Marketing Management: 7 steps to optimize your marketing team


If you follow the MarketingExperiments blog, you know that small tweaks to a site can make a huge difference in conversion rates. Transitioning a site that is cluttered with information to one that makes sure the reader knows where they are, what they can do, and clearly communicates your value proposition can transition an ordinary site into an exceptional one.

It can make the difference between mediocrity and excellence — failure and success.

While researching and writing the MarketingSherpa 2012 Executive Guide to Marketing Personnel, we discovered some critical keys for optimizing a department the same way we optimize a webpage.

According to the executive guide’s results, 80% of marketing departments worldwide are using some sort of assessment analytics to identify those marketers who have the competence and character to do the job and do it well. The challenge is that this is as far as most marketing departments go with their people.


This is where a marketing manager or CMO has to step in and provide clarity for his/her marketers

You do this in similar ways to testing and optimizing a webpage. You work with each page (or in this case, person) and identify its unique characteristics, and then focus on conversion (which in this case is your employee or team member completing the necessary tasks to make your organization successful). Here are the steps:

  1. Set departmental goals but individualize them for each marketer. Illustrate how their individual accomplishments will help the department and the company as a whole. Then identify their unique behavior/value traits to motivate them to accomplish those goals with their unique cognitive approach. This will provide the mental incentive for them to perform.
  1. Provide examples of how their mind and skill sets will help them accomplish the goals and then praise them in departmental meetings when the intermediate goals are accomplished. This reinforces the value on their individual capacities, which a marketer values above all else. Why? Because it positions that individual marketer as someone with unique values and establishes their credibility with other team members.
  1. Don’t micromanage your marketers. The one common trait of marketers is that they enjoy making their own decisions, and having the freedom to create and achieve their goals their way. Let them do that outside of the normal training and developmental sessions (which are a must). Give them the freedom to make mistakes so they will learn and develop competency more rapidly.
  1. Deal with issues/problems IMMEDIATELY. Marketers envision themselves as problem solvers — out there leading the pack in ways others cannot. As a manager, if you do not develop an atmosphere of openness and willingness, you are not addressing a key element of the marketer’s personality — communication. According to research for our executive guide, marketers are 19% more communicative than the average person — talk to them and let them talk.
  1. Tell them you want them to succeed and how they can obtain advancement/promotion. A wise man once said: “Where there is no vision, the people perish!” This is especially true of marketers. They pride themselves on vision and success. When a manager does not provide a career path or vision, it is only a matter of time before your marketer finds one — somewhere else.
  1. Instill the team spirit in each member of your department. Marketers are independent by nature, especially those specialists who are highly analytical and objective. To lead people, sometimes you must walk behind them, giving them their moment to shine. You can accomplish that if you don’t care who gets the credit. Help each member create their own identity and show them how that identity helps make up a dynamic team.
  1. Be consistent and fair. While each marketer is going to be unique and require a different verbal and mental approach to management, be consistent in the way you deal with departmental and individual issues. Praise publically and counsel/reprimand privately. Use your knowledge of their individual dynamics to the max. Understand their motivations and use those motivations to make your department excellent.


Related Resources:

View a free excerpt of MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Executive Guide to Marketing Personnel

Subscribe to the Marketing Careers newsletter – An average of 25 new marketing job openings every week

Marketing Management: What is your company doing to increase knowledge and effectiveness?

Marketing Career: 4 questions every marketer should answer (and what you need to know to start asking them)

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  1. Evo says

    Great article.
    I’m particularly keen on #3 – Don’t micromanage your marketers.
    It’s so important to give creative people the freedom to explore by themselves and manage their own workflows.

  2. Dr. Chuck Coker says


    You have an excellent point. Marketers possess very unique personalities (for the most part) and do not like people looking over their shoulder. They like to make their decisions and be applauded for their efforts which tend to be more effective/efficient than other “types” of employees. Applauding their work is key to keeping them happy and focused on the future.

    Thanks for your comments.


  3. sam says

    Where there is no vision, the people perish -Proverbs 29:18

    1. Chuck Coker says


      If only others bought into this concept!


  4. Steve Woon says

    What a wonderful reminder for managers to let team members be creative and learn from mistakes, if any, which we as managers makes too all the time. A must practice for all marketeers. Thanks Dr Chuck!

    1. Chuck Coker says


      Thanks for your note. It is nice to know there are those that not only embrace the concepts but will be a part of the solution as we seek to improve the process.


  5. Fehmeen says

    I think the 1st step of individualizing the goals for each member of the dept. is very important and most often missed. People don’t usually realize how their cog fits into the entire machine and that results in a loss of motivation and directed innovation.

    1. Chuck Coker says

      You are correct and it is the most often missed. It is the reason turnover is higher for marketers than the average employee. If the marketing manager would have a strategic career planning session with each marketer, “filling in the blanks” they would retain their good people because they would understand where they are going and how their position will help them obtain the new competencies they need for future success. Thanks for your comment.

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