What Happens in Your Marketing Meetings?
Blank expressions, people checking their emails on the sly or a never-ending argument that gets you nowhere. Do these behaviors dominate your marketing meetings? In the 2014 Wasting time at Work Survey, having too many meetings was the second biggest time waster. Time is not the only asset that’s being wasted, even the organization’s dime is wasted.
Now let’s imagine the ideal scenario, all meeting attendees are attentive, they contribute to the discussion and marketing strategies and marketing plans are drafted. Next steps are assigned, a system for tracking progress and follow up is set in place. The meeting draws to a close and everyone leaves with a defined purpose.
Does the ideal situation sound incredulous? It doesn’t have to be. It’s simple to turn marketing meetings from time and money sucking events to productive and effective sessions. Hubspot has a great infographic on 9 ways to have effective meetings. Whether it’s traditional marketing, digital marketing or just a brainstorming session on how to promote your product or service, here’s how you can create a perfect marketing meeting.
How to Run an Effective Marketing Meeting
A Purposeful Agenda
An agenda is the roadmap for your meeting. Define the purpose of your meeting and break the time into small slots to cover each topic. Your agenda should have the following:
- Topics to be discussed
- Outcome for each topic
- Leader for each discussion topic
- Time allotted for each topic
Your agenda topics should reflect the needs of the team.. Ask your team for suggestions on what should be on the agenda and why. This way, meeting attendees are more invested in the meeting and are less likely to be distracted. Once the agenda is finalized, share it along with any other reference material that may be needed, before the meeting, this gives everyone a chance to be prepared.
The Right Tool
The ideal tool or tools should allow you to
- Schedule and manage your meetings.
- Create agenda and record notes.
- Keep everyone on the same page.
A work management system that helps you record tasks, decisions and updates is also an important part of the meeting arsenal. Marketing firms are increasingly hiring freelancers and remote team meetings have become the norm. Video conferencing, other meeting software and allied infrastructure assume even more importance. Tools such as Slack can also help your team stay in sync. There are Slack apps for video conferencing, for conducting asynchronous standups and to manage your to-do list. Choose a tool that fits your budget and suits your requirement. Choose a tool that fits your budget and suits your requirement.
An Able Leader
The leader is responsible for clarifying the purpose and goals of the marketing meeting. He is responsible for deciding what goes into the agenda after receiving input from the team. It’s so easy for a discussion to get sidetracked and this leads to an unproductive meeting. The meeting leader has to catch the signs of a derailed discussion early and bring it back on track. Ensuring that everyone participates is an important task for the leader. He also contributes to the meeting productivity by clearly defining the next steps and setting systems in place for effective follow-up.
An Effective Review Session
An important step in measuring your marketing team progress is to identify metrics that are the best indicators of performance. Some of the general metrics that apply to every digital marketing team include:
- Leads Waterfall -This chart helps you measure if your lead goals are on track. Comparing the actual performance against the desired performance helps to quickly implement remedial measures to ensure that goals are achieved.
- Traffic Waterfall- This helps in monitoring traffic growth and implement actions that keep the traffic coming in. (such as creating new content or improving existing content)
- Channel Effectiveness- This helps measure which channel is performing better than the other and where additional resources need to be allocated.
- Marketing Qualified Leads- The number of leads measured during a defined time period, that are ready to be handed over to the sales team.
An effective review session involves understanding where the marketing team stands, what improvements are required and should lead to action items required to improve these metrics.
A big win in social media, getting the best influencers to work with your marketing team or a creative email marketing strategy that quadrupled website traffic - all these deserve to be celebrated and recognized. Set aside some time in your meetings to highlight team or individual accomplishments. This creates a positive vibe and such recognition motivates everyone to work hard and contribute to the team’s success.
Every meeting should be designed to be a safe place, where employees don’t hesitate to bring their problems. Use the collective power of the team to find solutions to roadblocks. Get everyone’s suggestions and see what would work best according to the scenario. You would be surprised to see that sometimes even the most complex problems can be solved with the team’s combined brainpower.
