The best structure for highly effective marketing teams

Marketing Team Meeting

What separates highly effective marketing teams from ones that just spin their wheels? This question has nagged marketing managers since the beginning, of well, the birth of marketing. As marketing continues to undergo transformations, from magazines to televisions to mobile phones, marketing teams have shifted structures to manage their work. But what’s the most effective structure? It may not be what you think.

Back to basics: marketing teams, defined

If your company doesn’t have a dedicated department for this yet, you might not know where to start. So let’s cover the basics.

According to the American Marketing Association, the definition of marketing is focused on creating and communicating valuable messaging for customers, partners, and other audiences. It’s usually with the goal of turning those audiences into customers, but can include other goals like improving the company’s reputation.

Your marketing team, by extension, is the collection of team members that owns those responsibilities within your organization. You can have a fully in-house marketing team, outsource everything to a full-service agency, or have some combination of employee and contractor contributions.

Determining your marketing team’s goals

Before you can start hiring for your marketing team, you need to be clear on its goals. Marketing team objectives will depend on your business type, size, and more. But they might include:

  • Collecting and analyzing marketing research
  • Growing brand awareness and reputation
  • Developing brand positioning and communication standards
  • Driving qualified leads or sales
  • Planning and executing campaigns for the above objectives

Once the team starts growing, it can help to have a marketing team charter or roadmap that can help keep everyone aligned around the chosen objectives. MindTools explains that team charters “define the purpose of the team, how it will work, and what the expected outcomes are.” Here at monday.com, we use one or two major KPIs to align around for every project.

In general, these will be similar from team to team. The purpose will be to find, nurture, and convert potential customers. Expected outcomes will be related to your key performance indicators, which depend on your current coals. And how the marketing team will work will depend on its current projects and responsibilities.

Those responsibilities of the marketing team often include:

  • Collect and analyze market research
  • Interpret insights on the competition and target customers
  • Develop unique brand positioning
  • Determining the brand’s media mix
  • Planning campaigns and promotions
  • Creating brand assets like multimedia and copy
  • Collaborate with other departments

As you can tell, the team’s work has a large range of goals and types of projects, which is why building the right marketing team for your business goals is so important.

How to build a marketing team that aligns with your organization

Your marketing team’s focus will sometimes need to quickly shift from month to month. They might spend one month conducting interviews, research, and analysis for a shift in messaging, then need to pivot to publishing daily written and visual content for the messaging’s launch. They might quickly shift from one marketing channel to another, requiring adjustments in both strategy and collateral.

For example, at monday.com, the marketing team’s focus is on reaching individual humans, even when marketing to larger organizations. Campaigns speak to one person within a company, and the problems that person faces. Where we’re reaching them might change from Facebook to Google to YouTube, or include a combination of all three. But the goal stays the same.

The best marketing team structure is the one that’s the most agile

The single most important characteristic for marketing teams is their ability to be agile.

What the heck is an agile marketing team?

Agile marketing is an approach or framework for marketing project management that’s inspired by agile project management in software development. An agile marketing team is structured intentionally and strategically to follow this approach.

Why does that matter?

In order to be most effective, marketing teams need to move away from conventional, hierarchical structures to empower teams to be more autonomous: team members cannot wait for managers to make top-down decisions that trickle throughout the organization.

To keep pace, teams must be able to make decisions on the fly and work in the way that suits them to achieve their goals.

And Gartner agrees with us, stating: “CMOs must build a diverse, adaptable range of team capabilities to keep their brands competitive amid rapid marketplace shifts. An agile approach would serve them well.”

The most effective agile marketing team structure for your organization will depend on your industry, target customer profile, and chosen media mix, but also to make sure that your teams can make decisions on the fly to react to changing customer needs and tastes.

Designing effective marketing team workflows

Marketing teams need to be able to design effective workflows, because as the team grows, it and the projects it completes will necessarily become more complex.

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