Project management is not an easy task. Add to the mix the complexities of a day-to-day advertising agency, and managers have a real problem at their hands. The chaotic timelines, the never-ending workload, and the ever-changing project requirements keep teams and the senior leadership on their toes.
For example, if your creative team starts working on a collateral without a client brief, all that effort can go to waste. Or, if the production department begins with the post-production process without client approval, the entire campaign can derail.
Irrespective of the quality of talent within your team, everyone needs a little ‘automation’ help.
Team leaders need to understand who is working on what and whether the job is being done on time or within the requisite scope of work. Employees need to be assigned the right tasks at the right time to prevent burnout or rework. Clients need to be kept in the loop about project progress and status.
This is where project management software comes into the big picture. In this blog, we will deep-dive to understand why project management software is a boon for ad agencies in today’s dynamic and high-paced work environment. Let’s get to it straight away.
The Need for a Project Management Software for Ad Agencies
If you wish to understand why to invest in an ad agency project management software, keep reading. First things first, let’s understand how an ad agency works.
Consider this scenario for a split second: Let’s assume that your client servicing team is working on getting a brief from the client. This ‘brief’ then needs to be communicated intact with the content and design teams.
The teams start working on the creative with constant back-and-forth between the agency heads, the client, and the internal delivery teams. One mistake along the way and this can turn out to be a very costly recipe for failure. This is why investing in project management software becomes essential.
Centralized access to project management software helps project managers to:
- Ensure that the teams (from the creative and the client servicing teams to the accounts and delivery teams) work together like a well-oiled machine, thanks to a streamlined communication process and a well-managed workflow in place
- Organize and structure the project management process from start to finish
- Prioritize time-sensitive projects in terms of importance and manage client as well as stakeholder expectations
- Conduct regular check-ins, drive status calls, manage to-do lists, and send important emails
- Track and supervise a range of simple and complex tasks/activities at hand via improved team collaboration
- Manage resource allocation as well as change management tasks with relative ease
- Allocate tasks basis the available resources, timelines, etc.
- Leverage templatized and standardized templates related to tasks and accelerate the turn-around time
- Meet the deadlines and engage in proper project planning
- Mark off tasks as complete or update the status in real-time, ensuring everyone stays in the know at all times
- Deliver quality work while ensuring employees don’t waste time on understanding the due date of a project and instead can focus their energies on bringing their creative ideas to life
All in all, you can take the project management process online and drive end-to-end collaboration, paving the way for a winning advertising strategy.
Top Features to Consider When Investing in a Project Management Software
- Team collaboration and task management: The platform should double as a centralized system for communication and project management, all at the same time. Project management software worth every penny enables teams to work collaboratively remotely and on-site. Plus, it should offer task management capabilities – from tracking and assigning tasks to setting deadlines – all in one singular system.
- Resource management: If you want to stay productive, you need to get your hands on software that allows seamless resource management. This means offering the ability to engage in time tracking as well as price estimation. You can understand which tasks to undertake first and analyze the time it will take to complete said tasks. If your agency is working on an hourly model, having the resource management feature is essential.
- Planning and scheduling: The platform should provide enterprise-grade planning and scheduling tools to manage projects in real-time. For instance, the tool should be able to display your project plans in the form of a Gantt chart as opposed to a vanilla list-of-tasks Excel sheet. Platforms that provide a visualized flow of your tasks and subtasks (think: Kanban board, Gantt charts, etc.) outdo ones that don’t, as users understand the task requirements better.
- Real-time reporting: Real-time reporting works like a superpower for ad agencies that are looking to access insights into varied areas of project management. By accessing real-time data and actionable reports, project managers can drive ‘smart’ and informed decision-making and improve the overall quality of the project output.
- Budgeting capabilities: For agencies, the ability to accurately determine the number of hours can help them charge clients more optimally and, by extension, more profitably. Keeping track of the time taken to complete tasks also helps prevent instances of ill-calculated budgets and leads to happier clients (and teams).
When it comes to understanding the right kind of ads management software to use, there are various tools to consider. Here’s a handy list for your reference:
- Consider the size of your agency and the number of projects you typically undergo in a month
- Make a list of the useful features that actually cater to your business and client needs and can solve specific pain points or challenges
- Factor in the ease of use or the ‘user experience’ the software provides. If the tool is too complex to begin with, you’ll find it difficult to get the team motivated to use it. Always go for software that is simple to use and easy to understand.
- Ensure that the project management software offers the right kind of shareability features – whether it’s sharing plans with the internal teams or external assets such as clients, project sponsors, stakeholders, etc. You could always opt for cloud-based software that allows you to manage projects on the go.
- Opt for software that provides automated timesheets and allows you to track the time availability of your teammates. As a bonus, it should alert you if there are any potential delays with respect to project scope, deadlines, etc.
- Go for a tool that comes with built-in dashboards, charts, graphical reports, and other visual aids to demonstrate the project progress and task status.
- Take into account the safety and security of your project data and, of course, your customer data. The tool should be able to protect your data while being functionally useful at all points in the project lifecycle.
- Pay special attention to the level of customization the software provides. The more flexible the software, the easier it will be for you to manage projects from end to end.
- Finally, the software should be aesthetically pleasing and of professional quality. Outdated and traditional project management platforms will no longer make the cut in today’s ‘first-impression’-obsessed business environment.
The writing is on the wall: Project management software should act as an all-in-one tool that frees up your employees’ time to handle critical tasks and let the machine literally take over the mundane, repetitive, and low-value tasks. By intelligently managing the time, resources, budget, and schedule components of a project, business leaders and project managers can focus on improving customer happiness, enhancing project delivery satisfaction rates, and eliminating friction at every juncture of the project management lifecycle.
The Bottom Line: Project Management Software for Advertising Agencies Has Emerged as a Must-Have
Agencies thrive on successful project managers, and successful managers, in turn, rely on customized project management software to get the job done. In fact, according to research, 77% of high-performing projects use project management software.
Whether it’s learning new skills, setting goals, managing the budget, monitoring progress, staying on track, working more collaboratively, or doing a job with greater agility, a project management tool offers multi-purpose benefits.
Whether you’re a big firm or a small startup, everyone can benefit from a centralized yet customized project management software across the project lifecycle. If you want to boost project productivity, profitability, and efficiency, you need to do your homework and leverage a robust project management tool.
One final piece of advice: To stay ahead of the competition, you need access to project management software, and the right time to invest in one was yesterday.
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