Having a strong marketing team is critical in today’s business ecosystem. Having a group of professionals that are flexible and creative yet organized and strategic allows management to focus on guiding the business while trusting that their brand is not only being nurtured but is also exploring new avenues and maintaining relevancy.
The important thing to remember is that one size does not fit all when it comes to an internal marketing team, and that's a good thing. Depending on size, industry, economic factors and even leadership’s preference, marketing teams can look completely different from one company to the next. Don’t be afraid to shake it up. When in doubt, do what works for you and your company.
Let’s take a look at a couple of marketing team structures.
Traditionally, a larger company will employ a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) who manages a team consisting of some combination of marketing coordinator, marketing director, graphic designer, executive assistant, copywriter, digital content producer and strategist. These are typically full-time employees devoted to producing content (social media posts, advertising, blogs, videos, press releases, ebooks/whitepapers, etc.), managing the company’s vendors (agencies, freelancers, production companies, etc.), acting as ambassadors/representatives of the brand as well as planning events and capturing content, all with the mission of promoting the company’s initiatives, products, services, news, culture, etc.
The small to medium-sized company lives a far less grandiose lifestyle. Whereas the larger company possesses the resources to hire a full squad of marketing support, the majority of small marketing teams are forced to do more with less. Often being rolled into sales, administrative or business development departments, smaller marketing teams comprise a select few brave souls whose jobs (employees are oftentimes responsible for several “jobs” per position) revolve around promoting the company in myriad ways under tight budgets and short timelines. They work fast, cheap and out of control.
Every marketing department, no matter what size, has its own culture, workflow and dynamics. Despite what you may absorb while perusing the internet, there is no silver bullet to creating the most effective, efficient, creative, innovative marketing team for your organization.
Even though the resources might be limited or the boss might be set in his or her ways, don't get caught up in the traditions, policies, politics and laziness that so many organizations fall into by default. Go back to your goals. Break them down into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) objectives, and work up and down the chain of command to determine the strategies and tactics that will help you reach those objectives.
If you have a team that isn't performing well (not meeting sales numbers, missing deadlines, suffering from incompetence, miscommunicating, etc.), the issue might stem from the structure of the team as a whole, not necessarily the team members. Consider examining and restructuring the group to fit your needs.
Of course, a huge component of team structure is cost-effectiveness. Some companies spend up to 20% of their revenue on marketing efforts, but if you can't afford to hire a full suite of coordinators, creatives, strategists, content producers, you'll have to get scrappy if you want to meet your goals.
Do you absolutely have to have a copywriter in-house? Can you divert that salary into another bucket? Should you hire a part-time videographer? What's your agency’s role? Do you even need an agency? Is it more beneficial to have a fully built-out team or to compartmentalize efforts into outside specialty vendors?
This also goes back to your strategy. Are you doing a couple of things really well or are you spread too thin? If your goal is to increase awareness, you will need a campaign that creates buzz, which requires a team with a lot of expertise and experience. If you're in a sales drought and you’re a mom-and-pop store, you might consider utilizing social media and committing to producing low-cost content such as videos and blogs, which would require either a jack-of-all-trades employee, a part-time creator, or a local freelancer.
You may have realistic goals, SMART objectives and solid strategies, but are awful at communicating as a team. Consider restructuring how you work and communicate with one another. Can you work remotely? Should you be taking advantage of communication tools like Slack? Should you work in an open floor plan or in focused cubicles? Are your regular check-in meetings not productive? Try making them less frequent and longer or more frequent and shorter. Turn the dials. See what happens.
If you are like many leaders and you inherited an existing team and set of processes, it can be difficult to break the mold and speak out against those who have been in the company longer. However, it can be life-changing to simply question why we as a company do the things we do.
Whether you’re a decision-maker in your company or a mid to entry-level employee, I challenge you to ask your team the big questions: Is it working? Are you reaching your marketing goals? Is your team producing results for your company? You’re spending a lot of time and effort on marketing your brand, so why would you let it run on auto-pilot?
Question. Listen. Shift. Evolve.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can restructure your marketing efforts, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at us @toucanads!
Toucan is a New Orleans-based advertising firm.