Whether you’re trying to assemble your own in-house marketing team or you’re looking to work with one that’s already been established, know that not all marketing teams are created equal. Some may have astoundingly talented, experienced individuals that have no ability to work closely together, and some may have a closely working efficient team, but no strong areas of expertise. Communication, planning, execution, and evaluation are all important areas, but how can you tell when these qualities are present, or what other qualities you need to prioritize?
If you want to lead a successful marketing campaign, you need a team who can deliver on all fronts, which is easier said than done. No team and no individual is perfect, but if you can find a team with these 10 qualities, you’ll be in good company:
Rock bands might work well if everyone has equal footing and equal say in decisions, but in the field of marketing, a strong, well-respected leader is a requirement. This is because marketing campaigns can only succeed if everyone involved is working for the same goal, with the same brand voice, the same audience intentions, and the same directives. If you’re the one putting the team together, this leader is you (or someone you know can handle the role).
Teamwork begins with clear, efficient communication. If your link builder doesn’t tell your team leader that one of your highest-authority sources took down a link, it could be a surprise when rankings drop the next month. You also want a team who tells you their goals, intentions and progress clearly and accurately, every time. One simple hiccup in communication could cause a disruption for an entire campaign, so don’t take this quality lightly.
You can probably squeak by with a team of jacks-of-all-trades, but it’s better if your team is full of niche specialists. For example, it’s better to have an onsite SEO specialist, a social media marketer, and a content marketer working together than three people who know a little about all three. It will give you greater expertise when problems (inevitably) arise, and greater efficiency with individual tasks in each of those niche fields.
You also want a team capable of working together. A strong leader can help unify a team under a collective vision, but only a team who continues to communicate after being dispatched can stay on course together. If you build a team of niche specialists, it’s easy for silos to develop; each member may go off to do his own responsibilities in his own little world, ignoring the others. Avoid this at all costs by looking for team players.
Occasionally, you’ll find the need to shift strategies—maybe a software launch is being delayed, or maybe you’ve decided to pivot and change target demographics. When it happens, you’ll want a team flexible enough to handle the change swiftly. Stubborn or fixed-method teams have little success in overcoming complex, unpredictable marketing challenges that so often come up.
The marketing world is constantly evolving. New customer trends dictate new advertising and design best practices. New software updates dictate new approaches on various channels. New technologies warrant new opportunities for exploration. A successful marketing team is one hungry enough to learn these new trends and technologies, and incorporate them into their campaigns.
In a marketing team, it should be clear whose responsibility is whose. Dissent or confusion in organization can lead to miscommunicated responsibilities, unassigned tasks, and ultimately, a disjointed campaign. The organization is partly the responsibility of the leader in charge, but every team member has at least a partial investment in how the organization of the entire team pans out.
Good marketing teams aren’t ever secretive or reluctant to share information. You know exactly what they’re working on, why they’re working on it, and when you can expect to see it done. When something goes wrong, you know about it. When someone does something unexpected or misses a deadline, you know why. It takes mutual trust to establish an atmosphere of transparency, but it’s well worth the extra effort to develop on both sides.
Despite the need for leadership, most marketing teams work better when strong, individual, occasionally diametrically opposed minds collect together. Great marketing ideas are usually the product of dissent and constructive criticism; if your team leader comes up with an idea for a future campaign, your other team members may be able to find improvements or express their concerns (as long as they end up respecting the team leader’s final decision on the matter).
Finally, there’s the matter of experience—and I’m not talking about individual experience here (that can fall under the “niche specialists” category). Instead, I’m talking about experience of the team working together. If you’re building a team from scratch, this is unfortunately beyond your reach, but you can strive to achieve it over time by keeping the team together. The longer marketers work together, the more efficiently they’ll be able to work together, the better ideas they’ll produce, and the more fun they’re going to have in the meantime.
Any team with all 10 of these qualities can almost guarantee you some level of success. Beyond that, you’ll have to consider factors specific to your business and industry; for example, you may find a team that specializes in helping new businesses, or a team with specific expertise in SEO. Regardless of whether you’re building a team through individual hires or sourcing one that already exists, these are the defining qualities that lead to success in marketing.