Building Bulletproof Marketing Teams

Part of what is difficult about growing teams and scaling marketing is making sure you have the right people doing the right jobs. And while clearly you need to look at the requirements of your business to determine the roles, in order to build an incredible marketing team you need to have the right mix of people to nail both strategy and execution.

Yes, there are basic functions you need - content writers, digital strategists, event managers - but you’re hiring people...and despite their area of specialization, you need to have the right mix of team members to create a diverse and inspired team that will produce amazing results. And you better invest time to learn how to lead and motivate them or who you have doesn’t really matter at all.

Getting the Right Mix of People

  1. Dreamers and Finishers - You need ideas people. Those magicians who come up with barely thought through, quirky, interesting, somewhat plausible ideas that just might work! And you need finishers - action oriented, practical and driven individuals who can weed out the implausible and you can trust to see projects through to completion. One without the other is a recipe for disaster. You’ll either get a ton crazy ideas that you can’t implement or a mediocre marketing program that is well executed. You need both to have an incredible marketing team.
  2. Young and Old - There is so much value in experience. It’s often tough to articulate and is frequently undervalued, but having people who have been through tough times at work, overcome challenges and fixed many of the problems you’re running into (or going to run into) is invaluable. But so is having a totally fresh perspective. Younger team members often bring an energy and excitement that is infectious and can help us old curmudgeons think differently.
  3. Creative and Technical - When you find this in one person it’s incredible, but when you can’t, making sure you have a mix of both creative and technical folks collaborating on projects and ideas is vital.
  4. Fast and Slow - While getting things done quickly is usually a highly valued trait, those who are meticulous play a critical role in ensuring the quality of work that is being completed. And by slow I mean meticulous not lazy. Incorporating both slow and fast workers into your team ensures you’ve got the velocity to stay ahead and the quality you needed to ensure your brand standards are adhered to.
  5. Diverse Backgrounds and Genders - Hopefully this seems obvious but having a team that varies by demographic and cultural factors will ensure you have diversity of thought and make a well rounded team.

You also need to make sure you’ve got a team of people you want to work with. You’re going to be spending the bulk of your time at least five days a week with them so while hiring for skill is important, hiring for team fit is critical. And as the leader of the team it’s your imperative to facilitate interaction and collaboration. If you have the privilege of leading people, this is your most important job.

Leading Your Incredible Team

  • Be kind. I know you’ve got a lot on your mind but making the time at the beginning and the end of the day to connect with your team members is foundational. It’s when you get to know them best: what shows they’re watching, what they do in their spare time, what their challenges or joys are outside of work and what they’re focusing on that day. This is how you find out what inspires them. Downplay this bullet point at your peril.
  • Think about what you say. Yes, be honest but the words you use matter so use them with care. And remember, you influence how your team members feel outside of work as much as when they are working. They’ll go home and talk to their families or friends about what happened that day, they’ll mull it over as they go to sleep, it will inspire them when they wake.
  • Make sure they know what is expected of them. Let them know in as clear a way as possible what you need them to accomplish and in what timeframe. Tell them how they are doing and give them feedback if they aren’t meeting expectations. Sometimes a simple conversation can get them back on the right path.
  • Give them freedom. One of the hardest things to do, for new leaders in particular, is to actually step back and let people do what they have to do. They will make mistakes - you did when you were in their shoes. Support them.
  • Remove obstacles. Make removing obstacles for you team your core priority. Anything that is holding them up or slowing them down will affect their motivation and your team’s success. No matter how big or small the obstacle, be the leader that looks for ways to make things easier for your team to achieve greatness.
  • Keep your promises. It’s easy to say ‘I’ll get that to you later today’ or ‘I’ll do that next week’ but each time you say something that you don’t follow through on, you lose trust. And when you lose trust it takes a lot of work to get it back. On the other hand if you work at ensuring you do what you say, then the small number of things you end up not being able to do - let’s face it no one is perfect - will have little impact on the trust relationship.

I love building teams. Having groups of people working together in a positive and collaborative way is so incredibly rewarding. But don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s easy. Take the time to ensure you have the right mix of people and more than anything else, take the time to make sure you know how to lead them when you’ve got them.

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