The importance of the kick-off meeting March 10, 2009Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing.
Last Friday we kicked-off a client’s annual integrated marketing planning process in a very public way. This widely-anticipated meeting was a big success that generated excitement and creativity among the 50+ attendees who were eager to develop new, more effective marketing campaigns.
Planning starts with the kick-off meeting; and the best kick-off meetings are really nothing more than alignment meetings. They are an opportunity to get all marketers and key partners from sales, support, and even finance, to hear about the marketing goals, key objectives, and themes that will define marketing’s engagement strategy with customers and prospects alike.
Highlights from the 3 hour agenda included:
- An overview of the fiscal marketing goals and objectives
- Insights about target audiences and their pain points
- Product strategy updates and roadmaps
- Expectations shared from a sales VP
- Identification of the campaign team leaders
- Next steps illustrated by the operations director
The kick-off meeting has two purposes: one overt, the other not so much. The overt purpose is literally to get the functional and regional marketers together to understand the starting point for their plans, which must be integrated with each other. Marketers no longer have the luxury of planning in a silo’d independent way. Team players must align their activities together with a shared purpose of communicating clearly and effectively to their target audiences.
But the not-to-obvious objective is just as important: managing politics. You might think that this was an expensive meeting (having 50 people attend a 3 hour session). And, it was. However, the cost would be much, much higher if marketing individuals proceeded in planning without a shared understanding or an ounce of alignment. The kick-off meeting is an invitation to be part of something big, and a chance to define new hopes and expectations for what marketing can deliver.