Project stakeholders

The Complete Guide to Understanding Ad Agency Project Stakeholders

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Ad agency projects have many moving parts and many stakeholders. Managing a successful project requires the proper management of those stakeholders, from clients to vendors and everything in between. Knowing who each stakeholder is and what role they play in the project can make all the difference between success and failure. The good news is that the stakeholders will be similar for all your projects, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t contemplate them for every project that you need to manage.  

In this comprehensive blog post, you will learn how to identify and manage all the stakeholders involved in your ad agency project.  

Why is it important to identify your project stakeholders?

Failing to identify and manage all the stakeholders involved in an advertising agency project can lead to serious consequences. For example, it can cause delays, budget overruns, and project failure. Nobody wants that, right?  

It is important to identify all the stakeholders in a project so that their roles are clear, and expectations are managed. Furthermore, it is important to understand how each stakeholder will be affected by the decisions made during the project in order to ensure that no one is unintentionally left out.   

Identify All Stakeholders Involved

The first step to managing stakeholders within your ad agency project is to identify who they are. Stakeholders can include clients, vendors, freelancers, and team members. The typical stakeholders involved in an ad agency project will include, creative directors, account managers, creative teams, production teams, finance teams, and (in the case of the networks) legal team members. 

Each of these stakeholders will have their own role to play in the project and their own expectations. He/she will bring their own unique perspective and contributions to the project, which should be taken into consideration when planning and executing the project.  

The big challenge for some traditional agencies is that these stakeholders work in silos whose interests are not necessarily the same as the agency as a whole. For example, the account managers want to please the client at the expense of the agency. The creatives may also want to showcase their talent and not be interested in the project scope etc.  

As a project manager, it is important to understand the role of each stakeholder so that you can manage their expectations. It will also help ensure that all parties involved are working together seamlessly for a successful project. 

To RACI or not to RACI

A common tool used among project managers outside the ad industry is the RACI matrix RACI is an acronym and stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. This matrix helps to map out the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder involved in a project or task. This is a useful tool that ad agency PMs should incorporate into their project management toolkit.  

For example, a client might be the “responsible” party for making sure that final deliverables meet their standards. A freelancer might be “consulted” to provide expertise on certain tasks throughout the project. Having these things documented will be immensely helpful in controlling the project.  

It’s important to understand the dynamics between all parties involved to ensure that everyone understands their roles and contributions to your ad agency project. 

If you choose not to use a RACI, it is still important to list the stakeholders when planning projects, especially those who work with your key clients. That is because changes in personnel in the client can be catastrophic for an agency.  

Establish Clear Lines of Communication

Establishing and maintaining clear communication channels is essential for successful stakeholder management. Make sure all stakeholders are actively involved in the decision-making process and kept up to date on project progress. It’s important for stakeholders to understand that their opinions and ideas will be taken into consideration before any decisions are made. Additionally, ensure your stakeholders have access to the same information for everyone to make informed decisions about the project.  

That said, it is the project manager’s responsibility to make sure that decisions are made which are consistent with the project scope and that will lead to the successful conclusion of the project.  

Ensure Accountability with Follow-Ups and Documentation

After each meeting or discussion, review stakeholders’ tasks and set milestones for the project. Follow up with stakeholders regularly to ensure that all tasks are being addressed in a timely manner. Keep detailed notes of any conversations and decisions to refer to if there is ever confusion over what action is being taken on the project. Additionally, provide any necessary resources that help stakeholders meet goals in an efficient way. Documentation allows managers to track progress, stay organized, and have evidence of all actions taken throughout the duration of a project. 

Utilize the Right Technology to Support Collaboration and Reporting

Utilize the right technology to streamline collaboration and reporting for a successful ad project. Technologies such as task management platforms, cloud storage services, and communication software can reduce the burden of manual administrative tasks and allow stakeholders to efficiently collaborate with each other. These technologies grant quick access to data, documents, conversations, and other materials that are relevant to the project. They also provide reporting features that give project managers insight into important metrics around time tracking, deliverables, scheduling, and much more. 

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