tools into one central location.

Tools like Mavenlink, Asana, and Trello can integrate with your productivity hub to help keep track of who is working on what resource. Connecting with your workstream collaboration app helps improve transparency into project progress by providing real-time status updates. Apps like these can turn citizen integrator marketers into omnipresent project managers, regardless of where their team is located or whether they use an agency or contract for a specific project.

Consolidate Content Marketing Processes

Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods for raising awareness and generating leads. However, as customer communication channels proliferate, the ability to easily manage all those channels wanes. Luckily, marketers turned citizen integrators can assemble all content marketing tools in one location if we build our infrastructure around a central productivity hub.

Content marketing apps that automate parts of campaign creation are already helpful in making content a more efficient solution to lead generation. Integrating those apps with a central system of record will keep all of those moving pieces in one place. Imagine having ContentKing and Chartbeat results at your fingertips, all while you generate year-end reports in the same clickstream.

Marketing content analytics apps, integrated into the same central location provide insight about the performance of your latest blog post without requiring you to sign into your CMS and comb through dashboards. Email marketing integrations like MailChimp allow users to easily access resources connected to your productivity hub.

Integrating these apps with your centralized system of record can keep everything in one place, allowing you to seamlessly transition from one project to the next.

Make Measuring Results Second Nature

While the best marketing measurements come in the form of website visits, goal completions, and leads generated, it’s important to stay abreast of what’s going on in your industry to understand if your messaging is resonating. The best way to manage messaging projects is by integrating media monitoring and social listening tools into your digital workbench.

Apps like RSS readers and news aggregators represent easy ways to curate information that matters to you. Some media monitoring tools like Nuzzle go even further. These types of apps allow citizen integrators to pull custom news media and social media influencer sentiment reports into your command center.

If you’re working with a PR firm to drive media results, the ability to track their progress against your own goals becomes much easier if you have Mediatoolkit or CivicFeed issuing automated notifications when your brand’s name receives press pickup.

Wrapping external media monitoring platforms into a centralized location can help marketers keep tabs on their brand awareness projects in real-time, without having to spend hours scouring Google News for mentions.

Marketers as Project Managers Own Competitive Advantages

In a recent survey we conducted of professional services organizations, 73% of respondents said they spend at least an hour each day switching between different apps. Depending on hourly bill rates and team size, that cost adds up quickly. Along with the actual cost of lost productivity is the opportunity cost teams bear when they aren’t able to think up new campaigns or fine tune current projects.

Slack’s IPO is a sure sign that the era of citizen integrators is upon us. With so many different efficiency-enhancing options before us, it’s time for marketers to think of themselves as project managers and create their own productivity hub.

This article was originally published on MarTechAdvisor on August 21, 2019.

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