Topic: Strategy

What Is The Difference Between Marketing And Project Management?

Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on 125 Points
What is the difference between Marketing and Project Management?

Here is a definition of PM:

[inactive link removed]

I've always held the were the same, each with one exception:

1. Project Managers are good with scheduling, record keeping, and budgets. yet lack creative skills.

2. Marketers have creative skills but lack in budgeting etc.

Of course, the above descriptions do not hold true for everyone, but the two professions seem awfully similar.

What do you think?

[Moderator: Inactive link removed from post. 2/14/2011]
To continue reading this question and the solution, sign up ... it's free!


  • Posted by JBtron on Accepted
    The definition in your linked page makes the case very clear:

    A Project Manager executes the directives of the strategy, positioning and marketing plan created by the Marketer, β€œin order to meet the requirements of a particular project.” The Marketer MAKES the requirements of the program; the Project Manager MANAGES the operational, strategic and tactical recommendation rollout and execution.

    Marketers think and strategize; Project Managers carry out their programs.

    Hope this helps.


  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Author

    But according to The Project Management Insitute (

    "Project management is comprised of five processes – Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, and Closing – as well as nine knowledge areas. These nine areas center on management expertise in Project Integration, Project Scope, Project Time, Project Cost, Project Quality, Project Human Resources, Project Communications, Project Risk Management and Project Procurement. "

    Isn't marketing implied?

  • Posted on Accepted
    Project Manager is a generic term that applies to ALL business areas - building a bridge, implementing an ERP system, overseeing the scientific payload of a space probe, AND marketing campaigns. While marketing efforts may require project management, Project Managers (in almost every other field) rarely get involved with marketing.

    Also, to say that Project Managers are not creative is an affront to hundreds of thousands of highly qualified people across all industries. I can tell you from years of personal experience in IT that a non-creative person would be a failure at project management within the IT world.

    Thanks for sparking interesting debates, however!
  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Author

    No offense is meant by my comments. On the other hand, you know what they say the road to Hell is paved with... LOL!

    I agree with everyone's observations so far. I have seen PMs act as marketers and Marketers attempt to be PMs.

    If I am questioning anyone's abilities, it is my own. Should marketers strive to possess the qualities of a good PM? (There's that ethical word again: "should").

    Thanks for your posts!

  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Author
    Talk about grammar is horrible today. Not enough coffee yet.
  • Posted on Member
    Its essential for marketers to be good PM's if they want to "move up the ladder" and be successful at higher levels. If, on the other hand, being a "foot soldier" is what they enjoy, then PM expertise is not required.

    On a completely unrelated note, everytime I see the term marketer, I'm hit with two images. One starts with singing, "M-I-C, K-E-Y", while the other (and more dashing) starts with sword raising, and exclamation of "One for all, and all for one!"
  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Author
    How do these sound:

    "Market Engineer", "Marking Representative", "Marketing Specialist", "Senior Market Strategist", "Market Analyst", "Marketing Director", "VP of Marketing", "Marketing Consultant", or "Market Tech."?

    It's funny I thought the same thing. I kept thinking "Mouseketer" when I first heard the term! Then I started using it to describe "people who work in marketing".

    You hit my point exactly. Why can't we, as "Senior Marketing Techs", organize and implement our own tactics according to our own plans? Is is so we can move on to the next strategy and let the "foot soldiers" hack it up?

    Having that been said, why would a good "Market Representative" need a PM person other than to fulfill a complete lack of ability to carry out his/her plan?

    This digs deeper...if you can design the plan, why can't you carry it out in a competent manner? Delagation? Lack of interest?

    Does every "Marketing Director" simply design strategies, analytics, tactics and plans, then pass them on to someone with little or no marketing abililty? Why can't professionals who posses the skills to be successful in marketing be responsible enough to carry them out? Instead, we hire PMs to make sure it gets done. Kinda sounds flakey.

    I understand all too well about delegation and outsourcing so you can focus on what you do best, but to a non-marketing person? I don't know.
  • Posted by Michele on Accepted
    If you look under the skin of a good, large sized advertising agency, you will see a complete mix of many different kinds of people working in tandem to get things done on time, and on budget.

    The heart of an agency is 'the traffic department'. Think project manager on steroids. This is the person who allocated resources to projects, and ensures that slack time is kept to a minimum.

    This means the creative people have the space to dream, while the client service people have the reassurance that their briefs will be completed on time.

    I think it is important to be given dedicated time to dream, to think deeply about the creative elements of a campaign. If you have to think about who needs to get paid, when material has to go to the printer, and which clients have not paid their bills - you cannot imerse yourself in the communication problem. Hence the need for dedicated traffic managers.

    I think it is also a function of the cost of each resources time. Good strategic thinkers are harder to find than good foot soldiers. They therefor are more expensive by the hour. You do not waste these resources by getting them involved in the day to day operations of the clients business.

    Simple economics, really.
  • Posted on Accepted
    Jim Deveau hit it on the head. It's all about perspective.

    Tomorrow I will listen to my finance professor talk about stand-alone risk versus market risk. He'll say that it's a big deal when a firm considers whether to purchase a $10 million piece of equipment. But this project is relatively unimportant to the firm as an individual case. What matters is how this project contributes to the firm's overall position within the market.

    This idea applies to the discussion concerning project management and marketing. A marketer is looking at the market - consumers, trends, etc. A project manager has a narrow view. Close the task at hand and speed on down the road. A marketer has to stop at the fork in the road, look at the alternatives, and decide on the best path.
  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Author
    Thanks to all who contributed to this post!

    I think the line between the two professions has been suficiently drawn.
  • Posted on Member
    Our company offers a marketing project management tool, so I think we can offer some unique insight on this topic.

    Project management is a discipline that is required to effectively execute marketing initiatives. There is often a dedicated role for this discipline, but project management is also a skill set that is required by individual members of the team.

Post a Comment