When a deadline is looming, it can feel like you’re running a race with a rock in your shoe, a cramp in your leg and other runners cutting you off left and right.
If your marketing projects run late and you feel like you’re struggling instead of finishing strong, it’s time to reassess your strategy.
This post will help you identify the specific obstacles that make your marketing projects run late and help you do something about them.
Getting off to a weak start
A bad brief will kill your marketing project before it begins. It causes writers to guess at the direction of the content, which leads to an inconsistent message. Extra time is then spent on rewrites and reorganising.
We will never be able to stress enough the importance of a good brief that clearly explains the message in each piece of content and the goal of the project from the start.
Your timing is off
The ability to recognise a realistic timeframe for any given project is a must. Otherwise, you may say yes to a project that doesn’t fit into your schedule or commit to an impossible deadline.
Try creating a list of how much time it takes your team for each task, or assessing projects by their complexity. This way, when you look at a project, you can accurately determine how much time and effort is needed to get the job done before you take it on.
Expecting instead of anticipating problems
You know very well that projects can run into problems. You expect them, but they eat up your time if you don’t anticipate and plan for them.
Of course, don’t plan for crashed servers on every project. Simply allot the time it takes to complete tasks and then schedule a realistic contingency for potential problems.
Good, old-fashioned procrastination
Once tasks are assigned to your own team, freelancers or to an agency, the pace may feel a bit out of your control and it’s hard to trust that it will come together on time.
Create incentives for timeliness and early deliveries. This can be in the form of first pick on new assignments, moving to the top of the list for the next project or even a bonus.
A less than thrilling chase
A lot of time will be wasted if you or your team has to chase down resources for the project or signatures for approval.
Include all resources needed from the start with the brief and make sure you have signatures scheduled as tasks with a specific time for content to be reviewed and approved.
Setting yourself up for failure
Agencies run into the same obstacles you do on marketing projects and a mismanaged agency will not be able to overcome causing you to miss your deadline.
Realise that you do have control over choosing who to work with and manage your roster accordingly. Pick the agencies that allow your team to meet goals and deadlines.
Standing at the bottom of a deadline avalanche
As the project manager, every task comes back to you in the end and a marketing project has a lot of moving parts. If everything hits you at the same time, your ability to turn it over quickly may be jeopardized.
Start thinking in timelines instead of deadlines. Have a manageable cycle of deadlines which will help you feel that you’ve handled each item and are handing over a quality project.
Get serious about deadlines
Everyone working on your marketing projects needs to be on the same page when it comes to deadlines, meaning they have to understand just how important they are to the overall success of your company.
But the way you manage deadlines plays the greatest role in whether or not your team meets them. Be proactive about overcoming the problems a marketing project faces and finish strong every time.
(Hat tip to Lauren Hammond for the photo)