Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Running a good campaign

Advertising Campaigns, or ‘Campaigns’ as it’s known, is a class seniors take when working toward an advertising degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Students are randomly broken up into teams of four or five to work on two real-world advertising campaign projects. Campaigns is where I met Candace Lopez - we happened to both be assigned to the same two projects.

You find out a lot about a person when you’re in Campaigns with them. For instance I learned that Candace was smart, knows how to manage a project, and works harder than most people. I also learned she can stay up late and likes milkshakes. I also learned work didn’t come so naturally to everyone else. Take a fellow team member we’ll call Bill (because that’s his name). Imagine me opening the door to Bill an hour after our team meeting started, him dramatically wiping his brow (I’m not kidding – insert ‘whew!’), as if he’d run 10 miles to get there, uphill, without shoes – then only staying for half an hour.

Over the course of my career I’ve consistently observed that basic project management skills - knowing what questions to ask, how to answer them (or get the answers), then creating and implementing a plan of action based on that information – are fundamental to success. Whether you’re talking about running an advertising campaign, participating in a trade show, or creating a case study, project management is what gets it done.

I’m not saying every good project manager is a good marketer – you also need passion for the field, creativity, and intuition, among other things. But I can guarantee you the best marketers are good project managers.

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