Do you have an internal marketing team? How about an internal sales and marketing team? Is your "team" or "committee" 1 person?
If you don't have anyone in-house that's working on marketing your business, you're not alone. I'm always astonished at the number of decent sized companies that we work with that don't have a dedicated staff for marketing. When a company doesn't put thought into the nuts and bolts of how they get new clients, who they are, and how to best reach them, it creates a challenge for companies like ours.
Our recommendation for any business that doesn't have an in-house marketing team is to put together a small team (or "committee") focused on getting marketing more formalized and front of mind in your organization. Not sure who to include on this small team? Check out #2 on this list of 10 Questions To Answer Before Starting Your Web Marketing Strategy.
It's important to think outside of the obvious choices for the marketing team — like your lead sales person. Because this team will be a new one, you'll need to have a kickoff meeting with them to get them off on the right foot. You want this meeting to go well and receive the buy-in necessary to make your teams' future efforts successful. But, before anything — you'll need to create an agenda for the meeting.
But, Why Is Creating A Meeting Agenda Important In The First Place?!
Developing an agenda for your inbound marketing meeting will ensure that the time spent will be effective and productive. Without agendas, attendees may get off track and the meeting may ultimately end in chaos — without reaching the goal at hand.
Creating an agenda for an inbound marketing meeting is especially important because you're likely bringing people together in different departments to discuss this next step in the marketing realm. Believe it or not, marketing effects everyone in the workplace — and it's important for everyone to be on the same page when you're discussing tactics.
Following a meeting agenda will help your team to collaborate and understand what the ultimate long term goal is. To ensure its an all-around great meeting for everyone, consider the following agenda.
Your Inbound Marketing Meeting Agenda
All team members will be clear on the core business objectives that their efforts will support, and have a straightforward picture of what the future looks like with a solid web marketing strategy in place.
1 - Introductions And Overview/Why (Time/Duration: ________)
- In medium to large organizations, some of the team members may be meeting for the first time in this meeting. Make sure everyone knows each other and their positions in the organization.
- You can even have a little fun with this to lighten the mood and make everyone more comfortable around one another!
- Paint an overall picture of the environment you are currently operating in:
- Competitive landscape (online and offline)
- Overall sales projections and recent performance
- Details on current marketing efforts
- Share the big picture view of what will result from a solid inbound marketing effort and what you view as a successful outcome
- Include the differences between outbound marketing vs. inbound
- Bring in helpful articles or statistics
- Briefly list some of the specific inbound marketing strategies and tactics you want to use (e.g., website, email, social media, SEO, PPC, etc...)
2 - Business Objectives You Want The Marketing Efforts To Support (Time/Duration: ________)
- If you haven't shared your company's goals for the year, 2-3 years, etc... do so now to the extent that you can.
- Be specific about your marketing goals (if you can)
- Increase sales, build brand awareness, expand your target audience, generate new leads, build trust, etc.
3 - Group Discussion & Consensus List Of The Following Topics (Time/Duration: ________)
- What business are we really in from our current and future clients' perspective?
- Who isn't at the table that should be? e.g., who may have been missed for the team?
- What is the current buying criteria of our clients?
- How do we meet that criteria?
- How does that compare to our competition (unbiased answers)?
- How are we TRULY unique (everyone says we provide better service. How so?)
- What is our niche in the market?
- How can we shift the buying criteria to be more in our favor?
- What market data (facts, data, support materials) exists or could we find to help educate our buyers about why our product/service solves their problems?
- What do our competitors do better than us? (remember, online competition may be completely different than offline)
- What are the characteristics of your best buyers? (what % of your current buyers fit into this profile?)
4 - Recap, Assignments, Due Dates, Next Meeting (Time/Duration: ________)
- At this point in the meeting you will have had quite a bit of discussion and as a byproduct come up with many ideas/questions. Recap them.
- Be sure it is VERY clear who's doing what for the next meeting (e.g., getting answer about this/that, finding current values for metrics a/b/c, etc...)
- Be sure it is VERY clear when you expect to have answers for each area, but let the team members have input on it.
- Schedule the next meeting to continue the process.
The duration of each of these sections is completely up to you. However, if you plan to keep the meeting under 1 hour (which may be difficult to do the first time around) keep each step around 15 minutes long or so.
If you can, block out at least two hours for the first meeting. This will allow open discussion and freedom to explore different points. After that, follow-up meetings can be done in one hour or less.
I've Made The Agenda, So Now What?
Once the agenda is made, send it to the meeting attendees at least 24 hours in advance so they are aware of what is going to be discussed. This will allow them to gather their thoughts before the meeting and be prepared for the future discussion.
It may be helpful to tell members how they should plan for the meeting — whether it's gathering data, questions or ideas, make sure they are aware of what needs to be done. Providing a list of roles for each of the individuals in attendance will assure that they will come to the meeting prepared.
To take it one step further to make sure everyone is involved, you can ask them to include their input to see what items can be added or removed. Including attendees will make them feel more involved and this way you'll get to see their perspective on inbound marketing!
Your First Inbound Marketing Meeting Is An Important One!
Yes, that's a lot of information to go through. Yes, it's completely worth blocking off an afternoon (preferably not Friday) to go through this initial process. But rest assured, venturing into the world of inbound marketing will allow established and potential customers to get an inside look of your business' values and culture, and who wouldn't want that?!
With this first meeting, you'll want to build a vision for the team that shows a better future with these efforts. You also want to be a sponge during section 3 to get a true perspective.
The initial meeting sets the bar for all other meetings going forward so make this one count! And remember — don't dictate the meeting, but instead, guide it. Good luck and keep your eye on the prize!
So, what's next? Creating an actual campaign! Check out our free checklist for how to run your own inbound marketing campaign:
Editor's note: This post was originally published March 2014 and has been recently updated.