Best Project Management Systems for Marketing Teams – Everything You Need to Know
Did you know that marketers are 397% more likely to succeed in a project when they’re organized?
And according to HubSpot’s Marketing Agency Growth Report (2018), agencies can circumnavigate a lot of obstacles by taking advantage of project management systems.
When you think about it; there’s always a risk of setbacks in any project. This may include crippling technical mishaps, disputes among team members, lack of adequate information from the client, or even natural disasters. Without a system to piece everything together and manage the projects efficiently, things could easily spiral out of control.
So, whether you’re a multi-billion-dollar multinational with a near-endless project portfolio or a small business looking to streamline a few marketing projects, project management systems are crucial for success.
But if a report by the Project Management Institute (PMI) is anything to go by, only 6 in every 10 organizations appreciate the value of project management. For this reason, this post aims to shed a light on the perks of adopting a project management system for marketing teams—including some of the best software in the market.
What are Project Management Systems?
In a nutshell, a project is the sum total of smaller tasks and subtasks allocated to different team members based on a certain time schedule.
Along these lines, a project management system is an assembly of tools that unify all the activities in a project. This includes communicating the status/progress with stakeholders, assessing potential risks, allocating resources, coordinating the marketing team, budget control, and reporting outcomes.
A project management system helps managers, teams, and individuals organize and monitor projects — while still keeping tabs on the progress of long-term goals.
The 7 Best Project Management Systems for Marketing Teams
Looking to implement your first project management system? Or are you trying to adapt with your remote team? Regardless of the size of your business, we’ve tracked down 7 of the best project management systems to improve the outcome of your projects.
Basecamp is somewhat of an icon in the project management world. The software solution has been around for several years—and they’ve built a reputation as the go-to platform for a ton of marketing agencies.
“I’ve used Basecamp for a million projects over the last decade and a half. It’s beautiful software that has resisted every wrong trend and stayed true to the things that mattered most. Highly recommended.”
—Tobi Lütke, CEO, Shopify
The appeal of Basecamp stems from its powerful tools and uncluttered interface—making it both easy-to-use and highly functional. Some of the main features of the all-in-one software include:
- Message boards and a group chat function to discuss ideas and communicate with the team.
- Mobile, web, and desktop versions.
- File storage and documentation.
- Time-saving templates.
- Automatic check-in for better team management.
- Assign to-dos and set deadlines.
Basecamp Pricing: Free Limited Subscription or $99 per month (plus a 30-day trial).
Zoho Projects is a popular cloud-based project management system and part of a wide suite of competitively priced productivity tools.
According to their marketing tagline, they are “The most comprehensive way to manage your projects”—and there’s little to doubt them. Here are some features that highlight Zoho Projects’ functionality:
- Gantt charts, reminders, set recurring tasks, create a project baseline, and break down a project into manageable units, among other task management tools.
- Team collaboration features such as chat, feeds, document sharing, and forums.
- One of the largest collections of integrations and add-ons.
- Widespread customizations of statuses, work item views, fields, layouts, functions, and tags.
- Automation features.
- Mobile and web accessibility
Zoho Projects Pricing: Three Pricing Tiers: Free ($0 up to 3 users), Premium ($5/month/user up to 50 users), and Enterprise ($10/month/user unlimited users)—plus 10-day TRIAL.
LiquidPlanner is what you’d call a ‘Jack of all trades and a master of all’. The project management system combines a ton of tools with an impressive level of panache. Features include:
- Sets realistic timelines based on best-case and worst-case scenarios.
- A priority-based scheduler to keep marketing tasks and the entire project on track.
- Task-specific communication boards.
- An intuitive resource management screen and helpdesk-style issue tracker.
- An ability to add notes to aid in seamless project completion.
- A sturdy, in-build reporting feature.
- Integration and Zapier support to build connections with other tools.
However, the wealth of features translates to a long learning curve. For this reason, LiquidPlanner is best suited for large agencies and marketing teams.
LiquidPlanner Pricing: A FREE Trial, Professional ($45/month/user), and Enterprise (custom) tiers.
With a handful of awards in their trophy cabinet and positive ratings on the most popular review sites (GetApp, G2, Capterra, Software Advice et. al.), it’s fair to say that Scoro earned its spot as one of the best project management systems.
