Setting timelines. Delegating tasks. Tracking progress.
Regardless of your current job title, there’s a good chance you’ve used project management tactics and tools in your everyday operations.
Marketing project management is a specialized field that combines marketing expertise with project management skills. In this guide, we’ll explore the career paths available in marketing project management, what you can expect from your day-to-day responsibilities, as well as the skills and qualifications needed to excel in this field.
What is marketing project management?
Marketing project management is the process of planning, executing, and delivering marketing initiatives. This includes creating timelines, managing budgets, allocating resources, and tracking progress. A marketing project manager oversees campaigns from start to finish, owning the entire process. The framework set by the marketing project manager is essential to ensuring projects are completed on time, within budget, and meet the campaign’s expected goals.
Careers in marketing project management
Although there is no one-size-fits-all career path among marketing project managers, people in this industry tend to have similar backgrounds. Many often have previous experience working in project management, account management, and specialized marketing roles.
Here are some popular roles available in the field:
Junior Project Manager
A junior project manager is of the most common entry-level positions within the industry. At this level, your responsibilities may be centered on assisting the senior project manager in planning and monitoring the day-to-day activities. This can include scheduling meetings, communicating across teams, and tracking project progress.
As an entry-level role, the typical barrier to entry to becoming a junior project manager is a bachelor’s degree. However, having a general understanding of the fundamentals of account or project management is desired.
Product Marketing Manager
Product marketing managers are responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies for a product or service. In this role, your main responsibilities may involve conducting market research, creating product launch plans, and developing product positioning and messaging. You may also work closely with cross-functional teams, such as sales, product development, and customer support, to ensure the product aligns with customer needs.
On average, product marketing managers have between 5-7 years of marketing experience under their belt. While bachelor’s degrees are a common requirement, a graduate degree or MBA may also be required in some organizations. To succeed in this role, candidates must have strong problem-solving, analytical, and strategic thinking skills.
Marketing Project Manager
Marketing project managers are tasked with overseeing the execution of marketing projects from start to finish. To ensure projects are delivered on time and within budget, their main responsibilities include developing project plans, managing resources, creating timelines, and leading cross-functional teams.
In addition to 5-7 years of experience working in a marketing role, marketing project manager positions require a bachelor’s degree. However, advanced degrees or MBAs are becoming more prevalent among candidates and the industry as a whole.
Marketing managers are senior managerial positions dedicated to overseeing all marketing initiatives. They are typically tasked with developing and executing the company’s overall marketing strategies, as well as managing budgets and leading teams.
On average, marketing managers have 7-10 years of industry experience with extensive knowledge of leading marketing teams. MBAs and graduate degrees are a common requirement for marketers at this level. Successful marketing managers must possess strong leadership, strategic thinking, and problem-solving skills, in addition to a deep understanding of market trends and a variety of specialized marketing disciplines.
What does the average day look like for a marketing project manager?
Your daily outlook will likely vary day-to-day depending on the stages of your marketing campaigns. Day three’s duties will look drastically different from those of day 30. Regardless, there are a number of vital tasks you can expect to regularly complete.
For example, the initial phase of new projects is largely focused on planning and research. Before you can jump into the actual execution portion, you and your team must know what to work towards. During this stage, you will outline the project’s big-picture objectives and specific goals before establishing timelines, allocating resources, and delegating individual tasks to team members.
In the execution phase, your team will put the plan into motion and your everyday responsibilities will shift to overseeing and optimizing the project’s progress. This involves tracking, reporting status updates, and adjusting procedures.
Additionally, you will likely be the primary liaison between cross-functional teams. A good project manager frequently shares progress updates and facilitates collaboration between teams. Regularly checking in with team members and providing feedback will help you anticipate and remedy potential roadblocks before productivity can grind to a halt.
Skills and qualifications
Effectively managing marketing projects requires a broad skill set. They must be solution-oriented and have excellent project management, leadership, and communication skills.
Problem-solving skills. Problems will inevitably arise. Left unchecked, small complications can have significant consequences. Having a flexible, solution-oriented mindset is essential for adapting to unexpected changes. Being able to anticipate problems and develop effective solutions under narrow time constraints will help you keep your team on track.
Project management skills. As you might expect, project management skills are non-negotiable. A project manager must be able to own the entire process from start to finish. Everything from developing project plans, timelines, and budgets, to allocating resources and assessing risks, falls into the scope of project management skills.
Communication skills. Project managers are also exceptional communicators. As the primary point of contact with senior leadership, external entities, and across teams, marketing project managers are responsible for relaying feedback and ensuring all parties are well informed.
Leadership skills. A marketing project manager must be an effective leader to their team. The best project managers are experts at delegating tasks, offering direction, and creating a collaborative work environment. Having a well-managed and motivated team is the foundation for a project’s success.
Additionally, a career in marketing project management typically requires a bachelor’s degree, as well as 5-7 years of work experience in a marketing position. Candidates are also pursuing advanced project management degrees and certifications as they become more widely available to stand out in the competitive job market.
Is marketing project management right for you?
If you’re a driven marketer with a passion for leadership and an interest in leading teams, you might be well suited for a career in marketing project management!
The industry offers a unique opportunity to leverage your marketing expertise while developing your project management skills. However, it is not without its challenges. While you’ll likely encounter tight deadlines and insufficient budgets, navigating these obstacles will greatly improve your problem-solving skills and help you become a better marketer. If you thrive under pressure and enjoy using your creativity and analytical skills to find solutions, marketing project management may be a wonderful opportunity for you!
For a closer look into the marketing project management career, read our complete guide to marketing project management!