Project Prioritization Matrix: How Marketers Can Focus on What Matters Most (Template)
- Confidently say "yes" and "no" to new marketing ideas based on four simple questions.
- Align your marketing calendar with the needs of your audience, your launches, and other important events for your company.
- Outperform your competitors with content that is exceptionally valuable to the largest target audience.
Project Prioritization matrix: How Marketers Can Focus on What Matters Most (Template)Click To Tweet
Make Project Prioritization Simple With This Easy-to-Use TemplatePut this advice into practice using this Excel template to prioritize every project your marketing team works on:
What Is a Project Prioritization Matrix?If everything seems important, nothing is. That’s why you need a way to decide what’s the most important strategy, channel, and piece of content to focus on at any point in time. Project prioritization is the process that helps you take on the work that will influence your marketing goals most effectively. You don’t just have many marketing ideas to work with, but they also come from many sources. Here are some examples:
- Your regular content marketing brainstorming process
- Notes from customer support and sales teams
- Trending or up-and-coming topics and audience challenges
- Competitor’s content (or gaps in their content)
A project prioritization matrix is a decision-making tool that can be used in any type of project management.Click To Tweet
- Urgency/importance (also known as the Eisenhower matrix)
- Strategic fit/feasibility
Introducing the Marketing Project Prioritization MatrixThe marketing project prioritization matrix helps you focus on projects that will bring the most value to the largest amount of your target audience. Plotted out on a simple X/Y chart, it looks like this: The goal of the marketing project prioritization matrix is to identify projects that lie in the upper-right part of the matrix. These projects are also known as 10x projects at CoSchedule. With the help of the matrix, these 10x projects will provide you with long-term and repeatable growth and help you reach your marketing goals ten times faster. Instead of focusing on as much as possible at once and hoping that something sticks, you’ll find the few powerful areas that will both serve your audience and help you hit your marketing and business goals. In fact, the word "priority" didn’t always mean what it does today. In his book, Essentialism, Greg McKeown explains that although the word came into the English language in the 1400s, it wasn’t until the 1900s that we pluralized the term and started talking about priorities. “Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow we would now be able to have multiple 'first' things. People and companies routinely try to do just that. One leader told me of this experience in a company that talked of 'Pri-1, Pri-2, Pri-3, Pri-4, and Pri-5.' This gave the impression of many things being the priority but actually meant nothing was.“ – Greg McKeown, Essentialism The marketing project prioritization matrix will help you find the true priority for everyone in your team — at any given time.
The marketing project prioritization matrix will help you find the true priority for everyone in your team.Click To Tweet
The Real-Life Benefits of a Marketing Project Prioritization MatrixThis matrix is a lot more than just a fun chart to draw on a whiteboard and show your team. Here are two tangible benefits you’ll get by implementing it.
You’ll Remove Decision Fatigue From Your WorkMarketing teams, especially their managers, have a lot on their plate at all times. There are blog posts, videos, tweets, and Facebook posts to be published, drafts to be edited, graphics to be created, emails to be sent, and reports to be run. There’s never not something waiting to be done. When it’s time to make an important decision — like what marketing project to focus on next — you feel depleted and go for the easiest one. You go for the quick win. You choose the 10% growth opportunity instead of the 10x project. You want to tackle the 10x idea — the one that feels bigger than anything you’ve ever done. It’s the one that could multiply your results and blow your competition out of the water. However, you don’t have any willpower left, so you settle for a 10% idea — a smaller project that will bring you 10% better results. This phenomenon is called decision fatigue. It happens when you run out of willpower after a day packed with marketing tasks and decisions (no matter how small). When this happens, you often default to decisions that feel easy and safe. It impacts the rulings made by parole judges and clinical decision making of surgeons. No one is immune to it — unless they have the right tools and habits in place.
