Like basketball, construction, and Marvel superheroes, marketing demonstrates its best results when people work together as a team. Your marketing team doesn’t have to be big — it might be just you and a freelancer or two working together, or it might be an entire department of dozens of people — but it does have to work solidly together if you want it to bring you the best possible results.
Though there’s always some degree of variance for teams in different industries or with different needs, there are nine primary qualities that make a team exceptionally effective.
Does your team display these nine “all-star” qualities?
1. Specialization. Online marketing has evolved to become an incredibly diverse world. There are hundreds of different strategies and tactics you can be using, from writing content to posting ads to partnering with others for mutual gains in reputation and awareness. Accordingly, the best teams are ones that comprise unique specialists, all of whom qualify as experts in their field, rather than generalists who are passably good at a wider variety tasks. This way, you can increase your effectiveness in each area, exceling in individual segments rather than merely getting by overall.
2. Communication. It should be no secret that the best marketing teams are ones that communicate openly, precisely, and frequently. Team leaders need to instruct their team members with accurate and clear information, and team members need to be proactive if they encounter any challenges or changes while they attempt to execute. Communication also helps individuals solve problems together, avoid getting in each other’s way, and stay up-to-speed even as things change (and you can bet they will).
3. Coordination. Marketing is built on a foundation of ideas, and it’s unlikely that only one person will come up with the best idea every time. Instead of generating an idea alone, the best teams are able to collaboratively generate multiple possible ideas and work together to find the objective best option. Coordination is also important when it comes to divvying up responsibilities among team members; if one member has a lighter workload, they can take on additional responsibilities from others. Multiple team members can also coordinate timing and delivery for the best group results.
4. Leadership. While I like the idea of a marketing team where every member is on equal footing, I think a leader is still necessary for a team to run as efficiently as possible. The team leader is responsible for establishing the vision, making major decisions, and ultimately taking responsibility for the actions of the team. This not only leads to smoother communication and fewer disagreements, it also consolidates decision making to one, singular point.
5. Goal-orientation. Everyone on the marketing team should be working toward both individual goals, such as improving your own writing abilities, and team goals, such as achieving a certain increase in organic traffic. Goals are a skeletal, guiding framework for a team that help everybody achieve better results. Without this directive focus, teams can lose sight of the bigger picture. Even if their goals aren’t always hit, goal-oriented teams usually perform better.
6. Determination. I’ll be the first to admit that marketing is full of obstacles, but the best marketing teams don’t let those obstacles stand in their way — at least not for long. Determination helps team members find alternative solutions and workarounds to even the most intimidating challenges. Rather than giving up outright, they’ll keep working until they’ve exhausted all possible options.
7. Flexibility. Marketing is influenced by technologies, trends, and competitors — all of which are in a state of constant flux. Oftentimes, that means dropping a strategy you’ve used for years because it’s no longer relevant, or because another strategy has emerged as more effective. It could also mean abandoning an assumption you’ve long held to be true, or adopting new responsibilities you’ve never had before. The best marketing teams, therefore, are flexible enough to respond to these changes. This demands both team and individual commitments, so look for it in both areas.
8. Accountability. If one of your strategies fails in some significant way (either due to poor direction or poor execution), who would take responsibility for the failure and suggest a way to recover, and who would try to pass the blame to someone else? Marketing teams are never perfect, but the best teams are the ones who freely admit to their mistakes — and try to make up for them.
9. Passion. Workers who are passionate about their jobs don’t waste time on social media. They don’t half-ass projects to meet the bare minimum standards, and they certainly don’t leave in the middle of a campaign. These are people who love to be creative, and take pride in their work, and it’s no surprise they produce the best results.
If you notice any of these qualities missing, there are a number of possible reasons why. Your first assumption may be that you’ve hired the wrong people, or the people you’ve hired aren’t doing a good enough job — and while that may be, it’s not necessarily the case.
It could also be a lack of direction, a temporary hiccup in synergy that’s gone unaddressed, or the influence of other variables, such as the nature of their current project. If you want to restore these qualities — or see them for the first time — you’ll need to analyze your current team and make adjustments as necessary to a number of different areas.
For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast!