The South Coast is home to lots of great business resources, and now there’s a group that provides ongoing support specifically with marketing. It’s called the Marketing Lab, and we meet weekly at Groundwork in New Bedford or via Zoom.
The Marketing Lab started as a way to keep Groundwork members engaged during the Covid pandemic. It was a weekly Zoom call open to anybody and everybody who did marketing as part of their job. We started as a small group of 3-5 regulars, and the main goal was to check in and hold each other accountable.
A Weekly Space to Talk Marketing
These days, the Marketing Lab has grown to a robust weekly hybrid meeting with members representing diverse industries and different stages of business growth. Most weeks, we stick to our 30-minute format, where the table is open for anybody to bring up a topic. Recently we’ve had some great discussions on the marketing applications of Chat GPT, boosting your personal brand on LinkedIn, and composing an email drip campaign. Sometimes a member is stuck on something, and we all chip in with ideas to get them moving again. Every week, no matter what topic comes up, we all leave with something new to try. While I facilitate the discussions myself, the value comes from all of the brains at the table. Everybody has something to teach, and we all walk away with something to learn.
Deep Dives into Specific Topics
Once a month, the Lab does an hour-long deep dive into a specific topic. The topics are sourced from the group and often come up during our weekly discussions. Some deep dives are collaborative, while for others we invite guest speakers and presenters. Past deep dive topics have included: establishing yourself as a thought leader, SEO for small business, time management, social media management tools, and email subject lines, to name a few. This month we’re looking at CRMs, so we’ll see demos on some of the leading CRMs from members who are actively using them.
Content Writing Sessions
One of my favorite new additions to the Marketing Lab is our bi-monthly content writing sessions. These are 90 minute sessions open to all members to show up and work on content. We set a pomodoro timer and keep each other on task. During the short breaks, we chat and help each other out. For me, these sessions are priceless. In fact, I’m writing this post during one of these sessions. Since opening our second location in Fall River, I’ve really struggled to find the time to write content. Having a set space without distractions and with the support of others is a game-changer.
The Power of Working in Community
Of course, you could spend time watching YouTube videos and writing content yourself, but you’d miss out on the power of community. Not only do Marketing Lab members help each other out by sharing knowledge and best practices, we also become supporters of each other’s businesses. We follow and interact with each member’s social media accounts, and we become customers and evangelists. The importance of having an entire community behind you when you’re starting a business is huge. It keeps you going when times get tough, which they almost always do.
Here’s what one lab member has to say about the power of community:
Arguably, as a small business owner, marketing is one of the most important parts of my job. It’s also the thing that most easily gets pushed aside for other important things. Each week, marketing lab helps me recommit to marketing so I don’t push it aside. I learn amazing tips and tricks from others both during the monthly deep dives, but also the weekly half hour check-ins. Like: What email system do you use when you outgrow MailChimp? What social media planning calendar works for my peers? How are people using ChatGPT in their businesses? Plus, I just enjoy everyone’s company.-Marlissa Briggett, Publisher, South Coast Almanac
You Can Join the Marketing Lab
Marketing Lab is open to all Groundwork members and NB100! participants who choose Groundwork for technical assistance. If you don’t need a workspace, you can become a social club member at Groundwork for just $19/mo. The NB100! program is a grant program for new businesses located in New Bedford. You can learn more about it and other grants by visiting the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
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