- Set up your criteria for 10x projects ahead of time
- Visualize these 10x projects on the matrix
- Already have the timeline and process for these projects in place
You’ll Develop and Stick to a Marketing RoadmapOne of the challenges of having an ambitious, creative marketing team is wanting to do everything at once. When there are dozens of ideas floating around the team at any given moment, it’s easy to jump from one project to another. This shiny-object-syndrome can make even the most talented, hard-working teams miss deadlines and goals. This is where a marketing roadmap will help. It’s made of three parts:
- Four weeks: the very next projects you’ll focus on
- Six months: the concrete plan towards your vision for the year
- One year: long-term vision; the answer to the question, “How will the world have changed because of what we did?”
5 Steps to Building and Using Your Marketing Project Prioritization MatrixLet’s build out your project prioritization matrix and apply it to your marketing projects. Remember to download your matrix template, so you can follow along if you don’t want to build your own matrix from scratch!
Step 1: Define the Criteria For Value and Target AudienceEarlier, we told you this matrix will help you focus on projects that will bring the most value to the largest amount of your target audience. On the matrix, the target audience is the horizontal axis, and value is the vertical axis. Content that falls closest to the intersection is one that brings the least value to the smallest segment of your target audience. To know where each marketing project belongs on the matrix, you need to define the criteria for both target audience and value. You can do this by defining the questions to use when scoring each marketing project on a 1-3 scale, with 3 being best and 1 being worst.
- Score 3: Most
- Score 2: About half
- Score 1: A small segment
- Score 3: Yes
- Score 2: Equal focus on audience needs and selling needs
- Score 1: No, mostly selling
- Score 3: Yes
- Score 2: It will need to be updated within a year
- Score 1: It will be outdated fast
- Score 3: Yes
- Score 2: It’s about 50:50, some parts are actionable
- Score 1: It’s mostly theoretical/unactionable
Make sure you're sharing the right actionable advice for the right audiences.Click To Tweet
Step 2: Create a Scoring SpreadsheetYou now need a place to track all of your marketing project ideas and score them based on the questions from the previous step. In a blank spreadsheet, add the following columns:
- Project title
- Project description
- Target audience question 1
- Target audience question 2
- Total score for target audience
- Value question 1
- Value question 2
- Total score for value
Step 3: Map Your Score on the MatrixA quick reminder: we’re looking for 10x opportunities, which lie at the upper-right part of the matrix: To find which of our projects lie in that section, we need to plot out all potential combinations of target audience/value scores on this matrix.
Step 4: Add Projects With Highest Scores to Your Marketing CalendarThe whole purpose of this process was to find marketing projects to prioritize — that’s what this step is for. Based on your prioritization matrix, find marketing projects that either:
- Have a total score of 10 or more
- Have both the target audience and value score of 4 or more (e.g. 4/4, 4/5, 5/4)
Step 5: Review and Tweak Projects That Didn’t Score WellWhat about those projects you didn’t choose to prioritize based on their scores? First, there’s the lower-left part of the matrix — projects with a total score of 4 or less. These are projects that provide the least value to the smallest amount of your target audience. Chances are, they are what CoSchedule has labeled as 10% ideas.
Fixing typos or writing superficial blog posts that only scratch the surface of a topic are projects you’ll find in the lower-left of the prioritization matrix.Click To Tweet
- Is this too focused on selling/features instead of benefits/audience needs?
- Can we make this topic more benefits-focused to make it useful to more people?
- If this project serves a small, but relevant segment of our audience, can we add it to a backlog of ideas for a specific launch/update of a product/feature that specifically targets that segment?
- How can we turn this into a more evergreen piece of content?
- For example, refocus from a 2020-specific guide to tips that won’t become outdated in 2021.
- What examples, expert quotes, and supporting resources could we add?
- For example, screenshots, videos, etc.
- What action could we encourage from the target audience with this piece of content?
- How can we tweak the topic to achieve that?
Put Your Matrix Into Action NowIf you follow the steps in this guide, you’ll end up with a simple — yet powerful — rinse-and-repeat process for vetting all your marketing projects and ideas. When you think of an idea yourself, run a brainstorming session with your team, or a trending topic comes up, all you need to do is add it to your prioritization matrix and score it based on four questions.
When you think of an idea, make sure to run a brainstorming session with your team.Click To Tweet