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Is juggling multiple project management tools good for business?

Something is multiplying at a rate of knots and it?s not the number of hours that marketers are being freed up each work day. Not only are marketers feeling the pressure to perform across multiple platforms, now they?re managing their creative projects with more than one marketing tool.


According to Winterberry Group?s research report , 55.1% of marketers are using five to ten different marketing tools to manage data and advertising campaigns, with 27.3% juggling up to 20 tools. Aside from marketing automation tools, these figures include marketing project management tools such as time tracking, collaboration, file management, resource management, online proofing tools and asset storage.

So why are marketers using so many management tools to manage thier marketing projects?

In recent years, we?ve seen an increase in the scope of project management tools available in the marketplace, many of which target a specific task such as online proofing, resource management or digital asset management (DAM). Such advancements in software have afforded marketers greater quality control and expediency provided the tool solves the challenges at hand. And herein lies the problem. Too often, the process for selecting a project management tool isn?t well thought out, leaving marketers in a range of possible scenarios:

? More is more. Marketers are under the impression that having more than one marketing tool will free up more time, increase productivity and beat those deadlines for good.

? Marketers believe that they can easily switch tools if the software doesn?t do the job. Before they know it, they?ve got a different tool for every project task.

? Marketers need a quick fix to solve a pressing issue such as a DAM tool to store marketing assets. After implementation, they realise they could really use a resource management tool too. And the number climbs.

? A tool from another department crosses over into marketing but doesn?t take into consideration the entire production cycle. Now the marketing team really needs another one that specifically manages stakeholder feedback and approvals.

? Legacy tools are a hard habit to break. While a project management tool might provide a resource management feature, some marketers like the familiarity of, say, a spreadsheet to plan and schedule resources. But now there are two tools to manage.

The million dollar question: Is juggling mulitple project management tools good for business?

To answer this question, you only need to consider some of the issues that arise from having to manage more than one marketing tool (and remember, these tools were created to solve your issues not complicate them):  

? Increased administration from having to set up and enter data into more than one system
? Elevated risk of errors having to re-enter information and jump from solution to solution
? Even less visibility over your approval workflow than prior to implementing the tools
? More time eaten up navigating your way around different dashboards
? Increased costs implementing and maintaining more than one tool
? More time spent championing not one but potentially three tools
? More training eating into your workday
? Less chance of adoption because of constant change
? You?re still missing deadlines and going over budget
? You still have major challenges that haven?t been resolved even with two or three different tools

Aren?t you tired already?

So what?s the solution?

If you?re currently using a number of tools to manage your marketing projects, it?s time to sit down and conduct a review. Write down all the features that each of your tools offer, noting how frequently you use them and their unique benefits. Is there any tool that duplicates the feature of another system you use which could be eliminated? (Make sure you keep the tool that offers you the greatest ease and transparency over your work.) Is there a tool that is providing little benefit to your marketing projects overall?

It?s also worth sitting down with your team to collate a list of your key marketing challenges. Once you have a clear picture of your issues, you might want to consider searching for a tool that offers multiple features in one solution, which might include project and resource management, time tracking, online proofing and a DAM component.

Recommended reading: Selecting the right project management software

Selecting the right agency project management software