Goals for the Month
If your marketing firm is specialized into different teams for email marketing, social media and other functions, then each team’s representative can present their goals for the month and outline the tactics they will use to achieve these goals. Incorporate a feedback session, so that the goals and steps can be reviewed and suggestions from the meeting attendees can be incorporated. Break down every goal to the task level and ensure that all steps are thoroughly examined.
‘What’s discussed in a meeting, stays there’ Do your meetings run this way? Then it’s time to get down to business -create and assign action items. Convert every discussion into actionable to-dos, assign them to the appropriate person and define due dates. Record all of these action items in the meeting notes and get everyone a copy. Set up a follow-up routine and stick to it with dogged determination. Everyone leaves the meeting knowing exactly what needs to be done. This results in increased accountability and reduced ambiguity.
A Strict Time Schedule
Our average attention span is about 20 minutes. Stick to the time-boxed agenda, start and end on time. If your meetings usually run for an hour, try halving that time and see if the magic of 30 minute meetings works for you. Otherwise, incorporate breaks into longer meetings so that your attendees stay focused. Get a timekeeper to inform presenters five minutes before their time is about to end. These practices will transform meetings from an annoyance to something that everyone looks forward to.
Different Marketing Meetings
There are different meetings that dominate a digital marketer’s calendar. Here is a brief description of a few of them.
The Annual Marketing Strategy Meeting
The purpose of the annual marketing strategy meeting is to establish goals for the year. These goals are then broken down into quarterly goals and further broken down into tasks. This meeting also focuses on the events that could affect achievement of goals and developing contingency plans for each event. This meeting should also feature a review of the previous year’s marketing strategy and the learning derived from it. There should be a renewed focus on customers, their needs and how best to target them. An audit of competition is also essential.
The Content Marketing Meeting
The most important resource for a content marketing meeting is the analytics dashboard. A review of the engagement that published content received can shape the content strategy for the future. The content marketing meetings should revisit the buyer personas and plan content that solves the customer’s pain points, addresses their skepticism and overcomes any anxiety that they might have. The outcome is a content plan that’s distributed across the defined time frame and that’s aligned with the buying stages.
The Social Media Marketing Meeting
Social media engagement begins with understanding business objectives and where potential and existing customers are found. The agenda for this meeting should focus on the following:
- Current social media presence audit
- Define the ideal customer
- For what purpose will the social media presence be used
- Define metrics for success
- Social media content calendar
- Track metrics and discuss steps for improvement
The meeting should also focus on identifying challenges and developing actions to overcome these for each social media. The meeting must also define how the social media marketing integrates with other forms of marketing.
The Sales and Marketing Meeting
Constant communication between the sales and marketing teams is the secret sauce for success. These meetings should focus on opportunities that can be exploited, lead quality review and lead follow up. The feedback from the sales team is used to revisit and revise the marketing strategy, specifically the content strategy. These meetings can also help translate target revenue figures into site visits and conversions.
The Review Meeting
It is important to periodically analyze the progress of different marketing projects, to check if they are giving results that justify resource allocation. The metrics that are generally considered in these meetings include
- Organic and Paid Traffic
- Customer Acquisitions
- SEO Rankings
This meeting is also an opportunity to review marketing strategy and determine if it was a success. You can showcase what went well and identify areas for improvement.
The Weekly Deliverables Meeting
This meeting focuses on the current state of work-projects and campaigns and the plan for the week. The plan for the week includes a detailed to-do list with task owners and due dates clearly defined. The resources required are also reviewed to ensure that team members can complete their tasks on time. This meeting also serves to disseminate any new information that has on impact on current projects and what changes need to be incorporated. New strategies and plans are made accordingly.
There may be more meetings that feature in a marketer’s schedule. These meetings should not drag you down, instead they should fuel better and productive work. It takes only a few ingredients to create the perfect marketing meeting. Get organized, develop a spectacular agenda, drive action and harness the collective wisdom of your team. Let’s do away with frustrating, wasteful and dysfunctional meetings and run meetings that result in significant outcomes.