I’ve come across many marketing teams of different shapes and sizes, and the one challenge they all have in common is: too many #*!@ projects. We can’t fix the demand for marketing, but we can find a more useful and effective way to do marketing project management — and my solution is using monday.com.
I’ve recently started using the monday.com Work OS to organize the marketing initiatives at our company. If you’re already using monday.com for your marketing team, or thinking about it, below are a few tips I’ve found helpful. Scroll down for video demonstrations of how the software’s features work.
How to set up an effective monday.com board to organize marketing projects
1. First, let’s all get on board.
Keeping track of projects is commonly viewed as a very uncool chore creative people hate. “Can you update your status in the GDoc?” is anxiety-triggering for many of us.
Starting a new system requires some internal championing about why marketing project management matters. Here are a few ideas:
- Make it clear to your team that project management is not about tracking what everyone is doing, but enabling everyone to collaborate more effectively. Using monday.com makes it easy to communicate and receive information without sending constant, intrusive emails
- Remind your team that organization should fuel creativity, and not stifle it. We have to get tasks out of the collective brain of the marketing team so we can actually focus on being productive and reaching the nirvana of scribbling on a whiteboard.
- Bring up the fact that, love it or hate it, the marketing team has to market itself to the broader organization. Keeping track of projects creates a story we can show to executive leaders, in order to hire new people and get budget for the best-looking swag at next year’s conference.
2. Find a simple template.
The user interface of monday.com consists of visual boards to plan, organize, and track work.
It’s heavily customizable, but to start, I suggest browsing the marketing-specific templates for ideas. We are specifically discussing project management in this article, though monday.com also offers specific boards useful to marketing teams, such as managing creative requests or organizing assets.
I would argue that regardless of all of the boards you have, every marketing team could benefit from a basic board mapping larger projects and initiatives to their goals.
3. Map your projects to your goals.
After some trial and error figuring out the best way to organize our project board, I decided to group all items by our top marketing goals for the quarter (e.g. create an email campaign, create a webinar).
I like this format because it is easy for me to go into granular details of all of these goals and see where we are on each project. It is also easy for me to show a high-level view to my boss in order to catch him up on initiatives, without being too overwhelming.
And, when needed, you can use other views (timeline, calendar).
4. Include a “done” and “snooze” section.
Marketing priorities shift all the time. When we decide a project is no longer active at the moment, we move it to “Snooze.” That way, aspirational projects aren’t crowding up the day-to-day workspace and overwhelming everyone.
When a project is marked “Done,” I’ve set up an easy automation so that it automatically moves to the “Done” section. You can really have fun trying out other easy-to-implement automations, as you notice anything that could be automated on your board.
6. Consider making your editorial calendar part of the project list.
Many marketing teams have an editorial calendar separate from other projects. In my experience, it often only creates extra work and more items to update.
Now, I integrate all editorial into the project list. This is much better, because every piece of content is a huge project that should be showcased among other projects.
I can still view my content section as a calendar. In order to do this, I select the calendar view. I have saved a filter so that it only shows me items on the project board tagged “#content.”
7. Check out your insights.
Another cool feature to use is the “charts” feature. For example, I can look at my current projects by status, revealing how much I have accomplished this quarter. A great one for your next executive meeting!
8. Use colors wisely.
David Allen, productivity expert and author of Getting Things Done, offers the best advice about color coding:
“Avoid the unnecessary complication of color-coding your files.”
At first it was hard for me to hear — but it’s been very useful. Color coding has its place. For example, sometimes it helps to denote things, like in the pie chart above.
Reasons that are not so good: color coding something you don’t need to sort. For example, you don’t necessarily need to make all the projects for Ryan red, because if you really need to see all the projects for Ryan, you could sort by Ryan’s name.
In summary, only color code when it matters.
9. Add more details with subitems and comments.
monday.com enables you to break out items into subitems. I use this for projects that have multiple steps.
I also use the “updates” feature, generally to write a status update, communicate to team members, add additional task items, or store project assets and links in other systems.
10. Use tags to group items as needed.
If David Allen were writing this, he would probably say tags are like colors, and should be used only when they matter. I added very simple tags to each item noting the goal. For example, my email campaign has the tag “#email.” It enables me to view insights by initiative.
I also demonstrated earlier how tags make it easy for me to filter every “content” item into a calendar view.
Basically, use tags whenever you think it could be useful to pull up like items into another group.
In conclusion, it’s hard out there for a marketer. We deserve a simple and elegant solution to manage our jobs like The Container Store would.
There are many other useful and cool tricks to using monday.com, but these are just a few. If you’re interested in learning about how to integrate monday.com with Jira, check out our webinar.
Please connect with me on LinkedIn if you have any other comments to share. And — time to be a marketer — if you’re interested in learning more about doing project management with monday.com or setting up a free demo, contact us below.
Ellie Behling is Director of Marketing at Atlas Authority.