Director of Digital Sales and Marketing Coaching, 5+ Years of Client Success and Project Management
March 16th, 2018
With Q2 quickly approaching, I’m sure you’ve taken the time to get your marketing team together and brainstormed a million new ideas to try out...right?
Whether you have or haven’t yet, there’s a strong chance you’re not making the most out of your marketing brainstorm meetings.
If you’ve seen a flatline in results or demotivation from your team then it’s likely those issues stem from a lack of focus and strategy each month, which is where these marketing brainstorm meetings come in.
Brainstorm meetings are important because they get your team aligned on your goals and it’s a chance for everyone to work together and come up with some awesome ideas on how you’re going to meet those goals. If you don’t do a brainstorm meeting you’ve silo your marketing efforts and those on your team aren’t as bought into everything you’re working on.
As you plan or get ready to do your next one, make sure you’re NOT doing these 8 things.
1.Only Doing it Once a Year
In order to set your team up for success all year long, you need to have brainstorm meetings regularly.
When people tell me they only create marketing plans once a year, it blows my mind! What do you do once you hit your yearly goal? What happens if your company hires 50 new people? Do you only have new ideas once a year?
I’m not saying you can’t create a yearly marketing plan, you definitely should, but when you move to a quarterly brainstorm schedule, you give your team more focus on what you need to achieve to meet your goals.
As you know, the industry is always changing, so that means your goals and business are probably changing or should be changing, more frequently than you think.
Brainstorming quarterly give you the ability to iterate on your goals, your tactics, and ideas based on what has occurred in the last few months. It keeps you agile.
Start setting your meetings towards the end of each quarter so you have time to reflect and gear up for the upcoming three months.
2. Going in Without an Agenda
Alright, now you’re about to head into your quarterly planning meeting - do you know what you’re going to talk about? What new ideas do you have? When are you going to be able to share your ideas?
Going into a meeting without an agenda can cause chaos, which can result in a much longer meeting than intended.
Chances are, everyone is so excited to share their ideas that they won’t pay attention or stay on track to what’s being discussed.
If you have an agenda created beforehand, with all your talking points and how long you’re going to spend on each topic, everyone is fully aware of the meeting flow and can better plan what they’re going to say (and ensure that it’s just what is essential)
I’m not saying you need to stick to the agenda 100%, but it’s important to have some sort of structure that the team is aware of in advance.
Trust me, you’ll be happier you spent the 10 minutes getting everything outlined rather than going 45 minutes over in the brainstorm.
3. Not Reflecting on Last Quarter’s Goals
At the beginning of your agenda, you should have a section to go over last quarter’s goals and objectives. This is the perfect time to reflect on what you accomplished as a team while it’s still fresh on everyone's mind.
Pull in data from HubSpot, Google Analytics, HotJar, etc. to share to make sure everyone knows what goals were hit and which were missed.
Since you’re reflecting on what worked and what didn’t, your team will have an easier time knowing what needs to be the focus for the next quarter. You’ll be able to set more concrete goals that are actually achievable based on historical data. (But this also shouldn’t be the only time you look at your metrics? More on that here.)
4. Coming Without Ideas
You want this meeting to be valuable to everyone attending. There shouldn’t be one person sitting quietly in the corner or another on their laptop doing other work.
Make it clear that everyone that’s in the meeting needs to come to the table with ideas.
If you have a room full of people without input, your meeting probably won’t go anywhere. People will either be too afraid to speak or everything will become chaotic and unproductive.
When you send the agenda, make sure you set the expectation that everyone should come to the meeting with some new ideas on how you can push your marketing efforts forward and address the items or issues at hand.
5. Not Pulling In Other People
So, you’ve been doing these brainstorm meetings for a couple of quarters now and feel the team grasping at straws to get some good ideas on the table.
Sometimes you get stuck in a rut, which is totally normal but don’t settle for mediocre or the same old ideas.
Pull someone else from your company in who could give you an outside perspective.
They’re a fresh mind and could have some great ideas that you don’t see because you’re too deep into it all. Start creating a backlog of people from different departments who you could bring in in case this happens. Think of those who are heavily involved in the company and would be willing to help grow the business.
6. Not Asking Questions
During the brainstorm, if everyone agrees with everything that’s said that means you had an amazing brainstorm right? Wrong.
This means that no one was asking questions or challenging other’s ideas. It’s called a brainstorm meeting for a reason - you need to bounce ideas off each other!
Everyone needs to work together and get some ideas flowing.
If you’re not sure what someone means or aren’t clear as to why you’re setting something as a goal, ASK! Setting the expectations that it’s good to push back or question someone's reasoning makes everyone more comfortable from the start.
7. Being Afraid to Share Ideas
Just like there are no stupid questions, there are no stupid ideas. This is your time to share everything that pops into your head.
This may seem like a daunting task for some, but if you set expectations that this is a place to flush out any and all ideas, people will feel less intimidated.
I remember the first brainstorm meeting I went into; I was so nervous that no one would like my idea, but I shared it and with input from everyone else involved it morphed into our theme for the next quarter.
Make sure that when you’re telling everyone to come with ideas they fully understand this point as well. Even try sharing an idea you’re not 100% on to show others that it’s okay to share whatever pops into your mind.
8. Not Finalizing Next Steps
At the end of the call, you should have a clear idea of the highest priority item and solid goals set-up for the next quarter. Make sure that everyone is clear on what’s expected of them and what’s going to be coming down the road. If you don’t actually do or change something after these brainstorms, then there was no point in having them!
An easy way to do this is to write these priorities down on the agenda (in the simplest terms possible - like a campaign name), and have everyone agree with them.
This will set you up for success and allow you to move forward with all the great ideas you just discussed knowing everyone is on the same page!
Now back to my first question..with Q2 quickly approaching I’m sure you’ve taken the time to get your marketing team together and brainstormed a million new ideas to try out...right?
Now that you know what not to do in these meetings, you essentially know what to do and should have this meeting on everyone’s calendar ASAP!
If you already had it planned, take these thoughts in your next brainstorm meeting and you’ll see the difference in your ideas, your team, and your overall results.
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