Fast-forward 24 months and the team had more than tripled in size. Projects were slipping through the cracks. Information lived across spreadsheets, notebooks, and Google Docs. Processes were few and far between.
Enter Chelsea Scholz, Unbounce’s Marketing Manager of Brand Promotion. A self-proclaimed stickler for organization, Chelsea led the charge to find a new project management platform flexible enough to support her growing and geographically-dispersed team.
Chelsea and her team decided to go with Wrike to solve their marketing project management needs. She recently sat down with us to discuss the processes Unbounce’s marketing team has now put into place to serve the company’s more than 14,000 customers. During our conversation, Chelsea shared how her team collaborates cross-functionally, manages high-stakes projects, and does more work faster.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and role at Unbounce?
I've been at Unbounce for almost four years. I started as a project manager for our marketing department, and then my role quickly progressed into a junior strategic role. Long story short, I'm now our Marketing Manager of Brand Promotion, but I still have a heavy influence on our project management processes.
I've always been an organized person, ever since I was a kid. It's something that's inherent for me. So at Unbounce I like to get my hands dirty with how we approach processes and improve efficiencies. Part of that is leading the way in how we use Wrike.
How is the marketing team at Unbounce structured?
The core marketing team is 24 people. For the most part, everyone is based here in Vancouver, except for our growth specialist in Spain. We also have a few remote consultants.
We are structured according to marketing funnel phases. I work within the “awareness” phase as a strategic, top-of-funnel generalist. This phase also includes our content marketing manager, PR manager, social team, event manager, and partnerships specialist.
Then there's a crew we call “evaluation,” which is more focused on middle-of-the-funnel. This includes copywriters, marketing automation specialists, and our director of campaign strategy.
Of course, there are also reinforcements on the team who help everyone, like our pay-per-click manager and marketing manager of funnel growth. We also work closely with our designers, international teams, and even our founders.
What was life like for you at Unbounce before Wrike?
When I joined Unbounce the marketing team was about eight people. They had purchased Basecamp to manage work, but it functioned as one giant task list at the time.
Everything was all over the place. There weren’t many processes or templates to help manage things that we did all the time, like putting together an e-book campaign. So it was a little painful, which is why my role was needed.
The team grew very quickly. We doubled in size in about a year, and then grew again the following year. At that point, it became very apparent that Basecamp wasn’t working. It couldn’t help us scale. We needed something more flexible that everyone could use independently, whether they were working remotely or needed a way to keep track of their personal projects.
One of the gentlemen in our data science department suggested we start using Targetprocess to manage our projects. We gave it a shot, but it was unmanageable and not a good fit for us. Trying to make this incredibly uncomfortable shoe fit for us was a big pain point.
Finally, we reached a wall where we knew we had to find something else, so we started the journey to evaluating a new project management tool.
How did you find Wrike? Did you evaluate any other tools?
Our operations team, director of marketing, and I narrowed our evaluation down to three tools, including Wrike and Asana. I'd heard good things about Wrike from our friends at Hootsuite, as well as from some of the people in our operations department who had experienced Wrike at previous companies.
I’d never used Wrike or Asana before. At my previous companies, we had used spreadsheets or Basecamp, but I’d always heard there were better solutions. I knew other project managers and marketing teams that used Wrike or Asana in really great ways.
Using a tool like Wrike has allowed us to more accurately assess our bandwidth, and therefore take on two to three more projects a quarter.
What made your team ultimately decide to go with Wrike?
I really enjoyed Wrike from the get-go because it solved multiple pain points. Not all people are as passionate about project management as I am. They want something more lightweight like a Trello, but I want to use the exact same tool and see a time log, a workload list, and Gantt charts. I want hidden folders for days! But I want those people who want just a task list to feel comfortable too—without having to use eight different tools.
Wrike seemed like a really great fit because it has the simplicity for people who just need to get sh*t done, but I can still see what the entire team is working on in great detail. I can get a little more crazy where I want, and play around with custom dashboards and cool integrations. I don't complicate things for anybody else, but I'm using the exact same tool.
I knew I was going to be the person who had to set up the platform, liaise with the customer success manager, and do the day-to-day hand-holding that comes when you bring 30 people into a new tool. So, my decision also weighed heavily on that. Another important factor was choosing a tool that also worked for people outside of marketing to maximize ROI and unlock better collaboration.
How many teams outside of marketing are using Wrike today?
