10 Skills a Digital Marketing Project Management needs for Success

17th August 2017

Sara Webster Experienced Digital Project Leader

10 Skills a Digital Marketing Project Management needs for Success

Over the years the role of Digital Marketing Project Manager has expanded to include Account Management, Digital Strategy, Sales & Biz Dev, QA, Product Development…the list grows by the day. Add to that the fact that no Digital Marketing Project Manager (or DMPM) comes to the role with the same experience or qualifications and you can see why it’s really tough to know where to start with developing your skills.

I spent 15 years honing my skills in this area and have pulled together the talents that will help make you a Digital Marketing PM hit with your teams and your clients a like.

Communication is at the heart of everything a Digital Marketing Project Manager does

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01. Communicate like a boss

Communication is the skill you will use most as a DMPM. It’s at the heart of everything you will do and doing it well will make or break your success as a project manager.

You will need to navigate difficult and challenging situations in projects and learning how to communicate and build relationships with the people in your project teams will make this much easier.

Writing a strong communications plan at the start of a project is a great way to let stakeholders know when they can expect you to communicate progress and milestones. But the softer side of comm’s is key too.

Take the time to learn the methods and timings of how different individuals like to be communicated to, learn that Bob loves to chat early in the day before his managers call and loves to be asked how his daughters hockey match went before you hit the tough chat, learn that the SEO Account Manager is far more likely to put you to the top of their priority list if you swing by their desk with a fresh cuppa to accompany the request.

02. Know your Project Management Methodologies

Yep, it’s really obvious but a necessary skill. On top of being able to deal with people you need some understanding of PM methodology. I don’t subscribe to one particular methodology and in fact, I think DMPM’s benefit from mixing it up and picking the most applicable tools from all the methodologies to ensure a project isn’t slowed down by it’s governance.

Nonetheless, an understanding of the methodologies and techniques is a good starting point. Read up on Agile, Scrum, Waterfall and PRINCE to give yourself the chance to demonstrate your ability to lead the project.

Project Management Methodologies

03. Walk the Digital Marketing Walk

It’s a broad and varied topic but being able to understand the various channels and strategies is invaluable. Knowing what content is needed to boost your SEO rankings, what PPC Ad Copy has the best click-through-rate and what social platform is going to work best for your retail client goes a long way to helping you navigate the successful planning of projects.

It allows you to demonstrate to your project team that you understand their roles, better estimate how long tasks are going to take in the project plan and speak knowledgably to clients without always having to pull an area expert off project work to attend calls. The Digital Co offers a great Introduction to Digital Marketing as a starting point for this!

04. Adapt, Adapt and Adapt some more

All Project Managers need to be able to think on their feet, but in Digital Marketing this skill is tested even further. Digital Marketing Projects tend to move at a gear above other projects meaning changes and hurdles come thick and fast. The need to move on to plan B, C, D will happen way more often than not and managing scope creep is TOUGH!

Learn how to produce thorough and manageable Statement of Work and Risk Logs at the start of projects to help you with the potential changes and keep the projects on track. Also learn to be creative when things you haven’t planned for or even seen before come along – it all adds to the learning!

Project Management Adapting

05. Reporting & Analytics

Data is the new black and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.

Data analysis skills enable you to determine whether the tactics of a project are working and, almost more importantly, which are not.

Clients are busy people and having a DMPM that can give them this info in a clear and concise fashion will make them very happy. Google Analytics (analytics.google.com) remains the most popular way to do this but adding other tools such as Adobe Media Optimizer and DoubleClick will always be helpful.

Project Management Reporting & Analysis

06. I have a cunning plan!

Planning & Organisation – As a DMPM you are tasked with seeing the “bigger picture” and guiding the rest of the project team towards the end deliverable on time, scope and budget. Make sure you undertake the appropriate planning, organise the team properly and remove any obstacles that appear along the way.

Always have the milestones and deadlines in mind and constantly communicate to make sure you are aware the second any of these become threatened. It’s not a disaster to have to move a deadline but it is a disaster not to know about it and be able to warn the client and other dependent teams.

Project Management Planning

07. Tools & Technology

There are a number of tools and technologies that can help a DMPM govern a project whilst keeping the required project pace. Learning what works for you and your team is really important but with free or free trial options, tools such as Asana, Dropbox, Trello and Slack are a great place to start trialling.

Remember to consider the working practices and skill levels of your project team when considering what tools to use. Holding daily huddles by VC when half the project team don’t have access to a quite place to chat won’t set you off on the best foot!

08. Presenting Powerpoint

Telling the project “story” in an organized and aesthetically pleasing way is key to any digital marketing strategy and in turn project. Being able to turn a few quickly flung together slides from your delivery teams into a compelling deck and selling them to your client is a skill that will change your project management into project leadership. It’s a skill that will set you apart from the masses.

FTTP and Slidehunter are a great place to start trialling.

09. Financial Management

It’s not the most glamourous skill but a good DMPM understands the profit margins of a project and the impact time, scope and people have on this. The figures have to be at the forefront of a PM’s mind in any decision making process as this will make or break the perceived success of the project.

10. CMS & HTML

It is true to say, for the most part, that once you’ve worked in one, you can work in them all when it comes to CMS’s but Wordpress, Drupal and ExpressEngine are highly popular and worth gaining some hands-on expertise in.

Understanding what content can be edited and what is hard coded can be really helpful when chatting with clients. Knowing your basics of HTML is also a crowd pleaser and can save developers the time consuming small jobs. I’d start with codeacademy.com or we3schools.com.

Let’s sum this up

So that’s your starter for 10 in the Digital Marketing Project Management basic skills. They’re not all easy to come by and they’re going to take time to hone but once you have those skills you’ll be a highly desired member of the DMPM community.

In the meantime, an honest, fair and approachable manner will go a long way to affording you the time to develop, that and a smile!

And if there anything else you think should make it on to this list, drop us a comment, we’d love to hear about it.


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