Project Prioritisation

Get clarity on which projects you should work on as a marketer. Get clarity on the most important projects and what you should work on.

The first step in getting more done as a marketer, is to decide what the most important work is. If 80% of the marketing budget is spent on Google Ads, it’s logical to spend most of your time optimising the campaigns - if there is room for growth.

What I’ve seen happen often is that marketing teams simply stop executing on a well-performing marketing channel over time to chase a new campaign or marketing channels. This is the down-side of ‘growth marketing’. There is always a shiner object to chase.

  • If you are a marketing specialist, it’s probably clear what projects you should work on
  • As an email marketer, you work on email automation or newsletters. The decision to be made is how much time you spend on activating new leads vs retaining existing customers
  • As a Google Ads specialist, you work on optimising campaigns, changing keywords and writing ads
  • As a growth marketer, this is more challenging. With a variety of funnel steps, customer journeys and channels to work on, this exercise will help you to make decisions on what to work on

Which projects are important work to you?

Create a list of work that is important to you(or your job). The list should include the core of the job you were hired for or link to the most important Rocks/Goals for the quarter/year. Projects can differ in size, so when in doubt add the smaller projects as well.

Try and stay close to the core of your work. Most smaller recurring tasks are projects on their own. So write down these tasks/projects as well. Try to batch smaller tasks into a ‘project’ that makes sense to you. Examples are: reporting, analyses, weekly audit, etc.

If you’re unclear if something is a project or a task, don’t worry about it. In the next chapter, we’ll also create a list of all the tasks you’re working on.

If you add tasks instead of projects, don’t worry about it. We’ll create a full list of all the tasks you’re working on in the next chapter.

Write down projects on 3 time scales

  • Weekly - weekly commitments
  • Monthly - monthly goals
  • Quarterly - larger project

Watch this video for inspiration:

Below are 2 examples to help you get started.

Example: email marketeer

  • Brainstorm on new campaigns
  • General marketing team meetings (daily standup / weekly planning / monthly recap)
  • Create email campaign calendar & brainstorm ideas
  • Write newsletter copy
  • Design emails
  • Clean email lists
  • Build automated email flows
  • Optimise automated email flows
  • Change summer campaign for winter campaign

Example: Conversion Optimisation Specialist

  • Conduct qualitative research
  • Conduct quantitative research
  • Weekly analysis + reporting
  • Write hypothesis for experiments
  • Sprint planning for experiments
  • Design experiments
  • Create briefing for developer to build experiment
  • Quality assurance of experiments
  • Analyse experiment + share results with team

The list should contain projects you are working on and recurring projects/tasks. In the next step, you’ll split them into 2 categories: one-off projects and recurring projects. Feel free to do that already.

Answer these questions to get a complete picture of projects

What is important to you?

  • What job are you hired for?
  • What is part of your OKRs?
  • Which recurring tasks or projects are essential to your job?
  • Which things do you have to delegate when you go on holiday?

What is important to the team?

  • What is the team outcome / goal?
  • What priorities have been set for the team?

What work prevents errors from happening?

  • How do you optimise or tweak channels, campaigns, marketing assets?
  • What do you do to check if everything is working?

What are long term projects you should be working on?

  • What are more abstract tasks that make your work easier?
  • What are your learning & development goals?
  • What are (long-term) projects you’ve postponed lately?
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Examples of most important projects

Example: Rick works as a generalist manager for a scale-up

Rick has worked as an SEO specialist before and worked his way up to a role as a more general marketeer for a scale-up.

Manages the paid ads agency

  • Collaborates with the brand manager for PR and copywriting projects
  • Analysing & improving SEO traffic 
  • Working on that new project to launch in a neighbouring country

Now, let’s say we’ve established that SEO traffic is declining and is important to keep our edge over the competition.

Rick’s boss directs him to spend more time on SEO. That doesn’t mean that Rick needs to work over hours (I hope). It means Rick needs to rebalance his workload and say ‘no’ more often.

Example 2: Alexine works as a junior paid performance ads specialist at an agency

Alexine is working on 2 clients and she is working on:

  • Run experiments on Marktplaats
  • Optimise Google Shopping
  • Update the product feed with a feed management tool
  • Build dynamic ads
  • Scale ad budget with seasonality
  • Launch in a new country

Example 3: Guy works as an affiliate marketer

Guy wants to grow the number of affiliates and increase the performance of the affiliate program. Guy is working on:

  • Reach out to new affiliates
  • Maintain relationships with existing affiliates
  • Analyse performance for top 10 affiliates
  • Create suggestions to increase performance of top 25 affiliates

Split recurring projects and one-off projects in two lists

The first step is to split the list into two categories: recurring and one-off projects.

Once you’ve done this, rank the 2 lists separately based on importance.

Start with the recurring projects and create a split between important projects and less important projects. Do the same for one-off projects.

You probably saw this coming: cut the list of projects that are less important. Start with recurring projects, as this saves you time every week/month.

This matrix differs from the Eisenhower Matrix, because recurring tasks are usually not urgent and tend to fall off a to-do list first. We’re aiming for impact on our goals or outcomes, so urgency is less relevant in this scenario. Or to put it in different words: the urgent things usually are a distraction from the most important work. So the emphasis is on the importance of projects.

Conclusion

It’s really hard to say no. Deciding what projects to work on is one of the hardest things to do. But if you don’t want to spread yourself too thin and really make an impact, you should do ‘less, but better’.

Slashing a few projects from your wish list means saving hours and hours of underlying tasks that you simply decide not to do. With a shorter Project List, the next step is to dive into the projects and get clarity on them.

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About Ewoud

Ewoud Uphof

Ewoud Uphof is an experienced Growth Hacker, certified funnel optimiser and investor.

In the past decade he has co-founded multiple companies. As Head of Growth he has helped grow 50+ companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals. He has worked for Camptoo, NU.nl, Sophia Mae, Koffievoordeel and many more.

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