Marketing projects: Why you should compile questions in advance

Learn a tactic to make your next project more productive — compiling a list of questions based on current initiatives to reference later.

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We’ve all had our share of first rodeos — perhaps it’s your first-ever marketing project or your debut project at a new organization.

An important thing to keep in mind is that learning is a continuous process that helps us grow, and there’s no shame in that. There are tactics we can employ to make first rodeos more productive. For instance, one easy tactic is compiling a list of questions in advance for future projects — most likely unknown at this point. 

The prospective one should ask themselves: “If I could go back to the start of this project, what questions would I ask with what I know now?” How we address challenges in one project can help provide perspective for challenges in other projects.

A very common martech scenario is determining if data needs to flow between systems in real time or not. This can have implications for architecture, data services and integrations. 

Compiling questions for the future

If you’re facing such challenges in a current project, note the questions you wish were asked earlier. That way, you can reference them when starting a new project. This practice should increase the chances that such critical information is addressed earlier on in future projects, which should help ease frustration.

Compiling a list of questions should not be a challenge. Resist any desire to overcomplicate this practice. To maintain a list, use tools already available to you, like Google Docs or Word, Microsoft OneNote, a wiki like Confluence, or similar systems. Your list compilation process needs to remain easy to increase the chances you’ll continue the practice.

Another advantage of most of these commonly used programs is that it is easy to share access with others through them. That way, enlisting colleagues to help develop such lists is easy, as they will undoubtedly have helpful insights.

Dig deeper: What is marketing work management?

Important questions to consider

While marketing projects are unique, some general questions should apply to all situations. Here are some questions that should apply across broad circumstances that can help you start your own lists:

  • When does data need to flow in real time? When can that occur on a scheduled basis?
  • How will new systems fit in with the existing tech stack?
  • How will the data models of different systems (one-to-one, one-to-many, etc.) interact?
  • What kind of training and enablement will our staff need to use new tools effectively?
  • For marketing channels, how do we manage consent?
  • Do new vendors off development and staging environments?
  • What are the UX implications? If a user changes a setting, will it be able to reflect quickly back to the user?
  • What kind of regulatory issue do we need to consider with new systems and functionality?

These are just a sample of the type of questions you should compile.

Dig deeper: How to create a knowledge base for marketing work management

Opportunities

You have plenty of opportunities to compile questions. For instance, when it’s your first time to undertake a project. This could take a couple of different forms. 

You may be starting the first project you have ever done to build or redesign a website. This applies particularly when you’re either early in your career or making a lateral career change. 

Further, this could apply to a team. Maybe the team is new, and everyone is just getting to know each other. Perhaps teams have been combined, and people are still adjusting to the changes. 

Don’t forget about bringing a new vendor or vendor team to a project. Regardless of a new person, team or vendor, these all are great times to proactively compile questions

Imagine you’ve recently started working at a new company. Even if you’ve done website redesign projects before, working on one at this specific company might be a new experience. While there are usual steps to follow, dealing with new colleagues and company dynamics can add complexity. So, when you’re new at a company, gathering questions as you kick off new projects is a good idea.

First times aren’t the only great times to compile questions to hopefully help future projects. Any project, when viewed correctly is a great time to step back and assess situations. It’s never too late to start.

Help your future self

Just as with other martech documentation, a little effort now can definitely ease things in the future. Do your future self a favor by noting current lessons that you can apply in the future.

Dig deeper: Marketing work management best practices: Dashboards, templates and requests

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Steve Petersen
Contributor
Steve Petersen is a B2B and B2C marketing technologist. He currently is a member of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts' Digital Product Team and has also worked in marketing technology roles at revenue management platform provider Zuora and before that at Western Governors University. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He's also a Certified ScrumMaster and lives in the Salt Lake City, UT area. Petersen represents his own views, not those of his current or former employers.

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