Building a Modern Marketing Team

[This is the third of four posts in a series that tries to answer the question “To Insource or Outsource Marketing?” These posts are the result of me attending November’s Communitech Strategic Marketing P2P, which featured Ryan Burgio of Stryve Digital Marketing. Click here to read part one, and here for part two.]

We’ve already seen that marketing in today’s business and consumer environments requires an extensive and diverse skillset. The most effective marketing individuals possess all or most of these skills, but finding those individuals can be very challenging. Plus, at some point there will always be more work than a single person can do, even with today’s automation tools.

So, it is incumbent upon any marketing leader to make sure the team as a whole (including employees, contractors, and agencies) possesses this collection of skills. It is natural, then, to wonder how one goes about building such a team.

Ryan used the term “rightsourcing” to describe the strategy by which a marketing leader can build an effective team. There are three steps involved in this approach:

  1. Identify what your team or organization needs
  2. Map skill gaps of your needs versus your actual capabilities
  3. Hire, build, or engage to fill those gaps

Your marketing performance is a product of the talent at hand, the technology and tools available, and the quality of your strategy.

Your marketing performance is a product of the talent at hand, the technology and tools available, and the quality of your strategy.

Based upon an understanding of your marketing objectives, you can determine what skills are required to execute on your chosen strategies. Maybe you don’t need all the skills of a modern marketer, but you’ll definitely need some.

You can then take this list of skills and list them all as rows in a table. Create a column each for your staff and any existing agencies or partners. Next, just go through the rows and assign a rating or grade within each column to identify your gaps.

With the gaps identified, you have to decide how to fill them. There are several options available:

  1. Hire people with those talents
  2. Create a training/coaching system to develop your existing people
  3. Work with an agency to complete your coverage
  4. Some combination of all of these

Obviously, there are pros and cons to each approach, and the suitability of each depends upon your circumstances.

Hiring for the skills needed for today’s marketing can prove very difficult. These skills are in high demand, and there might be a real dearth of candidates in your geography. Plus, the shortage of candidates isn’t going to change anytime soon because there aren’t any post-secondary courses that cover everything.

Of course, even considering hiring assumes that you’ve got the budget for additional headcount, and that people want to work at your company. Nevertheless, if you have the funds and find a great candidate, this approach can let you fill gaps quickly.

A comprehensive training program can work wonders to develop your existing team, and as a bonus it often builds employee loyalty. It’s especially appropriate if you have a talented team and a culture of learning and sharing. The challenge is in doing it right. Are you going to score and analyze performance, to assess progress? Do you need an educational software platform? Do you perform the research yourself? As a team? Do you bring in a third-party instructor? And of course, this approach could take a very long time to deliver the results you need.

An agency is probably the best approach when you have new ideas and energy and just need help getting started, or if you have a clearly-defined niche that truly just needs an expert’s touch. Ryan is quite adamant that an agency is most appropriate for niches, rather than core marketing functions. When considering an agency, however, both parties should be able to deal with cost variability as you scale efforts up or down.

In fact, finding the right agency is critical – and it can be a very difficult task (stay tuned for more on this topic).

The ideal long-term approach to building a marketing team is to hire to build a breadth of skills internally (with some overlap for redundancy), to invest in developing those employees with an active learning academy, and to work with agencies only when particular needs arise periodically.

The ideal long-term approach to building a marketing team is to hire to build a breadth of skills internally (with some overlap for redundancy), to invest in developing those employees with an active learning academy, and to work with agencies only when particular needs arise periodically.

Does this marketing team have all the skills you need? Only a skills gap can tell you for sure!

Does this marketing team have all the skills needed? Only a skills gap can tell you for sure!

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Posted in Marketing
2 comments on “Building a Modern Marketing Team
  1. […] Ryan Burgio of Stryve Digital Marketing. Click here to read part one, here for part two, and here for part […]

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