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Align on Marketing Goals with a Time-Boxed Workshop

   

It’s important that marketing teams have a clear understanding of company goals, so that they can bring in the right leads and help businesses grow. However, things can get complicated– teams and leaders change, businesses adjust to new environments or open up a new markets– getting clear on goals can be more complicated than it seems.

What if you could gather stakeholders, realign, and come to a broad consensus on company and marketing goals in just one day? We recommend trying out a quick (3 hour) Marketing Alignment Workshop to do just that. By time-boxing, voting, and working together, alone (a common term in Design Sprint/Workshopping, for doing independent thinking silently first, and then coming together for discussion), you and your team can find clarity before setting or re-setting course with your marketing plans.

It is very important that decision-makers and organizational leaders are present along with the marketing team for this particular workshop— their personal insights are key to understanding where marketing should go, and their presence will also help garner organizational support once next steps have been decided. At Neuromagic, our Marketing Alignment Workshop has three main activities:

This workshop can be done in person or remotely. If you plan on doing this remotely, feel free to use our template, which we’ve uploaded publicly for free on Miro’s Miroverse here.

A Marketing Alignment Workshop created in miro for open sharing in Miroverse.
Find us in the Miroverse (or click this image)!

You will need to set decision makers for each activity. These decision makers will have the final say on voting for which goals are most important, and which aspects of the golden circle most align with your company. For Golden Circle + Corporate goals, this should probably be a CEO or board member. For marketing goals, this should probably be the person in charge of marketing at your organization.

Now, let’s talk about how each one of these activities is carried out!

Golden Circle

A black and white drawing of the Golden Circle.

If you have any experience in start-ups, business innovation, or branding, you’ve probably heard of the Golden Circle. This is a diagram that helps to define and understand company values, first introduced by Simon Sinek in his now viral TED-talk How great leaders inspire action in 2009. He asserts that all successful and remarkable people follow a similar pattern, driving their actions on the WHY, followed by the HOW, and the WHAT of their careers.

Basically, Sinek is explains his Why, How, and What like this…

WHAT: The products and/or services your company sells. This should be obvious!

HOW: How are these products and/or services delivered to users? This is, hopefully, what makes you unique and sets you apart from all of the competitors in the market.

WHY: The purpose, cause, or belief that drives what you do. Many people feel comfortable moving on without this “WHY” and because of that, their services may never become remarkable. The Why has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with intention.

The reason we bring up The Golden Circle, is because we believe having a strong Golden Circle is an important step in creating successful marketing. Going over these core aspects of your organization will reinforce the purpose behind marketing and company strategy in general, and drive it forward.

For this step, it is absolutely necessary to have high level corporate officers in the room. The marketing team does not have to participate in this, but board members and other important company decision makers should— this may or may not involve the marketing team depending on your organization.

If you don’t know why you do what you do, and people respond to why you do what you do, then how will you ever get people to vote for you, or buy something from you, or, more importantly, be loyal and want to be a part of what it is that you do.

Simon Sinek

Golden Circle Acitivity Flow

WHY

  • Each participant thinks individually about what the organizations “WHY” is for 5 minutes, and writes down as many as come to mind on sticky notes.
  • Each participant reads aloud their WHY’s to the group while posting them in a shared workspace (1.5 minutes per person)
  • Each participant quietly votes on the WHY which they think best represents the company using dot voting. (1.5 minutes)
  • Based on the results of the sticker dot vote, have an open discussion and work collectively to assist decision makers in summarizing the WHY of the company into one sentence (8 minutes).
An orange graphic breakdown of the elements of the Golden circle.

HOW and WHAT

  • Repeat the same steps from “WHY”— we do “How and What” simultaneously, as it’s easier to write things down as a pair— WHAT is the product/service and HOW is how that service/product is enabled or delivered.
  • Write HOW and WHAT sticky notes independently (5 minutes).
  • Each participant reads aloud their HOW and WHAT’s to the group while posting them in a shared workspace (1.5 minutes per person)
  • Each participant quietly votes on the HOW and WHAT which they think best represents the company using dot voting (3 minutes).
  • Based on the results of the voting, have a discussion about your top HOW sticky notes (3 minutes), and then have your final decision-maker will select the 2-3 most important HOW (1 minutes).
  • Based on the results of the vote, have a discussion about your top WHAT sticky notes (3 minutes), and then have your final decision-maker will select 2-3 most important WHATs (1 minute).
A graphic illustration of the HOW element of the Golden Circle.
A graphic illustration of the WHAT element of the Golden Circle.

