Why Marketing Agencies Can’t Do Without Creative Project Managers

Creative project managers

“Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.”–Henry Mintzberg

With global marketing spend estimated to hit $1.3 trillion in 2020, including $306 billion of digital marketing spend, many small and medium businesses are looking forward to choosing the best marketing agency partners to maximize their ROI. 

These stats clearly show that marketing agencies, and creative marketing project managers employed in them, are much sought after by businesses in the age of internet connectivity and widespread social media usage to get their message across the potential consumer segment. 

Businesses are moving away from Yellow Page ads and offline listings, and there is a high demand for specialized marketing agencies. Marketing firms have their hands full of projects, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure projects are completed on time and delivered successfully to clients.  

Running social media campaigns, formulating content marketing strategies, and generating engaging blogs. Add to that task assignments, resource allocation, monitoring of project progress, budget, deadlines, file storage, reports, and much more. 

Sounds quite overwhelming, and it is! 

That’s why creative project managers are in high demand. A creative project manager confronts many unique challenges. He has to bring order to processes and is solely responsible for planning and organizing projects, mapping out budgets, the scope of work, timelines, and pushing teams to optimize their productivity. 

Let us read further about this role and how this position holds much significance within marketing agencies. 

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Who Is A Creative Project Manager?

A creative project manager executes a seemingly bright idea into a tangible plan by fostering the team’s talent and creativity. In other words, a creative project manager  is a professional who works with creative talents (individuals and teams) such as Art Directors, UX and Graphic Designers, Copywriters, and Photographers on creative projects like design, video production, advertising, website design, etc. 

The role of the creative project manager is to keep things organized and streamlined to achieve maximum efficiency at work. Their primary responsibilities include: 

  • Planning and Organizing
  • Motivating Team Members
  • Communicating
  • Time Management
  • Cost Controlling
  • Analyzing and Managing Project Risk
  • Monitoring Progress

Undoubtedly, being a creative project manager is challenging, and professionals who can perform the aforementioned tasks efficiently are amazing. However, creative and traditional project management should not be seen as the same. There’s a significant difference between both fields, which is discussed in the following section. 

What Separates Creative Project Management From Traditional Project Management?

The main difference between traditional and creative project management is the outlook on planning and execution. Pursuing a sequential timeline will not reap results always, and the processes you have to execute will vary depending on your team and the agency you are working with. 

Success is also measured contrastingly and a successful result isn’t always the consequence of putting in more time and resources into the project. Creative concepts and designs originate from imagination and inspiration, which is something you can’t request or force on demand.

You have to give creative minds adequate time and space for the magic to happen. But at the end of the day, it’s still a project and it has milestones and deadlines to adhere to. 

Why Marketing Agencies Need Creative Project Managers?

A creative project manager is a crucial part of any team that’s working with a marketing agency. Without them, you can struggle to keep deliverables on track and achieve success. There are many solid reasons why creative project managers are core to the success of your marketing agency. Read on to learn more about it. 

  • Creative project managers are good communicators 

Communication is an integral component of any project management process. Even though the importance of communication is well-known, it still remains a common dispute between agencies and clients. Without it, the relationship between different entities (clients, stakeholders, vendors, team members) falls apart. 

This is where a creative project manager can help streamline both internal and client-focused communications. They will be happy to utilize different modes of communication (email, group chat, phone calls, video conferencing, texting) to ensure the right message reaches the right person at the right time. 

  • Creative project managers complete the legwork

Building a digital marketing campaign has a lot of steps involved in it. Some steps, like keyword research and A/B testing, call for heavy digital expertise, but some legwork needs to be done. Creating reports, proofing content, ensuring delivery, and reformatting advertisements are all crucial for campaign success. 

A creative manager takes the responsibility of performing these tasks efficiently as other team members might be busy in doing more in-depth tasks. A project manager fills the gap and makes sure the legwork gets done without any delays. 

  • Creative project managers alleviate scope creep

The term scope creep can make any project manager feel restless and stressed out. You have a clear idea of how unexpected events can occur during the project lifecycle and threaten to deviate it off the track if such occurrences are not tackled on time, efficiently. Unsurprisingly, over 67% of creative teams have said that they over-service 50% or more of their clients. 

A skilled and experienced creative project manager can mitigate scope creep by establishing a clearly defined scope before anyone gets started on the project. Your team and clients stay updated on what is (and what is not) included with a particular project fee and agreement. 

  • Creative project managers keep the project on the track

A creative project manager plans realistic end dates and manages expectations upfront. These professionals are spot on with their organization as they keep a sharp eye on timelines and deadlines. They ensure projects are progressing as planned and any roadblocks are mitigated to keep your entire team on track. 

