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Fuel Your High Value Marketing Team by Thinking Differently

By Marc Brown | July 03, 2018 | 3 Comments

MarketingMarketing Organization and Talent

It’s no secret that modern marketing organizations must quickly adapt to change, possess a wide array of digital marketing skills and, above all else, deliver results. But, in the face of such business turmoil, many marketing leaders are struggling to adapt. Why?

In my experience, marketing leaders need to evolve the skills makeup of their team and rethink how their team operates. High-performance teams require staff with broader and deeper skills, empowered with an operating model that is based on collaboration and agility. But creating an effective ‘agile’ marketing team requires cultural change and investment that include:

  • Shifting away from traditional org-centric structures to highly collaborative project-centric structures.
  • Empowering individual team members to take on a range of different roles, rather than specializing in only one.
  • Moving from sequential ‘waterfall’ project approaches to rapid delivery of work via agile principles.

Oddly enough, many marketing leaders know this but continue to struggle for a variety of reasons.

The root cause?

No formalized training program and a huge lack of insight around their team skills proficiency levels. Little is documented, there is no formal mandate or training requirements, no learning paths, etc.  The good news…it’s not an unsolvable problem.

To kickstart your high-performance marketing team, initiate a skills development training program today by:

  1. Performing a marketing maturity and capability assessment. To expedite this step, use the Gartner Marketing Maturity self-assessment tool (Gartner subscription required). This tool will help you plot your marketing maturity across nine disciplines, illustrating the gaps between current and desired states. For your capabilities assessment, document the capabilities your team requires (i.e., social marketing, search, creative, etc.) and associated skills needed in a RACI matrix, highlighting individual and team skills strengths and weaknesses.  This information is critical to baseline where you are, identify problem areas, gaps, strengths, and ultimately, helping you shape your training plan and priorities.
  2. Defining and operationalizing a skills development training program. Marketing leaders must formalize a training program, defining basic proficiency levels and learning paths. The goal should be advancing your teams marketing skills, both breadth and depth, embracing the Fat T model. See “Designing Your Marketing Team for the Next Decade (Gartner subscription required)” for more information on the Fat T.
(Source: Gartner 2018)
(Source: Gartner 2018)

In addition to marketing and industry expertise, another key ingredient to team success is soft skills. Qualities such as creativity, resourcefulness and adaptability become the glue that binds skilled talent across teams, functions and partner organizations. Soft skills play a vital role in the success of all modern, agile marketing organizations and underpins the need for team members to be effective problem solvers and have the ability to adjust to internal and external business changes.

So, while marketing deliverables loom, don’t forget to invest in your team and their skills. The time and investment will provide you greater flexibility, and fuel your high performance marketing team.


The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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  • Another point to consider is how a newly redesigned and “agile” marketing team will interface with the rest of the company. Recently with a client, the marketing team was attempting to adopt more agile methodologies, but the rest of the company (IT excluded) still maintained traditional org structures and approaches. The challenge was a combination of how marketing was going to interface with them…and even bigger was teaching the rest of the teams how to interface with marketing’s new approach. Until they began addressing this, they hit one stumbling block after another, and marketing was building a wall between themselves and the rest of the company.

  • Ken R says:

    The maturity self assessment link is behind the paywall, is that correct? Tx Ken