Building a Marketing Team: Ninjas in action

teamMarketing is a team sport.  Any company that deludes itself into thinking marketing can be done by one person is limiting their success.

Marketing is the catch all for otherwise unassigned employees.  I’ve seen many organizations that put the stray employees into marketing since its a discipline that ANYONE can do.

Marketing is overhead, so get ’em cheap.  I’ve also seen companies that hire young, inexperienced marketers (since they are cheap and marketing is overhead), and struggle from their lack of experience.


The general lack of understanding of how marketing can transform a business leads to disastrous hiring decisions.  Instead of seeing marketing as the lynch pin to growth, market share, and revenue – marketing is seen as an un-quantifiable  necessary evil.  So, how does an organization put together the right team to reach its vision?  How do they place their coveted extra dollars into an area they dont understand and as a result, dont often appreciate?

The good news is, its like any other investment.  Understanding the strategy at the highest level will readily determine optimal marketing spend.  And, by default, the team.  Is the goal to enter a new market, drive revenues in a geographical market segment, establish a new message or brand, or to become the leader in a vertical market?  Any one goal can require a change in the team composition.

If the goal is to drive revenue.  Any market, any vertical.  But, the revenue must come from a certain size company or certain type of customer.  Does your team know how to reach this end point of buying power?  Do you have the team that can message to them and campaign to them?  Does your team have the varied enough experience to know the nuances of amount of campaigning, advertising, or social media push?  Does your team have the depth of knowledge to know how to message given the personas and buying patterns of the targets?  If the goal is pure revenue, then the understanding of how to market; and at what pace will be critical.  Your marketing leadership should ultimately have an equally intimate knowledge of the sales environment.  Successful marketing can often lead to sales failure if they arent operating in unison.

Marketing personnel, no matter the goal, need to be ninjas.  Knowing when to attack, when to defend, and how to do it with precision and elegance is vital.  A strong marketing team can bend to meet the objective.  So, next time you’re looking to hire a marketing professional, look for the ninja.  Look for the adaptable, assertive buy yielding, cunning and quick marketer.  These ninjas may come to the table with experience in one functional area, but they show aptitude and desire for others.  They want to learn and take on more responsibility.

Successful marketing teams are a thing of beauty.  Just like ninjas in action.

17 thoughts on “Building a Marketing Team: Ninjas in action

  1. Interesting read on a topic that I am admittedly torn on. In particular, your point about organizations hiring junior, inexperienced workers to fill marketing roles is spot on with what I’ve seen countless times during the past 20 years.

    Yet, the marketing, communications and (now) social media field is a vibrant, high energy one because of the myriad of young people who bring new ideas and approaches.

    As you point out in your post though, it’s critical they work within a structure and environment developed by an executive who has an intimate understanding of the goals and direction of the business.

    • Marc, yes, I know that often the younger members of the team are often more social media savvy. But, without the appreciation of the nuance of how and when to use it, it becomes an exercise in content-vomit. 🙂

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