They will not allow last-minute scrambling to happen to get projects across the finishing line and elevate your business’ reputation by exceeding the expectations of your clients. They also provide adequate resources to every team member to keep the campaign moving in the right direction. 

  • Creative project managers keep things well-organized

Scattered files and documents, confusion regarding job assignments and responsibilities, no set start and due dates; there can be chaos if things are not kept organized, and this is what creative project managers excel at. They set the standards for work, fix accountability, and oversee the project details. 

They make sure that the workforce adheres to set standards and any seemingly bright ideas are executed with careful preparation, planning, and perseverance. Creative project managers bring structure to the creative process and bring order to chaos. 

  • Creative project managers are clients go-to man

For clients, creative project managers are the channel to the digital team. Since they get to regularly interact with clients, this helps them understand their specific requirements, business, industry, and target consumer segment. 

Project managers’ better understanding of client’s requirements enables them to convey their expectations and needs clearly to the digital marketers. Project managers become a precious resource for creative and digital teams to answer questions about the specific account. 

  • Creative project managers are problem solvers 

Your team members can get stuck at times with their tasks. Some issues might crop up that can halt your project progress without any quick resolution to problems. Project managers are easily and readily available for team members in case they need a timely solution to their queries. They are the first person that clients turn to whenever they have to communicate about some changes to be made in the project. They are the representatives of the marketing agency that you can contact anytime, and you can expect a prompt solution. 

  • Creative project managers get the best out of their teams

Technical aspects of a project aside, a skilled creative project manager is a visionary leader who takes every team member into confidence and trusts them with their skills and competencies. Good managers don’t micromanage and peek over the shoulders of employees. 

Rather, they provide clear instructions about the tasks assigned and let teams get on with it. They regularly encourage and motivate team members to put in their best efforts, and offer support and guidance to those who need it. In other words,  creative project managers keep the flock together to achieve common project and organizational goals.  

Considering all the aforementioned tasks related to the project manager, you can think of the creative project manager as a professional who binds or gels the entire team together. These pros can be compared to the sailor of the ship who steers the team in the right direction. 

Next up, we will have a look at some of the key qualities of a good creative project manager. 

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Key Qualities Of A Creative Project Manager

Creative project managers within marketing agencies should not be looked at as an overhead or nuisance. They are an invaluable resource that helps you utilize available resources efficiently to achieve organizational success. Even though different companies and teams may require varied competencies from a project manager, there are some core skills that any creative project manager should have. Read on to know more about it. 

  • They have potent communication skills

One of the key qualities that a good creative project should possess is the ability to clearly communicate (both written and verbal) the right piece of information to the right person at the right time. He should be able to communicate effectively both with the senior management and employees so as to apprise them both of each others’ expectations. The creative project manager must clearly lay out the project goals as well as each member’s tasks, responsibilities, expectations, and feedback. 

  • They inspire a shared vision

A skilled project leader has a vision of what he wants his team to achieve and the ability to accomplish it. He/she is someone who fosters the talent and creativity of the team and makes people realize they have a real stake in the project. Experienced project managers inspire their teams to accomplish the goals they have set out. In simple words, one of the main responsibilities of a project manager is to inspire and motivate others to a shared vision. 

  • They are excellent decision-makers 

Successful project delivery is often about taking key decisions at the right time. A good creative project manager should have the ability to take key decisions that will help to keep the project on track. Even a single wrong decision taken from the manager can ruin the entire project. Therefore, a project manager needs to think quickly and react decisively. 

  • They are empathic 

For a creative project manager, empathy holds much significance. An empathic project manager gets to know and understand how different people in the team think and work. This will help to bring out the best of their creativity. Empathic project managers enjoy improved communication and the trust of team members. They pay equal and undivided attention to every team member and observe verbal and non-verbal cues and messages. 

  • They are agile and adaptable 

Projects change all the time as clients’ requirements change from the initial plan.  Organizations today need to absorb and manage scope, schedule, and budget for successful project delivery. Creative project managers should demonstrate an aptitude for versatile and agile thinking. They must constantly communicate with clients to make sure that changing requirements are recognized and incorporated into the project. 

  • They use the top team collaboration and project management software 

Creative project managers know how to leverage technology to their advantage. By using the latest project management and team collaboration software, like ProofHub, they eventually are able to bring the best of their team, and focus more on productive work (and not just on surfing through countless email threads).

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Creative project managers take care of crucial aspects such as project planning and execution. Besides keeping marketing projects on track, they breathe life in a marketing team and keep them working productively. With this post, I’ve tried my best to explain why creative project managers are an integral part of marketing agencies. I hope it helps.

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