In 27 seconds: Email was never designed to be a marketing project management tool. If you’ve ever been subjected to using email to manage even small-scale projects, you’ve undoubtedly experienced its many shortcomings. To name just a few: no time tracking capabilities, no checklist features, no central place to store all critical digital assets such as documents, graphics, a/v files, etc., no way to track budgets, etcetera, etcetera. Project management tools (PMTs) are cloud-based systems that are specifically designed to help marketing teams plan, manage, and execute their projects efficiently and effectively. From overseeing the launch of new products to managing marketing campaigns and projects, PMTs ensure the marketing function runs smoothly, with no potholes, bumps, roadblocks, or hiccups. Want to know more? Keep reading…

email is not a project management tool

When using a good project management tool, you’ll never hear…

I don’t remember getting your email.

Oh, s**t. I just found your email in my junk/spam folder.

Sorry, her email was buried in my inbox.

I didn’t know it was due on the 21st because I wasn’t copied on the email.

You sent it to the wrong email address.

I get 200 emails a day, and I just saw this. Sorry.

Oh, cr*p. The email was stuck in my Drafts folder. Sorry.

Oh, cr*p. The email was stuck in my Outbox. Sorry.

There’s no email attachment.

And my favorite: Oh, here. I got it. You put your reply in the same email with the details of some other projects we’re working on. Isn’t there a better way we can keep everything organized?

There you go—ten opportunities for a project to crumble apart, miss a deadline, or fail. (Aren’t there enough ways already?)

Email is not, and never was meant to be a project management tool, yet so many companies cling to it with all their might, trying to make it so. And even with all its impressive features, extensions, and AI capabilities, many things can slip through the cracks and get missed or overlooked. 

Project management tools are a necessity!

Implementing a solid project management tool is one of the first things I do as a fractional CMO if the company I am working with doesn’t already use one. 

I couldn’t imagine life without it—even if I was working with a team to create a logo lapel pin. (No, I’m not being facetious.)

What is a project management tool (PMT)?

It’s a cloud-based system designed to help marketing teams plan, manage, and execute their projects efficiently and effectively. 

Simply put, PMTs are the backbone of business. From overseeing the launch of new products to managing marketing campaigns and projects, PMTs ensure the marketing function runs smoothly, with no potholes, bumps, roadblocks, or hiccups.

The Top 11 Benefits of Using a Project Management Tool


1. Efficiency and Organization

PMTs act as a beacon of order. They help streamline tasks, align deadlines with achievable milestones, and keep everyone on track. With every team member having a clear overview of their roles and responsibilities, PMTs streamline operations. A lot!

2. Improved Communication

Effective communication is the lifeblood of a successful project. A robust PMT enhances team collaboration by offering clear lines of communication, updates, and feedback loops. It fosters transparency and helps eliminate delays and miscommunications that often plague projects. (Tip: Quality of input is critical in using any tool or system. PMT users must be thorough and descriptive to achieve optimal project success.)

3. Enhanced Productivity

Productivity has nothing to do with working harder; it has everything to do with working smarter. By providing visual project timelines and tools for easy task management and tracking (e.g., dashboards and Gantt charts), PMT software enables teams to focus on high-priority items and benchmark their progress.

4. Time Management

Time is money. PMTs assist in breaking work down into actionable steps, enabling the efficient allocation of time and resources. Timelines can be closely monitored and adjusted in real-time, allowing for proactive management against potential overruns.

5. Budget Control

A sound project management tool offers comprehensive budgeting features to assist in monitoring and tracking expenses, avoiding cost overruns, and ensuring projects deliver within financial constraints.

6. Risk Management

Projects are rarely undertaken without risks. A robust project management solution includes features that help identify and assess potential pitfalls. By having these in plain sight, teams can plan for contingencies, lessening the impact of unforeseen events. Additionally, using a PMT in and of itself greatly minimizes the risk of project failure.

7. Scalability

As your business and your teams grow, so will the number of projects in your organization. Project management software is scalable in terms of accommodating more extensive projects and offering features that support complex, multifaceted tasks.

8. Reporting and Analytics

For data-driven business leaders, project management tools’ analytics and reporting capabilities provide insights into project performance, team efficiency, budgeting, and areas that may require corrective action. 

9. Client Satisfaction

With the proper use of a PMT, external and internal clients can easily track the progress of their projects. They can monitor budgets and ETAs and ensure all projects are on task.

10. Remote Team Coordination

In the age of remote work, a project management tool becomes the central hub for teams spread across different time zones. It facilitates the seamless coordination of efforts, ensuring that location does not impede project progress.

11. Improves company morale and culture

As the number one cause of friction and frustration in any relationship is poor communication, successfully implementing a PMT will improve your company’s morale. A PMT will also naturally improve culture through notable improvements in teamwork, accountability, and responsibility. 

Popular Project Management Tool Options

There are many types of project management tools to choose from.

However, for companies that are stuck using email, I start with Trello. While it may not appear on the 2024 top list of project management tools, it’s an easy entry point into the project management world for several reasons:

1) It’s easy to set up

2) It’s easy to train people on how to use

3) It’s intuitive and easy to understand

As a fractional CMO, “easy” is the value proposition I need to get maximum buy-in from my teams and the company I am working with. If it’s too intimidating or complex with a long learning curve, the chances for resistance and failure are much too great. 

While Trello may not be as robust as Wrike,, smartsheet, and Quickbase, It’s more than capable of 90-95% of any organization’s needs with extensions and integrations.

Once the company I’m working with begins to appreciate and see the value of a PMT, we may graduate into something more robust, like

However, to start, we must walk before we run.

If email is failing you and you need a better project management solution for your company, let’s talk