How to Use 37Signals' Basecamp for Campaign Management

By | May 18, 2012
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Post It NotesI hate to break it to you, but post-it notes just don’t cut it anymore.

In order to manage client services effectively, it’s important to have a central and dedicated system in place to manage projects, tasks, events, communications and progress across the agency and your client base.

While a wealth of project management systems are on the market, our favorite at PR 20/20 is 37Signals’ Basecamp due to its simple user interface, access levels and robust feature set.

Below, I outline some of the ways we use Basecamp to keep clients and ourselves on task, and to foster campaign openness and transparency. 

Create Dedicated Client Centers

Basecamp Client CenterBuild confidence and trust with your clients by providing each with their own client portal within Basecamp. These individual workstations foster communication and collaboration between account managers and clients, and serve as a central location for all messages, projects, tasks and files. 

During client on-boarding processes, strongly encourage clients to take advantage of, and use, these portals. Provide education and training on the functionality and benefits, and then lead by example, regularly posting communications and projects within the system.

Note: At PR 20/20, we also set up unique portals for partners whom we work with frequently to better manage projects, timelines and responsibilities.

Manage Client Campaigns with Tasks, Messages and Events

Give clients complete transparency into what projects you are working on and when by actively tracking campaign events, tasks and to-do lists within Basecamp. Don’t let them question progress, allow them to pop in, check and comment.

Don’t stop at just your team either. Do you need clients to review a blog post or provide feedback on a strategy? Give them a to-do for it and a deadline so they know what their responsibilities are as well.

  Basecamp Example Task  

In addition to keeping your team on track with deliverables, use the system to share files, view communications, and read and submit messages. By housing all interactions with the client in one central location, managers, account teams and client contacts can easily access and find relevant information, past communications and more.

Important information never gets siloed in one person’s inbox or desktop, and you always know where to look for historical documents and messages. This is extremely beneficial if you have multiple client contacts, or main contacts change over the course of the campaign.

Maintain Content Marketing Editorial Calendars

We use Basecamp’s calendar functionality to manage our content marketing editorial calendars for clients. This way, clients and account teams can quickly see what will be published and when, along with associated tasks.

Without a content marketing editorial calendar, it’s easy for planned content to fall by the wayside. Keep everyone on track by mapping out deadlines and responsible parties within your project management tool.

  Basecamp Example Calendar  

Provide Management Dashboard

A comprehensive project management system gives agency leaders visibility into all tasks by project and by employee. By housing this information in one place, you can more effectively manage workflow and stay abreast of what’s happening within each client campaign.

For example, if you see that one person has a slow week in terms of client deliverables and another an extremely busy one, you could shift to-dos within the account team to better balance workloads. You can also pop into campaigns at any time to check on progress and status of particular projects, simply by reviewing the messages, events and task lists.

How Do You Manage Client Campaigns?

Basecamp is just one of many project management systems available. Your current processes, budget, technology infrastructure and culture can all play a role in whether it is the right solution for your agency.

What systems and technologies do you use? What do you like and dislike about them? Share your experiences and recommendations below.

Image Source: Alan Stanton