One of our sister teams in customer success uses it. Our operations and IT teams use Wrike, and a few of our engineers also use it.
The ability for other teams to get visibility into what marketing is working on is huge. We're a big team, and we work on a lot of different things at once. Wrike allows anybody to check in and see the status of every project or task at any given time, as long as I’ve shared it with them.
This is especially important with our product marketing team because product marketing and marketing need to work closely together. Sometimes it’s hard to keep those lines of communication open and really know how the other team is spending its time. Wrike gives us visibility into each other’s work, which makes a big difference.
What Wrike features do you find yourself using the most?
My life changed when I discovered custom dashboards. I come in every morning, I open Wrike, and I hit my custom dashboard, and that's where I live all day. It’s really important for me to see everything due today, things that are overdue, and anything that’s in my backlog. I also love the on hold widget, because I find that when I change things to on hold, they disappear. However, they’re not done, so I like to bring these tasks front and center.
Dynamic request forms are one of the most useful Wrike features. There are two dedicated software developers who help us with bigger, more complicated projects, and there's a request form specifically to ask them for anything. If we need to make a change to the backend of our home page, or something has gone terribly amiss on the blog, we send them a request through Wrike. A similar process is used for design and marketing automation requests.
We also save some of our larger, more frequent projects as templates in Wrike. For example, we templated our e-book launch process, which includes content creation, design, promotion, etc. Another example is our webinar template, which includes content creation, the go-live date, promotion, setup, follow-up, etc.
What about integrations—do you have any favorites?
Yes, we love the Slack integration! My team is pretty large, and sometimes I'm in meetings all day, so I don't get to be in Wrike as much as I'd like. It’s so convenient for me to quickly open my unread Slack messages and see, "Okay, Tania completed this; Rebecca's working on that mood board; there's brief coming to me in five days."
I want to empower my team to work independently in the way they like, even if it’s hiding in a corner in a bean bag chair somewhere. But I still need to know what's going on. Things fall apart when you don't talk to each other, so Wrike’s Slack integration makes our lives a lot easier.
What are some wins Wrike has helped you and your team achieve?
We have things we do all the time, like launching an e-book, that are simplified by templatizing them in Wrike. But we also take on some pretty large, new, and ambiguous projects.
An example is when we decided to create a landing page analyzer. It was literally an idea, and we needed to scope it, involve almost the entire department plus many external people, execute, and launch it—all within one quarter. I don’t know if we could have done it and kept our sanity if it wasn't for Wrike.
Again, I'm the kind of person who needs to know where we are, that we're making progress, and that everything is accounted for. This project was further complicated because our main developer was remote, so I needed a tool that kept both of us accountable and in sync.
In the end, we did really well. Our results were really great. And the process would have been a lot more painful and messy, and we very well could have missed our launch date, if it weren’t for Wrike keeping our sh*t together.
Wrike saves me a good 30 minutes a day. I get to take my lunch break because of Wrike.
Are there any quantifiable ROI metrics you can share with us?
Wrike saves me a good 30 minutes a day. I get to take my lunch break because of Wrike. I consider myself to be one of the more organized people I know, but even I forget stuff. There are definitely days where Wrike saves my butt. I would also say using a tool like Wrike has allowed us to more accurately assess our bandwidth, and therefore take on two to three more projects a quarter.
When I started at Unbounce, the marketing team was about eight people. Now, we’re 24. When you're working on a big team, in a big company, with big goals to hit, and you're unorganized, the output is very low. Wrike has helped our team grow and scale production.
We move faster because I have an accurate view of how long something takes. I can get as granular as I need to when it comes to mapping out what a project entails. I don’t have to search for details across notebooks, Google docs, spreadsheets--everything is in Wrike.
What are your goals moving forward as a team, and how do you see Wrike helping to support those?
We work in tech and things change very, very quickly. We need the tools we use to keep up. And going forward, I'm very hopeful and excited to adapt Wrike to move with us, and not have to worry, "Oh no, now we're going to have to find a new tool because this one's too rigid to evolve with us."
It’s easier to adjust Wrike to our needs rather than adjust our team to a new tool. I'm fully certain that in a year there's going to be another style of work we're going to approach, or another tool we're going to integrate, and I'm confident that Wrike will keep up with that.
Looking to meet your growing team’s project management needs like Chelsea? Suffering from mile-long to-do lists, broken processes, and poor project visibility? Would you like your lunch breaks back?
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And to learn more about how Unbounce uses Wrike, check out the full case study here.