Over the last few months, we have had more and more people reaching out to us and asking us to help them build a marketing team for their business. It might seem like an odd request – but there are loads of reasons why businesses find themselves unable to work out what marketing support they need. For example – fast growth businesses usually haven’t had the time (or sometimes the necessity) to have an in-house marketing function. SMEs often don’t have the budgets for a dedicated in-house team – so have never needed to think about it. So how do we answer the question when we get asked, ‘Who do I need in my marketing team?’
Well first, there are 6 key things you need to consider before you even get your ads live on LinkedIn or appoint a recruiter…
This might sound obvious – but what your business does, the services you provide, the audience you are selling to – all those things will dictate the kind of activity you need in your marketing strategy – which in turn will dictate which marketing specialists you need within your team. Selling cardigans to 90-year-old ladies? You’re unlikely to need a TikTok guru. The point is, there is no one size fits all, cookie cutter approach to building marketing teams.
A lot of people will think the answer to this question is ‘buy more of our shit’. But that’s not quite right. Whilst it is true that marketing activity should (where possible) have a direct impact on the sales of a business – sometimes ‘selling’ is not the objective. For example, if your brand is heavily focused on building a community and providing customers with authentic and useful content that makes them see you as a thought leader on a certain topic – then you’re going to want to invest in your content marketing strategy – perhaps even more so than your hard-nosed lead generation strategy.
This point cannot be underestimated. If you don’t know who you need in your marketing team in the first place, then even when you have worked that out – how are you going to be able to recognise a great CRM Manager, or incredible Social Media specialist when they are sat in front of you? Once you know who you need it is vital that you work with someone who can ask the right questions and know what to look out for when it comes to finding the best talent for your business. We have done this countless times for clients, and it is amazing how many people out there can talk a good interview – but can’t deliver on the execution – luckily, our bullshit radars are pretty good.
Like the first point above – if you have never had a marketing team in-house before, then you need to think about where they are going to sit in the organisation? Who are they going to report to? Where are they going to get their direction from? If you don’t have a senior member of the team with some level of marketing experience, then you might want to think about outsourcing the management of your new team to a third-party specialist (like us for example) – who can work within your organisation at a senior level without being a huge expense on your payroll
Like everything in life – what you want and what you can afford are not always the same thing. The best marketing teams are not built overnight and bringing in several new members of a team at once can cause some problems. A better way to handle the onboarding of a whole new team (and to please the guys in the finance department) is to phase in the new team over the course of a few months, or even longer depending on the size of team you are building. A great mantra in life generally is ‘buy cheap, buy twice’, so don’t scrimp on the salaries just for the joy of being able to say you have grown your business by so many people – because at the end of the day you’ll have your likes on LinkedIn, but you will probably have a terrible marketing function. Top tip? Start with the more senior appointments and then cascade down – not only will this give you more senior expertise from day one, but you will also then have people in the business who can help advise on the next layer of resource needed.
What does success look like’? – An old cheesy term but the sentiment remains true. Like the money that goes into your marketing strategy, you need to be able to measure the success of your marketing team – especially when they are a new line item on your P&L. So, once you have your new team in place, make sure you have some yard sticks by which to gage your objectives. These might not always be quantifiable things – but whatever they are, make sure you are assessing how they are being met regularly, and have the right support and plan in place to get you to where you want to be.
If you are looking to build or expand your marketing team, or you want to identify where the gaps are in your current marketing function – then give us a shout, over the years we have built more marketing teams than most marketing execs have had hot dinners, so we know what we are doing.