Picture this: you’ve completed your vetting process, defined the project scope, and signed the contract with your new marketing partner. The next crucial step is the marketing kick-off meeting.

The project kick-off meeting gets everyone aligned for the work ahead. You should leave this meeting with a firm understanding of the project process, planned work, responsibilities, and general project timeline.

What is a marketing kick-off meeting? 

While marketing agencies often approach kick-off meetings differently, there is no right or wrong way to facilitate these conversations. At TBH Creative, our primary goal in a marketing kick-off meeting is to make sure everybody is on the same page. By setting clear expectations about deliverables and team roles, we establish a strong foundation for the work ahead.  

How long do they last?

Typically, kick-off meetings for new marketing projects are scheduled for one to two hours, depending on the project scope, and can be virtual or in person. As a crucial step in our projects, we never skip a kick-off meeting.

Who should attend a marketing kick-off meeting?

While this is entirely at your discretion, most clients find the greatest success when they include key internal stakeholders. Their participation and alignment will help set the foundation for the rest of the project.

Still wondering who should be included? Consider if the person will:

  • Be involved throughout the project’s duration
  • Have key information about your organization, your target audience, and the problem you’re trying to solve 
  • Set business (and/or marketing) goals and initiatives
  • Provide feedback and/or approvals on project deliverables
  • Need to have their voice heard and accounted for
  • Act as an internal champion for your project

If you answered “yes” to any of these statements, they should attend the marketing partnership kick-off meeting.

Others to consider inviting to your kick-off

Depending on the size of your group, kick-off meetings may need to include members of both your leadership team and your marketing team.

In some instances, inviting representatives from your sales team or business line staff may be essential. There are also times when it makes sense to include those who previously worked on marketing initiatives and those with historical business knowledge relevant to the new project.

Remember, just because someone attends the kick-off, they don’t have to participate in each additional phase of the project.

6 keys to a successful kick-off meeting

Now that you know more about the typical length of a marketing kick-off meeting and who should attend, you’re probably wondering what’s on the agenda. Here’s a rundown of the six agenda items that are always part of a productive marketing kick-off meeting:

  1. Team introductions
  2. Review project scope
  3. Share the expected process
  4. Setting project goals
  5. Audience and competition conversation
  6. Project management sum up and next steps

Team introductions

Having each team member on the call introduce themselves and share their role on the project is an easy (and effective) way to start the conversation. It’s also a great opportunity for both groups to understand team dynamics and responsibilities. The marketing kick-off meeting is often the first time a lot of the people involved in the project will meet outside of the sales process.

Pro-tip: Be prepared with a fun fact!

As an ice-breaker during marketing kick-off meetings with clients, TBH Creative team members introduce themselves with information about their role at our agency and one entertaining detail about themselves.


Review project scope

Sometimes, the team members responsible for vetting a marketing agency during sales and scoping aren’t those involved in the project’s day-to-day work. This is why we like to go over the project’s full scope to ensure everyone is on the same page.

This is also a great opportunity to ask questions and clarify any unknown marketing lingo.


Share the expected process

Have you ever been collaborating on a marketing project and wondered, “What is my agency working on?” At TBH Creative, we never want our partners to wonder what’s next or where we are in the project timeline.

During the marketing kick-off meeting, we’ll share and discuss the expected process for your full project. This includes discussing the deliverables within each stage and noting when and where your participation, feedback, and approval as the client are required.

We’ll use this time to identify (and account for) any known roadblocks that could impact the project timeline, including scheduled vacations, important internal dates, or anything that may stall the work.


Setting project goals

Arguably, the most important part of this meeting is learning about your business and your goals.

The more you share during a marketing kick-off meeting, the better your agency will understand your goals and the faster they can hit the ground running.

As an agency, this information-gathering step helps us better understand your organization—especially what you’re trying to achieve and why. Be prepared for lots of questions, such as:

  • What does success look like?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • Why is this initiative important to your business?

Part of our role as your marketing partner is to help you identify and articulate your project goals, which will serve as the guidepost for the rest of our work together.

In a future post, we’ll discuss how to establish attainable, reasonable, and measurable project goals.


Audience and competition conversation

Before starting a new marketing initiative, defining the target audience is a must. As part of the kick-off meeting, we’ll ask you to talk to us about who you’re trying to reach. We’ll then use your guidance (as well as additional information gathered) to prepare marketing personas that help explain who you’re targeting, their pain points, and more.

In addition to understanding your target audience, we’ll also discuss your competition to spotlight differentiators. We’ll ask questions about who your competition is and what they’re doing since this information may impact recommendations about how to help you stand out in the marketplace.

During the marketing kick-off meeting, tell us what you do better than everyone else and why this is important to your customers. Your answers to questions like these will help us understand your business more deeply so we can deliver the best possible recommendations.

We could spend hours on this topic, but unfortunately, that’s not reasonable. Be prepared for post-meeting action items (or homework) from this portion of our meeting.


Project management sum up and next steps

No one likes leaving a meeting without knowing what lies ahead. At the end of a marketing kick-off meeting with TBH Creative, your project manager will review what to expect in the coming days, outline the weekly communication cadence, and introduce our tools for streamlined project collaboration.

We’ll reserve a few minutes for a high-level review of the project timeline. Your input and agreement on the timeline are crucial steps to keeping the project on time and on budget

Who’s the boss?   

Before wrapping up a kick-off, our agency will ask you to identify your project’s owner.

This individual will manage the day-to-day of your project internally, ensuring all deadlines are met, details are provided, and questions are answered in a timely matter.

The most successful marketing projects have a strong client team lead who holds their team accountable.

What can you do to make a marketing kick-off meeting more successful?

Here are five things you can do to ensure your meeting is productive, conversational, and efficient:

  • Actively participate
  • Get the right people in the room
  • Set realistic goals
  • Be transparent
  • Trust your marketing agency partner

Actively participate

Information gathering is vitally important in this phase. Everyone must be able to devote their full attention for the duration of the meeting.

Get the right people in the room

When too many cooks are in the kitchen, everyone has an opinion, and this can slow progress. Avoid this by identifying (and having representation from) key decision-makers, stakeholders, and involved team leads.

Set realistic goals

Creativity isn’t the only thing your marketing partner can bring to the table. At TBH Creative, we use data to help inform recommendations and identify success metrics. Data often helps reveal where marketing goals are needed and what’s attainable.

Be transparent

Authenticity (and having all of the details) will make a difference. The more your marketing partner can learn about your organization, the stronger its recommendations will be. It’s okay if everything isn’t sunshine and rainbows.

Most marketing firms with years of experience have heard it all, so don’t hold back. Help us help you!

Trust your partner

You’ve selected your marketing partner because you know they can do the work, and you need help. Allow them to guide the process. They want your marketing project to be successful as much as you do—maybe even more.

Let’s get started. 

Since 2004, the marketing experts at TBH Creative have solved complex marketing problems powered by inventive solutions and project alignment. We typically let our award-winning marketing agency‘s results speak for themselves. 

We can’t wait to help you reach your marketing goals.