Building a Marketing Team? Do these 5 things first

When building out a marketing function, there are an endless number of things you can do. And that’s the problem.
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that the average tenure of a Chief Marketing Officer dropped another 6 months in the past two years. That puts the total average tenure for CMOs at 42 months.

This means you need to move fast but also keep an eye on long-term strategy. No instant gratification. Your early decisions need to yield quick wins, but also need to set you up for the future. Nothing you do will happen overnight, but your day-to-day decision making is key in making Marketing successful within the company.

The good news is, you can make immediate decisions that will ensure short and long term success.

Let’s jump right in.

Technical Depth

Marketing has become a lot more than branding, messaging, and great design. It’s a complex time for marketers with more accessible data than ever experienced in the history of humanity! Data provides insights; insights that will improve your decision making, optimize your channels, and increase conversions. You must embrace data.

Which means, you must invest technically. A modern marketing team needs developers, front end designers, data analysts, and digitally-savvy marketers. Creating a strong technical bench within the marketing team will prepare you to handle the speed in which technology moves and changes, as well as put you in a position to make data-driven marketing decisions.

A popular topic within Marketing right now is the Marketing Technology Stack. What kind of content management system are you using? Who is your email service provider? What advertising platform are you on? All common questions. Building out the right technical team ensures you will be initiating the correct technology-philosophy and positioning your team to move with agility, speed, and decisiveness. The majority of your pipeline and new business channels, such as direct to website, email, advertising, downloads, event registrations, webinars, and so on, will perform because of this Marketing Technology Stack. Invest in a technical team and avoid ill-advised and costly technology decisions.

The New Marketer

The talent moving through the marketing ranks at the moment really excites me. It’s a new type of marketer that is skilled at all forms of communication, but also inherently talented at all things digital. This person can login to your CMS, build a landing page, gains insights from analytics, work effortlessly across a number of tools, think creatively to drive better engagement, track campaigns through a CRM, generate expert reporting, work in an agile framework, and make sense of data.

This is the new super star within marketing. Build your team around people like this. As they grow, they will be well suited for a number of management and leadership roles within the team—such a content, demand generation, digital, marketing operations, and more. They will be the future CMOs; so hire lots of them.

Marketing and Sales

Initially, I underestimated the importance of a strong, collaborative, positive relationship with the Sales team. Don’t make this mistake.

Sales and Marketing should be a like any good buddy duo in history: Starsky and Hutch, Jordan and Pippen, Frank and Charlie (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)—you get the idea.

If the company isn’t hitting its quarterly goals, then marketing and sales has a lot of reflecting to do. Work with sales. Understand their needs. Drive the needed pipeline for them to close deals. Listen to them. They are on the front lines with prospects and customers that consume everything marketing publishes. It’s a living focus group for you to know if marketing has the right message, content strategy, and targeting. You can’t do this alone and data can only do so much—you need human feedback. And in this day, when we are moving from traditional B2C and B2B, to Business to Human, a healthy relationship with sales is imperative.

And let’s be honest. The best way to exceed 42 months as CMO, is to hit your numbers. Figure it out.

Marketing Operations, the Situation Room

Think of Marketing Operations as the marketing situation room. You need data-driven and obsessed individuals within your marketing team to assess every threat and opportunity you face on a quarter-to-quarter basis. The marketing budget, pipeline, demand generation, and program calendar should be tied to the hip, an interdependent ecosystem that illustrates the true health of your marketing team.

This will allow you to focus on a number of things:

  • A heavy focus on improving marketing ROI
  • Pipeline health through every stage of a quarter
  • Optimizing demand generations channels like advertising, PPC and email
  • Investing budget in the right places
  • Ensuring pipeline coverage throughout the year based on marketing programming
  • Aligning with Sales around account-based marketing initiatives and field marketing events
  • Provider detailed data for Sales Development
  • And so much more

Now combine this with the new marketer and an investment in technical talent and you’ve got something special brewing; a marketing machine.

Have Fun

If you can’t have fun working in marketing, then there’s something very wrong. Marketing is a blast.


Marketing is just fluff without a real focus on the technology, data, and collaboration behind your strategies (see the previous 4 points). Once you have defined the infrastructure, platforms, foundations and all of the hard and tedious hurdles—then you can have fun.

Because, when you have built the right data and technology marketing foundation, it allows everything else to flourish. Here’s what I mean:

  • Bring the brand alive through compelling customer experiences
  • Shout your messaging from the rooftops
  • Allow design to evolve the brand across all of your channels and touchpoints
  • Innovate with content and watch as your metrics increase
  • Test, test, test
  • Create event experiences that reflect the company’s story and brand DNA
  • Drive and disrupt the industry through creativity

Marketing should be the heartbeat of a company, providing the energy, drive and creativity to push to the next level. If we have 42 months to do this, we may as well have fun.