How to Accomplish Great Things at Your Annual Marketing Meeting
By David Reimherr
August 6, 2018
B2B Content Marketing, content, content marketing, Content Marketing Institute, Content Strategy, customer engagement, employees, Magnificent Marketing, marketing, ROI, teamwork
As important as annual meetings are, a lot of teams put them off. Some people don’t see the importance of them. Or, if they do, they figure there are other more important things on their vast list of things to do that trumps the annual meeting. Still, others recognize that they’re important but simply can’t stand them.
They might feel like there’s not a lot of direction during these meetings or follow through after them. But your annual meeting is one of the most valuable tools you have. It definitely shouldn’t be neglected. What can you do to get everyone on board?
The first thing you need to do is ensure that you and your team thoroughly understand why this meeting is so vital to the company. Then, you can take steps to make sure the meeting is not only engaging, but incredibly productive as well.
Why Your Annual Marketing Meeting Is So Important to Your Team and Your Company
To help you and your team understand the significance of the annual meeting, look to the top marketing experts like Andrew Davis. Andrew is a bestselling author and international speaker. In fact, he’s known as one of the marketing industries “Jaw-Dropping Marketing Speakers” and has been on the list of global marketing influencers for years.
He recently discussed the importance of the annual marketing meeting. And he pointed out that these meetings are a major key to our company’s ability to grow and thrive. This is because successful annual meetings ensure that the entire team is on the same page. It gives everyone the opportunity to know what their goals are and what steps they’ll need to take to achieve them.
It will also give team members the chance to throw ideas of their own onto the table for consideration. Allowing employees the chance to do this will give them confidence and make them feel like they’re heard and valued. And when people feel like that, they look forward to coming into work every day and working on their marketing projects.
Proper Planning – How to Make Sure Your Meeting Is Super Productive
The first thing to do when it comes to getting the biggest return on investment from your annual meeting is to plan properly. In order to do this, you need to think first about what you want to accomplish. This will help you determine what the theme of the meeting should be – that thing that every point in the meeting relates back to.
Warning: Please don’t pick a boring or elementary theme. You’ll lose your staff to daydreaming and doodling in no time. Plus, if you pick something like “Marketing 101,” you might end up insulting their intelligence. After all, they know the basics of marketing – that’s why you have them on your team. Now is the time to dig deep and take your marketing team to the next level.
You don’t ever want your team walking away from the meeting thinking, “Well, that was a huge waste of our time.” You want them to come away feeling motivated, inspired, and ready to get to work. Take a look at last year’s numbers and accomplishments. What do you want to achieve this year? In what way would you like to see your business grow? Sometimes, it isn’t always easy to find a theme.
Andrew understands this and has a genius way of coming up with a theme: Read a book. That’s right. Read some of the top marketing books and choose one of them to base your meeting on.
Then, before the meeting, make sure your entire team reads the book. This will help you get the meeting off to a great start – you’re all already on the same wavelength. Of course, you’ll want to give your team plenty of time to read the book, so give them about a month or two to study it before the annual meeting. By the way, that means you’ll need to start your own reading and annual meeting planning about 3-4 months in advance.
But remember: The annual meeting is one of the best sources of ROI you have. Advanced planning will ensure that you and your team will benefit from it all the more. Another perk of planning your meeting around the theme of a marketing book is that it will be easier to stay on track. You’ll always feel like you have a direction you’re going in and that every moment in the meeting is leading you in that direction.
Who Should Attend Your Annual Meeting and Why?
Who should be involved in your annual meeting? If you’re company is on the smaller side, then every person on the team should be involved. Close your doors for one day and make sure everyone is in attendance – including the CEO and/or Marketing Manager.
What if your company is on the larger side? In this case, you’ll want everyone involved, but not for the entire meeting. The senior management team usually has a considerable amount on their plate. But that doesn’t mean you should simply brief them on what happened during the meeting.
Remember that the goal of your annual meeting is to make sure everyone is on the same page – this includes senior management. These are the people that set the example for the rest of the team, so you definitely want them to be aware of the theme of your meeting and what your goal is. Before and during the meeting, they can offer their insights which can prove invaluable.
Another reason why it’s so important to have the top brass in attendance is because it shows your employees that everyone is on board with the year’s goals and the decisions being made at the meeting. Do members of upper management need to be in attendance for the whole meeting? No. Andrew recommends they show up at the beginning and end of the meeting.
At the beginning, they can talk about what went well last year. It’s always great for a team to hear about their accomplishments and to be recognized by the CEO for taking the steps to reach those goals. At the end of the meeting, the CEO can come back and, after being appraised of the strategies you plan on implementing, they can offer their feedback on those steps. They might have some good ideas to add or may know of a reason why something won’t work.
Any feedback offered by the CEO or other top management team member should be given in a positive way. By the time the meeting is over, your team will be tired and they don’t want to feel like they’ve worked all day on something that’s going to be trashed before it even gets off the ground.
How to Make Your Meeting an Event No One Will Want to Miss
Besides having a theme and making sure everyone in the company is involved to some extent, how else can you make your annual meeting successful? The best thing you can do is to focus not just on the tasks your team hopes to accomplish, but on your team’s growth as a whole.
You want your team to come away from the meeting feeling empowered and ready to tackle their To Do list for the year. Every meeting you have should be an opportunity for growth, which is why Andrew’s recommendation about creating a theme around a book is such a great idea.
Each year, your team will learn something new that will help them become even more valuable. They’ll appreciate this because it will be helpful to their career now and in the future. And you’ll be happy because they’ll use what they learn at those meetings to facilitate the growth of your company.
Avoid Missing Out on a High ROI – Don’t Neglect Your Annual Marketing Meeting
Why do people dread attending their annual meeting? Typically, it’s because they are bored and don’t feel like anything is accomplished at these meetings. Another reason could be that some people don’t feel like their opinions are valued, or the meetings turn into a big blame game or disciplinary session. It’s no wonder people don’t want to attend!
But your annual meeting is not something you should put off or avoid completely. There’s too much at stake. The time and effort you and your team put into the meeting can result in a huge ROI for your team and the company as a whole.
Plus, if done right, the annual meeting can be a way to build trust and camaraderie amongst team members and management. That will result in more enjoyable working conditions, a harder working team, and loyal employees.
Thankfully, your annual meetings don’t have to end up being something that’s completely dull or irritating to all involved. By implementing the tips above – and some other helpful ones you can find online via experts like Andrew Davis – you can turn your annual meetings into something everyone looks forward to attending.
If you’d like to find out more about how you can help your marketing team to thrive and your business to grow, make sure to check out Andrew Davis. You can follow him on YouTube, and don’t forget to check out his blog!
David brings 20 years of sales, marketing, strategy & branding experience to the table. He is the founder of Magnificent Marketing which specializes in content marketing, video marketing & social media advertising (e-commerce, lead-gen, strategic content distribution) and is a lover of marketing, dogs and life!