One of the most effective workshops that I have ever run for a marketing team, was one that didn’t go to plan. Not even slightly.
You can picture the scene, it is early Friday morning and the team file into the meeting room, after an evening of “team building” around the Brighton Lanes, coffee’s in hand we are perhaps not as spritely as we could be after “just one more” the night before!
I can see on their faces the thought of a morning of presentations and spreadsheet analysis is somewhat less than appealing and energy levels are low. So, I turn off the projector and in a moment of raw honesty share my deepest desires for the future. No not the primordial chanting type – but the “wouldn’t it be great if ….” type.
Within half an hour the room has come alive with creative thinking and banter akin to the night before and we’d completely rewritten our to do list. The pre-prepared pages of detailed notes, project plans, Gant charts and other assorted distractions all swept aside.
By the end of the session our marketing vision was re-established – we could see the wood, the trees and even the sunlight uplands on the other side of the forest. It is fair to say that the “to do list” had actually morphed into the “wouldn’t it be great if” list, but there was much greater energy and commitment to delivering our collective plan, than if I’d stuck with the original structure for the day.
The clarity, ambition, focus and drive of the team was rebuilt and the creative outputs were bolder, stronger, and more effective than ever before. Every subsequent decision, prioritisation, resource allocation was judged against this list.
Keeping your team energised is just as important as keeping your campaigns fresh. My takeaway from this session was to nurture the creativity of all members of the team. They all have the potential to bring new ideas and perspectives to the table and spark off each other and it is often the person who sits quietly listening, who delivers the light bulb moment to the group and brings the plan together.
Whilst we may not be able to get together face to face at the moment, after a long and difficult winter/lockdown/financial year it is all too easy to fall into doing the same old same old – and before you know it, the results are inevitably, the same old same old.
My advice is during video calls use the chat function, enabling those not comfortable talking to still contribute their ideas. A good idea is to ask one of the team to monitor the chat box, utilise the breakout room functions to let smaller groups discuss topics or brainstorm and then feedback to the wider group or try out the interaction features such as likes / thumbs up and raise hand, so that everyone has the opportunity to contribute.
It may take a little bit more planning to run your planning sessions in a new way, but from my experience the rewards are positive and its fantastic to see the team buzzing at the end of the session.
Author: Joe Lynch on behalf of The Sussex Collaborative
We would be delighted to work with you to run a marketing planning session and help re-energise your marketing planning – please do get in touch.