Have you ever worked on an engagement with another department in your company or even with a client, and the project, which could have been competed and approved in weeks, actually took several months or longer to complete? If you’re a marketer like me, you have probably seen this way too much in your career. Marketing teams like to talk, explain things, draw pictures, create presentations, watch videos, tell the story and paint the picture if you will, and all this takes time. Yes, sometimes it’s needed, but yeesh… let’s trim it a little. Why do marketers, companies and managers allow this to happen? Then I think about the people who are clogging up the process, and not really thinking about the massive resources and money flying out the window. Yes, time is being wasted and endless meetings are happening with lots of people discussing agenda items that few people care about. It’s time to change that.
Ask For A “Meeting Budget”
I think managers should start asking for an annual “meeting budget.” This would be a new line item in which the manager estimates annually how many meetings they are allowed to have and how many people are in them based on the average wage per hour. This may sound funny, however, when I previously worked for an agency, we had a maximum number of 5 people allowed in client meetings and those meetings could not last more than one hour (unless of course we have a special case). This reduced the cost per meeting and increased billable hours as well. Whoever decided on that rule was brilliant.
Calculate the Waste First – Then Decide
Before meetings are scheduled and people are invited, the person responsible for the meeting should calculate the meeting cost – or “waste” as I like to call it. Once this happens, we will be able to actually see what each meeting costs. If we calculate the sum of all the salaries in the conference room sitting around the table for one hour trying to make a decision, we probably wouldn’t call the meeting to begin with, especially if all that money was coming out of our budget. Hmm… maybe we need to start thinking about corporate meetings as a cost center instead of an information gathering session that nobody really likes. We know decisions are typically not made in just one meeting, and when someone is unable to attend, we often have to schedule another meeting to accommodate those that cannot attend–eek… the costs escalate quickly. We definitely need to be more efficient with our time.
The company is paying for this nonsense. If we are responsible for and contributing to lengthy meetings, it’s our job to figure out a way to reduce the wasted time and money by guiding the meeting with a clear, purpose-driven agenda and also provide participants with what your expectations are for the meeting. Additionally, keeping the meeting lengths to a minimum will really help reduce the burden on human capital resources. After all, the company is paying for this time. As a manager of not only marketing and creative resources, but people, process and time resources as well, it’s your job to mange them wisely.
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Photo Credit: UnSplash – Petradr