When marketing meetings take over your life, you may not have enough time to plan for them effectively. So, if we're being honest here, you wing it at least some of the time. But the truth is that lack of planning is why meetings take up so much of the day and kill your team's marketing productivity.
Just like anything in marketing, standardizing and optimizing them increases their ROI. With these tips for marketers, you'll learn how to skip the fluff, hit the main points, and have everyone leaving your meetings feeling it served its purpose. They're ready to get marketing results.
1. The Shorter the Meetings, the Better
Do you struggle to hold attention in meetings? Or perhaps you find that focus (yours and participants') wanders, forcing you to bring people back to task? Your meetings may be too long.
Shorter and more impactful will get your message across and prevent attendees from snoozing. There's no rule on how much time provides value, so the shorter the better.
When you schedule a meeting for a shorter window, this puts pressure on you (and attendees) to cover all the meeting points in that time.
This may sound like a bad thing. But think about it like this. In life, some stress is motivating. The right amount of stress gets you up in the morning and into the office. But too much pressure is bad for your health and productivity. The same goes for meetings.
Applying some time pressure to meetings can increase marketing meeting productivity. It doesn't have to feel rushed. Instead, it's a highly targeted use of time.
You'll feel more motivated to consider and plan how much time you need for each meeting point. At the same time, your team knows your meetings are short and will not be extended arbitrarily. They know that when you have meetings, they matter. And they recognize that you won't waste their time. For these reasons, they respect you as a leader. So they can stay focused on this task.
2. Consolidate Your Meeting Time And Set a Clear Agenda
Have you ever been in a meeting where it takes 10 to 20 minutes for people to settle in and figure out what they should be doing? Or worse yet, you all walk out of the meeting feeling you've accomplished nothing.
Chances are the person who scheduled these marketing meetings didn't establish clear goals. That could be you or maybe a supervisor or team lead who reports to you.
To fix this, follow these tips for marketers:
- Shorten your meetings if they're longer than 30 minutes.
- About 24 hours before the meeting, send a reminder about the meeting.
- This communication includes the meeting's goal(s) and the agenda with the allotted time for each point.
- List action items
- Centralize your ideas and consolidate what you can
- Keep it brief but thorough.
Pro Tip: Create a template that you'll use for this communication. This makes it quick for team members to read and understand. They're more likely to read it.
Remember: It takes time to generate concise, no-fluff communication. But the time you spend saves the whole team time reading the communication and the marketing productivity the marketing meetings generate.
As the French Philosopher and Mathematician Blaise Pascal once wrote— in French we presume—"I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time."
3. Use a Shared Calendar
Do you get invites from team members when you already have a meeting, dedicated planning time, or personal time booked? You may send messages back and forth, trying to find something that works for you or other team members. How inefficient!
This should never happen in an office using basic office technology (whether you're in Camp Microsoft, Mac, or Google).
You can share your calendar with the Sales Leadership, marketing team leaders and others who schedule marketing meetings. Depending on the options chosen, they can see what you're doing or just that you have that time blocked off.
We love Google calendar for this. And if you use a chat tool like Slack, you can integrate the two to update your calendar automatically.
4. Send "Who's Responsible" Follow-ups within 24 hours
Has this happened to you? You had a meeting last Wednesday where you outlined clear individual responsibilities. Now those deadlines are rolling around, and some team members are acting like they didn't know what was due or when.
On the other end, you have team members waiting for a hand-off. They're increasingly worried they won't have enough time to do their part. They feel rushed because those who must complete the tasks ahead of them are "taking their sweet time".
This chaos and friction can be avoided by simply sending a follow-up to everyone.
Some people—in fact, most people—are visual learners. They need to see things in writing to remember them. What's more, some of these individuals struggle to take notes and sadly, they often overestimate how much they'll remember. You may also have a higher percentage of these individuals in a creative field like marketing.
Regardless of how you feel about this, your marketing meetings will be more productive if you follow these tips for marketers. Compile a document again using a consistent template and outline:
- Any decisions made in the meeting
- Timelines and deadlines
- Roles and responsibilities
- Links to important resources
Now, everyone's on the same page.
5. "Fine Tooth Comb" Your Invite List
Do you have people in marketing meetings who don't contribute anything? It's not because they're not a valuable member of the team. It's just that this isn't an area where they can offer anything.
Having people who won't add (or receive) value in marketing meetings will lower your marketing productivity. They'd be better off doing something else. And honestly, you're wasting company resources by having them there.
Think about your invite list, like packing for an overnight business trip. It's always better to pack lightly. Whittle the packing list down to what can fit in a carry-on versus having to check your bag.
Amazon has a two-pizza rule. Invite no more participants than could eat two pizzas to a meeting where you need participation. That's generally 5-10 people.
