5 Best Practices for Marketing Project Management

Person sitting at a desk with a notebook and laptop

Let’s be honest – managing all of your marketing efforts is tough. There are dozens of steps to move a single project from an idea to a completed deliverable and requires collaboration between multiple parties. While there can be a lot that can go wrong, the good news is that there’s a way to bring order to all the madness that marketing campaigns bring with them – marketing project management!

Project management is more than a way to make sure your team is staking on time and budget, it actually increases the ROI of your marketing efforts. Marketers who plan projects are four times more likely to be successful.

At Green Apple, we’ve learned quite a bit about the foundational principles and best practices for effective marketing project management. While some of the lessons we learned the hard way, others were discovered through the creative problem-solving of our team. Today, we’ve built a team of gifted client relations specialists whose primary focus is to execute an effective project management process. 

For this article, we’ve asked one of our assistant client relations specialists, Kayla Reyes, to share a few insights she uses when it comes to “keeping all the plates spinning” for our clients.

5 Best Practices for Marketing Project Management

There are dozens of elements that go into managing your marketing projects effectively. From creating your overall structure and procedures to defining the communication processes, there’s a lot to consider. But how do you go about implementing these foundational principles for marketing project management? Here are a few best practices we’ve learned over the years:

1. Hire the right people.

Many of the tasks and responsibilities of a project manager require a certain mindset and skillset. Some people are big vision, whiteboard dreamers. They typically make better strategists that project managers. 

At Green Apple, we use a couple of tools to assess a team member’s project management acumen. For example, we have several enneagram ones who embody the characteristics of being honest, detail-oriented professionals. We also use the Culture Index to evaluate the interpersonal skills that are required for project management. 

2. Find tools to help.

Once you have the right people in your project management role, it’s important to equip them with tools that can help them be successful. In today’s digital-first world, this often means finding the right project management software for your team. As a hybrid marketing agency, we’ve found a lot of success in using tools like Basecamp and Asana for project management and collaboration with clients. 

3. Build consistent processes and systems around your tools. 

Investing in project management software is only helpful if your team knows how to use it. It requires intentional planning to discover how the match the features that are available in a project management tool with the internal processes and structure of your team. Training is another important factor to ensure everyone has what they need to fulfill their task and nothing slips through the cracks during a project. 

4. Take a detail-oriented approach to execution.

Organizing and streamlining ideas and projects is essential to keep on track with deadlines. This is even more true in a fast-paced agency environment when you’re serving multiple clients at once. 

While moving a project through the stages of development is one key, making sure it’s done well and nothing is overlooked is another. The people who are really great at what they do focus on executing – not just the big things but also on all the little details. A good project manager recognizes that even the tiniest details matter. They make sure everyone has what they need for their specific task and address any mistakes that are made along the way.  

5. Periodically ask what’s working and what’s not.

Consistently asking, “is this working?” is just as important with your project management process as it is with other areas of marketing. At Green Apple, we make sure our project management approach integrates with our client’s internal processes. We’ve found it helpful to host quarterly meetings with our project managers and Orchard members to identify ways to improve our project management processes internally. 

“As a project manager, I love getting into the weeds to help our clients launch a strategy or create a campaign that makes a tangible difference in the world,” Kayla described. “It’s always meaningful to look back and celebrate the hundreds of steps that are taken — and all the people who are involved – to execute all of the marketing efforts for our clients.”

You can learn more about Green Apple’s unique approach or connect with our team to discover how we can become your marketing partner. 


How to Create a More Customer-Centric Culture

Cashier on squarespace register and lady customer

It’s obvious when companies genuinely care about their customers, not just as purchasers but as people. As a customer, you want to feel valued and reassured that your purchase, experience, or service is satisfactory.
Building consistent and reactive communication helps you develop long-term and loyal consumer relationships. So, how do you do this? You put the customer first. A customer-centric culture revolves around making the customer happy before, during, and after their purchase, ultimately earning established loyalty and higher growth. This strategy means listening to your customers and implementing what you learn from them. Not only does this practice make consumers satisfied, it helps you stand out from the competition for potential customers. While there are several methods of the approach, we’ve gathered a top five for you to review while you begin to design a customer-centric approach in your organization.

1. Invest In Your Team

Imagine you want to make a complaint about a bad experience. If you encounter a less-than-helpful person when expressing your concerns, you likely won’t return to that business. That’s why you want to hire employees who understand the value of customer relationships. 

