Project management is the organisation of a project from start to finish. Projects can range from being relatively small and only taking a matter of minutes, to taking years to implement and complete. Sometimes they require multiple project managers to oversee different sub-projects, but they will always require at least one person. This is because it is essential to have communication with the client, to understand the brief and then interpret this brief to the relevant creative and make sure it is delivered back to the client on time. But why can’t the client and the associate just communicate and cut out the middle person? Well, as you will see, project management is a lot more than just relaying the brief…
Why it is essential to getting the job done
What does project management entail?
It requires a range of skills and tools to ensure that a project is completed successfully and for all the desired outcomes and deadlines to be met. The first one, as already mentioned is excellent communication skills. The client needs to be updated on the progress of their project and their feedback is necessary at every stage to ensure that this is taken into consideration and they are happy with the work done.
It is the sole purpose of the project manager to liaise with the client to make sure that all the project targets are being met. A creative, whose sole purpose is to come up with the ‘big creative idea’ and put this into a campaign doesn’t have the capacity or perhaps even the necessary skill set to successfully manage the project so there needs to be someone in place to do this. In a survey carried out by Clutch, 500 marketers who all work with outside agencies cited communication as the top challenge of that relationship. If there is a lack of communication, then the project is not being successfully managed and this obviously raises concerns for the client.
Attention to detail is another important skill that is needed to be a successful project manager. Usually, project managers will use a project management system. At SURE! we use WorkflowMax which is a cloud-based workflow and job management system with key project management capabilities involving quote creation, timesheets, job costing and other features integral to the project process. Making sure that this system is always up to date is a key task to ensure that information is always accurate.
Tracking costs and documenting everything helps the company recover costs and work as per the budget allocated for marketing which is a crucial part of managing a project. If there is no budget left, then the tasks cannot be carried out and the project cannot be completed! This system also allows for analysis on projects so you can identify the most successful projects and assess how things can be done better next time to offer the client the best service possible.
Why is it important in creative agencies?
Project management is especially crucial for creative agencies as there are many different project types which require specialised skill sets. For example, if you create an animation for a client you need a graphic designer, script writer, voiceover artist and animator and most of the time they will be different people, so for one animation you are already managing four people. Now imagine that one animation as part of a campaign which includes a new website, brochure, social media assets and all the additional people this will involve – you can see how there is a lot more to manage than just on the front of it, and that is just for one project! All of these elements of the campaign need to be managed at the same time so that they can be delivered at the same time and the launch date is met. So it is essential that there is someone whose sole job is to make sure that this happens smoothly.
Each project is unique to the client which means there is no formal process. Creative agencies need to be agile in handling projects, so that they have the capacity to meet the demands of all clients. Whether it be a small recolouring of a logo, or the planning and implementation of a global conference and all the associated assets, to ensure the needs are met, and usually within a tight deadline, there is often no time for advance planning and instead you have to think on your feet and act fast.
We work and have worked with a range of clients who are based in different sectors, from food packaging to dental loupes, the type of projects are often varied. Being able to meet the needs of all clients no matter their background is what makes a creative agency successful. They have to have a great deal of flexibility. As well as this, the scope of projects change and evolve all the time. They can start off as a simple amendment to the clients website and end up rebranding the whole brand which then needs to be communicated across all assets.
Project management is so much more than just relaying a brief and being the middle person between the client and the creative. Without a good project manager, there is no one to make sure that projects are delivered on time, within budget and to the upmost satisfaction of the client. In the marketing industry, the creative culture means that no project can follow a formalised process because this restricts the great ideas that make up marketing as we know it. So, there being someone who is flexible and can work in that creative culture, yet make sure the project stays on track is the absolute essential part of a successful project.
Meet our project managers
Kate is our Director of Project Management. Kate is a highly experienced marketer and project manager with a proven track record of shaping and managing successful marketing strategies to meet specific targets. She has gained extensive knowledge and experience across the full marketing mix, both B2B and B2C, with the ability to deliver excellent return on investment. Kate has a CIM Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing, a BA (Hons) Communications and nearly 20 years of experience in managing marketing and communications projects.
Helena is Project Management Executive and has worked at SURE! since July 2020. Helena has a degree in Politics BA (Hons) but found an interest in marketing and communications and wanted to pursue this career further. With analytical and written communication skills from her degree, a job in project management was fitting.
Tim is Managing Director and co-founder of SURE! Creative and is a highly experienced marketer and business entrepreneur with a 30-year career proven success working within the creative marketing communications industry. His skill base incorporates marketing research, market analysis, communication audits, and effective business marketing strategies.