How to do Marketing Team Meetings

meetingThis is the 38th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Like other functions, the marketing team should meet weekly for 30 minutes. There is often a large agenda of items to discuss, so it’s helpful to establish a structure to keep the meeting organized. Consider the following for weekly marketing meetings:

1. Start with highs and lows

I like to start each of my weekly meetings with a round of highs and lows. Each team member shares an update about the best part of their weekend (high) and the worst part — often humorous (low). It’s a great ice breaker that helps the team bond and get in the talking mood. Try to ensure that the team keeps each update brief.

2. Review key projects

There are usually a few major projects in progress for marketing, aside from the standard inbound content campaigns. It might be a website update or testing a new channel, like Adroll retargeting. For these, it’s appropriate for the project lead to provide a brief verbal update and get feedback from the team. Hopefully the primary update was delivered in writing via the weekly report.

3. Review metrics

Marketing is all about measurement and optimization, so consider sharing the team’s KPIs during this meeting. We should review MQLs, conversion rates, content downloads, website traffic and any other key metric that the team tracks. This meeting is a great opportunity to educate more junior members of the team, or perhaps designers that are less focused on technical marketing, what each of the metrics means and how their role impacts it.

4. Recognize wins and highlight shortcomings

While the team is together, the lead should call out wins — a successful ebook launch or particularly strong MQL week — and be sure to give props to those who made an impact. At the same time, this meeting is an important space to highlight areas where the marketing performance is not where it needs to be, so the team can align focus to improve.

5. Provide company updates in a small group setting

There are often non-marketing related company updates, like funding or executive hiring. While we also want to talk about that at All Hands, the functional department meeting is a good time to dive deeper into the details, answer questions, and be sure all voices are heard.

6. Assemble an agenda for post-meeting follow ups

Often the results of the key project review in the marketing meeting is additional individual follow-ups with project leaders to provide feedback on specific blockers. I often spend about 30 minutes for the marketing meeting and an additional 15-20 minutes unblocking specific issues on projects and providing quick feedback on writing or design.

Avoid:

Tactical updates

While it’s ok to provide verbal updates on the few key projects, having everyone sitting around the table is not a good time to dive into highly tactical details that may only be related to a few team members. Keep the group meeting for strategic discussion.

Big group design reviews

It may be tempting to review status of design assets in progress at the group meeting. However, group design reviews often lead to disaster and frustration for the design team. We may showcase finished product at the marketing team meeting, but be sure to keep design reviews as separate, smaller interactions between the team lead, project leader and designer.

Next Steps

In addition to weekly reports, having a weekly meeting is beneficial for team communication and unity. Even if you are just starting out with a marketing team of 2 or 3, dedicate the 30 minutes per week to ensuring everyone has an opportunity to speak, ask questions and get on the same page.

Marketing for Employee Recruiting

unclesamThis is the 37th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Since a startup involves everyone wearing many hats, the marketing team likely has responsibility for not only building a brand amongst our target customer persona, but also amongst potential recruits joining the team. Consider the following brief overview:

1. Craft a story and messaging guide

Similar to our story for target customers, we need to craft a story for target recruits. What are the core value props of our team over others? How can we clearly communicate the culture, perks and opportunity? Follow a similar strategy to the Craft a Startup’s Story post here.

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How to Grow a Blog

blogThis is the 36th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

If we are following an inbound content strategy, blog posts are a staple used to impact SEO with the right keywords and drive traffic to our content. Getting a blog off the ground for a startup is a necessity to convert targets to leads, so let’s breakdown a simple set of steps to get started:

1. Build the infrastructure

Maintaining a blog requires a content management system, like WordPress. If we are using a marketing automation system, like Hubspot, it has built in blogging capabilities. It is best to use that because it tightly integrates with the analytics, landing pages and CTA functionality.

Some blog systems have templates, and others may require us to code HTML, CSS and sometimes proprietary content management language from scratch to customize the blog the way we want. Designing a blog is a big project, similar to developing our website. We should plan to have a web developer be working on it for up to 6 weeks to include time for A/B testing different concepts.