The software solution shines when it comes to bringing structure to your project—from start to finish. Here’s how:
- A real-time Gantt chart for visual project planning and progress tracking.
- Automation of routine tasks and reporting.
- Simplified tools to manage workload and time (both billable and non-billable).
- They support integration to over 1,000 third-party apps and add-ons such as G Suite, MailChimp, Zapier, QuickBooks, and Outlook.
- A clear overview of the customers and sales/marketing funnel.
- Automated billing and comprehensive spreadsheets.
Scoro Pricing: Essential ($26/month/user), Work/Sales Hub ($37/month /user), Work/Sales Hub Pro ($49/month/user), and Ultimate (custom). This also comes with a 14-day FREE trial.
nTask boasts of an intuitive modern design that is visually appealing and easy to adopt/use. The software offers all the typical project management tools such as reminders, notifications, time tracking, team management, recurring tasks, risk management, and resource management.
And courtesy of their innovative approach, nTask is continually improving by adding exciting features such as an interactive Gantt Chart, bug tracking, and a risk matrix. Oh, and the tool is available on Android and iOS for accessibility and convenience.
These features—combined with a Free Forever pricing plan—make nTask one of the best project management systems for solopreneurs, freelancers, start-ups, small marketing teams, and agencies.
nTask Pricing: FREE FOREVER, Premium ($2.99/month/user), Business ($7.99/month/user), Enterprise (custom). Plus, a 14-day FREE Trial.
If you looking for a timesheet tool that allows your marketing team to keep track of the projects from conceptualized all the way to completion, look no further than FunctionFox. But its functionality doesn’t stop at timesheets, it is also a surprisingly powerful and scalable project management software with a ton of features.
“After a year of reviewing and trying the myriad of digital scheduling tools available we settled on FunctionFox. It has become the hub of all our projects, large or small, from beginning to end. Our entire team of producers, editors, and designers has taken to the user-friendly interface and our workflow has become more streamlined.”
—Jennifer Avis, Jump Studios Ltd.
Main features include:
- Informative dashboards that highlight the productivity and profitability of the projects.
- Interactive and comprehensive project reporting.
- Budget estimation and tracking tools.
- An account manager to help marketing agencies set up the system and facilitate seamless growth.
- To-do lists, a Scheduler, and Gantt Charts.
- Individual and group calendars.
FunctionFox Pricing: Classic ($5/month/user – $35/month for 1st user), Premier ($10/month/user – $50/month for 1st user), In-House ($20/month/user – $150/month for 1st user). There’s also a FREE Demo.
According to the company, WorkBook is built to address the needs of agencies and in-house teams by streamlining finances, team management, and projects. They are arguably the best project management software when it comes to customizability.
You can tinker with the features and pricing plans based on the unique needs of your marketing team. Some of the main features include:
- Comprehensive financial reporting system and automatic billing.
- CRM, file sharing, and collaboration tools.
- An ability to create tasks, add costs, and mileage to a project with relative ease.
- Project pipeline to highlight the agency’s cash flow.
Workbook Pricing: $19/user/month and a custom pricing option.
What are the Benefits of Project Management Software?
Marketing teams typically have high hopes of customer satisfaction, campaign success, proper use of marketing budgets, hitting deadlines, and other rewarding outcomes in mind before starting a project. But in order to succeed, the team must work together productively—which is no mean feat.
A project management system helps the team keep track of everything they have on their plate—hence preventing the project from going out of control. More specifically, here’s how the software and tools help marketing teams achieve their goals:
- Improved Communication: It’s widely known that effective and meaningful communication is at the heart of any project team. Well, research shows that project management systems boost team communication by up to 52%.
- Effortless Project Planning: A project is often doomed to failure without a proper plan. But it’s also a tedious process that may take costly time. Advanced project management software leverage AI to accurately predict the scope, completion time, plan schedules, and capture constraints in seconds/minutes.
- Better Quality: Finishing a project is one thing—delivering a high-quality end product is a whole ‘nother beast. And according to statistics by Capterra, 44% of businesses that embrace some of the best project management software report improved quality.
