Project management tools take center stage as distributed marketers crave ‘single source of truth’

With the lion share of marketers currently working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, digital workflow and project management tools are having their moment to shine.

And with good reason, too. As organizations become distributed overnight, now more than ever, we need one central source of project information.

“Marketing teams really need a single source of truth. They need a place where they can collaborate, not just with other marketers, but other people in the company because they’re usually our stakeholders,” said Brad Sanzenbacher, senior corporate communications manager at Wrike. “If they can get visibility in a centralized hub, they don’t need to come and ask you for status, they don’t need to host meetings to figure out the status of projects,” he said during his presentation at Discover MarTech.

Whether it’s through platforms like Wrike, Trello, Workfront, Airtable or several others, marketers who are working at home during the pandemic are finding these project management tools give them some peace of mind during these uncertain times.

In fact, a recent survey by NewsCred found marketers who were using a project or workflow management software platform were nearly 30% less likely to list things like staff realignments and changing priorities as major challenges compared to those who were not using project management platforms. NewsCred is a content marketing platform that boasts many features for project and workflow management.

Related: Our guide to project management platforms

“Managing vendors and other non-employees remotely was less of a challenge compared to their peers that don’t use these tools,” said Matt Malanga, chief marketing officer of NewsCred, during his Discover MarTech session. “Of course, discovering and purposing marketing assets was also less of a challenge.”

And priorities are certainly changing. Malanga said the NewsCred found more than half of its respondents claimed these shifts were causing significant challenges. Meanwhile, 48% said providing visibility into these fluid plans was also a challenge.

How these help

One of the benefits of these platforms is how they allow teams to take what can be disparate processes and streamline them. That includes everything from the requirements phase of a project, to approvals, tracking the various stages of execution and eventually reporting.

“The big challenge for marketers is how do you get this all done, you know, your marketing budget doesn’t necessarily increase exponentially for the number of assets you need to produce or the number of channels you need to market on,” said Sanzenbacher.

Of course, most project management platforms organize elements into things like Kanban boards, which are far more intuitive for teams that are already using agile in their marketing approach.

But as we have seen, that acceleration is already underway. Nearly 41% of marketers questioned in a recent survey said they are currently using agile and 42% of non-users said they plan to adopt it, according to an Aprimo and AgileSherpa report.

With the workforce at home, a rise in agile adoption, and organizations making major pivots in strategy, the need for these types of platforms is likely to continue.

“We expect that the impact of COVID-19 on Americans and the U.S. economy will spur even greater interest in enterprise workflow and project management solutions,” said Pamela Parker, Third Door Media’s research director and the author of our recent buyer’s guide for project management software.

“Because they provide transparency and accountability, in addition to collaboration and file sharing – all features that help marketers (as well as C-Level executives) keep projects on track whether employees are at home or in the office.”

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