How to build a marketing team from scratch.

Building a marketing team from the ground up can be intimidating for companies or managers who have no idea where to begin. Marketing is one of the most necessary, and yet, most misunderstood functions inside a company. Companies who get marketing correct outperform their counterparts who rely only on sales or product to drive growth.
For the purpose of this article we’ll skip all the reasons you should market and we’ll get right to the team.

Marketing Leader

This position is often a Director of Marketing role. Companies who are in high growth mode need a hybrid manager/contributor in this role. The person hired for this role should have a strong command of inbound & outbound marketing tactics, some experience with successful marketing strategies, and be strong in demand generation, copywriting, digital marketing, or operations.
Getting this role right is tricky for most companies. According to a study performed by Harvard Business Review, the average tenure of a marketing leader is 3.5 years. This can mean it’s a time of great growth or a challenge to achieve the results the business is looking for. To get this right don’t hire for “everything” and be very careful of marketers talking about increasing brand awareness. The right marketing manager/leader will be focused on driving to the KPI’s your organization needs for sales growth.
Here are the few qualities your leader cannot live without:
  1. Team Management — getting the most out of a team around them should be the manager/leader’s primary focus. Without this ability, they should not be in your head of marketing seat.
  2. Creativity — being an experienced manager isn’t enough when running marketing teams. The leader must be dynamic and think outside the box. The old saying, “what got you here will not get you there,” hold true for this position. Some of the best leaders in the industry are willing to take creative risks and push their teams to a new level.
  3. Marketing Automation— Just like Salesforce created a space moving sales teams away from ACT and GoldMine, marketing automation has created a dynamic shift in getting more done with less. It is impossible to scale without leveraging it’s power. Proficiency in tools like HubSpot, Marketo, MailChimp, Pardot, Eloqua, or one of many others is important. No they don’t have to be an expert using the tool, but they should have a strong command of what is needed to ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing technology.
  4. Content Marketing — Content is the new SEO. Not all content will be created as a blog or as a social post, but your leader should have a strong understanding of the different channels, how to use them, and create consumable content on each channel. Going back to creativity – this is one of the biggest areas for your leader to utilize their creativity. Finding and engaging your audience with content they care about.
Still looking for more on what you need in your leader. Check out this article for start-ups from Yoav Vilner.

Digital Marketer

Requirements for being a strong digital marketer are rapidly changing daily. The digital marketer is no longer a “techie” who can run digital ads or understand SEO on your website. Digital marketers today need a command of a variety of skills. These skills should be focused on driving momentum across the funnel.

Here are the few qualities your Digital Marketer cannot live without:
  1. Traffic Generation – Getting people to your site to buy or to convert into a lead is CRITICAL to the success of a company. In this role the digital marketer will need to understand SEO, PPC, Social, email, and other channels to drive traffic to your site. This understanding should complement the marketing leaders’ content marketing strategy to fully exploit the traffic your company pays for or earns.
  2. Traffic Conversion – As soon as you have a visitor to your site, you should be trying to convert them. A strong digital marketer will be focused on the entry and conversion points for each visit of your site, understand how and what copy converts best, and how to create breadcrumbs for your visitor to stay engaged with your site. They should be creating A/B tests and showing how/why one test outperformed vs another. Thousands of companies miss out on leads and sales because they simply don’t have someone focused on the steps in the funnel and what the conversion rates are.
  3. Analytics & Reporting – The old saying goes, “if it’s not measured, it doesn’t matter.” A digital marketer should know how to read and interpret the data. This person must possess a baseline understanding on how to tag events, create goals, and track engagement. Collection is only half the battle, they also need to effectively communicate what is having an impact on your traffic so the business can make informed decisions.

Customer Marketer

One of the greatest opportunities for growth is inside your current customer base. Yet, many of the efforts focused on creating leads or revenue focus solely on new customers. In 2019, this is a HUGE miss by companies. Hire a customer marketer and create lasting bonds with those who have already purchased.

