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How to Build a Successful Marketing Team From Scratch

How to build a marketing team from scratch

I was once the head of marketing for a business that spent several million per year on advertising. This required me to build a marketing team, and this guide might help you build one too.

Structure of a Modern Marketing Team

What comes to mind when you hear the word, “marketing?” Lots I’m sure. Let’s say copywriting, funnels, paid ads, and more. But how do you structure all that?  How do you fit those things into your organizational chart?

First, let’s define marketing. I define marketing as, “the business of promoting offers.”, and the business of promoting offers has three core parts.

  1. Acquisition
  2. Monetization
  3. Operations

Let’s go over them one by one:

Acquisition is the process of driving awareness to generate more leads and then converting those leads into paying customers.

Monetization is the process of expanding the revenue from the existing customer database by increasing consumption and reducing refunds, returns, and churn.

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Operations are the management of all the systems, technology, and data that support the acquisition and monetization of leads, customers, and sales.

Those are the “3 Pillars of Marketing” in a nutshell. And to prevent those pillars from falling over, you need to hire a “Head of Marketing.”

You might call them “Chief Marketing Officer,” “Director of Marketing,” or simply “CMO.” (And if you’re a small operation, this person might just be you!) But the function, duties, and responsibilities are the same.

At the highest level, this person might focus on things like brand, communications, and budget allocations, but a true “Head of Marketing” focuses on execution and results.

In other words, they actually DO marketing. Your goal as the Head of Marketing is to align the marketing team’s goals with the company’s overarching business objectives.

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And the perfect person for this has “a very particular set of skills.” There are 4 key marketing skills that the Head of Marketing should have: 

  1. Strategy
  2. Execution
  3. Measure
  4. Optimize

Here’s an overview of each skill:

Strategize is the ability to clarify the business objectives, map the shortest path to those goals, know the growth levers (and when to pull them), and create a plan for cross-departmental success.

Execute is the capability to create campaigns that stand out among competitors and meet the revenue goals, all whilst working seamlessly with other departments to avoid friction.

Measure is the skill to not only track metrics, but identify the key metrics that are most essential to the success of the campaign, and then be able to communicate those results to stakeholders and key members within the organization.

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Optimize is the knack for identifying and fixing failing key metrics and faulty campaigns, and effectively managing and re-allocate time, money, and human resources to support them.

So more than any other person (save maybe the owner) your Head of Marketing contributes the most to how successful your company is. Because they manage, direct, and oversee all the core disciplines of basic marketing:

  • Conversion Funnels
  • Content Marketing
  • Paid Traffic
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Search Marketing
  • Data & Analytics
  • Testing & Optimization

And must recruit the people who have them and unite them towards a common goal. That’s a whole lot of complicated stuff. And by now, you’ve probably realized that you fall severely short in some of those skill sets. That’s totally okay.

Few people start their business because of a deep obsession with sales funnels. And while you may have read Dotcom Secrets and bought a few coaching courses. Eventually, you’re going to reach a limit on how far your own marketing chops can take you.

So as a business owner, can either:

  • Hire the right people yourself
  • Or hire the right person to hire the right people for you.
How To Build An Effective Marketing Team from scratch
How To Build An Effective Marketing Team from scratch

3 types of marketing Teams

Building the right team for your marketing efforts is no easy task. Especially if you have little knowledge of all the subjects I mentioned above. But essentially, you have three options:

  1. In-House
  2. Outsourced
  3. Hybrid

Here are the pros and cons of each one

In-House Team 

Building an in-house team is often the most desirable option, but it can be a far cry from reality. Because hiring QUALIFIED marketing specialists is very expensive. And for one simple reason If someone is good at delivering results with their marketing skill, They probably have the ability to market themselves And make more money as a freelancer.

A potential client once told me that for the amount I was charging, they could hire someone to work for them full-time.

To which I replied:

“Yes, but the person who accepts that job won’t be any good.”

So if you’re going to hire in-house Be prepared to invest in education for your team members to upgrade their skills. Because they’ll probably lack some when they start.

