How do you organise efficient (online) marketing meetings?

Preparation, tooling and procedures are the 3 keys to success

Peter Desmyttere
August 28, 2020
⏱ 5 min. read

Marketing meetings are a must to make marketing teams work efficiently. But they are also often a headache for marketing managers and marketing team leaders. Reason: they are not consistently (sufficiently) organized, there are no procedures or agreements, the preparation is insufficient, the meeting itself shoots in all directions and lacks its purpose, the to do’s discussed are neither documented nor complied with, the tools are fragmented, after the meeting numerous informal consultation moments arise that cross the meeting, … and so on. In this article I would like to share my marketing meeting experience as a marketing team leader at Husky and show how we are constantly making our marketing meetings more efficient.

I admit: at Husky, we in our marketing team have also experienced all the pain points mentioned, and our clients (other marketing teams) are constantly coming back to these pain points when we guide them in setting up our marketing planner. I see 3 keys to success: a good start or preparation, the right tools and concrete agreements that are respected by everyone in the team. Important: with the rise of online marketing meetings, these components are coming under even more pressure! After all, with poor preparation, poor tooling and a lack of appointments, every online marketing meeting is doomed to fail.

A successful marketing meeting starts in advance

At Husky we hold our marketing team meeting every week on Monday afternoon. Each marketer in the team is expected to clearly complete the agenda items to be discussed in the course of the week in the meeting agenda in our marketing planner.  In addition, each marketer needs to update his planning (calendar with actions) so that the meeting starts with an agenda and a schedule that are both correct. I am extremely strict about this and can be quite concerned when marketers come to the meeting unprepared, when their planning is not correct or when they quote items during the meeting agenda that were not on the list.

Each marketer adds his/her agenda items to the meeting list in our marketing planner. In this way we have an up-to-date agenda for the marketing meeting at the start of each marketing meeting. This list can be filtered so that I can view the items to be discussed per marketer and per marketing project in advance. This gives me a tremendous handhold to start the marketing meeting and provides structure during our marketing meeting. Any last-minute agenda items during the meeting are avoided as much as possible, but can still be quickly added and assigned to the right marketer and the right marketing project during the meeting.

We work with one central planning that is run from top to bottom during the meeting and explained by each marketer. As a marketing team leader, I'm sure that on Monday afternoons I can always go over the most up-to-date marketing planning, checked and supplemented by every marketer. If, during the meeting, we decide to add, move or delete moments in the planning, we do so immediately during the meeting.

Marketing tools during a meeting | the less the better

During a marketing meeting it is important to keep everyone sharp and attentive. I used to notice that attention weakened every time someone wanted to share their screen, an application had to be started, a file had to be found on the server or when information about an action (usually in one or more e-mails) was looked up. Of course, it is unavoidable that different documents or applications are shown during a meeting. I can only give this advice from my experience: strive to keep the number of tools used during a meeting to a minimum. An application that starts slowly, a file that is not found, e-mails with an overload of information that is shared, ... it is enough to get the pace and attention out of your meeting. 

The rise of teleworking and the explosion of online meetings in 2020 have caused marketing meetings to be shorter and more efficient. We were also confronted with the fact that we could not simply copy the approach during a physical marketing meeting to an online meeting. We made our marketing planning tool even more central as the main screen during the meeting. When a marketer wants to show extra information, wants to share a file, needs a link to an e-mail or wants to show another application, we ask for the information and possible links in the marketing planning in advance. This has already saved us a lot of time and efficiency during online meetings.

We have set up our marketing planner (Husky) in such a way that we attach as much information as possible to the planning itself. Does anyone want to show extra information about an agenda item? Then that information is attached to the planning item concerned so that the marketer can share the information during the meeting with a single mouse click. Information can be extra information about a marketing action, can be a discussion about a certain action or can be a file (e.g. a design) that is shared with colleagues.

Meeting procedures ensure clarity

The most efficient marketing meetings are those that take place according to a fixed pattern and within clear agreements. Don't get me wrong: at Husky we also have unstructured meetings during the week or during a marketing meeting we can sometimes drift away from the well-defined path. However: just getting together for a marketing meeting because it was on the agenda is not on our agenda. That is a waste of time and only causes frustration. I would like to list a few appointments that we handle and respect within our team:

  • marketing meetings are not rescheduled (unless in highly exceptional situations)
  • marketing meetings on Monday afternoon have priority over other meetings
  • marketing meetings start at 2 p.m. on the dot and end at 4 p.m. at the latest.
  • each marketer prepares the meeting in terms of agenda items and plans of the marketing actions for which he/she is responsible
  • comments or items not on the agenda shall not be dealt with
  • Our marketing planner Husky is the central marketing planning tool and serves as a guideline for marketing meetings | separate excel plans or alternative task lists are not used during a marketing meeting.
  • there is no moderator, the marketing planning is our guideline for the course of the marketing meeting
  • the structure and content of the marketing planning determines the course and sequence of the marketing meeting
  • smartphones are not allowed during the marketing meeting | during online meetings they are turned off
  • we respect the contribution of each colleague by keeping our attention on the meeting
  • after the meeting, each marketer is responsible for updating the agenda items and marketing planning in function of the next meeting 

Organising efficient marketing meetings is less difficult than you think. Good preparation, the right tooling and clear agreements are 3 foundations that dramatically increase the efficiency of any marketing meeting. Success!

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