Project Management principals apply to marketing and sales projectsWhy should marketing and sales managers pay attention to project management?  Because many marketing and sales projects suffer the same fate as poorly run engineering projects.

A study of more than 300 large companies conducted by Peat Marwick found that software and/or hardware development projects fail at the rate of 65%1.  In addition, most of the managers were not surprised at that fact. Many of the failures could be attributed to poor project management.

Taking some lessons from formal project management planning, I use four tools that help make marketing projects successful:

  • Project scope statement
  • Marketing bill of materials
  • Project schedule
  • Resource map


Project Scope Statement

Clearly define the end goal.  Is it a website with 10 pages?  Is it collateral to support a marketing campaign?  It’s key to identify the customers, stakeholders and lines of communications. Getting a sign off on a Scope Statement is critical.

Having a clear Scope Statement, and adhering to it can also prevent scope creep.  Scope creep probably accounts for more project failures than all other factors.  It’s tempting to say “we’re happy to throw that in” thinking it won’t take any time or resources.  But project additions do take more time, more resources, and more testing.  It’s OK to let the customer know that this addition is beyond scope, and that you would be happy to update the project Scope Statement (and cost estimate) to include it.

Marketing Bill of Materials

This is a key document that is often misunderstood or not created. The marketing bill of materials (BOM) is a list of all the deliverables for a project. For a marketing / sales campaign the BOM might include:

  • Project Scope Statement
  • Target customer lists
  • Collateral to be delivered:  Brochures, videos, data sheets, social media plans, etc.
  • Testimonials
  • Email, phone, and social media talking points and scripts
  • Schedule
  • Campaign metrics:  What does project success look like?


Project Schedule

This one seems obvious, but I’ve seen marketing projects run without a detailed schedule including firm commitment dates and project milestones. Identifying tasks, milestones, and dependencies are easily mapped using Microsoft Project or Excel.  The schedule is also a critical document used during customer meetings and milestone reviews.

Resource Map

Who is going to do what? It’s pretty straight forward, but often overlooked. Do you have the right people available when you need them, and something else for them to do when the project is done?


By using simple project management tools, marketing managers can help increase the success rates of their projects and maintain happy customers.


1 J. Pinto.  Project Management.  Pearson 3rd Edition