Project Management for Marketing


Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing and overseeing the execution of a project from initiation to completion. Project management aims to achieve the project objectives while efficiently utilizing resources and meeting stakeholder expectations. The principles of project management apply to any discipline, including marketing and communications.

Project management principles can help marketers and communicators organize and execute initiatives efficiently and effectively. They can be especially useful for smaller teams where members wear different hats in the marketing process. Using these principles can help you manage the many different tasks and processes of implementing brand elements.

Project Management: The basics

There are five project management phases:

  1. Initiation – define project goals, create a business case, build the project charter and determine who your key stakeholders are.
  2. Planning – define the scope of the project, create the project plan, set your budget and define roles and responsibilities for the project team members.
  3. Execution – execute your plan by allocating project resources, managing those resources, completing project tasks and managing and resolving risks.
  4. Monitoring and controlling – the execution phase is primarily the project manager’s responsibility. In this phase, the project manager tracks effort and cost, monitors project, ensures adherence to the plan and seeks to mitigate risk.
  5. Closing – deliverables are handed over and reviewed. The project manager documents outcomes of the project, conducts sessions with project team members and stakeholders to collect project learnings and gets final results approved.

Taken together, these five phases represent a project lifecycle.

Waterfall Projects

For some projects, you will cycle through these phases once. These types of projects are termed “waterfall” projects and are more linear in their approach. With this approach, the phases occur sequentially, requiring that a phase be completed and signed off on before the next phase can begin.

Examples of Waterfall Projects in Marketing

  • Print marketing production – From the content creation to design, approval, proofreading, printing and distribution, each stage needs a defined timeline and process.
  • Organizing a large-scale event – Planning, venue booking, logistics and marketing all require a defined timeline and sequential execution.

The steps are predetermined and must be followed each time to achieve the desired outcome.

Iterative Projects

Other projects will cycle through the phases more than once or certain phases more than once during the project’s life. These types of projects are called “iterative” projects. With this approach, there is an overall timeline in which a set of deliverables are expected at project closure.

Examples of Iterative Projects in Marketing

  • Optimizing a digital campaign through continuous refinement of creatives, targeting and messaging based on real-time analytics.
  • Building a website or app prototype to allow for user testing and feedback integration throughout the process, ensuring the final product meets user needs and expectations.
  • The execution phase of an iterative project will happen in cycles (iterations) that allow for the project team to pause, review and make needed changes for further iterations.

Marketing project management plan template – explore a sample template of an academic marketing plan

Additional Resources

  1. Project Management Basics
  2. Project Management for Marketing – The Key to a Successful Launch
  3. Microsoft Planner
  4. Excel Marketing Project Plan Templates


Michelle Lewis, Project Manager,
Rashmi Tenneti, Director of Analytics and Alignment,