Time is a huge deal. Or, as some may say, time is money. When we have time frames and deadlines, we can’t afford to be late. Particularly in the marketing world where marketing project delays can cost department head’s their job and marketing agencies their business.  So what are the common problems and solutions behind marketing project delays?


Freelancers & Contractors:

Let’s be honest, even though your department has a few people in-house you can’t do everything you need to do in-house.  Agencies hire contractors, marketing departments hire agencies.  Contractors are nomads that will leave an agency in the dust for another job that pays them more money.  They are the Bobba Fett’s of the marketing world.  Third-party agencies have the horses to help short-handed marketing departments, but they overcharge them for activity-based work (not results). 

Computan is a Canadian inbound marketing agency that also supports a lot of short-handed marketing departments and marketing agencies.  We have seen these stories unfold countless times.  Prevention is the best solution.  You can choose well named entities, checking their trajectory with other companies and sticking with the most responsible ones as you start trying them out. Also, if it’s legal, you can settle some sanctions if they don’t accomplish the established time frame.

Undecided customers:

People change their minds, no surprises there. The problem begins when it’s your client who now wants a whole different thing than what you settled on in the beginning. This type of delay is very usual and common in certain types of jobs. If you want satisfied customers and a good reputation, the best you can do is do what they ask for.

But, there’s always some preventive measures you can take! You can the client a very detailed description and sketch of what you’re developing for them, so they can be sure if it is or isn’t what they want.  You can also provide a very clear and specific working contract that outlines how upgrades and changes to the scope will be handled. 


Virtual or invisible projects:

It’s easy to forget about something when you don’t see it or have it in front of you.  When you’re working on a project in the digital world, it doesn’t have the same impact as something you can touch and see. If project managers keep everything to themselves, it’s hard for the main executives to supervise and be aware of the progress, development, etc.  This rings quite true for small marketing departments.  Organizations that have internal marketing departments usually have a lot going on and a lot of inter-office politics.  It’s no doubt things move slower in larger organizations and most companies with internal marketing departments are mid-large sized organizations.

It is better if you keep your eyes daily on your projects.  You’re more aware of what’s going on and can monitor it properly. Otherwise, you’re vulnerable to being fooled by your workers. The best idea to overcome this is to keep updated boards with all the progress.  Tools like Basecamp, Onenote, Evernote and tons of others are great at keeping everyone aware of where you are at in a project.  Including your customers.  Ticketing systems like Zendesk and Kayako also work extremely well for service and support-based marketing agencies and marketing departments. 


Wrong communication methods:

These days there’s a trend of doing absolutely everything via email or mobile apps. Although it may be handy, it is not always the best or most appropriate way to communicate. For example, if you create an email list for a certain project, the information can go to all the participants at once, but what if one of the participants has feedback and forgets to click “reply all?” Also, if a new person joins the project team, they’ll be totally left out on previous email threads…or they’ll get bombarded with tons of forwarded emails all at once.  Having a project dashboard may help them get up to speed quickly.

Emails can also seem a bit impersonal.  Anything you say can be misunderstood or taken the wrong way.  Therefore, everything you write has to be very well explained so there’s no chance for any uncomfortable situations.

Marketing project delays happen to even the best marketing agencies and marketing departments.  They don’t have to though.  Resolve yourself to keeping open-lines of communication and clearly-defined tasks for all members of the project team.  That will help you improve your marketing operations and streamline how your marketing gets done.

the ultimate guide to agile marketing and agile project management