Jira for Marketing – How To Get The Best Results

Jira for marketing is one of the fastest growing uses of the project management system which is firmly associated with software development teams. 

Marketing teams are one of the largest constituents of those using Jira for non-software or IT projects. But why are so many marketing teams using Jira? What do they find so useful about Jira that it now features on lists of the best project management software for marketing teams?

Here I highlight the distinctive benefits of Jira for marketing teams, and some of the best uses of Jira in marketing which you can adopt (including examples from my own Jira projects). 

I’ll also share top tips to get the most out of Jira, and how you can enhance Jira for your own marketing projects with tools like Visor.

Can you use Jira for marketing?

Using Jira for marketing projects might seem like an odd choice initially. 

Marketing teams are stereotyped as creative, less technical, and a little less process oriented. At the same time, people identify Jira with software development, with jargon, rigid processes, and complexity that would put off most marketers.

But we all know these stereotypes don’t ring true anymore. Process, data, and short sprints to meet more immediate goals have become central to how marketing teams plan, execute, and evaluate. 

More marketers than ever are utilizing agile ways of working, ditching detailed 12-month plans and siloed working in favor of cross-functional squads, delivering projects faster, and continuously adapting to changing trends and their competitive landscape.

Jira for Marketing Teams – Key Benefits

The key benefits of Jira for marketing teams, when compared with other project management teams, are:

  • Configurability
  • Automation
  • Versatility
  • Agile marketing support
  • Product/Engineering/Marketing team integration
  • Scalability

Explore these benefits in full below, with real world examples you can adopt.

Configurability

You might look at Jira’s in-depth configurability and feel drawn to it, or you might feel intimidated. Both responses make sense. 

When you compare Jira and Asana, both popular project management systems for marketing teams, you see just how unique Jira’s level of configurability is, both at an organizational and project level.

Jira comes equipped with basic templates for common project types in marketing. But these templates do not give you what you would expect from a purpose-built marketing project management system. 

This means you’ll need to build upon these foundations, adding and tailoring the setup to suit you and your marketing team’s specific needs.

Some may see this as a drawback, a headache, or extra work. Others see it as liberating from the frustrating constraints of project management systems that seem to come out of the box ready to handle all of your marketing projects, until you find a project or need that it can’t handle well, and realize you can’t customize it to fit them either. 

The initial dread of the blank canvas and the associations with engineering and product teams may turn away some marketing teams. But this would be a mistake. With Jira you can have a marketing project management system that is more bespoke than anything else on the market.

Automation

With Jira you can automate an array of repetitive tasks freeing up everyone in your team to complete higher value tasks. Jira’s unique level of customizability extends to automation too. This means you aren’t restricted to a small number of basic, pre-configured automations.

Instead, if you’re willing to invest the time to learn and configure Jira yourself, then you can create bespoke automations that fit with the specific workflows, aims and challenges your marketing team has. 

One popular piece of automation among agencies or internal creative teams is automatically allocating tasks (“Issues” in Jira speak) based on criteria in certain fields in that task. 

For example, if a person in a vertical marketing team requests an infographic, this task can be auto-allocated to a graphic designer in the team, who has enough capacity to take on the task. Here’s an example using the same principle but in a software development team.

These bespoke automations keep projects moving, reduce admin work, and allow your whole team to work more efficiently. You can also be confident that Jira is carrying the ball, so that no one drops it.

Versatility

Jira’s high level of configurability means it can be used to manage any marketing activity and those activities run by other teams. This should mean you have fewer experiences of trying to fit a square plug into a round hole, as you are able to modify the hole to fit the plug. 

It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean Jira is the best fit for every scenario, or at least is not always the best tool for every job. Marketing teams who want to work with waterfall project management processes, with strict rules about dependencies, will probably find Jira to be less suitable than other project management systems (like TeamGantt or Monday.com).

Taking that on board, if you work in an agile way, or want to, then Jira can be something of a masterkey, able to take on any agile project you can throw at it. 

Agile Marketing Support 

Agile marketing and Jira are a match made in heaven. Jira is being utilized by agile teams for a wide range of non-software projects, and marketing teams are a significant part of this move.

According to research by Agile Sherpas 86% of marketing organizations plan to transition at least some of their marketing teams to agile, with 25% planning to transition all their marketing teams to agile marketing methodologies.

Jira is designed with agile in mind. This means that marketing teams already working with agile principles and processes will find it a closer fit than many other systems (such as TeamGantt or Monday.com) which are more geared towards waterfall project management.

Jira has well-developed features and architectures for:

  • Scrum/Kanban boards
  • Backlog management and prioritization
  • Sprint management and planning
  • Workload and resource management
  • Hierarchization of Issue types (e.g. Epic, Story, Task, Subtask)

All of these features help keep marketing teams firmly on the agile adoption track and enforce agile behaviors. 

