In-house creatives, freelancers, clients, approvals and deadlines — keeping track of all the moving parts involved in your marketing agency’s projects is complicated, and it only gets more difficult as your agency grows. Losing track of deadlines or failing to get proper approvals could cost you a client and hurt your bottom line. Cloud-based project management apps can help you conquer the chaos.
You may already be using a general project management app, such as Basecamp or Zoho Projects, for your marketing agency. However, if you’re on the lookout for a new tool, check out the many project management apps designed specifically for the needs of marketers.
Here are 10 popular products to consider.
AND CO is a modern solution for creative freelancers and studios in need of invoicing, time-tracking, task-management, contracts help and more. The app helps freelancers and agencies handle contracts, invoices, and payments in one place, while time-tracking and task management tools make organization and team collaboration easier in and out of the office. AND CO is designed for small creative teams looking for a single solution to handle everything from proposal to payment.
Brightpod uses an intuitive visual design featuring Kanban boards. Each project is set up as a “pod” with its own page for uploading and organizing files. You can share and discuss files within the app instead of sending emails, or add tasks from your email instead of having to launch the app. Brightpod also helps you budget time for each project, track time for each task, distinguish between billable and non-billable hours and more. Brightpod integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.
Flow enables easy file sharing, and lets you assign, view and organize tasks and due dates. You can create Guest Accounts for your clients and set up a separate Workspace for each client. It’s easy to create recurring tasks and templates for different types of projects. You can see tasks in multiple views, including a calendar view or card view. Use the Flow Chat feature to discuss projects without having to physically meet. Flow projects can also link to Slack channels, which is nice if you’re already using Slack. The app integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.
Use FunctionPoint to create and assign jobs and tasks, track workflow using dynamic Gantt charts, and allocate resources to keep projects on track. Clients will appreciate having their own Client Portal where you can share updates and get approvals; Project Brief templates help you keep within scope. FunctionPoint integrates with QuickBooks and provides a wide range of accounting tools, including time tracking, integrated invoicing, and expense management. You can generate reports on billable hours, invoiced versus actuals, gross profit and other financial metrics.
5. inMotion Now
Use the central dashboard to see project priority, status and schedules; use templates to set up new projects quickly. You can customize routing workflows, control who can view what version, and use audit trails to simplify approvals. Reviewers can easily mark up print, online, video or email assets digitally. InMotion Now also has powerful reporting features so you can see key metrics and workflow trends.
Redbooth’s Timeline feature displays projects and timelines as Gantt charts so they are easy to see at a glance. Create your own templates to streamline common projects and processes. Share files and create team Workspaces for different projects and clients. Redbooth integrates with Outlook and Gmail, so you can manage Redbooth tasks from within your email. It also integrates with Slack, Outlook, Box, Dropbox and more, and generates productivity reports so you can see how efficiently your team is working. Free for up to 10 users and two Workspaces.
Workamijig goes beyond project management to integrate budget tracking and financial insights into every project. For example, you can forecast project needs and get notifications of budget concerns early in the process so you can allocate resources more effectively. Gain instant visibility into revenues and expenses for work in progress, and compare your productivity goals and time estimates to actual project results. Using this information, you, your CFO, and your account manager can determine how to budget for future projects to increase profitability and improve cash flow.
WorkBook’s project management features include the ability to create Gantt charts, plan resources, add projects and tasks, upload files and comment on them. However, WorkBook really differentiates itself with its robust financial tools. An integrated Finance & Accounting module offers accounting, billing, time tracking and profitability analytics features. You can also integrate WorkBook with existing accounting tools such as Sage, Microsoft Business Solutions, or SAP. Many large ad agencies use WorkFront, so if your agency is on a growth track, this could be one to look at.
WorkFront uses dynamic, shareable calendars to assign and track tasks and projects. Customizable project templates and creative briefs streamline workflows. Route assets for approval digitally and proof them online. WorkFront tracks time and helps you forecast project needs and timelines accurately so you can assign adequate resources to each project. This helps you make the most of your resources and maximize billable hours.
Workzone takes you from start to finish of each creative project. Use custom intake briefs to create projects instantly; assign deadlines and tasks on calendars and Gantt charts; and create to-do lists or project templates. Review and edit documents directly within the Workzone app. You can set up separate work areas for each client and give clients access. An auto-save feature updates versions every timely changes made so you always have the latest version of each asset.
Want even more options before you make your choice? Can’t get enough collaboration and productivity tools? Check out this mega-list of 49 online tools to help your team be more productive.
How to choose?
Since many of these project management apps offer similar features, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions, like:
Which features are essential and which are just “nice to have?”
How many people will use the software?
Can this software grow with me as my business expands?
How quickly can my team get up to speed on the app?
Does it integrate with other apps I rely on?
Does the interface match the way my team likes to work?
Will it help me make better financial decisions and grow my business?
There are plenty of good choices out there. To make the best decision, take your time reviewing the options, and get your team’s input, too. After all, if they love it, they’ll really use it.