The marketing strategy you create for your brand and your business is integral to growth. The latest statistics show that streamlined marketing strategies that align with sales initiatives can grow revenue by 20% in most cases.
Partnering your sales and marketing teams to develop a strong marketing strategy is a smart business move no matter if you sell B2B or B2C. Marketing builds awareness, adds value, showcases a product or service, and generates excitement about what you do.
But oftentimes businesses miss the mark by trying to do marketing ad hoc and without a plan, without the buy-in from a sales team, or they think that marketing will just “do” itself. In an age in which consumers are so well educated, there is no time to have a disjointed and fractured marketing strategy. If your consumer is out there looking for answers, you should be providing guidance and value every chance you get. Like we say – if the customer is already out there looking for information you need to be the one providing it to them. Educate your audience every chance you get!
A marketing strategy meeting can be something so important to an organization, but can also run off the rails very quickly if not executed right. It’s a combination of the right people, the right questions, and the right guidance to unlock and uncover the magic that is your business and brand in a way that can be communicated to your audience.
So what do you need to do to run a successful and insightful marketing strategy meeting?
- The right people.
- The right pre-work.
- An agenda that serves as a guide.
- Key jobs assigned to a group of people to ensure that ideas and information are not lost.
- An understanding of what needs to be done after, and who will do it!
While there are some other things that can be included in this list, these are the key components you need to ensure a successful meeting that ends with a clearer picture of what you need to do to develop a strong marketing strategy for your business.
First up – let’s discuss who needs to be included in the marketing strategy meeting.
The below people should be included in this Marketing Strategy Meeting. Their roles are all different but the departments in which they generally work in are all connected to one another, whether or not they realize it.
The list of attendees should be the following:
- Entire marketing team.
- Sales Director/Manager.
- 1-3 members of your C-suite (this helps with strategic direction and business overview).
- Customer Service Director/Manager.
- Product Managers.
- Project Managers.
- Subject Matter Experts in your organization (people like Engineers, QA, Product Development, etc.)
This is a robust team, but try and keep it to about 12-14 people in this meeting. Don’t forget – the more people in the meeting, the harder it will be to not only hear ideas but to keep everyone on task. Keep the meeting to a maximum of 14 people. If you need more people, consider a few different meetings.
These people are all very important to developing a Marketing Strategy that conveys the right message, connects with audience pain points, and inspires action in a way that makes the most sense.
Next up, let’s talk about how to prepare and invite the people we mentioned above.
You want to have a productive 1 ½ to 2 hour meeting so you want to ensure that the right people are included in the meeting AND that they have the right pre-work done so that the time together brainstorming is maximized.
Pre-work with respect to a marketing strategy means getting everyone involved thinking in the same ways about marketing strategy topics. Each different department will have different answers to these broad questions, but here is where you will find magic. Bringing all of these people together and having them put thoughts behind the same questions can really help synergize your message and positioning and build a very strong marketing strategy.
So what kind of pre-work should you be asking your invitees to do, and how do you invite them to do the work and attend the meeting?
Email out an invite to the members you’ve identified, and include the pre-work in it. After you email the invite out weeks before your meeting, make sure someone on the marketing team follows up 1 to 1 ½ weeks before ensuring that the attendees have taken some time to review their pre-work.
For an example of your invite email, we suggest:
I am inviting you to a Marketing Strategy Meeting for our [company/brand/etc]. The goal of this meeting is to come up with a marketing roadmap and strategy so we can connect with our audience in an authentic way on our site, in our blog, and on our social channels to drive more interaction with our [company/brand/etc].
Prior to this meeting, please make sure that you review any of our current marketing channels and be prepared to bring ideas about:
- What we do well, overall and in our current messaging, marketing, and content initiatives.
- What our competition is doing better regarding messaging, marketing, content and connecting to customers.
- Thoughts on who we sell our products too, and how we sell to them.
- What are some pain points you think our customers have, and how do we solve them?
- What questions you often answer for customers.
- What you wish our customers knew more about.
