Shift Gears

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Why We Bother with Basecamp

The project management software we use at SVM is called Basecamp.  If you've never used it before, it's a pretty sweet tool.

Why we use Basecamp for online marketing project management
  1. You can send and receive messages in threads through the system, and it keeps a record of everything (including attachments).
  2. Email notifications are built in, so as long as someone includes you on the original thread, you get an email that lists the full text of the message, any attachments, and subsequent responses. 
  3. You can reply to all email notifications through your email client, and the text of the reply (and any attachments) will be logged into the system as well. 
  4. Calendar and To-Do functions are available that integrate with message threads.

Most of the Time It's Easy; Sometimes it Takes a Little More Effort

For our internal team, Basecamp is easy to use.  Most of us keep it open in a browser tab all day, so we can send and receive messages quickly.

For our clients, it's also fairly easy--especially when it comes to replies.  Because they're managed through email, our clients can reply to Basecamp messages using their regular email system (i.e. Outlook) and any responses are tied directly to the correct thread.

What's harder is when a client needs to send a brand new message.  Though Basecamp is our preferred method of communication, we don't hide our email addresses.  So, in most cases, it becomes easier for clients to email their account staff directly instead of logging in and sending a message through Basecamp.

We're also guilty of it internally sometimes.  If we need to forward something, or if we're already working in Outlook, sometimes it's easier to just send a message via regular email.

But that puts everyone at a disadvantage.

Why Basecamp is Worth the Effort

There are two key reasons why Basecamp is worth the effort for both SVM and our clients.

  1. Basecamp keeps an easily accessible record of everything.  When all messages and attachments go through Basecamp, they're accessible to everyone at all times--without searching through individual email boxes.  Basecamp also has a good keyword search that makes data retrievable.  Here are some practical examples.  If an SVM team member or client needs to reference a document created in 2014, they can find it fast as long as it was in the system.  If a client contact gets promoted and someone else takes over, the new person can easily go back through Basecamp to get an idea of their organization's online marketing history.  If we need to find a report from last year that explains the result of a pilot campaign to determine whether or not we want to try it again, it's there.  There are so many uses for a centralized repository of communication and documents.  If everyone is disciplined and committed to working through that repository, we'll be able to rely on its completeness in the future.
  2. When someone is out of the office, the show can go on.  This applies on both the SVM side and the client side.  Everyone at SVM has a Basecamp account, and we can put as many client contacts in as needed.  That way, if someone is out of the office (whether it's for a trade show or a four week extended holiday), work doesn't have to stop.  Any client contact can reach any person at SVM at any time, and vice versa.  Then, when everyone is back in the office, they can easily see what took place and catch up on pertinent details.

Sometimes using email is inevitable (in the case of forwards, urgent situations, etc.).  In those cases, our team at SVM tries to log a copy of the client's original message and their reply into Basecamp so the conversation can continue.

But if you're an SVM client who finds logging into Basecamp to send a message a little cumbersome, we wanted you to know our thought process and why we bother with a PM system.  We think it's worth it, and we hope you agree.

We're also renewing our commitment internally to make sure all messages get into Basecamp at all times.  We know it will make communication smoother and more efficient in the long run.  We'd appreciate your help in supporting our goal!

Please contact me if you have any questions.

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At SVM E-Marketing Solutions, we strive to create content that provides value to our clients and the industrial/B2B community. Full bio

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