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How to Grow Social Media

social-mediaThis is the 35th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Social media is an important distribution channel for inbound content. Depending on the target persona, social can also be a fantastic way to communicate, drive word of mouth referrals and generally build brand recognition.

There are plenty of great guides to effective social media and community management. Let’s focus this post on building the foundation of a social strategy at a B2B startup:

1. Lock down the right handle for all channels

The first step for social media is to identify a handle (I.e. username) that can be consistently used across all digital properties. This may be difficult as many handles are already taken. In general, try to keep it short, avoid hyphens, underscores and random numbers.

It may not be possible to get the best handle on every channel, and that is acceptable as long as the most important channels have the right one. For example, my team has the Twitter handle @netpulse, Facebook page facebook.com/netpulse but Instagram handle @netpulseapp.

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How to Manage Events

confcenterThis is the 34th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

While we may only attend massive trade shows once or twice a year, our sales team often finds themselves setting up a table at a conference to meet with prospects and sell. Every industry has these conferences, and while expensive and time consuming to attend, they usually do yield a good amount of leads. To make them worth it, we need to carefully plan the logistics and get the details right. After fumbling our way through the first few, here is the approach that my team now takes:

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The Marketing Stack

marketingstackThis is the 33rd post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Here’s what I think happened: engineers are always talking about the “stack” they develop in — simply the list of programming languages and template libraries they use to program. Marketers maybe felt a little jealous and also wanted to have a cool way of explaining all of the tools we use. Thus the emergence of the term “marketing stack.” Similar to engineering, this is a list of the many software applications marketers use to manage campaigns, measure and grow marketing activities.

The competitive landscape for marketing tools is an absolute bloodbath — there are hundreds of valuable SaaS apps for marketers to leverage for better performance and efficiency. Selecting the right mix of tools (i.e. stack) is important to ensure they all work together seamlessly.

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Email Marketing Guide

emailiconThis is the 32nd post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Despite the explosive growth in digital marketing over the last decade, good old fashioned email continues to be a primary channel for inbound marketing. Once targets provide their contact details to download a piece of valuable content and thus become a lead, we now have an opportunity to email them additional content each week, continuing to nurture the relationship until that lead “raises their hand” to request a demo and talk to sales, thus becoming an MQL.

The weekly email campaigns are incredibly important to get right since they are often directly responsible for driving MQLs. To keep us organized, let’s divide our email marketing into two categories:

1. Plain text emails

These emails look as if they were sent personally, and have a familiar look that drives responses. They are best utilized in nurture workflows or automatic responses to an action, like downloading a piece of content.

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Rise of the Technical Marketer

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 6.28.38 PMThis is the 31st post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

In the not so far away past, “marketing” was primarily focused on large scale media campaigns in print, on billboards and television. The marketing role often mandated expertise in project management or some serious creative juice. Those skills are certainly still important, but now there are new skills that are critical for marketers to have: technical skills.

If we consider a fresh graduate from college, looking to get into marketing, the following technical skills have become a requirement:

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How to Launch a New Product

rocketThis is the 30th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Suppose our startup is launching a new product. Our product managers identified what to build, the engineering team successfully built it and now we are ready to bring it to market. So… what happens next? The marketing team is responsible for defining the product positioning, messaging, packaging and go-to-market strategy. We need to answer the following questions:

  • How are we describing the product to our target persona?
  • How does the product fit in with our broader positioning?
  • What marketing activities do we need to sell the product?

Let’s break down the process — as we always do — into simple steps:

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How to do Customer Marketing

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 6.22.46 PMThis is the 29th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

The marketing and selling process does not stop once a prospect becomes a customer. Especially if our business has recurring revenue (i.e. customers pay us monthly and can leave us anytime) it is critical that we continue to market new products and valuable content to our customer base. To keep things simple, I categorize customer content marketing into 3 buckets:

  • Content about the overall space and industry
  • Content about how to maximize product value
  • Content that drives upsells of new products or services

Each of these are an important part of the customer marketing mix. Let’s breakdown each:

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