It also means you don’t have to go through the effort, potential expense, and eventual frustration of adapting other project management systems that are not specifically designed for agile. 

Marketing, Product and Engineering Team Integration

If you’re in marketing at a software company or at an agency, there’s a high probability your colleagues in product and engineering are using Atlassian products, including Jira. 

Bringing marketing into the Jira fold means you can more easily work together in your cross-functional agile squads.

Instead of new product or feature launches being parsed over from Jira to whatever system marketing is using, you can all work on shared projects in the same system.

Marketing specific elements of new product/feature launches (such as defining the messaging, email and social campaign requirements) can be built into the launch plan as standard, ensuring these aspects don’t get forgotten or neglected. 

You can also use tools like Visor to display and organize Jira projects in more audience friendly formats, such as Gantt charts, spreadsheets, timelines and other views, to impress stakeholders outside of your squads. Try Visor for free now.

These stakeholders might be your CEO, a client, or anyone else you want to clearly communicate with rather than confuse.

Scalability

Many project management systems aimed at marketing teams opt for simplicity, ease of use, and are generally more prescriptive and less flexible. 

Many of these tools work really well for smaller teams or smaller organizations but start to become unworkable (or at least very limited) when scaled up into larger organizations that want to add their own custom structure and some level of centralized control.

Jira and the Atlassian set of products allows the imprinting of organizational styles of work, processes, and protocols, which can then be adopted and if needed enforced across the organization. This is increasingly important for large organizations, especially those seeking to consolidate and integrate their software ecosystems.

Essentially, this gives those organizations the ability to determine exactly where, when, and how customization can take place as well as who can make changes. 

Jira and Atlassian can evidence scalability through the range of large and diverse organizations that use their products, from small organizations to giant software companies and arms of government.

How do marketing teams use Jira?

The flexibility and endless customization level of Jira means that it can potentially be used to manage any marketing project, including:

  • Content planning and production 
  • Website development and testing
  • Events (digital and physical) 
  • Social media management
  • Campaign management
  • Creative work (design, video, audio etc)

Below, I’ve described how Jira can be used for the two most popular examples: integrated campaign planning and content planning and production.

You can review these examples to help you decide if Jira is going to work for you. If you are already using Jira this might inspire you to add or improve project types within your own Jira instance.

Integrated campaign planning

Atlassian has added a template for campaign management into Jira. Use it as a starting point to build on as it’s a little basic out-of-the-box.

Most marketing teams will create a board per campaign rather than combining all their campaigns on one board. 

It is possible to manage multiple campaigns in a single board. You can do this by using the Epic issue type as your campaign, Story issue type as the different elements of that campaign and then Tasks and Subtasks as the stuff that needs to get done as part of each campaign element. 

However, I would suggest creating your own templatable campaign board and reusing this separately for each campaign.

Key ingredients for a great campaign board

Your campaign board should have separate issue types, such as email blast, blog, social media, eBook, event, PR, advertisements and so on. Each issue type should have a mix of general fields (such as assignee, due date, cost) and specific fields (for events these could include location, campaign code, on site/virtual, event manager, key contact, and so on).

You can also use automation to add relevant subtasks automatically for different issue types. For example, automatically creating budget requests or purchase orders when someone creates a new advertisement task.

One limitation of Jira that becomes apparent when using it for campaign planning is that you can’t easily display your project in a Gantt chart view, which some internal stakeholders or clients will find much easier to interpret. 

There are native options to help with this, like Jira timelines and advanced roadmaps, but these are fairly limited, so you may be more satisfied with a purpose-built compliment to Jira like Visor, which enables you to create free Jira Gantt charts.

Content planning and production

Content marketing is a great use case for Jira, partly because of the commonalities it has with software development, where distinct items (features or content pieces) are created and published or “shipped” following a repeatable workflow. 

My colleague Halden Pfearsen, Senior Content Manager here at Visor, set up our own “Visor Content Engine” in Jira. It works fantastically well, so feel free to use the key points below to take the existing Jira content management template to another level.

A Jira Kanban board used by marketing teams to manage the content production process from idea to publication

As you can see in the image, the board has the following stages in the workflow:

  • Hold
  • Requested
  • Proposal
  • Draft
  • Ready for Review
  • In Review
  • Editing
  • Scheduled (for upload)
  • Published

Halden has created a number of issue types to help categorize tasks:

  • Blog
  • Social Media
  • Case Study
  • Multimedia
  • Company Announcement
  • Knowledge Base Article
  • Product Update
  • Newsletter
  • Thought Leadership
  • Recruitment 

Each issue type has a distinct set of custom fields and checklists (see the blog issue type below).

