Hey, there, welcome to episode 163 of the SaaS breakthrough podcast. I'm Ashley Leveque, and this is going to be a special episode designed to help you prepare for 2022 as marketing leaders. We are spending a lot of time right now, building OKRs, strategies, and designing tactics, but we may not be spending enough time thinking about how to prepare our teams, how to keep them engaged and motivated through the year. This episode is going to solve for that. So let's jump in with six ways to keep your marketing team engaged in 2022.
Number one, align the company objectives to the marketing team. Using a documented system promotes visibility of objectives and goals across the entire organization. Now, this could be as formal as an actual OKR software platform at Banzai, we use 15five, or it could be as simple as a Notion page or a Google sheet.
Now in most organizations, we find that the executive team produces the business objectives. And then the marketing leader is responsible for taking those objectives and creating a marketing strategy that aligns to them. Now it's imperative here that all cross-functional leaders align on the translation of those high level objectives. So for example, if marketing is off running campaigns with the intent of generating a certain number of ICP leads and then passing them to sales, but the sales team isn't in agreement on the definition of those leads, then those campaigns will never drive outcomes that further the business objectives. And that is what the marketing team is supposed to do. The marketing team is supposed to drive outcomes that further the high level company objectives. Now, the system that you choose here, isn't as important as its accessibility, transparency breeds alignment. Ensuring your marketing team has visibility of the high level objectives and understands how they roll down to their responsibilities will also help them feel more accountable for their work.
This helps keep them focused on the right activities and deepens their connection to their colleagues and the organization. Equally important to documenting and aligning the initial objectives and goals is taking time at the end of the measure duration to reflect. Get the team together for a meeting dedicated to looking back at your metrics and ask, did we hit our goals? Why or why not? And how will this inform the next ones?
Number two, set clear expectations with your marketing team. Once your objectives, goals and campaigns are set, clarify expectations with your team on how their work should be executed. Talk about deadlines, communication styles, roles and responsibilities. Use this new year as an opportunity to reset. Reflect on what worked last year and identify what needs to be improved. Teams that are clear on expectations, waste less time searching for clarity and alignment.
And instead they spend their resources executing the right strategy. This is especially important in small businesses and startups whose culture thrives on moving fast. The ability to move quickly is directly dependent upon the team's understanding of what needs to be done, what the timeline is for each milestone and who the stakeholders and contributors are. Set up a marketing team agenda at the top of the year to discuss your strategy and goals and add this conversation to it.
Number three, create a knowledge hub for your marketing team. Again, this doesn't have to be expensive or intricate. At Banzai, we are huge fans of Notion because it is really customizable and it's great for project management. We are such fans that we even did two Notion training webinars in Q4, in order to enable making the Banzai Notion our knowledge hub across the entire company. The point here is design a location that promotes visibility and transparency.
And then once it's established, you have to introduce it as part of your key processes. Otherwise you'll never it, you can't just set it and forget it. You have to operationalize it. Create a dedicated marketing section that houses everything from your editorial calendar to value propositions, branding guidelines, and more. Make sure that all of the approvals, the edits, the reviews and the updates happen in that system. Assign owners. So it's clear, who's responsible for updating what. When you have everything in one place, your team will never again, have to ask, wait, where do I find our objection responses? And it will ensure that they're using the exact same content to make their decisions. No more miscommunications or working off of different drafts or revision copies. Make sure that all cross-functional teams are working with the same messaging and the same content.
Number four, have hard conversations with your marketing team. As Brené Brown notes: clear is kind. Her research highlights that when leaders were not courageous enough to have tough conversations with their team, the consequences ranged from elevated distrust and diminished engagement to poor performance. As the new year approaches use it as an opportunity to evaluate performances across the board. Look at your team members, look at your partners, look at your vendors and take the initiative to schedule formal opportunities for discussion. Use these hard conversations as an opening into problem solving. Only by addressing the problems head on, do you have an opportunity to solve them. Lean into the conversation, listen intently and create a plan for next steps.
Number five, create an efficient feedback loop for your marketing team. Check back in with Brené, clear is kind, right? Your job as a leader is a complicated one. You're responsible for goals, campaigns, numbers, and revenue, but you're also responsible for your people and to your people. Your marketing team. Don't force your team members to guess, or insinuate assumptions about their performance or contribution to the company objectives. At the top of the year, schedule quarterly feedback sessions. Literally open up your beautiful 2022 calendar, pick an open hour each quarter and hit that invite button. Then schedule some prep time. Do not skip this step. I can't emphasize this enough. Your team, your company, and you as a marketing leader deserve the time it takes to write down your thoughts, your needs and conversation drivers for this discussion. Don't risk letting this feedback opportunity crumble immediately due to lack of preparation. It will look poorly on you and it will dissolve the trust among your team. Also remember this opportunity is as much for you as it is for them. Encourage your team members to come to this meeting with their feedback and ideas for improvement.
This can't be overstated. Setting up clear communication pathways and opportunities for feedback across all levels greatly increases the potential for the entire marketing department to succeed. With that said, providing feedback in the moment is the most powerful way to create alignment in real time. I once had a boss who at my yearly review in December offered me feedback on an email I had sent to a partner in March. By the time we discussed it, I was so far removed from the event that not only was it a fairly ineffective way for me to improve, I literally didn't even remember the email. Immediate feedback plants the seed for growth by elevating understanding. Offering it to your employees is a channel of empowerment in order to set them up for success, offer both immediate and scheduled feedback.
And number six, set aside budget for professional growth and development in Q1. If you aren't actively spending time dedicated to your marketing team member's growth, 2022 is your year to change that. Ask them about their career goals and lean into their interests. It's a no brainer that team members who are enthusiastic about their work will perform better. And part of that is the maturity that comes with their own career development. Set aside a budget at the beginning of the year to encourage growth and expansion. If you don't have a ton of cash on hand, that's not a problem. It doesn't have to be as large as reimbursing college tuition. Start small. At Banzai we have monthly stipend cards for every single employee that are dedicated to our values. And one of our values is learning. So we are literally provided cash to accelerate our learning. These small and consistent measures month over month, have the potential to drive huge growth.
Not only will these skills acquired be poured back into the company, but the gesture of investing in employees drives a culture that promotes and inspires growth, curiosity, risk taking, and big ideas. Banzai encourages our team members to think outside of the box and through this program, it has easily found a way to inspire its employees to do so.
So these are my six ways to keep your marketing team engaged in 2022. I wanna hear from you. Do you have a seventh way that needs to be added to this list? Or maybe you're using totally different strategies to keep your team engaged? I'd love to hear about it. Find me on LinkedIn, Ashley Leveque. I'm the VP marketing at Banzai and to close, I wanna wish you a happy holidays and a beautiful start to 2022.