Marketing Meetings Are Seldom Joyful, but they Can Be Much More Efficient

March 19, 2019

By Matthew Schwartz

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Inspired by organizing guru Marie Kondo, this is the third in a series of articles designed to help CMOs and marketers tidy up their workload, lose the extraneous material, and focus on the immediate task at hand. Next up in our series melding the KonMarie Method to better marketing outcomes: how to reducing marketing communications accessories.

The typical marketing meeting is getting crowded.

In addition to traditional roles such as creative and finance executives, marketing scrums now include ad buyers, digital and social media experts, data managers, PR pros, and media planners. "Integrated communications" isn't just cocktail-party compliant anymore. And when you consider the rate of change in marketing it's a pretty safe bet that other executives (read: VP-sales and/or videographers) will be added to the mix soon enough — if they haven't already.

However, larger and more frequent meetings increase the odds that things may get unwieldy or, worse, devolve into turf battles about how best to distribute the budget. The end result may be a less-than-stellar marketing execution.

Let's face it: Meetings can be awfully nebulous, not to mention a major time suck. To be sure, meetings are the mother of necessity for large organizations and boutique ad agencies alike. But they seldom spark joy, which is the acid test for whether organizing guru Marie Kondo decides to keeps things or discard them.

But marketers would be hard-pressed to banish meetings altogether.

Fear not. There are a few ways for CMOs and marketers to make their internal meetings more efficient. Sharper meetings means better execution, which leads to better outcomes, which grows marketing's value. Marketing executives may not be able to attribute bigger budgets to more efficient meetings, of course, but it's a start.

 

Reduce the Overall Number of Meetings

Some marketing departments have a fetish for meetings, with some executives convinced that every last thought must be met with a corporate congregation. However, groupthink can be overrated (if not counterproductive). Team members should be conditioned to nurture their ideas — and bounce them off a colleague or two to gauge whether the ideas have potential — rather than arrange a meeting where the initiative might get shot down. Meetings should not be the default mode for every solitary marketing idea. Rather, they're a vehicle for marketing ideas that have bubbled to the top of the surface and merit a larger discussion among executives who will play a role in the execution.

 

Be Selective with the Invite List

Come on, admit it, we've all been there: Attending meetings in which we don't belong, counting the time burning a hole through the work day and desperately wondering when the meeting will end. That will put people in a funk— however fleeting — which will have a deleterious effect on their performance. Better to be selective and invite executives who are essential for the discussion.

When batting around creative elements for a marketing campaign, does the media planner (whether in-house or not) have to be there? Or is that a separate discussion and/or quick phone call? This applies to any number of scenarios within the marketing wheelhouse. Be cognizant of people's time. Think meetings aren't costly? Check out Harvard Business Review's Meeting Cost Calculator, which determines how much companies are spending on meetings. Marketing meetings should be surgical, not open-ended bull sessions to talk about what's on everyone's mind. Being more selective with who's invited to a meeting is no threat to ensuring that everyone is aligned with overall goals and objectives, so long as there's a solid internal communication system in place.

 

Discourage People from Bringing Hand-Held Devices into Meetings

Yes, this may be considered heresy for an industry consumed with the latest gadgets (and people addicted to email). But for every person preoccupied with their smartphone during a meeting, that person's role will be less impactful for the ad campaign, marketing effort, etc.

Marketing and advertising have more and more moving parts these days, as campaigns grow increasingly complex. When doling out the details and people's responsibilities, CMOs deserve their teams' undivided attention. Customers, partners, and prospects would agree.

 


Previous articles in this series:

Applying the KonMarie Method to Marketing

Less is More When it Comes to Content Marketing


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