- Improved Collaboration: The PM tools help the teamwork as a whole by keeping everyone in the loop, aligning tasks, and creating a continuous focus on delivery.
- Innovation and Efficiency: 9 in 10 organizations experience improved efficiency and innovation by adopting project management software.
- Better Resource Management: Project management systems bring visibility into the workloads—ensuring team members are neither overbooked nor underbooked. It also facilitates a better allocation of funds, equipment, and other resources.
- Time-Saving: Leveraging a project management system could save team member and managers 20 minutes and 10 minutes daily, respectively.
- Accountability: The tools keep track of who is doing what, what is expected of them, and their progress.
Essential Features of the Best Project Management Systems
With a project and a substantial marketing budget on the line, you can’t afford to make a mistake when it comes to choosing a project management system. The decision could make or break the project or even the business. The next question that follows is; “How do you pick the best project management software solution out of the plethora of options in the market—with each brand claiming to be better than the next?”
The trick to finding the best project management system is to first understand the needs of your team. Next, determine the software features you need to manage projects efficiently. While the list of useful features is extensive, here are the most essential ones to skyrocket the performance of your project:
- Project Scheduling and Planning: Everyone’s responsibilities and tasks should be clearly outlined to facilitate delegation while avoiding misunderstandings. The best project management systems should allow you to set deadlines, assign tasks, outline upcoming activities, establish a shared calendar, and automate notifications for activities.
- Resource Management: Resource management is an integral part to the success of a project. For this reason, it’s convenient to have a resource management tool to distribute tasks and calculate expenditure.
- Time Tracking: The best project management software should have tools to track the progress of sub-tasks, tasks, milestones, and the entire project over a period of time. The idea is to keep everyone on track to move the project forward.
- Workflow Automation: A workflow automation tools that make the team’s activities seamless by setting up repeatable tasks and assigning them to relevant team members; while keeping track of deadlines. For example, when a milestone is approaching, a notification is sent to help maintain productivity.
- Team Collaboration: Team collaboration is the product of communication (chat and discussions), data accessibility (documentation), and file-sharing tools in a project management system. A team dashboard also comes in handy for presenting everyone’s tracked metrics versus the planned schedule.
- Project Budgeting: You’ll need a project management system that provides a clear report on the utilization of the budget – i.e., monthly/weekly expenditure and balances. Other budgeting features to look out for include, automated invoicing and time billing. This saves valuable time, reduces the workload, and ensures accountability.
- Risk Management: Like it or not; there’s a risk of unforeseen and predicted project setbacks. Therefore, project management software should have a feature to process potential risks and mitigate them in advance.
- Reporting: The marketing team needs a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) dashboard and insightful reports to get an overview of the project’s progress and shortcomings. The best project management systems have tools to measure productivity and keep track of how many tasks are completed on time.
- Third-Party Integration: An integrated system offers functionalities that take your project management to the next level. Some popular third-party integrations to look out for include Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft 365, Gmail, Outlook, Salesforce, Slack, Zendesk, etc.
In addition to these essential features, you should consider if the software is user-friendly, scalable, flexible (or agile), customizable, accessible on-the-go, and whether there is training/support.
How Much does Project Management Software Cost?
As evidenced in the above list of top 7 project management systems, different software solutions attract different price tags. But expect to pay subscriptions ranging from as low as $10 to over $100. The final cost depends on the specific features you want, the size of your marketing team, and other nitty-gritty details.
However, the question you should be asking is not “how much do project management software cost?”—but “are they worth the cost?” And in this case, the answer is YES! Whether you’re just getting started or you’re an established agency, the right project management system could drastically transform your productivity and project success.
Take your time to understand the needs of your marketing team and how the different project management tools can help. For example, if you’re on a tight budget and you’re only getting started, nTask would be a great project management software to give your marketing team a much-needed boost. If you’re a large organization with a truckload of projects running, consider comprehensive tools like LiquidPlanner. Same thing with Zoho Projects for marketing teams that want to take advantage of the Zoho ecosystem.
Whichever software you choose from this list of the best project management systems, you’re in good hands. They’re carefully researched and vetted based on several considerations. The rest is now up to you.
PS: And remember; Even the best tools are useless without the right skills and practices. So also ensure you understand the latest project management best practices.