While these customer-facing individuals do drive revenue based on customer experience, that’s not their primary duty. More than anything, team members who work directly with customers ensure the customer is understood and satisfied with their experience. To avoid disconnection between customer service and other departments, strategically merge other divisions or schedule regular meetings. Customer service shouldn’t be only certain employees’ responsibility– it should be everyone’s. Though customer service isn’t the only factor in adopting customer-centric ways, hiring and collaborating with excellent people are guaranteed ways to make your customers feel more secure.

2. Have Empathy for Your Customers 

Responding with empathy is essential when developing a successful customer-centric approach. These responses consist of implementing progressive thinking, understanding emotional needs, and genuinely caring about the individual’s concerns. Empathy is a learned and valuable skill for your team members to possess.

According to a PwC study, only 38% of U.S. consumers say the employees they interact with understand their needs. That is a monumental opportunity for your company to specialize in empathetic proficiencies and automatically outshine your competition.

3. Be One Step Ahead

When planning your customer-centric strategy, think of previous customer experiences, including:

  • Frustrations
  • Clarity issues
  • FAQs
  • Miscommunication
  • BONUS: “What If” scenarios

As a team, compile these trouble spots and either solve the hiccups or list the solutions on your website so your existing and potential customers can have their questions asked as soon as possible. You learn these areas of improvement by listening to your customers and are rewarded by their appreciation and extended business.

4. Prioritize Your Relationships First

Did you know that customers who have a good experience are 5X more likely to recommend your product or service than if they have a very poor experience? Relationships and customer satisfaction matter. Whether it’s fun communication through social media interaction or substantiating trust in B2B discussions, you want to know what your customers’ needs and priorities are before all else. Maybe it’s the way you respond or how you market toward products that create customer attraction to your brand. Research and listen to what your audience specifies; you’ll continue to build mutually beneficial relationships.

Ready to Build Your Customer-Centric Culture?

If you’re interested in learning more about how your business could thrive initiating a customer-centric business strategy, contact us today for a consultation! We’re excited to investigate the precise approach for you and your audience.

6 Guidelines for Planning a Virtual Event

zoom meeting on a laptop
At this point in time, half of all businesses conduct virtual sessions 20 to 30 times a year. Virtual events are low friction, with fewer barriers to attendance. (No more driving in the snow or paying for parking.) They can also extend the reach of your event far beyond your local circle while having almost no overhead costs. Online events are also recordable, which is incredibly valuable from a marketing collateral perspective. Key moments from an event can be repurposed and used on social media channels to bring additional attention to your brand. If you want to optimize the events you’re already holding, or dive into the virtual space for the first time, we have a few tips for planning a virtual event.

1. Promote Your Virtual Event

In marketing, a multi-pronged approach is always best. Make use of your active email list by sending out an engaging email explaining the value proposition of the event. Advertise the virtual event on social media channels, and consider providing an incentive to attend. (Gift cards are perfect for this since they’re easy to send and easy for participants to use!) Ideally, you should build a separate landing page on your website with a sign-up functionality so that you can point potential attendees to it. Drop the link into any promotions you do so that guests can RSVP easily. This will not only give you an accurate headcount for the event, but it will also help you make the event more secure by tying invites directly to RSVPs

2. Set an Agenda

Even if you’re a freewheeling type, virtual meetings aren’t the right time to indulge your spontaneous side. If participants have a sense that you don’t have a game plan, you may lose out on their attention and their buy-in. You can even send an agenda out to attendees to keep them informed about how the event will progress. One tip: keep your timestamps loose unless you’ve had several dry runs. A simple order of events is enough to serve as a guideline. 

3. Prep Your Audience

While you may be busy with administrative preparation and planning, priming your audience or participants for the event can really pay off. This pre-involvement can be comprised of sending out a poll in advance of the event, collecting comments they may want to share, or gathering questions for a Q and A. If you’re really feeling ambitious, consider sending out swag or small branded gifts to increase both event buy-in and attendance rates.

