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How can you make meetings with your marketing consultants as productive as possible?

Although meetings with your consultants can be creative and fun sessions where creative ideas are shared and thrown around, that's not how a first meeting actually goes.

Your first meeting with your marketing team should focus on the more serious business of understanding the nature of the company’s goals, on establishing a strategy, and on forging an optimal and efficient working relationship.

What can a company bring to share with their marketing agency to get the most out of a consultation meeting?

Marketing Goals

Make sure you go into the meeting with clear goals about what you want your agency to help you with. Are you looking to sell more of a product? Over what span of time? Are you looking for more traffic to your website?

If you’re not sure about what your goals are, your account manager at the agency can help you determine those, but that would certainly be the starting point of your consultation meeting.

Numbers & Stats

It’s up to you what you’re comfortable sharing, but the more transparent you are about your business’ starting place at the time of the consultation, the more help you'll get from your agency.

Come to your meeting prepared with sales trends, figures, projections, advertising numbers, as well as website and social media reports/stats. Bring the numbers and stats that show where your business is right now.

Successes and Failures

It’s helpful for your marketing consultant to know what has and hasn’t worked before. Come to your meeting prepared with a brief review of your business’s successes and failures.

Appropriate Internal Contacts

Often, it's business owners or upper management who initially attend meetings with marketing agencies. Yet, they are often far too busy to be the go-between for the important details once the work begins.

Rather than delegating last minute, consider determining who in your organization will be responsible for different levels of work where the consultant is concerned and bring the relevant contact information with you.

Ideas

Do come prepared with a list of marketing ideas. It's too easy to spend a lot of time talking about ideas–that stuff is fun–but your time with your agency will become expensive and inefficient if this part of the consultation isn't kept under control.

Make this part of your meeting most effective by coming prepared with a pre-thought out list of ideas.

Reality

Be sure to bring a sense of reality when you share your ideas with your agency team. Be realistic about your budget, about your current starting point, about your projections, and about your goals.

While dreaming big is an integral part of any business plan, your consultation meetings will be most effective if they are grounded in reality: realistic goals met by realistic tactics within a realistic budget.

Save Time, Be Prepared

When you arrange to meet with your agency, be sure to ask them what you could bring to share with them; they may have requests that vary from this list. But this list is a good starting point as you prepare.

Preparation for consultation meetings ensures that you'll get the most value for your time; in fact, it will save you time by facilitating quicker progress towards your marketing goals.

What else should you bring to a first marketing consultation meeting?