Hiring and Leading Excellent Marketing Teams


Hiring and Leading Excellent Marketing Teams

Everyone’s looking to build a highly performing marketing dream team. In this age of big data, slick strategies and fast and effective marketing tools, the definition of “high-performance” has changed. The ideal candidate has to have all the right tech skills — but great marketing teams still require a healthy balance between technology and the human touch. Don’t get caught up in being an early adopter at the expense of the overall service strategy, warned panelists on Day One of AIM | 18. And look for team players.

“Your team needs to fire on all cylinders — not just individually, but as a team,” said Cassie Khaing, Senior Brand Manager, Mill Creek Residential. “Your team has to be comfortable not only in their tactical skill set, but with their personalities. In today’s environment, it’s so important to be data-driven,” adds Khaing. “Be able to analyze that data and be able to explain it. We all need those skills. Don’t just be focused on one skill set.”

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Gianna Negretti, Director of Marketing Services, Alliance Residential, echoed the sentiment, noting that high-performance is not just about individual contributions. “High performance requires cohesion,” she said. “Your team needs to feel challenged and hold themselves accountable. That’s why I love to hire from smaller agencies — those people wear multiple hats.”

Regarding the issue of recruiting, hiring, training and interviews, the panelists had differing takes on what skills need to be already in place and which can be taught. “All candidates need that baseline knowledge of digital, web content, etc.,” Negretti said. “They need to be able to get on the phone with ops teams and clients to discuss goals and objectives. They don’t need to be experts — fortunately, we have experts in those fields.”

The panel was moderated by Jennifer Anderson, Director of B2B Marketing for RentPath. In her estimation, successful marketers all have three things: an ability to analyze data, an ability to use data to make strategic decisions and an ability to advocate to higher-ups regarding strategic marketing decisions.

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“If you’re a marketer sitting in this room, you feel stretched thin every day of your life,” she observed. What happens when you hire the wrong person? Negative hiring experiences can happen to anyone — and they likely have. All sorts of reasoning may be offered as to why a hire didn’t work out (and different reasoning may be offered publicly versus privately). But there’s one thing that unites all those experiences.

“One thing the people have all had in common when it wasn’t a fit? It has to do with the need for structure versus the ability to adapt to a quickly changing environment,” Flaherty said. “And the ability to keep a lot of balls in the air. Successful marketers are also able to build credibility and earn a seat at a table.”

You can’t always anticipate the hires that will work and those that won’t, Khaing said. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep an open mind so that you’re able to adapt quickly to any setbacks. “Know your advocates,” she added. “If you know who your advocates are naturally, you’ll be able to get more done. It’s important to the marketing role to have onsite experience. Sometimes you have to be flexible when you’re interviewing and assessing what someone's needs are. At the end of the day, we need a jack of all trades in every position.”

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