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Sep 15, 2021 BY Brianna Martin Marketing

What Makes a Savvy Marketing Team?

Mighty Insights

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Marketing is a broad, sweeping umbrella of an industry.

That’s to say, when you’re talking about your “marketing” department, you’re really talking about all the functions of your marketing department. It’s all the components you employ to increase awareness of your mission, or to raise money, or to drive membership (and so on…).

The marketing umbrella includes content development, social media, design and branding, analytics, events, audience research, campaigns, advertising—just to name a few. It’s not likely that your organization needs to use every single component in its marketing operations. It’s even less likely that every time you hire, you’re hiring one person to be singularly focused. For many mission-driven organizations (we’re looking at you, small but mighty nonprofits!), one person is juggling a variety of marketing functions.

But for the growing teams out there, how can you ensure your team is primed for success? How do you develop a “savvy” marketing team?


Savvy organizations do a great job of taking a big step back, and evaluating three different areas:

Where are you now?

  • What is the makeup of your marketing department today? Note the size of your team and the departments they touch.
  • What disciplines are being used? Document the different disciplines of marketing that your team is equipped with.
  • How are your roles and responsibilities defined? Do you have clear, defined roles for your team? Are your job descriptions true to the roles being performed?
  • What are your resources? What tools and technology are available to you outside of (wo)manpower? What does your budget look like?
  • What can you outsource? Are you outsourcing any of your operations right now? What could you outsource?

What are your pain points?

  • What is difficult to accomplish as a team? What seems to be a regular hindrance for your team?
  • What resources would make it easier? What do you need to be able to eliminate that hindrance?
  • What experience is your team lacking? What skills would it take to improve your marketing operations and your existing pain points?

Where are you going?

  • What are your departmental and organizational goals? Does your organization have regularly-updated internal goals? How do your departmental goals align with or ladder up to those bigger goals?
  • What are the barriers to getting you there? What is hindering you from achieving your goals?
  • What needs should be met first? If you could prioritize the things that will make the most impact on your operations, what comes first?

Proactive vs. Reactive Operations

There’s one big difference between a proactive and reactive marketing team: data. Marketers that employ a data-first approach are able to base every decision they make on real numbers and trends. With data, your team is empowered to make a case for any new marketing initiative—and to say “no” to any initiatives that don’t move the dial.

Varied Skill Set

Of course, every marketing department has a few roles that will account for general marketing operations. But the savviest marketing teams have different compositions based on the organization’s current operations and needs.

You should always evaluate and prioritize the needs of your department, even if you can’t actualize it today (or even in the near future). If you have a multi-year goal to become a thought leader, but you don’t have a full-fledged content production process, fleshing that out becomes part of the timeline. If you’re launching a product and want to build awareness, you won’t get far without someone with digital marketing chops on your team. Your savvy team is refined over time through a combination of organizational growth, strategic hiring, and professional development.

…the savviest marketing teams are inherently collaborative.”

Diversity of Voices

The marketer often visits the nebulous intersection of creativity and strategy. A marketing team bounces their ideas off of each other, confirming or denying each other’s assumptions to maximize results. Without a shared trust in that process, though, creativity is stifled. In fact, the term “psychological safety” is a rising buzzword in business. It’s the idea that creativity and innovation increase when everyone feels that they can contribute without negative (mainly psychological) outcomes.

If you boil it down, to be “savvy” simply means that you are able to make good judgments. In that sense, the savviest marketing teams are inherently collaborative. A level of vulnerability exists within any creative team. Sharing ideas freely and openly to be received and critiqued can feel personal or intimate. But those ideas, birthed from good judgment based on experience, are how we push forward in today’s data-driven, “test everything” industry.

Brand Competency

With any team dynamic, there are some less tactical elements that make a marketing department stronger. A good marketer has an almost innate, highly-developed understanding of their organization’s message and brand. They move quickly and are responsive to all the external factors affecting their organization every day, staying up-to-date on the newest marketing trends and areas affecting marketers. They’re also current on the issues affecting the audiences they target (or better yet, they’re from those communities).

The marketing industry is always changing. New technologies and resources are elevating our capabilities while major privacy and security updates are threatening them. Marketing teams that promote a forward-thinking, growth-driven culture will stay ahead of the curve.

What do you think makes a savvy marketing team? Tweet us @youaremighty and let us know!

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