It’s the beginning of a new month, and you’ve been loving the results your contracted marketing agency has been producing. You’re “vibing” with the entire marketing team and your project manager (PM) has interpersonal communication skills that are to die for. Right before you feel like you need to ask a question in regards to the status of a project, the PM is right there, updating you on the timeline and anything else the agency will need from you to make sure the strategy is implemented to the best of everyone’s abilities.
When it comes to your overall sales and marketing plan, you know the marketing agency is a key player in its success.
Because of this, you’re a bit confused when you receive your monthly invoice—there is a line item that you’re not familiar with: project management and marketing consulting. What exactly does that mean, and why are you being charged for it?
Why is Project Management Vital to a Successful Marketing Agency?
Personally, I don’t think there is an efficient marketing agency out there that doesn’t assign each client a project manager. Project management is the process of leading the work of the marketing team to achieve all project goals within certain constraints—time and budget being the largest. The PM assigned to each client is typically the most knowledgeable about the client’s mission, vision, and needs. They not only keep the entire marketing team on track but also deliver unbeatable marketing strategies and/or execute on client items.
When the marketing team has a question about a task, asset, or goal, they’ll first go to the PM for the answers. The PM is the liaison between the marketing agency and the client. They’re involved in every aspect of the client’s scope of work, from start to finish.
Great PMs can make or break a client relationship and can be the determining factor between an organized and efficient marketing team and one that descends into tight-turnaround chaos.
What Should You Look for In a Project Manager?
- A Master Communicator
Because the PM will be the primary contact point when it comes to marketing activities for both the marketing team and the client, a great PM has powerful communication skills. To survive in the current economic climate, many marketing agencies have moved to remote work, which means it’s more important than ever for the PM to have prime-time communication. Our rule of thumb: Respond to a client’s questions within the same day that it’s asked, even if you don’t have the answer yet. At least let them know you have received the message and that you’re working toward finding a solution.
- Time Management Skills
Deadlines are critical when it comes to staying on track with the overall project timeline. Normally when we think of deadlines, we associate them with the last one: the project launch. However, each task leading up to that launch has its individual deadline and each task after it is set up off of the deadline before. Sounds complicated? It can be without the right project management system or PM. In this role, you’re not only managing your time but also the time of all the other marketing team members. Missed deadlines might still happen, but an experienced PM should know how to rearrange dates to meet the original launch deadline or communicate the timeline change to the client.
- Collaboration and Problem-Solving Skills
A PM is the undisputed owner of every marketing project they manage. This means that every snag the marketing agency or the external client runs into could have an impact on the project. It is the responsibility of the PM to problem solve and collaborate with both internal and external teams to find solutions. This is also where communications skills come into play. If the PM drops the ball on a project or follow-up, the entire project could fall out of line.
Why Do Marketing Agencies Charge for Project Management Time?
If you’ve ever worked for a marketing agency, you’ve probably experienced the following: It seems easier for our clients to wrap their heads around paying for a task that can be fully executed, like graphic design or content creation, than it is for them to think about paying for project management. At its core, project management is essential and all of the collaboration, communication, organization, problem-solving, and timeline follow-up takes time. A lot, a lot of time.
So, circling back to that invoice you’re looking at where you’re being billed for “Project Management and Marketing Consulting”, this time normally includes all the face-to-face meetings with clients, coordination time on behalf of the client, following up if a client doesn’t respond, phone calls and emails to strategize projects and more.
Most marketing agencies don’t charge for the full amount of project management time that is actually spent in the month. Because of this, know that whatever amount has been invoiced to you is typically a fraction of the time your marketing agency is actually spending on the backend, making sure your project is not only executed properly and to the highest quality but also remains within the original timeline and budget.
Project Management: A Priority
At Uncommon Marketing Works, we know our PMs are the oil that keeps the machine moving smoothly. They’re a vital part of our team and even more significant when communicating with you; our clients. If you’re ready to build a relationship with a marketing agency that keeps your best interest in mind, contact us today. We’re always here to help.