Installing and maintaining a small business marketing system is comprised a series of projects. As marketers, we manage two main types of projects – 1) get things “up and running” projects and 2) “ongoing work” projects.
Take blogging for example. You may have one project to get WordPress installed, designed, and configured. Once your blog is up and running you have a series of ongoing, recurring projects to continue create, review, publish and promote content on your blog.
Up and running projects typically get more attention and planning. This may be because of the initial expenses required, i.e. purchasing software or hiring a consultant, or just the realization that we are doing something new. However, it is the execution of the ongoing work project(s) that usually determine the success of the endeavor.
Companies that are focus on “up and running” projects without also focusing on the ongoing work projects are often frustrated that they “spend a lot of money on marketing but nothing seems to work”.
Here are five questions to ask yourself and your team when creating and reviewing both types of marketing project plans.
- What does DONE look like? – Having projects that drag on forever can be just as bad as projects that declared done but don’t meet the (intended) requirements. Make sure all of the stakeholders share a common vision of what done looks like.
- How are you going to get to DONE? – what are the deliverables of the project. Who is responsible for each deliverable? Map out the order of the work needed to produce these deliverables.
- What resources do we need? – time, money, expertise, technology – list resources needed to complete the project. Yes, we have an abundance of free / cheap tools available for marketing, but don’t forget about the time, skills, and knowledge it takes to implement those tools effectively.
- What could derail your plans? – we all know stuff happens, have you taken some time to think about what you will do when it does? How will you handle being late, over budget, or when key personnel are unavailable? You don’t have to obsess over these questions, but you don’t want to be caught off guard, particularly on your more important projects, by assuming they will never happen.
- How will you measure progress? – personally, I prefer to stay away from percent complete reporting and consider tasks to be either complete or not complete. This is a tip I picked up from my software development days; it helped us get away from projects or tasks that were perpetually “90% complete” and identify which tasks needed special attention or redefining.
What questions help you make sure your marketing projects are on track and successful?