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Why Using Project Management Techniques Will Improve Your Marketing Campaigns
By Melanie S Haydon

One of the things I’ve noticed recently is the number of law firms that are looking for Business Development and marketing staff. The responsibilities of the roles often include project managing events, producing collateral or running campaigns but the skills required tend to focus on traditional marketing skills and sector knowledge rather than project management experience. Business Development and marketing is still an emerging area in many firms so there is less likely to be a set of processes and templates to support them. This applies particularly to campaigns which have become much more important now with increased competition and more discerning clients.

To get the most out of a campaign you need to apply many of the same disciplines as you would for any other project in a professional services firm. I can speak from personal experience here, I run my own marketing campaigns and it involves skills such as planning, measuring effectiveness and scope control.

So why might it be a good idea to approach a marketing campaign as if it was a project and use some project management tools and techniques?

A campaign needs to deliver benefits that can be measured; it needs to show that the budget has been spent effectively so there is a return on the investment.

  • Without an agreed scope and plan it is all too easy to be sidetracked into doing something slightly different because the sector lead thinks it is a good idea.
  • Quality of any outputs (mail shots, events etc) needs to be measured whether by feedback from people who attend the event or by a review process for mail shots. If you have established a brand with a reputation for a high quality product no way do you want to send out a poorly put together newsletter or have an event that is sub-standard.

  • Most professional services firms only have small teams of people in business development roles so planning who does what and making sure they are not over-committed is vital.

Having established that project management has a use, then what part of it? I’m not suggesting applying PRINCE2 methods or the rigour you might use when building the Shard or implementing a new accounting package for a bank.

Stick to the basics; Scope definition, Budget, Governance, Risk management, Planning, Review/sign-off/quality process, Measurement of ROI and benefits.

By now you may be thinking this is all very well but how do I do this, I’m a marketing person not a project manager. Ask for advice, are there some templates that other people have used to run projects in other areas, do you know any tame project managers who could give you a few tips, is there any training material available in the firm? If not then here are a few ideas;

  • Scope definition – what is included, who is doing the work, what is not included
  • Budget – what it covers, when it will be needed so the cashflow can be predicted and who is responsible for agreeing it

  • Governance – who is the project sponsor/owner, what is the decision making process, what is to be reported to who

  • Risk management – what are the main risks and what can be done to stop them happening

  • Planning – a list of tasks allocated to people and an idea of what the sequence is, do you need to set up a special email reply address before you launch the first email for example?

  • Review/sign-off/quality process – how will the main deliverables be checked to ensure they are up to standard, reflect the brand and are consistent

  • Measurement of ROI and benefits – tracking leads and sales as a result of the campaign, feedback on the quality and content, updating information in your CRM system.

So at the end of all this your marketing activity will be more controlled, you will have defined how you will measure it, your finance people will know how much you are going to spend and when and you will know who is responsible for what and you will not be taken by surprise by a risk.

To end with here’s a little example of a campaign I ran:

The campaign was a series of hints and tips on project management sent by email. The scope was around 400 Managing Partners, Directors and Heads of IT/HR in professional services firms based in England. The work was done by our administrator, a colleague and I. The budget was the cost of the email mailing tool. Governance was fairly simple, I was the project owner and had agreed the scope with our Managing Director and reported progress to him. The risks included whether we were giving too much information away for free so people would be less likely to take our support. In terms of planning we worked out in advance what the timetable would be, how long we needed to produce the material and review it and who was going to do the tasks. The review process meant the pieces were consistent with each other and our Managing Director could check that they reflected the brand. Using an email marketing tool builds in a degree of tracking and we will be monitoring the results in terms of leads and sales over the coming months.

Melanie S Haydon provides project and change management consultancy services to professional services firms and looks for different ways to encourage people to take on change. If this article has made you realise how much better your marketing activity could be run then please get in touch with Melanie on her blog.

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