Tropical Smoothie Cafe: Building a Great Marketing Team

Tropical Smoothie Cafe: Building a Great Marketing Team

We asked Lisa Dimson, chief marketing officer at Tropical Smoothie Café, "How do you build an all-encompassing marketing department and assemble the kind of team that gets results?" Here's what she had to say.

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.

Published: May 26th, 2015

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