By the end of this activity, everyone in the room will have a clear idea of what it is that their company is doing, what differentiates them on the market, and why they are pursuing it in the first place. This “Why” is crucial because, as Simon Sinek says, “if you don’t know why you do what you do, and people respond to why you do what you do, then how will you ever get people to vote for you, or buy something from you, or, more importantly, be loyal and want to be a part of what it is that you do.”

Congrats on completing your Golden Circle! Onto goal-setting.

Long and Short-term Corporate Goals

The next step for the Marketing Alignment Workshop is to set and align on long-term and short-term corporate goals. These goals will help to define the direction of marketing strategy, and also help to determine which marketing objectives to prioritize. The marketing team does not have to participate in this, but board members and other important company decision makers should— this may or may not involve the marketing team depending on your organization.

For this exercise, we like to set the long-term goals for about 5 years, because it’s possible to imagine, but perhaps not so close that we already have concrete plans in motion. For short term goals, we usually do 2-years, but you can set either of these as you see fit based on your organization.

Long and Short-term Corporate Goals Activity Flow

  • Everyone writes their ideas for long term corporate goals on sticky notes (5 minutes). You may need extra time here.
  • Everyone reads their long term goals from their stick notes, one by one (1.5 minutes per person).
  • Then, give 2 minutes for everyone to think and vote on which long term goals they think are the most suitable.
  • Have a decision maker (in this case, likely the CEO or another high level board member) decide on which long-term goal is the most important. There can be more than one, and discussion with members is allowed (and encouraged). (3 minutes)
  • Now, repeat these same steps for short-term goals!

Long and Short-term Marketing Goals

This exercise is going to have the exact same flow as the long-term and short-term corporate goals exercise, but it will include the marketing team. If board members and other major corporate stakeholders are not able to make it to this part of the workshop, that’s okay, but it’s always great if they can join. Having stakeholders present ensures that marketing goals have the support they need to be made into realities!

Remind everyone to refer back to the Golden Circle they created when needed, and post your “WHY” “WHAT” and “HOW” close to your current workspace. Definitely post your long-term and short-term corporate goals above or around the current workspace as well, so they can easily be referred to. A major benefit of the Marketing Alignment Workshop is being able to think over corporate goals collectively, and use them to influence marketing— so make sure participants are keeping the corporate goals they came to consensus on in mind as this next activity.

Short-term goals should be actionable. Long-term goals can be a bit dreamier. Here are some examples, for a surfing company’s marketing plan:

Short-term: Rank number one for “surf lessons in Japan” on Google
Short-term: Be reposted by five pro-surfers
Long-term: Have the number one blog about Surfing in Asia
Long-term: Be known in our market as the leader in Surfing lessons

The activity flow is be exactly the same as the Long and Short-Term Corporate Goals.

Long and Short-term Marketing Goals Activity Flow

  • Write long-term marketing goals on sticky notes individually (5 minutes). You may need extra time here.
  • Everyone reads their long-term goals from their sticky notes, one by one (1.5 minutes per person).
  • Then, give 2 minutes for everyone to think and vote on which long term goals they think are the most suitable.
  • Have a decision maker (likely the head of the marketing team) decide on which long-term goal is the most important. There can be more than one, and discussion with members is allowed. (3 minutes)
  • Now, repeat these same steps for short-term goals!
A graphic illustration showing the move from short-term to long-term goals.

Next Steps

Now that you’ve established your Golden Circle, Long-term and Short-term Corporate Goals, and Long-term and Short-term Marketing Goals, you should be feeling more aligned with your team. Let’s make sure this alignment doesn’t fade— while everyone is still in the room, discuss openly and come up with the next few immediately actionable steps you can take in your marketing. These will most likely relate to short-term goals and can be as simple as sending a few e-mails or creating a new Slack channel to discuss a certain project. Just make sure you’ve got something in place to keep this discussion moving!

For more in-depth marketing planning, we might run a more intense two day Marketing Strategy Sprint, which dives into the UVP (Unique Value Proposition), segmentation and more— but just to get the team together and working in the right direction, we have found the Marketing Alignment Workshop to be super helpful.

Want some help getting set up for your Marketing Alignment Workshop remotely? We’ve got you covered! Check our our free board on Miroverse:

A Marketing Alignment Workshop created by Neuromagic in miro for open sharing in Miroverse.
Click here ^ !

Let’s get aligned, set goals, and get things done!

Elena Iwata

Digital Marketer
Originally from Philadelphia, PA, USA, Elena is passionate about storytelling and designing for equity. Her current focus is on content strategy and creation, from research, to writing and photography.

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