This role will need the following skills:
  1. Relationship Marketing – In 2019, this specific type of marketing is often disguised as “personalized marketing” or Account Based Marketing. Both require your marketer to build a relationship with the audience. The stronger the relationship your marketer has with the audience the greater the value of the content and offers your team creates.
  2. Content Marketing – Creating content for a customer is often different than creating content for a prospect. Your marketer needs to be skilled at finding, curating, and creating content valuable to your customers. This can be in the forms of webinars, events, training, online communities, and your traditional online content types. Bottom line the content is a byproduct of the relationship your marketer has with sales, customer success, and the customer.
  3. Up-Sell/Cross Sell – When’s the best time to ask for a sale? When the customer is ready to buy. Gone are the days of marketers only focused on MarComm. Today’s marketers need to be able to drive revenue through well-timed and aimed calls to action for revenue growth. A skilled customer marketer will partner with sales for the best way to approach account growth and will put together a plan for growing accounts in a common-sense manner.
  4. Sales Enablement – Give sales what they need to grow accounts. Your customer marketer should be creating content and sharing information with the sales team to increase the impact inside your accounts. This isn’t just about selling more but creating value. Many sales teams are focused on closing and a skilled customer marketer will create tools and training to help sales understand how to create value across the relationship. The need to have experience with case studies, whitepapers, testimonials, just in time training, and sales process to create the best sales enablement tools for your team.


Finding a strong and diverse writer is important to your team. The market is demanding content to be created on a regular basis, and the content cannot be fluff. Adding a writer to your team allows you to have consistent content production for your team.
A great writer will possess these skills:
  1. Writing for leads gen – Demand generating copy is a skill many overlooks when hiring a writer. Make sure your writer understands tone, and voice but can convey value and drive action when they write. Every pixel is precious and so is every word. Make sure your writer isn’t wasting either.
  2. Writing for sales – Sales teams often believe what they are creating is the best for converting, and sometimes is can be. But sales can also go rogue and do more damage than good. Your writer needs create sales copy in the form of emails, talk tracks, and possibly scripts for the sales team to build off of. No, your team shouldn’t turn into robots, but a strong writer will know how to build a convincing argument for your team to follow.
  3. Short-form content – You’re gonna need emails, newsletter intros, SEO descriptions, social posts and more. Make sure your writer can convey value and drive action when they are writing in 250 words of less.
  4. Long-form content – Blogging is often the only long-form writing a company does. Expand what you create leveraging the skills of your writer and create articles, press releases, boilerplate, case studies, whitepapers, and
If you find someone with these skills – hire them, give them a content calendar and get out of their way. They will create more content than you can imagine and your audience/customers will love you for it.

Marketing Operations Professional

I considered making this number 2, no matter where this lands on my list marketing operations is here is to stay and you need a strong person in this role. A marketing operations professional is going to be a blend of marketing technology, marketing communications, and data analytics. Not to be confused with your digital marketer, the marketing operations professional will be piping and plumbing your systems.
This person needs these skills:
  1. Marketing Automation – The core element to getting more done with less is a byproduct of your marketing automation system and it’s utilization. Your marketing operations professional (MOP) should be able to build and execute campaigns. Additionally, you need them to understand how to take the business/marketing requirements and program the systems to support it. They should understand lead scoring, nurture campaigns, event management, email communications, data hygiene, attribution models, and integrating technologies for the best outcomes.
  2. Project Management – Ensuring your team gets the most out of the systems includes understanding what it will take to get projects done. How long will it take to complete an email campaign and where are the places it can get stuck? Who in sales needs to be involved before this data set is contacted? Where are the tags in the CRM to ensure you are targeting the correct list? What is left to be completed on this project? A strong sense of what needs to get done, by whom, and when – bonus if you put it in a tool like Trello or Asana – is a critical part of a strong MOP. Make sure you understand how they look at and manage project completion.
  3. Analytical – Building models and reports are important for your MOP. They will be critical in helping your team understand where outcomes don’t reach their potential and what creative corrections could be implemented. They should be keeping your team up to date on what the data is telling the team to do and acting as a balance with the digital marketer.
If you found this list helpful, please share it with others struggling to build a team. Don’t agree with this list? No worries – tell us what you think is most important in the comments.