How To Prepare For a Marketing Strategy Workshop
Is it time to evaluate your marketing efforts? From time to time, every company should take part in a strategy workshop. This is the time to take what worked – and didn’t work – in the past and to use that information to move forward. When all of your data is out in the open, you can learn from it and make progress. So how do you prepare for a strategy workshop?
First thing’s first: What is your marketing strategy workshop about?
A marketing strategy workshop is your opportunity to examine your past marketing efforts and work to develop a new strategy. It involves getting various members of your team together to examine your marketing data and come up with new goals, ideas, and marketing activities to carry out.
This is a necessary process to go through from time to time. Why? Because if you don’t have a marketing strategy, you’re marketing in the dark. Random untargeted marketing efforts will never be as effective as a strategy that is targeted toward the people you want to sell to and their unique problems.
Determine your marketing strategy workshop goal(s)
You’re spending the time to call your team together and work on your strategy; make sure it’s worth it. When expectations are not properly set and the goal of your session is not defined, your strategy workshop will quickly devolve into a series of unrelated and unproductive conversations.
So what is your goal? Are you determining a new quarterly strategy? A yearly strategy? Or are you simply launching a new product or service, and need to create a marketing strategy specific to the launch? Whatever your goal, make it clear when you invite your team to the session – and throughout the session, too.
Your goal is also valuable because it will help you to decide who should be at your strategy session. Who will have valuable input that is relevant to your goal? Who will be involved in carrying out the marketing strategy that comes out of the session? Answering these questions early on will help you come up with your list of attendees.
1. Determine workshop attendee roles
Your workshop aims to produce tangible results, so it's always beneficial to have a strategy for your team members' roles. Having a leader on the team will facilitate easier decision-making and keep the workshop on track. It's also helpful to have experts in specific areas attend as well.
People outside the marketing team can also influence the overall success of your marketing strategy workshops, such as stakeholders, suppliers, and customers. Contributions from varying sources can inspire divergent thinking and expand the scope of generated ideas.
2. Make sure to document everything
During a long strategy workshop, people tend to stop writing down ideas from fatigue. This can be problematic as the best ideas sometimes come late during the meeting. To avoid losing precious thoughts, you should record the entire workshop with video or audio. You can also have a designated team member jot down all the notes from the session, but this can also lead to mistakes that are easily avoided.
3. Step out of the comfort zone
Encouraging all the participants of your strategy workshop to actively engage is essential. People are sometimes fearful to openly express their ideas, especially if members of senior management are present.
As the workshop moderator, it's your job to create a positive atmosphere where everyone will feel comfortable enough to openly share their ideas and suggestions.
4. Pay attention to participant energy levels
Generating ideas during a strategy workshop can be taxing work, so observing the participants' energy levels is essential. If you notice that the enthusiasm is starting to wear off, it's always advisable to take short breaks so your team members will have a chance to recharge.
In addition, keeping track of energy levels can positively affect your team's overall efficiency and increase the workshop's productivity.
Assess your current marketing assets and take inventory
Take the time to assess your current marketing assets. Do you have buyer personas and a customer journey? Have you been blogging, creating videos, or engaging with your prospects on social media? Know what marketing efforts have been made in the past so you can more easily look to the future.
1. Do your buyer persona research
You may already have personas built out, but now is the time to evaluate them and do some more research. Your new marketing strategy may be targeted toward a new persona, or you may find that you didn’t have a full understanding of your target market in the past.
Think about who your best customers are, and interview them if possible. Realize that they might be different from your ideal audience. Who are they? What do they struggle with? How do your unique solutions help your unique buyer?
Use this information to map out the buyer’s journey and flesh out existing buyer personas or build new ones. Remember: you cannot develop a marketing strategy if you don’t know who your audience is.
2. Complete detailed competitor research
Now that you know who your buyers are, who is your competition? Take some time to evaluate your competitors: are they more successful at reaching your target demographic? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?
Assess their content, social media presence, website, and any other relevant marketing tactics. This will help you to decide what areas need to be strengthened.
3. Create an agenda for each session
Now that you’ve done the research you’ll need to move forward, it’s time to build an agenda. Remember, your strategy workshop is important; your team should know what to expect and should stay on topic. Depending on the extent of your goals, your workshop may take more than one session.
Develop an agenda for each session. Who needs to be there, and what do they need to do to prepare? Set these expectations when you invite your team members.
4. Decide on who to invite
You may not need every person on your team to attend the strategy session, but you should be sure to include anyone who will be involved in carrying out your marketing strategy workshop. Be careful: this does not mean that just your marketing team should be there. Who else talks to your customers and can make good use of your marketing assets?
If you haven’t already, it’s time to bring your sales team in on the marketing conversation. When your sales and marketing teams work together to come up with a strong marketing strategy, your team will be better able to support one another and your customers.
Your sales team knows what your prospects struggle with and what their common objections are, which makes them vital to the marketing conversation, so don’t leave them out!
Plan your marketing strategy workshop with our strategic planning kit
Now that you’ve done all the work to prepare for a strategy workshop, it’s time to run it! In our next blog, we’ll outline the steps you need to take to ensure a productive strategy workshop.
Do you need some help building your marketing strategy? At New Perspective, we specialize in strategy. We work to develop and execute an effective marketing strategy designed around your business and your customers. Are you ready to start your own strategy-first marketing plan? Download your free strategic planning kit!