There is a strong correlation between the team behind your marketing strategy and the strategy’s success. Through the ongoing development of your digital marketing strategy, you will learn who you need to add to the group.
At the beginning of the strategic planning process, you should only concern yourself with the core members. THese are the people vital to the leadership of your firm’s growth. For a larger firm with dedicated departments, you may want to include experts from marketing, sales, and IT/technology systems.
If you are unsure at the early stages, you can always add members later on. In general, it is better to start with fewer than too many.
Think outside of what seems natural to you. Are your marketing and sales leaders the ones that would be most helpful on this project, or is it the customer service teams and salespeople who interact with your customers all day?
Let’s explore this idea further. Remember, this is about the team forming your marketing strategy, not necessarily the marketing team that would execute it.
Forming a Marketing Team Based on the Group Dynamics
A collective of individuals will not operate as the individuals do on their own. While you know this, it is common for us to collect a set of professionals to represent different views, but not fully anticipate how they will engage together.
You should have the understanding of who your people are, who would fit best on the team, and who wouldn’t. On paper, it may sound great to have a certain set of individuals heading this project with you. However, if those individuals have a history of not getting along well, it might prove a challenge to make this work.
While it would be wonderful to believe everyone works well in harmony, that simply becomes more and more complex as an organization grows larger. We are dealing with people. Of course, managing group dynamics would need a book on its own, so for now, I’m asking that you be cognizant of the concept.
Not in a Leadership Role?
If you aren’t the leader of the organization, it will be a good idea to keep leadership involved in some manner. You need to determine if they want complete involvement, or occasional check-ins. Leadership buy-in is vital. If you find yourself as an accessory to the whole plan, then consider having this talk about team development with your leadership. You don’t need a title to act as a leader.
Belief: A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
Remember that the leader of an organization sets the tide. It’s important that the leader believes in a project and supports the members working on it. Without quality leadership, it can be difficult for the rest of the organization and other key individual to buy into the project.
This belief should not exist specifically in a strategic planning environment. It must carry forth through the implementation and execution of the marketing plan. Financial services firms often run into the issue that the marketing is both vital and a distraction. Finding a routine to keep leadership invested and involved will be key.
A Warning On Involving Your “Digital Expert”
It makes sense to include someone in your organization that “gets” digital marketing, right?
I want to issue a warning to you against that. Not that you shouldn’t involve them specifically, but you need to be mindful and honest. Digital marketing is a complicated beast. You can easily run into one of two individuals:
- The marketer that mistakenly believes they understand digital marketing, but don’t really know strategy and digital sales funnels, or
- The marketer that knows just enough more than others to distract us from the strategy and focus on the tactics and tools. Look for the marketer who overcomplicates things while trying to show their expertise.
Blanket statements are dangerous; so don’t rule your marketing friends out yet. But do be mindful of this risk. Also consider the risk that you may not be the best to identify who is competent or not. Ultimately, organizations hire consultants because they know they may not have all the right resources in-house, and an outside perspective is always a healthy addition to any strategic planning team.
Action Step: Identify Your Marketing Strategy Planning Team
Let’s make sure we get the starting team right. Write down all the individuals who come to mind you may want to include from your leadership team, marketing, sales, customer service, and IT. Also consider the product and service experts.
Now, look over that list. If you have any gut feelings where you just can’t be sure that they should be included, cross them off. Who do you have left? Any potential issues between the members?
Give it a final look-over while thinking about who you can remove that can be included in the process later on. Also consider what perspectives may be missing, and if you need outside counsel. Overall, you want to keep the list short, but composed of the right people, to be effective and agile.
This article is an adapted excerpt from “Getting Digital Marketing Right” (David J. Bradley, 2015).