- Sales, inside sales, project managers: What tools/items could make your jobs easier?
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Next up – what should be on the agenda?
The agenda we consistently use is the following. This isn’t an end-all-be-all but this has successfully created conversations in organizations that have helped us create so many different robust, comprehensive, and agile Marketing Strategies.
The sample agenda:
- Introduction/Ice Breaker
- Meeting Objectives/Goals
- Discovery Questions
- Current Situation – business and marketing.
- Where do we want to go?
- Competitive Atmosphere.
- Discuss current marketing mix and channels.
- How are we different?
- What makes our business different from the competition?
- What are we doing right when it comes to marketing and messaging?
- What could we work on?
- Roundtable discussion about the following topics
- Who do we sell to? What are our main customer profiles, and how do we continue to speak to them in our marketing channels?
- What marketing channels are we on that we should stay on, and where are we that maybe we don’t need to be?
- What are customer pain points? What problems do you hear over and over again when talking to customers?
- How do we as a business solve the above pain points?
- Open discussion about the below
- What is going on in the industry now?
- Where do we see the industry going in the next 1, 3 years?
- Wrap-up/Assignments and Dates
This is going to be a jam-packed meeting, but if executed correctly you will absolutely come out with a really strong and smart Marketing Strategy. For what exactly should be in a Marketing Strategy, check out the blog we wrote Marketing Strategy – What, Why, How, and How to Make Your Own!
After hosting and facilitating meetings like this for years, we have a few tips and tricks for what to do and what not to do during and after these meetings.
- Take a leader role and guide the meeting to go in the direction you need.
- Designate roles within the marketing team – facilitator, note taker, time keeper, etc. This way information doesn’t get lost and the marketing team can listen with a “marketing” ear.
- Write down your deliverable marketing suggestions all in one place. What we mean is – there will be a lot of ideas flowing for marketing needs to help support sales and the organization, so while it’s not important to focus on the deliverables during this meeting, having a list to review after will save you time in the future.
- Ask more questions, especially around customer success and customer concerns, to uncover hidden pain points and marketing messages.
- Ask people to freely give their ideas, and ask the team to allow that to happen without judgment – no question or suggestion is too far-fetched!
- Use re-direction to get people back on track:
- Try things like:
- Tell me more about……
- [Name], you mentioned….
- Let’s circle back to [the topic]…
- Let me see if I have this right….
- Don’t start the meeting without a plan!
- Don’t forget to encourage sharing and open communication.
- Don’t forget to assign roles so nothing gets missed or forgotten.
- Don’t forget to send out the email invite with homework so your team can come as prepared as possible.
- Don’t forget to debrief after the meeting – within 48 hours so ideas are fresh.
The idea of this meeting is to get people to dump their thoughts and brains in a room, and for the marketing team to listen with their “marketing ear” to uncover what is happening outside of the business that needs to be communicated to the current and potential audience.
While this all seems overwhelming, it really doesn’t have to be! Having a plan in place to get to the bottom of what should be included in a Marketing Strategy means smarter marketing, better ROI on marketing initiatives, and an increase in revenue.
So what do you do after the meeting?
Create that Marketing Strategy document and get off to the races! Focus on spending time on finishing this plan and all the initiatives that need to be done, and delegate them! It can seem overwhelming to have to take all of the information you received and make a plan, but your future self and your team will thank you for the hard work you are doing.
A Marketing Strategy is truly an iterative roadmap that can help guide your marketing efforts and make sure you and your team (and the organization!) is aligned and marketing to the right people with the right message. Marketing Strategies are truly the “training plan” you create to help you punch above your weight class and connect with your audience by telling your story.
We can help you with facilitating the meeting, creating your Marketing Strategy, or coaching your marketing team to understand why this all matters!
Need some help with how to start the process? Need someone to facilitate a meeting with your team? Small but mighty team, but no bandwidth to create a marketing strategy? We can help! Contact us today so we can learn more about you and your business, and how we can help you create smart and sustainable marketing strategies that help you reach your target audience.