As the owner of a growing marketing firm, I spend a reasonable amount of time thinking about the people who work for our company. Where are the gaps in our skillsets? Does everyone fit the corporate culture? Do we have the right people to tackle current work and the work that we know is coming? Does everyone know what he or she has to do to achieve professional success at the company? Are people generally fulfilled in their work lives?
As we embark on yet another phase of our growth, marked by a handful of available positions, I am forced (in a good way) to reflect on the types of people that will make us a well-rounded team and establish the foundation for a bright future.
As they say, teamwork makes the dream work. So who do I want on my team moving forward? These types:
There will always be a place for someone, usually a seasoned someone, who can ask the right questions and extract the right answers from those who influence or make major decisions. This person is typically a near-perfect combination of businessperson, marketer, and amateur psychologist. From there, this person is able to create and communicate a strategic direction, which guides every step of tactical execution.
Frankly, the businessperson part is more important than the other aspects. If you can truly understand what drives the success of a particular business, the marketing part becomes far less challenging.
Cause marketing. Relationship marketing. Email marketing. Public relations. Marketing automation platforms. Content marketing. Search engine marketing, both paid (PPC) and freeish (SEO).
Counting the marketing specialties at this point is a fruitless exercise. Let’s just say there are dozens of specialties. Depending on the nature of the company or firm, these specialties may be in high demand and may command top dollar.
Specialists will always have a place on my team. Like a kicker in football, a shot blocker in basketball, or a closer in baseball, sometimes you need someone who can do a specific thing and do it over and over again more times successfully than not.
The generalist holds a special place in my heart. They know enough about all the things to be dangerous with a customer, but rarely know enough about the particular things to have a deep-dive conversation with a customer. A really good generalist knows exactly when to bring in the specialist. It’s a delicate balance to achieve, however.
From my standpoint, the generalist/strategist combination is lethal (in a good way). Give me someone who knows all the things, knows how to extract critical business information, and knows how to set a direction and guide an execution plan, and I will find a spot on my team.
The Creative Thinker
Some try to silo this person into roles like art director, designer, writer, or even creative director, but the reality is that true creative thinking can come from anywhere inside a company. I’ve experienced creative data analysts, account managers, and even…gasp…accountants.
Here’s the deal on creative folks. They turn good ideas into great ones. They turn average design into ass-kicking design. They turn words into magic. Since I am not by nature a “creative,” I don’t get how the magic works, but I know the magic when I see it, and it elicits an emotion that the non-creatives cannot produce, no matter how hard they (we) try.
The Fierce Organizer/Multi-Tasker
I don’t care if you call them project managers or traffic coordinators, they are invaluable. And I am not even talking about the official role of project manager or traffic coordinator. I am referring to the person you have on your team who knows the status of every project, action, or discussion, even if that’s not technically his or her job. They know it because they care. They know it because they feel like it’s important. They know it because they feel like it’s insane for someone NOT to be immersed in the details.
Having one of these people on your team is valuable, but the best companies strive to find this trait in ALL their people. If everyone on your team — from the writers and designers to the account managers and project managers — are always on top of every detail within every project, you’re almost guaranteed to succeed.
Don’t tell anyone (oops), but this type will always be my favorite. I already listed three monikers, but here’s a few more: hustler, hard worker, ball of fire, eager beaver.
These folks will always find a place, because they will work their way toward whatever you deem is the best fit for the company. They will outwork others, even if less skilled. If they are less skilled, they will train/learn often on their own dime and time. They are the overachievers, the ones who may not be as naturally gifted as their co-workers, but choose to say, “I can do this” and consistently achieve at a level beyond what is expected.
The Glue Gal/Guy
You know that person in your division or company that seems to just get along with everyone and can successfully get people aligned with each other? It’s often not a person at the top or the bottom of the food chain, but rather someone in the middle who can manage personalities, workloads, and egos upward and downward. I don’t necessarily hire for this, but when it happens, it’s a thing of beauty.
Constructing the Dream Team
Remember to avoid the temptation to hire people who profile just like you. Chances are that if you hire a bunch of yous: a) you’ll get bored with each other real quick, b) you’ll all end up wanting to kill each other eventually, or c) your success will be limited to particular areas of strength.
As Norman S. Hidle said, “A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skill of the others.”
You may look to recruit marketers to fill important roles on your team or decide to take help from an agency and outsource to fill the gaps. But as you build out your team, learn how centralizing your marketing efforts can help align your content with your organization’s goals.