How to build a high-performing marketing team

Marketing’s fought to prove its value to the C-Suite for years.  

The battle is ongoing, but some are finally starting to see progress. According to McKinsey, 83% of CEOS now see marketing as actively driving business growth. 

But the real image problem goes deeper. Into the marketing department itself.


Marketing teams need a rebrand.  

Each week, we break down another marketing concept so you can skip the hype and get directly to what works. 

Based on a survey of 1,100 marketers, most marketers say they wouldn’t recommend working in their own marketing department. Marketers were asked to rate the likelihood they would recommend their company as a place to work to a friend or colleague on a scale of 1-10.  

The outcome? The group gave their organizations a –1.4 Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (those who answered 1 to 6) from the percentage of promoters (those who answered 9 or 10). So a negative score... well, it’s not great. 

Unsurprisingly, NPS scores were much higher among the 11% of companies the researchers identified as “winning marketing organizations” based on sales and growth. Clearly, there’s a relationship between having a healthy, enjoyable workplace and teams that achieve success. And there are strategies for managing marketing teams that perform well and like their jobs: 

  1. Clarity is kindness. Organizations with a wide variety of marketing titles received lower satisfaction scores. Marketing professor Omar Rodriguez-Vila says these low scores are due to “organizational friction” created when moving marketing responsibilities between departments. By precisely defining marketing roles within your team and across the company, you can boost efficiency, collaboration, and overall satisfaction.
  2. Connect marketing’s work to business outcomes. Organizations with higher NPS drove greater business results. By aligning marketing efforts with tangible business goals and metrics, you create a common goal the team can work toward together. And you generate measurable evidence of marketing’s impact.  
  3. Provide and pursue leadership training. Management and marketing require very different skillsets. In marketing, people often rise quickly through the ranks quickly as individual contributors—without management experience. Organizations can improve their marketing department’s performance by offering leadership training. 
  4. Dedicate time to team building. Building a high-performing team requires investing in some intangible elements... including fostering a supportive culture. Books like Gung Ho! and The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team can help guide team-building practices and nurture a positive group dynamic. 

Key Takeaway: Marketing teams aren’t short on challenges, but there are ways to set your team up for success. By fostering clarity, aligning marketing efforts with business goals, and investing in team building, marketers can build high-performing teams that leave a lasting impact. 


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