PROS:

  • Meets Overall Goals
  • Deep Brand Understanding
  • Direct Access
  • Can be Low Cost

CONS:

  • Lack of Experience
  • Heavy Workload
  • Slow Performance & Speed
  • Additional Expenses
  • Skills Gap
  • Time to Develop

Outsourced Team 

Investing in a skilled marketing agency leads to fast growth, and rightfully so. Because they have vast experience solving issues just like yours. Which means they can also save you lots of time.

Instead of taking months to search for and recruit the right in-house talent; Marketing agencies can usually be hired in an instant. And with the added bonus of only focusing on ONE thing.

Instead of hiring Mike the Marketing Grad to run your entire marketing efforts A skilled agency can come in and focus on the one key aspect to deliver fast results. Maybe it’s FB ads or a new VSL, or sales funnel, or whatever. But they don’t come without their own obvious cons as well.

First, the big challenge is finding a TRUSTWORTHY agency. One that will actually meet your expectations and deliver on the promised results.

These people ARE marketers after all, which gives them the ability to sell low quality for high prices. And sometimes, you don’t find that out until too late. Heck, even the big names bomb occasionally.

Often because you’re not their only client. So instead of focusing all their attention on your business, their attention gets spread across multiple businesses. Often far too many.

So instead of getting the help of the main person you interviewed, some rookie is handling your campaign and failing miserably.

There are HUGE names in our industry hiring “CMOs” for like $25/hr, which means you’ve got an Uber driver working on your “million dollar funnel.”

We’ve all been there and hired someone who failed to deliver. So expect you might have to kiss a few frogs before you meet Prince Charming. But once you do, it will be a match made in heaven.

 PROS:

  • Vast Experience in Similar Projects
  • Knowledge Base
  • Resources
  • Confidence
  • Time-Saving
  • Quick Results
  • Cost Cutting

CONS:

  • Risk of Choosing Incompetent Agency
  • Limited Control
  • Queue / Multiple Clients

Hybrid Team 

Blending in-house and agency resources are often the best bet. The agency can bring advanced expertise to specific areas, which leaves your internal team free to focus on the big picture. Or simply do whatever they do best and forget the rest.

This allows you to divide tasks as best you see fit. However, this also means you’re now in charge. You have to play point and coordinate all the marketing efforts. And this can cost you time and confusion.

So if you’re going to use a hybrid model, your communication needs to be ON POINT SON. Otherwise, you’ll lose efficiency and waste time. (and dollars)

So if you’re busy “running the place”, It might be best to hire someone to coordinate all this. This could be a Head of Marketing Or a Project Manager who would cost you a lot less.

However, you’d also need to direct the strategy in that case. Because here’s a big issue most business owners miss, When you’ve got multiple agencies working together, Often one or all of them think they know best.

In essence, there can be “too many cooks in the kitchen.”, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this happen. Some “know-it-all” questions the strategy or convinces the client to do something else.

Then we all sit around and watch as the campaign bombs. This is why the communication part is SO important. Because most of the time the agencies don’t know what the other agencies are doing.

So things get changed without notice and the project becomes some Frankenstein mutation, nothing close to what it was meant to be.

PROS:

  • Expertise in Specific Channels / Clients
  • Strategic Consultation
  • Flexibility

CONS:

  • Time-Consuming
  • Cooperation Between Teams
  • Cost

So, how do you know which option is best for you?

Here’s your action plan:

Action Plan:

  1. Identify the one role that, if added to the team tomorrow, would have the biggest impact on your growth.
  2. Choose your Marketing Team Model (In-House, Outsourced, Hybrid)
  3. Assign a name to each role on your team model and fill them one by one in order of impact.

Now get out there, build that team, and stack that paper

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What could be the most difficult part?

It’s strategy. Your goal as the Head of Marketing is to take the vision that the owners and CEO have and create a strategic plan to accomplish it. Think of strategy as a direction, and the tactics as the vehicle. If you’re trying to head north, having a 500-hp Hellcat will only make you fail faster if you’re driving in the wrong direction. The essence of strategy is choosing what NOT to do.

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