CMO Roundtable: Building An All-Encompassing Marketing Department

CMO Roundtable: Building An All-Encompassing Marketing Department

How do you build an all-encompassing marketing department and assemble the kind of team that gets results?

Lisa DimsonLisa Dimson
Chief Marketing Officer
Tropical Smoothie Café

Hiring the right team is absolutely the most important element of getting the results you want. Without a strong team behind you, even the best CMO won't be able to take their marketing initiatives to the next level of success. Compared with other brands, we have a small internal team tasked with developing innovative and amazing products, activating the national calendar, and ultimately driving brand awareness.

When hiring for the marketing team, we follow a list of guidelines we call "SIDE" to ensure that the potential candidate will fit in with our company culture and work ethic before they come on board. SIDE stands for Smart, Integrity, Drive, and Enthusiasm, and those four words really capture what the Tropical Smoothie Café team is all about. It's not enough just to have people who are marketing geniuses and amazing at what they do. We need people who are also really excited about the product and the mission because that definitely shows through in the end results. We want people on our team who are constantly striving to perform at a higher level, and that kind of passion and commitment is very apparent when you're looking to build a team.

It doesn't stop just at hiring. To keep everyone excited and engaged in the workplace, it's equally important to establish a solid company culture and to be consistent in your messaging with your team that is already on board. It's easy for initial enthusiasm to fade as a result of the daily grind and small frustrations that arise in any office over time, so as a leader it's vital to keep employees stimulated and make sure they know they are appreciated.

With our corporate marketing team we like to keep an open line of communication and make sure we show them that we care to create a thriving, positive work environment. This means putting yourself in your employees' shoes to develop a deeper understanding of their feelings and respond accordingly. This also requires being very transparent with your team because being secretive and keeping important details from your team alienates them and will cause people to leave.

While it is key that the core team members are experts in their own disciplines, it is even more imperative that we work with complementary partners outside the organization who are aligned with our corporate values and mission. They also need to be experts in their own right so they can enhance and activate the brand on an entirely different level.

Ultimately, every piece of the marketing team is so vital to each campaign's success that, as the leader of the department, it's important to take extreme care when putting together the team. Ask all the right questions, and follow your instincts when you feel a certain way about a potential employee or new outside partner, because finding the right people is the key to success.

Amy ParkerAmy Parker
Senior Vice President, CMO
Pet Supplies Plus

The main goals for most marketing teams at multi-unit brick-and-mortar franchises are primarily the same: acquire new customers and drive in-store traffic. It's how each marketing department chooses to build its team and communicate the brand's message that differentiates one from another. At Pet Supplies Plus, we are structured in a fairly traditional manner with support groups that include analytics, creative, and retail marketing components. However, the way we use these groups to build our marketing programs has recently evolved.

For any franchise, knowing the customer is--and will always be--the most important component of successful marketing. That will never change. For our brand, that means the pet parents in neighborhoods across 25 states. Over the past few years, the way we communicate with our customer has changed with the advent of social and digital channels. This in turn has changed how I look to build a successful marketing team.

With new technology allowing marketers to understand customers in a more complex manner, it is more important now than ever that we find the right people for our company who understand customer behavior beyond the four walls of our store and who are able to look beyond simple purchase history. There is an abundance of customer data available today, leading customers to expect that brands will know more about them and apply the information appropriately through marketing collateral. To deliver accurate messages to current and future customers at the right time, it is imperative that our team is well-versed in all of the data available to us and has a deep understanding of the technology that goes into market research.

Marketing professionals also need to have a strong partnership with the company's technology department. This will allow them to gather the appropriate data to integrate into their marketing strategies. I work with our CIO, Miles Tedder, much more closely now than in the past. Together, we are able to pick up where each of our teams leaves off to create a deeper understanding of our customer. Information from the technology department provides us with what we need from a POS standpoint, allowing us to best use information from our Preferred Pet Club database. The company's IT department has generalists who work with marketing, but as we continue to evolve I could imagine we might have our own tech specialists in the marketing department in the future.

Published: September 17th, 2015

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