6. Ask Yourself, "Could I Have Done This in an Email?"
Meetings can serve "culture" and "motivation" purposes. But probably not as much as you think. If marketing suffers from excessive meetings, consider which meetings could be emails.
When deciding a marketing meeting vs. email, ask if any of these "meeting criteria apply":
- Does a decision(s) have to be made in the meeting?
- Does a complex issue require people to talk through ideas?
- Does the project to be discussed have a lot of variables that require getting everyone on the same page?
- Does the project have deadlines dependent on multiple people meeting their deadlines to keep the project moving?
If the goal is to build/maintain a culture, how much meeting time is reasonable to dedicate to this? Is the increase in camaraderie worth the salaries times X number of people times X minutes?
Recognize that culture exists in how team members work together day-to-day, not how they interact in a meeting. Technologies for Automation, collaboration, communication along with a company focus on internal/external user experience focus, strong leadership, and sales marketing alignment will do much more for culture than marketing meetings.
Marketing Meeting Tips 5 and 6 together can significantly reduce the number of meeting any person has to attend. For remote workers, in particular, this battles that dreaded Zoom Fatigue, a very real and impactful phenomenon you'll need to overcome to run a remote or hybrid team.
7. Appoint a Facilitator
You can't be everywhere at once. Project teams need to meet for marketing projects and campaigns to move forward. A meeting needs a leader even if all attendees are "equals," professionally speaking.
This person should have excellent emotional and verbal processing skills to keep the meeting on track and ensure the person speaking is permitted to speak. In a remote meeting like a Zoom call, they can mute and unmute team members to reduce the distraction of background noise.
You'll often have more than one person talking about an agenda point in turn. The facilitator yields the "floor" to that person. But there is only one facilitator.
The facilitator should appoint a timekeeper who signals when an agenda point needs to be wrapped up to move to the next point.
Like all tips for marketers, realize it takes practice to get this right. But it's worth the effort. Marketing meeting (and overall marketing) productivity will significantly go up.
8. Be Flexible Enough to Brainstorm
Brainstorming is a vital creative process. It brings in new ideas from varied perspectives. It allows one person's ideas to build on another's. Without it, the creativity and your marketing campaigns would go stagnant fast.
But how does the "go with the flow" nature of brainstorming jibe with the more disciplined meeting structure these marketing meeting tips have established?
First, you can and should spend a lot of time on the agenda for brainstorming. And second, most of us do group brainstorming very inefficiently.
Instead of opening the floor to idea bouncing, a much more effective technique is asking everyone in the meeting to take 1 minute to write down their thoughts.
This may not sound like much time. But it's just enough for each person to filter their ideas. As a result, you get a higher-quality idea. And they can communicate more clearly with the group.
Then go around the room (physical or virtual) and allow each person a minute to state their ideas. Repeat the process if needed. You'll watch better, richer marketing ideas evolve in real-time—and in a fraction of the time of open brainstorming sessions. With a max of 10 people, this brainstorming session took about 11 minutes.
You get a couple of bonuses from using this method. First, it is much more conducive to remote team meetings than open brainstorming free-for-alls. And second, everyone feels heard -- even the introverts.
This is good for company culture, employee retention, and marketing results.
9. Create an Unbiased Hybrid Team Experience
It's no secret that LAIRE is a proponent of the 100% remote agency setup.
We faced our own set of struggles when we decided to go 100% remote. But we learned how remote works. And once we made that commitment to make it work, we were able to develop systems in which remote teams are more productive (and cost-effective) than their in-office counterparts.
Remote teams are agile teams!
Case in point, marketing meetings. It's essential to think about how your remote employees experience meetings. They shouldn't be an afterthought that you expect to adapt to your status quo. Remote teams thrive when leaders recognize that minor adjustments make a huge difference in the remote meeting experience.
Use technology to create a unified meeting experience regardless of whether they're in the office or remote. Remote meeting technology is often free or lower cost for smaller teams and is 100% worth it.
Having better remote and hybrid meeting productivity by applying these tips for marketing meetings:
- Make sure meeting visuals are equally visible to remote and in-person employees.
- Send visuals to remote team members in advance if visuals may be too intricate or distant for remote employees to see within your technology setup.
- Use video technology, such as Zoom, so that team members can see each other.
- Use interactive meeting tools like Lucidspark to promote whole team participation and creativity.
- Apply number tip 8 (brainstorming) to make sure everyone has a voice and feels engaged.
Fewer Marketing Meetings = Higher Marketing Productivity
When you apply these marketing meeting tips, you can host fewer meetings and get more out of your meeting time. But we're only getting started. Download our free guide to find other ways to Crush Your Marketing Role.