Updated: Jan 23, 2020
By: Alex Brown
Marketers live and die by their automation solutions. Without them, everything is done manually, doesn’t scale, takes too much time, and ultimately descends into chaos.
It would seem marketers don’t need any other tools. However, marketers often work with other teams across the organization like developers, product management, and even the accounting folks. And in that work, there’s a lot of time and energy spent passing information back and forth between those teams, who are, you guessed it, using project management tools.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if project management software did all that busy work for us?
It would. And they can especially when they are integrated with your marketing automation solution. Here are three reasons you should consider integrating your marketing tools with project management software.
Because Your Campaigns Are Projects
Some, not all, marketing teams need the help of project management tools in order to successfully plan and manage their campaigns. For example, trade shows require a lot of pre-planning around staffing, collateral, and location booking, to name a few. Pulling together these plans can take months (or longer). Integrating a project management tool with your marketing platform allows you to plan longer projects like these in advance. An integration even makes it possible to easily access your marketing data like client lists and conversion metrics so you can keep relevant data with the project so you can better plan the next trade show presentation.
As another example, website-related projects definitely require project-level coordination between the marketing and development teams. You can keep both teams on the same page by having your web development team and marketers working together through an integrated project management tool that then speaks to the marketing automation platform. For example, campaign dates can be synced with project schedule so that if anything changes on either the marketing or dev side, then both teams are in the loop.
Because Product Should Talk to Marketing More
Product teams and marketing teams require regular and consistent communication to, for example, stay on top of campaign planning for new product releases. Consistency across project management and marketing automation platforms is the best way to keep marketing, design, and product development teams in sync.
Practically speaking, you can implement alerts within your automation tools when key product delivery milestones are met.
You can also create shared repositories so your marketing team can share assets used by your design team, and both groups can easily communicate about and share feedback on design updates to the product itself. By sharing data and assets, and supporting communication this way, you and your team won’t get lost in email chains referencing data or changes that one or both teams can’t see.
Finally, design teams tend to produce or have access to conversion data and heatmap data that can be extremely useful for marketing. Seeing where visitors are clicking on the site and what site designs work best backed with data can help you design your marketing campaigns. Set up an automated weekly report in your project management tool to be sent to your marketing tool, or your marketing team, so all teams are familiar with the core product and can market effectively to it.
Again, the key is communication. Marketing your service or product should happen in concert with your internal stakeholders (especially your customer-facing teams), who not only know the product but also your customer and whose feedback and input can help marketers do a better job of focusing their marketing strategies. Integrating a project management tool that both your teams can use will help improve communication, data flow and product and marketing innovation.
Because the Dev Team Won’t Use Your Tools
IT teams tend to need sophisticated project management tools to track their work. Tools like interactive Gantt charts, task management, and issue tracking are essential for dev teams to deliver their projects—and your projects—on time.
So they need their tools. But you need to talk to them.
Integrating your marketing platform with their project management software is a great way to gather valuable information about the status and timelines of your projects. Setting up a simple integration will also allow you to communicate better with the dev team about any questions or concerns, or change requests you might need.
What To Look For In a Project Management Tool
The key is picking a project management tool that fits the complex requirements of the software or product development team, while being well-suited for marketing purposes.
So what do you look for in a project management tool? First, it is important to note that dozens of easy-to-use task management tools are coming on the market every year, but many of them are best used as to-do lists or for simple communication.
If you’d like a tool that marketing, IT, product teams, and everyone across the organization can use, it may be best to integrate a more comprehensive project management tool with your marketing platform.
When it comes to actually integrating your marketing platform with a project management software, you can often choose from many options. Direct API integrations work best because they enable custom data flows like syncing client data or development schedules to get exactly what you want out of an integration. However, they require more time and effort by internal dev teams.
Integration services are a great option for simple integrations like getting automated text alerts when important project milestones are met or syncing calendars between marketing automation tool and project management tool.
The route you choose will depend on how much you want out of your integration.
Making a habit out of working across teams with shared tools will help your marketing campaigns as well as communication across the entire organization. How are you currently managing your projects? Do you integrate your project management into any of your automation solutions?