4. Check Your Tech

Running a tech rehearsal of your event can help you prevent long silences, pixelated images, weak connections, or other online event woes. The apparent ease of a virtual event can trick some event coordinators into scaling back their planning. (Don’t I just open up my laptop and go?) In reality, because of all that can go awry in a virtual event, meticulous planning becomes even more essential. When you’re doing a dry run of the event, double-check the functionality of technology for all the hosts, including mics, lighting, and sound. You’ll also want to check the permissions of the platform you’re using. Decide if you want to auto-mute participants or require video. For presentation elements, check screen sharing and hosting capacities. Finally, check your event link to make sure it directs to the correct location. While it may feel tedious, a technology dry run is the best way to ensure a professional, streamlined virtual event.

5. Secure Your Event

Incidences of Zoombombing have dropped since online event platforms have beefed up security. However, unwanted or unexpected intrusions are the type of occurrence that can completely derail an otherwise successful event. To help prevent this, set a password for every single event you host. You can also limit screen sharing to administrators and auto-mute participants so they can only unmute with administrative permission. If you do use the auto-mute function, you should assign a specific team member to unmute participants as necessary. This job will require their full attention, so it should be their sole task during a virtual event. 

6. Send Out Your Event Link!

When you’re ready to launch the event, it’s time to send out the event to link to participants. While there are several schools of thought on when to send an event link out, we don’t advise sending it out too far in advance. Email links sent out too early will get buried in the crunch of an already full email inbox. Participants may have difficulty locating the link when they’re ready to attend the event. Links can also be forwarded to anyone via email. If you want to add another layer of security to your event, sending out a link no more than 30 minutes to an hour before the event can help you keep your guest list exclusive. Sending out a link right before an event can also serve as a gentle reminder to those who have push notifications turned on. 

Green Apple Strategy: Innovative Marketing In Every Industry

Our clients have used virtual events to connect to their customers and promote their brands. It’s one tool of many that can be used to enhance your marketing goals. If you’re ready to enhance your marketing goals, connect to your audience more efficiently, and increase your brand awareness, contact Green Apple Strategy. We can help you build an innovative marketing strategy to attract and retain qualified leads. Reach out to us today for a consultation.

5 [Virtual] Client Appreciation Gifts for 2022

Present wrapped with pink ribbon
When you can’t be face to face with your clients, relationship building becomes a bit more challenging—especially when it comes to showing your gratitude. Though Zoom calls are an excellent stand-in, they are hardly the same as taking your client out for coffee or dinner and giving them a gift that shows how much you appreciate them. To help bridge the gap, we have a few out-of-the-box suggestions to spark some inspiration. Here are five virtual gifts that any client on your list would be happy to receive. 

1. Virtual Gift Cards 

Virtual gift cards make gift giving easy. Even if your schedule is packed with video calls, you can shop for a gift card within minutes and have it sent to your client’s inbox. Choose a gift card from a retail shop or restaurant you know they will (or already) love. Many feel that gift cards are impersonal, but it’s all in what you make of it. Identify a specific need or interest that your client has, a hobby they enjoy, or a restaurant they’ve mentioned. Send them a meaningful note with the virtual card to let them know why you chose this specifically for them and that you’re thinking about them.

2. Donations in their Name

This year, show your clients that you care about their passions and the greater good. If you know of a cause that your client is particularly moved by, you might consider donating to a nonprofit that supports that cause in their name. They will appreciate that you remembered something so dear to their hearts. 

3. A Virtual Class or Other Online Experience

As our world continues to move to virtual experiences, there are even more digital gift options to choose from. For the client who loves to cook? Maybe a virtual cooking class. For the client who is always looking for their next adventure? Maybe try a virtual history tour of an exotic location. Websites like Master Class and Airbnb have a vast selection of a wide range of experiences to choose from. There’s something for everyone!  

4. A Cameo Message from their Favorite Celebrity

Does your client follow a favorite celebrity? You can request a personalized video message on Cameo from stars across the country. From Kate Flannery of The Office to Snoop Dogg, a Cameo video is a one-of-a-kind gift that your client can cherish forever. 

5. A Packed with Purpose Gift Box

Now to think inside the box. If you’re looking for virtual gifts that you can order online quickly but that your client can hold in their hands, try a gift box. You can show your gratitude with fun variety boxes full of snacks that they (and everyone in their house) will enjoy. Packed with Purpose makes it easy with high-quality, customizable gift boxes that give back. We especially love the “A Sweet Thanks” box that features a small-batch caramel cheddar popcorn mix, chocolate cookies, toffee, and more.  Are you looking for new ways to engage and connect with your clients? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

How to Discover What Customers Think Without Asking Them

sunlight beaming in to office onto wooden table during meeting

Here’s something that successful businesses recognize in today’s increasingly noisy world: To earn the attention of potential customers, you must truly understand what they think. This is why
empathy is more important than ever for marketers. Without taking the time to understand what motivates your audience to take action, you run the risk of simply creating noise. 

