All businesses need a ‘marketing team’. From solopreneurs to growing SMEs to established businesses, we all need a team of people who understand how to plan, implement, manage and run effective marketing.
Today in this blog post, I’ll help you understand:
- The different level of marketing team members and what to expect from them
- How to build your marketing team.
Building your marketing team correctly will save you the financial, emotional and business hassle of putting the wrong people in place at the wrong time.
The three levels of marketing team members
An effective marketing team operates at three levels:
- Strategic planning, management and oversight
- Tactical planning, management and oversight
- Tactical ‘doing’ of all the marketing activities
In small or growing businesses, one person can (and often does) do all of these levels but it’s not sustainable.
Typically, there are three role types associated with each level:
- The Marketing Director: works closely with other Directors; sets the strategic growth plans and direction of marketing; is concerned with which markets and segments you operate in, the products you are selling, your desired marketing positioning; ensures that the Marketing Team is meeting the strategic marketing goals. In a smaller business this role may be combined with the role of Sales Director.
- The Marketing Manager: sets the Tactical Marketing plan detailing what marketing activity is happening, when it is happening, how it is happening; makes the Tactical Marketing plan happen typically by ‘doing’ the marketing activities; monitors progress against the plan, collating metrics; reports and feeds back to the Marketing Director to show how/if the Tactical Marketing is achieving strategic marketing goals.
- The Marketing Executive:does a lot of everyday tactical marketing tasks; does regular monitoring and basic reporting on progress and success; reports to the Marketing Manager.
Your marketing team needs a person in place who is clearly operating at each level.
How to build your marketing team
This can be broken down into three main steps:
- Audit your current marketing ‘team’ / people resource (i.e. anyone who does marketing)
- Imagine your ideal marketing team – then identify the gap between current and desired reality
- Create your marketing team from the top down.
The first step in setting up an effective marketing team is auditing what you already have in place.
Good questions to start this assessment are:
- Who is fulfilling each of the three levels of marketing currently?
- What skills and experience do they have to do this?
- Are these dedicated marketing roles or ‘add-ons’ to their ‘real’ job?
- What evidence is there that your current marketing ‘team’ are doing what currently needs to be done?
When assessing what you have, remember to look at external marketing support you bring in. This can include freelancers, agencies and consultants.
The next step is to take a step back and consider the marketing team your business actually needs.
It can be too easy to start with what you have and try to build your Marketing Team based around that. Resist that. Begin with, ‘ideally we need…’.
Then look at what you have and the gap you have to fill between your current marketing team and your ideal marketing team.
A good approach is:
- Begin with the end result: where does your organisation want / need to be in one, three and five years’ time?
- What type of marketers do you need to help you get there (go back to the three levels)?
- Do you have these marketers on board at the moment?
- Is your current ‘marketing team’ fit to get your business there?
- If not, why not?
Typical gaps I see are:
- There is a Marketing Executive in place who has done a good job of tactical marketing but lacks the skills to strategically plan with the Board and set a strategic marketing plan.
- The Managing Director or AN Other Director is meant to be the Marketing Director but they have reached the limit of their knowledge about setting, monitoring and implementing Strategic Marketing plans – and they have no time to do it anyway.
- There’s a Marketing Manager who is doing everything – setting the strategic plan, the tactical plan AND implementing it; they’re getting tired and frustrated that one minute they’re planning and influencing the Board and the next minute they’re wrestling with LinkedIn trying to get the company page sorted out.
While the above, and other, scenarios might have worked well to get your company to where it is now they often won’t work if you want to grow and move forward.
Create your marketing team from the top down
Whomever you have on your marketing team now if you want to move forward you have to start at the top.
This means you begin by making sure you have someone in place who can set and manage your strategic marketing direction. In other words, start with a Marketing Director.
This feels strangely counter-intuitive; start with the most expensive role? The ‘big’ one? The person who won’t ‘do’ the marketing? Yes. Start here.
Why start with the Marketing Director level?
If you want your marketing to be effective, you need to set your strategic marketing direction. The person at the Marketing Director level does this. If you don’t have this sorted, then your tactical marketing plans won’t be their most effective – how can you know what to do if you don’t have a clear sense of direction? It’s probably not having a strong Strategic Marketing Plan that has led to some of the muddle and unsatisfactory marketing your business is currently experiencing. Don’t repeat that.
Now bring in your Marketing Manager
Once your company has a clear strategic marketing plan laid out, then you can develop your Tactical Marketing Plan, the nuts and bolts of what marketing to do, daily, weekly, monthly.
Your Marketing Manager should develop this Tactical Marketing Plan, ideally with the Marketing Director. The Marketing Director then signs it off, confident that achieving this plan will achieve the Strategic Marketing goals.
Finally, bring in a Marketing Executive. They help and support the Marketing Manager deliver, monitor and improve the marketing tactics.
You don’t need to employ all of these levels…
When you ‘create’ your ‘marketing team’ you don’t necessarily have to employ someone new at each level.
Solutions I’ve helped clients develop include:
- Having a consultant like me operate as a Marketing Director, setting the Strategic Marketing Plan then manging it on a retainer of a few days a month
- Training a current Director / Business Owner to understand Strategic Marketing then supporting them with mentoring
- Outsourcing the Marketing Executive roles to VAs (Virtual Assistants), specialist marketers (e.g. digital marketers).
- Mentoring and Training an existing Marketing Manager to operate more effectively with a view to eventually fulfilling the Marketing Director role.
There are different ways to create and build your marketing team with all three levels represented and operating effectively – it depends on your business, its ambitions, needs and budget.
Whether it’s you alone in your business fulfilling all of these roles or you have a growing team, getting the right marketing ‘team’ in place is essential for successful business growth.
Can I help? Get in touch and let’s meet for a quick conversation to see what is going on in your business and discuss how I can help you.
Kara Stanford is a Strategic Marketing Consultant based in Hampshire, UK, who helps businesses understand how to structure and use marketing to drive successful growth.
Read her case studies to find out how she has helped different businesses.