How to Run a Marketing Ideation Workshop (+ Miro Template!)
Companies of all sizes struggle with marketing ideation. Whether you have a well-equipped marketing team, or are part of a small team and wear multiple hats, it can be challenging to break outside of your comfort zone and start testing new acquisition channels.
This Marketing Ideation Workshop is designed to help you and your team expand your thinking, generate high quality ideas, and start testing new marketing channels—all in a short timeframe.
About the Marketing Ideation Workshop
The goal of thisWorkshop is to create a prioritized backlog of high quality, diversified marketing ideas. While this process can be useful at any stage in your business, it is especially useful in the following situations:
- Your existing channels are not performing or becoming less efficient
- You are expanding to a new market (location, buyer, or industry)
- You are launching a new product or service
- You know there must be untapped marketing opportunities, but aren’t sure where to start
This workshop is based on the book Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. The book is a few years old, but it’s still one of the most popular books on Growth Marketing.
Traction outlines 19 marketing channels companies can use to build awareness and drive acquisition. It’s a simple but powerful framework for encouraging creative ideation beyond traditional marketing channels.
The 19 Traction Channels
There’s a great overview of the Traction methodology, along with a description of each channel on the Zapier blog.
- Viral Marketing
- Unconventional PR
- Social & Display Ads
- Offline Ads
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Engineering as Marketing
- BD / Strategic Partnerships
- Existing Platforms
- Trade Shows
- Speaking Engagements
- Community Building
- Offline Events
Sample Workshop Agenda
Open your workshop with a quick introduction. Review goals and ideal outcomes for the workshop. Explain the Traction methodology, briefly introduce each of the channels, review the agenda, and set the ground rules for participation.
While introducing each channel, discuss how they relate to the business. Has this channel been used in the past? How has it performed? Who on the team typically owns this channel?
After reviewing each channel and aligning on goals, participants will spend 3-5 minutes generating ideas for each channel, creating 1 post-it for each idea and adding to a white board or Miro board.
Ideas should be short enough that they can be easily skimmed, but long enough to provide adequate context if the creator isn’t around to explain.
Always provide a quick break for participants, typically after ideation. During this time, the facilitator will spend a few minutes organizing the board and consolidating duplicate ideas.
Sharing Top Ideas
Once you have collected ideas for each marketing channel, each person in the group will take a few moments to pitch the top 3 ideas they feel the most excited or confident about.
This short “pitch” can include examples of how you’ve seen this tactic work for other businesses, why you think it is worth prioritizing, and how you would set up the initial experiment.
Next, you’ll move into a voting session to prioritize ideas. For in-person workshops, use a dot voting system, where 1 dot sticker = 1 vote.
For each channel, participants will receive 5 votes that they may distribute however they like. They can use multiple votes on one idea, or distribute evenly across ideas.
For Miro workshops, there are two options for dot voting.
- Simple method: Use the emoji feature to add a “Thumbs up” next to your upvoted ideas
- Use the native Miro voting feature and set a timer for each session
Voting should be based on which tactics you believe could have the biggest impact in accomplishing strategic objectives.
Next: take a moment to organize the board and advance the top ideas (those with the most votes) to a separate section on the whiteboard or in the frames in Miro.
For some teams, the dot voting method will be enough to surface the most popular ideas. From this stage, you can convert those popular ideas into an action plan.
For teams that want to take these ideas a step further and identify the low-hanging fruit, you can apply a prioritization score to the top ideas.
ICE Scoring is a prioritization framework that takes an average of the following:
- I - Impact - How big of an impact will this tactic have on my business goals?
- C - Confidence - How confident am I that this test will drive results?
- E - Level of Effort - How much effort is required to execute this test?
Some teams may choose to add a 4th category to the list: Budget.
By averaging scores across 5 participants, each with their own perspective and context on the business, you’ll be able to surface the best ideas that require the least amount of effort, for the greatest impact.
Tips for a Successful Workshop
Since I first led this workshop in 2019, I’ve made adjustments to the facilitation schedule, will share those tips below.
Narrow the Scope
Each company is unique, and some channels might never make sense for your business. In preparation for your workshop, spend some time narrowing down the list of channels from 19 to 10 or fewer.
I recommend selecting a mix of channels your team has experience with, and several that are new to you.
Create a Guest List
The perfect guest list includes enough participants to span multiple areas of the business, but not so many that the session is overwhelming.
AJ & Smart recommends a ratio of 7 participants per 1 facilitator. For this workshop, I’d recommend between 4 and 7 attendees.
An ideal cross section might include:
- Stakeholders with a deep understanding of the business
- Marketers with experience on multiple channels
- Sales or customer support rep with firsthand context on the buyer
- Both junior and senior employees — the best ideas can come from any level of experience
In-Person vs. Virtual
There are pros and cons to each format, but chances are, your unique circumstances will dictate whether you’ll be in-person or going the virtual route.
If you decide to host a virtual workshop, Miro is great. I’ve even created a template to get you started.
If you are in-person, just be sure to prep the room in advance with space for each pre-selected channel and provide enough post-its and pens for the group.
If this is your first workshop, see AJ & Smart’s The Ultimate Guide to Workshop Facilitation to help with planning.
Once your guest list is finalized, it’s time to get your team excited about the upcoming workshop. Share an agenda, instructions for joining, as well as some background info on the Traction approach.
If you are using Miro, be sure to send the link to create an account (for new users) as well as a link to the board so participants can spend time exploring prior to the session.
For non-marketers, be sure to share an overview with an explanation of each channel, so you don’t need to spend time during the workshop explaining each channel. Participants should have a basic understanding of each channel prior to the workshop.
Have questions about hosting a Marketing Ideation Workshop, or need help using any of the resources mentioned in this post? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
Interest in a facilitated workshop or other growth services? Let’s connect.