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Key Features of Project Management Software for Marketers

by Lee Dussinger

In business, the best ideas in the world aren’t worth too much – if you can’t bring them to fruition. This is why the discipline of project management is crucial across countless industries. Specifically when it comes to project management for a marketing organization, you’re handling multifaceted campaigns, with tight deadlines, numerous moving parts, and enormous teams of experts. Without the purpose-built tools, this responsibility can feel impossible. That’s why finding project management software that meets the needs of your organization is critical

Combining a signature visual marketing calendar and robust project management, Opal is the marketing platform that brands like Target, GM, and Starbucks trust to create their brand experiences. Since marketing-specific PM capabilities are is at the core of the Opal platform, we’re delving into the key features of project management software for marketers.  

Project Management Features: Essential & Advanced 

There are a lot of project management tools. Some amazing, some subpar. The difference comes down to the features.   

This product guide highlights the key features in project management software (specifically for marketers) – as well as why they are so important to Opal customers. We’re splitting it up between the essential features that every platform provides – as well as the game-changing, advanced features that can make all the difference.     

10 Essential Features 

When evaluating project management software, these are the features you expect to see. When analyzing these features, you want to explore the nuance and the ease of use in these 10 product essentials. 

Projects – It stands to reason that a project management tool will give you the ability to create and update the status of projects that are composed of multiple pieces or tasks.

Tasks – Tasks are individual pieces that make up larger projects. Being able to set tasks is essential in organizing complex or multifaceted initiatives. 

Assignees – Directing any project begins with assigning work to specific people in the platform. 

Due Dates & Times – Being able to set parameters around the date and time by which work must be completed is important to keep a project on schedule. 

Start Dates – While setting a due date is critical, so is setting a start date. Frequently, work can only begin when other conditions have been met, which often hinges on a date or time. 

Briefing – Almost any type of project begins with an assignment or a brief. Having a dedicated space to detail the work needed, the object, and the key information is essential. Since effective marketing briefs are essential for successful marketing content, Opal places a specific focus on offering high-quality briefing options. 

Reviews/Approvals – The ability to give an official approval or provide feedback on content is one of the most crucial work management features. Firstly, leaving an official record of approval or disapproval is important. However, for many dedicated project management tools, the approval step can automatically activate the next step in the workflow. 

Learn how Microsoft achieved 50% faster content approvals by adopting Opal

Personal Task Lists – This is a feature that enables individual team members to organize the work assigned to them. These lists serve as a roll up of all assignments for an individual – often augmented with links to the projects and due dates. 

Comments/Chat – Being able to communicate directly in a project management tool is crucial, especially when working through feedback or clarifying an assignment. While smaller organizations may not find this as critical, in enterprise organizations, having a direct line of communication in the platform is important. 

Automatic Workflows – One of the key benefits of project management software is cutting the busywork of back and forth communication. Rather than emailing and Slacking to move a project to the next stage, this feature updates the relevant parties automatically. Another benefit is that automatic workflows remove the potential for human error in missing a crucial step in the process.  

5 Advanced Features 

The 10 features we listed above are essential to have, no question. Of course, basically any project management tool will have them… 

These 5 advanced project management features are the ones to look for when looking to add to your tech stack:

Full Content, Not Attachments 

This is the biggest difference between basic project tools and purpose-built project management software. Basic tools force you to link out to – or upload attachments of – your content. Professional-grade software enables you to build your content in the same platform where the workflow takes place. This enables you to see your full marketing content in one space – as well as in the full context of your plan. This allows you to produce better and more aligned content. When you compare the experience of seeing everything in one place, a list of links to other systems just doesn’t cut it. 

Free-Form Space 

Since so many workflow tools are just focused on moving projects from stage to stage, they often neglect the need for a space to brainstorm. Having a free-form scratch space unlocks so much value for all types of users. From the brief from a strategic, to independent contributors taking notes during meetings – enabling each team member to have free-form space is a huge benefit.

Visual Calendar

The vast majority of teams will use their project tool to organize projects with key dates. Many basic tools organize these dates into lists. You need more visibility than that. Enterprise-caliber project management will equip you with a visual calendar instead. When trying to represent the complex nature of a marketing campaign, you absolutely need to be able to show when and on what channel your initiatives go to market. In addition, the Opal visual calendar also shows a thumbnail preview of each piece of content to provide added visibility.  

Take a deeper dive into Opal’s visual marketing calendar.  

Comments on Content 

Project management tool with content comments

While almost all platforms will have reviews and approvals, the effectiveness of that differs dramatically. In basic tools, you can leave comments in a designated space about content – that’s fine. In purpose-built tools like Opal, you can leave comments directly on the content itself. This enables you to leave highly-specific, actionable feedback – on the exact place where you want to see the change. This specificity makes the review process more efficient and leads to better feedback as well.  

See how this makes Opal ideal as a social media approval software

Auto-Build Presentations 

Presentations in the Opal project management tool

Any task management tool should be able to make you more productive and save you a little time. However, this particular feature can give you hours back per week. Automatic presentations turn disconnected projects or pieces of content into professional-looking presentation decks in seconds. This means no more spending hours building keynotes or PowerPoints to report what you’ve been working on. Automatically-updating presentations in mere seconds – no doubt, this is a difference maker. 

More Than a Task Management System 

For the brands that trust their marketing to Opal, it is an impeccable project and task management system…

Of course, it’s quite a bit more. Opal is a connected marketing system. Opal combines the creative features of a content marketing platform with the time-saving benefits of specialized tools.

For Opal users, every step of the marketing process – from the earliest brainstorming sessions, to visualizing every piece of content represented on the shared calendar – happens here.  

Experience Opal for Yourself 

With content planning and project management at our core, Opal is a full-scale marketing platform that brands like Target, Starbucks, and GM use to plan their brand experiences. 

Even the most in-depth feature comparison can’t rival seeing or using our platform. That’s why we say the ideal method to understand how Opal can enhance your workflow is to see it in action. There are two ways to make this happen.

Firstly, you can schedule a personalized demo from a product expert right here. They will give you a guided tour of how you can manage marketing projects with ease in Opal – while answering the pressing questions you may have.

Of course, if you prefer to go at your own pace, a free 14-day trial may be the correct option for you. You’ll get access to your very own Opal and can start putting it to use right away. Your trial will enable you to try out the features that make Opal an elite-tier project management software solution for marketers. Start your free trial right here – to experience the Opal difference! 

About the Author

Lee Dussinger

Senior Content & Product Marketer

Writing about campaign briefing, brand alignment, omnichannel marketing, content operations and more

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