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Preparing & Running Your 1st Inbound Marketing Meeting

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 who’s working on marketing your business, you're not alone.

I'm always astonished at the number of decent-sized companies we work with who 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, what that audience looks like, 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 those people are? 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 to get them moving in the right direction. You want this meeting to go well and receive the buy-in necessary to make your team’s efforts successful. But, before anything ⁠— you'll need to create an agenda for the meeting. 

Why Creating A Meeting Agenda is Important

Developing an agenda for your inbound marketing meeting will ensure 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 the next step in the marketing realm. Believe it or not, marketing affects 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 also help your team collaborate and understand what the ultimate long-term goal is. To ensure it’s an all-around great meeting for everyone, consider the following agenda template:

Your Inbound Marketing Meeting Agenda

Goal/Expected Outcome

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. 

Agenda Items:

1. Introductions and Overview/Why (Time/Duration: ________)

  • In medium to large organizations, some team members may be meeting each other for the first time. 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! Perhaps an icebreaker?
  • 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
  • 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 who 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? (Ask for 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, support materials, etc.) exists or could we source 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, Action Items, 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 answers 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.

If you can, block out at least 2 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 1 hour or less. 

Next Steps After Creating Your Marketing Meeting’s Agenda

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 discussion.

It may be helpful to tell members how they should plan for the meeting ⁠— whether it's:

  • Gathering data
  • Raising questions 
  • Pitching ideas

Make sure attendees are aware of what needs to be done. Providing a list of roles for each individual assures they’ll come prepared to the meeting. 

To take it a step further and make sure everyone is involved, ask them to include their input on the agenda to determine if any items should be added or removed. Including attendees will make them feel more engaged and you'll get to see their perspective on inbound marketing!

Preparing For Your First Inbound Marketing Meeting

Your prep work for the meeting doesn’t stop once the agenda is finalized and sent out. 

Remember: Failing to prepare is preparation to fail. 

The day of the meeting, make sure you have all relevant materials and the supplies you’ll need. This will allow you to focus on leading the team in a fruitful and productive discussion. 

It’s good business practice to arrive a few minutes early for a meeting. As the person organizing it, that’s even more important. Those minutes before kickoff give you the opportunity to get set up and ready to start your meeting on time. Imagine the impression you’d make on your newly formed marketing team if you were late, disorganized, and unprepared.

In those few minutes of setup, chances are some of your attendees will arrive early, too. This time can actually be put to good use -- it can be an opportunity to encourage “small talk” among team members. While it might not seem all that important, small talk can help build trust and cohesion among team members -- two essential elements for a group who will be working to promote your business.  

Just like with clients, you want to build a rapport among team members. 

Conducting Your First Inbound Marketing Meeting

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 company’s values and culture. Who wouldn't want that?

During this first meeting, you'll want to build a vision for the team that shows a better future with these efforts. You’ll 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. Make it 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:

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Editor's note: This post was originally published March 2014 and was updated in April 2020 to reflect modern tactics.