A Jira issue card used by marketing teams to log the creation and publication of blogs  

This ensures each piece of content in a category is produced in a consistent way. It helps enforce quality controls. Requirements for images or web components are checked for and requested ahead of time, this prevents them being left until the last minute (which could of course cause delays). 

Our Content Engine is integrated with Visor, so that our Jira board is also available in a really attractive and easy to interpret Gantt chart (using the same Jira data). This makes it easier to see what’s coming soon, what is running late (and why), and detail on what attention each content piece needs in order to progress – see the image below:

n example of using Jira for Marketing using Visor’s table view

We also use Visor to provide freelancers and designers with separate views just for them. These views are easily created using existing data to determine what to include. For example, only tasks where a design element was requested are included in the Design View:

A Kanban board view in Visor software showing design work projects and progress  

Jira for Marketing Agencies 

Marketing agencies can use Jira to manage projects for clients, their business development,  finance, HR and more. This is all down to the high level of customization that makes Jira so distinctive.

For managing clients and their marketing projects, whether you are an SEO and digital marketing agency, in advertising, branding, or any other field, Jira can help you implement and maintain consistent workflows and processes across your client base and projects. 

Jira’s agile orientation makes it ideal for squad based collaboration between those managing clients, winning new business and those producing the deliverables.

The necessary admin that occurs in any marketing agency can be automated with Jira, saving time and ensuring processes operate reliably and smoothly. 

Clients can use a form to report website issues, which triggers the creation of a task that is automatically allocated, with a priority level, to someone with the right skills and capacity to jump right on and address it.

Enhancing Jira for marketing agencies

Some agencies do encounter a hurdle when they present projects or updates to clients using the Jira interface. This is because Jira is not the most intuitive and lacks native functionality to present information in multiple ways to suit each client’s taste and prior working knowledge. 

Before you start exporting your Jira projects into Excel, or burdening yourself with slides, consider tools like Visor which have a bi-directional integration with Jira, so that you can present your Jira projects in colorful Gantt charts and a range of other views. 

You can easily tweak views to fit each stakeholder or client, and set filters to determine precisely what they do and don’t see. Your clients can also contribute, add details and comments, directly in Visor, and you can control when and if this information syncs back and updates your projects in Jira.

Jira Marketing Templates 

Jira comes ready equipped with a wide range of templates for managing different types of marketing projects including:

  • Campaign management
  • Marketing service management
  • Go-to-Market
  • Content management
  • Event planning
  • Email campaign

Selecting a template is simple. Just navigate to projects in the main menu in Jira, then click the plus icon to create a new project and then click ‘More Templates’. Depending on your role and profile, Jira may offer up some recommended templates. If these are not what you need then select the role type on the left that best matches you. 

However, you may find these templates are a bit basic. Follow the steps below to get the most out of Jira and enhance Jira’s marketing templates or even to enhance your existing marketing projects in Jira.

Jira for Marketing – 9 Tips for Success

  1. Invest time in learning the basics: Use the free and comprehensive Atlassian University
  2. Adapt Jira to you and your projects: Stories, issues, and bugs can be whatever you need them to be, your workflows can be as simple or as advanced as needed
  3. Use keywords in task descriptions: Search and find tasks more easily
  4. Create Filter subscriptions: Ensures you are notified when tasks approach due dates
  5. Make use of sub-tasks: Split grouped work into smaller chunks 
  6. Use Confluence: Adds a digital whiteboard you can use with Jira
  7. Use tools like Visor: Overcome Jira’s drawbacks when presenting to and collaborating with internal stakeholders or clients
  8. Make use of Jira’s inbuilt reporting: Quickly see how projects are progressing
  9. Take the time to automate: Harness Jira’s key power to save you time and reduce errors 

Jira for Marketing

Jira gives marketing teams a very different set of benefits to those project management systems specifically aimed at marketing teams. If you’re prepared to take a lump of clay and mold your vision, then Jira will suit you much better than less flexible project management systems. 

Those marketers that approach Jira with optimism, curiosity, and patience can harness its power to create workflows that create iron-clad agile processes and time-saving, error-reducing automations. 

There’s also so many add-ons and integrated tools that can help you adapt Jira to be what you need it to be. Our own Visor is really popular with marketers and agencies using Jira. It’s the best way to put a different lens on your Jira projects, turning them into a wide range of flexible, customizable, attractive views that are understood instantly. 

Marketing teams typically use Visor to get a Gantt based overview of projects within their own teams, to showcase their work to important stakeholders/clients and to create a space where these people can collaborate more easily together. 

This improves stakeholder/client engagement and satisfaction. It also saves them hours that would otherwise be spent creating spreadsheets and presentations.

If you’re already using Jira, I hope you’ve gained a few ideas you can apply right away to get the most of your own Jira instance, including Visor, which you can use now completely free.

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