15 Sep Project management: the magic sauce
Back in the pre-digital day, it was cool for design and marketing agencies to abandon the idea of organisational structure. We did it ourselves – Creative Media was super lean, our clients could work directly with the creatives and everything ran sweet as a nut for almost two decades.
But we’ve shifted our focus over the past two years, largely because business and marketing in general have been transformed by global events. Digital and content marketing have a bigger slice of the CM pie than ever before, and our business has grown exponentially from less than ten employees before the pandemic, to more than 30 (and counting!).
With this growth and development came the very real need for a team of expert project managers to deliver practical support for both our clients and team, to manage outputs, and to give our creatives the time and space they need to do their thing.
Vital & varied
We’ve got five project managers now, but the OG is Sally Campbell, who joined the company just as we were catching a wave of big changes. Once tipped as the hardest job in the world by our MD, Sally’s role is both vital and varied, as she explained when we cornered her for a quick chat: “My role is about maintaining the relationship between our clients and the team of specialists at Creative Media – no two days are the same!. This involves regular meetings throughout the week – speaking with clients as far reaching as North America – to ensure that we are on track with both weekly and monthly outputs. Outside of coordinating these weekly outputs I am also involved in a whole host of other activities including managing PR opportunities, co-ordinating merchandise, facilitating design projects (I leave the clever stuff to the creatives!) and much more. I host monthly strategy meetings for all of our clients. This is the exciting stuff! This is where we get to see what really works, which outputs are creating the biggest impact and where we can apply a laser focus in the weeks and months to come.”
It takes a special kind of person to excel in this role. Fastidious, yet flexible. So how does Sally manage the pace of change she encounters on a daily basis?
“The change is the best bit! As a team and an organisation we never stand still. I particularly enjoy the strategy and analysis that we apply as part of our core service to help to bring visibility to the world in which we operate. Marketing can be a minefield!
“Each month brings new growth, new challenges and new developments – for us and our clients. Content marketing and the core outputs that we deliver on are fast paced and (whilst we try to remain reactive at all times) we need schedules and precision to ensure we stay on track. This is where I step in. I love coordinating so I can add value here by ensuring both clients and the CM team understand what is required and when.”
Sally’s right at the coal face so to speak, which means she’s the first to observe patterns and trends in marketing strategy. So what’s she seeing right now?
“I think it’s really interesting to see how the pandemic has changed the dynamics in terms of how businesses relate to their customers. We’ve seen a pretty major shift towards a more value-centric, accountable and approachable way of doing business. Consumers are becoming more discerning in terms of which brands they support – they’re looking for companies that stand for something, that aren’t afraid to admit their failings. They also want to see themselves reflected in the businesses they support. As a result, brands are having to go much deeper into understanding their customers’ needs and aspirations, and they’re having to become much more transparent themselves. Consumers have a lot more power than they used to, which I think can only be a good thing.
“We’ve responded to this by adding digital and social media analysts to our own team so that we’ve got the expertise to really get under the skin of our clients’ audiences. We also really believe in engaging their teams, making sure that individual contributions are recognised within company communications – this is a powerful way to demonstrate that human aspect both internally and externally. We also focus on building third party marketing partnerships that can dramatically boost a brand’s authenticity and reach.”
Managing your marketing strategy
Of course, not every business can have a Sally at their beck and call – so for those companies currently managing their marketing strategy in-house, what are her top tips?
“I would say having a content schedule (and sticking to it), plus well-populated social pages. People trust companies that are consistent, and so do search engines! Make sure your website is user-friendly, with very clear messaging. Most importantly – know your audience. It sounds simple but when you’re immersed in and passionate about your brand, it can be hard to be objective about what your customer really needs. Last but not least, hold weekly meetings to track your marketing outputs and objectives. It’s really tempting to skip this when you’re busy, but in my experience, it’s the only way to keep things moving forward.”
Whether your in-house marketing team needs some additional support, or you’d like to outsource all your marketing activities, we can help. Get in touch to access branding, web, digital, content and project management services today!