Many businesses are trying to get inside the minds of potential customers by asking more intentional questions during the sales process. That’s a great first step, but it only provides a small sample size. What happens when you can’t ask every single customer what they think and feel about every little situation surrounding your products and services?

This is where taking time, whether it’s an entire day or a two-hour brainstorming session, to consider how customers think and feel can be incredibly valuable for your team.

5 Questions to Discover How Customers Think Without Asking Them

As you look to put yourself in your customers’ shoes for a day, here are a few questions to unlock what they might be thinking when it comes to your products or services: 

  1. What do your customers say and do? Think about a typical day in the life of your customer. What do they spend their time doing? How do they behave in different settings—with their boss, with coworkers, and with friends and family? These questions help you think about all the different decisions they might have to make in the course of the day.
  2. What do your customers think and feel? Now that you’ve considered their day, it’s time to consider how those activities and decisions make them feel. What are their dreams, worries, and daily emotions? What makes them happy, sad, scared, emotional, and angry?
  3. What do your customers hear? Think about all the various ways your customers gather information. Who do they hear from? What media are they influenced by? What are the primary messages they’re being bombarded with day after day? Knowing this can help you identify how to reach them and rise above the noise. 
  4. What are their biggest challenges every day? What frustrations and stresses do they encounter daily? What risks and threats do they face? Knowing the fears your customers experience allows you to speak into the various ways your brand can help resolve them. 
  5. What opportunities exist if they succeed? All customers have heroes in the stories of their minds—and it’s not your brand. It’s them. What do they need to be successful and achieve their goals? How do they measure success? Knowing what will make them feel like even bigger heroes is a powerful way to capture their attention. 

As you and your team walk through these questions, write down every single answer you think of. Look for patterns. Most importantly, don’t forget to use the answers to these questions whenever you’re considering new products and services, crafting new marketing materials, and so forth. These questions will ensure that your deliverables resonate with your customers.

7 Creative Ways to Thank Your Clients and Customers

Thanksgiving is a time we all stop and reflect on the things we’re grateful for. More than likely, your clients or customers are somewhere on that list (if they’re not, they should bethey’re the reason you’re in business). But, do your customers know just how much you appreciate their business? According to a small business study, 68% of customers leave cease doing business with a company because they feel that company is indifferent to them. As we spend time this week thinking and celebrating what we’re thankful for, here are seven creative ways you can say “thank you” to the clients and customers who are keeping your company in business:

1. Create a Loyalty Program or “VIP Membership” for your best customers.

This is something Robbie Baxter unpacks in her book, Membership Economy. Your rewards program doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as simple as offering customers an annual discount on their anniversary.

2. Make a donation to a cause you know your customers care about.

Reach out to a select set of valued customers and let them know you’d like to make a contribution in their honor to their favorite charity.

3. Listen to the suggestions customers provide and actually implement them.

There is no better way to communicate with a customer than to show them you were listening. Your customers are a great source of areas you can improve as a business. Reach out to customers and tell them how you’ve implemented their suggestions.

4. Give your loyal customers a discount or special promotional price, just because.

Sending a note telling a customer you’ve taken $50 off their December bill as a way of showing appreciation for their loyal and continued service is a great way to keep their business in the future.

5. Send customers your favorite business book that you know they’ll enjoy.

This is a great idea for B2B companies. This gesture offers customers insight into your company culture and opens the lines of communication for future discussion about the ideas that you use to help shape your products, services, or strategies.

6. Help teach customers something valuable that’s related to your industry or area of expertise.

Two huge benefits come from thanking customers this way customers trust you, and they have a greater appreciation for your products. It’s the ultimate win-win.

7. Refer people you know to your customers’ businesses.

B2B businesses should make every effort to say thanks by sending business to their customers. Look for opportunities to refer your customers to other clients or link them to your network.  I’d love to know what some other creative ways you’ve let customers know how thankful you are in the past! As always, don’t hesitate to contact Green Apple today if you need some marketing guidance or assistance to go the extra mile for your clients and customers.