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As any executive (CEO, CMO, or otherwise) knows, the leadership or management team of a company can make or break its success. With marketing this is especially important, as the marketing management team is the wizard behind your curtain–communicating the voice, values, mission statement and more in such a way that it draws just the right audience in.

Recognizing this, I sought insights from eight seasoned executives, each a maestro in their respective industries, to uncover the secrets behind leading a successful marketing management team. These leaders, with their wealth of experience, shed light on the nuances of brand marketing strategies, team dynamics, and the art of adapting to evolving market trends.

Their collective wisdom underscores the importance of good marketing management, which not only drives sales and boosts brand visibility but also fosters innovation and shapes a company's identity. In this article, I share their most insightful management tips, offering guidance for leaders of all stripes.

Hire A Diverse Team

Hiring a diverse marketing team is crucial in today's global marketplace, as it brings multiple perspectives and ideas to the table. A team rich in diverse backgrounds and experiences is better equipped to understand and connect with a varied customer base, leading to more inclusive and resonant marketing campaigns.

This diversity not only fosters innovation and creativity but also drives a deeper understanding of different market segments, ultimately contributing to a more successful and empathetic brand presence.

Jennifer Ravalli, CMO at Harri

Jennifer Ravalli, CMO at Harri

“Hire great people with diversified skills, experiences and points of view. I learn from my team every day. We challenge each other to think differently about how to conquer the work and solve problems given our different areas of expertise and experiences. We extend this to everyone on our team, not just leadership. Give everyone opportunities to lead projects or analysis—give them a voice and a chance to expose everyone’s point of view.”


Read more of Jennifer Ravalli’s thoughts here.

Manage With Intention 

Managing is an essential part of any leadership role, but it isn’t just about driving business outcomes; it's about understanding the immense impact leadership has on the lives of their team. This approach recognizes that the decisions, actions, and habits of a manager extend beyond the office walls, influencing the personal well-being and life satisfaction of their employees.

Effective management is a balance of professional responsibility and empathetic leadership, where the focus on both achieving targets and nurturing a work environment that respects and supports the holistic needs of the team.

Amy Winner, Head of Strategy at Wheels Up Collective

Amy Winner, Head of Strategy at Wheels Up Collective

“Managers need to manage. We forget that when we cross over from individual contributor to manager/director/leadership, we (in part) hold our team’s livelihood in our hands. We have the ability to make coming to work every day something they look forward to, or something that jeopardizes their mental health. Can they afford the mortgage on the bigger house? How much time can they spend with their family? We are so defined by our professional lives, and the leadership of a company can have such a profound impact.”


Read more of Amy Winner’s thoughts here.

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Be Bold

As most experienced marketers know, innovative ideas are often met with initial resistance or skepticism. It requires courage to champion your team's creative visions and strategies, even in the face of doubt or opposition from other departments. This boldness is the responsibility of the CMO, and it’s not about recklessness, but about having the conviction to push boundaries, challenge the status quo, and defend the expertise of your marketing team.

Standing firm in your marketing decisions can lead to distinctive content, high team morale, and ultimately, significant achievements that validate your leadership and vision.

Lenny Liebmann, Tech Veteran

Lenny Liebmann, Tech Veteran

“Stand up to your internal stakeholders. Too many marketing people let product managers, sales leaders, or other peer decision-makers “vote” on their team’s marketing ideas. But product managers are not marketers. And if you allow them to consistently veto your ideas, you’ll wind up with vanilla content and low staff morale. So stop making decisions by committee. Fight for your team’s best ideas. If those ideas don’t yield hoped-for results, take responsibility. But if they turn out good, take full credit—and remind the naysayers that they should maybe trust you.”


Read more of Lenny Liebmann’s thoughts here.

Empower Autonomy

Empowering autonomy within a marketing team is a pivotal aspect of effective leadership, fostering an environment where creativity and innovation can flourish. By granting your team the freedom to make decisions and take ownership of their projects, you not only boost their confidence but also encourage them to explore and implement unique ideas.

This approach not only leads to personal and professional growth of your team, but also often results in really creative marketing campaigns and outstanding marketing achievements, such as enhanced engagement and brand visibility.

Rachel Sterling, CMO at Identity Digital

Rachel Sterling, CMO at Identity Digital

“A successful marketing team thrives when team members feel empowered and have the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their projects. I believe in empowering my team by providing them with the necessary resources, guidance, and trust to excel. For example, I had a team member who showed great potential in social media project management. I empowered them by giving them the autonomy to develop and execute their own social media strategy. Their innovative approach led to increased engagement and brand visibility, showcasing the power of empowerment.”


Read more of Rachel Sterling’s thoughts here.

Define Strong Processes

Of course, creativity and autonomy won’t take you very far without strong processes, operations, and marketing software in place. These are the backbone of any efficient marketing team, ensuring those out-of-the-box efforts are effectively channeled into tangible results.

Proper processes provide a structured framework that streamlines workflow, enhances communication, and ensures consistency in the execution of marketing initiatives. This organizational efficiency is key to maintaining a high-performing marketing team that can adapt quickly and operate smoothly.

Jess Petrella, Director of Product Marketing at Unbounce

Jess Petrella, Director of Product Marketing at Unbounce

“Having well-defined processes and operations is crucial for a smoothly functioning marketing team. For instance, at Unbounce, we utilize Confluence as an internal/public workspace. This platform allows my team to share all of our work, project briefs, reports, and historical information in an easy-to-search workspace. This ensures that everyone is on the same page, can access necessary information, and collaborate efficiently.”


Read more of Jess Petrella’s thoughts here.

Align And Collaborate

Alignment within a marketing team is fundamental for achieving cohesive and effective marketing strategies. It involves synchronizing team efforts, goals, and resources to ensure that every member is working towards a common objective. This isn't just about task coordination but also recognizing and harnessing the synergy between different personalities and skill sets.

By understanding which teams work well together and facilitating cross-sharing of resources, leaders can streamline workflows, enhance autonomy, and ensure smooth progression of projects, ultimately leading to more successful and innovative marketing outcomes.

David Alexander, Chief Marketing Officer at Everbridge

David Alexander, Chief Marketing Officer at Everbridge

“Align people and resources to go after your goals and establish unified global teams who can easily partner, collaborate and innovate together. A great tool in the leadership arsenal is recognizing synergy that works long-term. Understanding the personalities that work together and the teams that should cross-share resources will make your life easier, help teams function autonomously, and keep projects moving smoothly.”


Read more of David Alexander’s thoughts here.

Stay Agile

Keeping a marketing team agile is essential in a rapidly changing industry, where the ability to quickly adapt and respond to new trends, technologies, and consumer behaviors can make a significant difference. An agile team is more equipped to experiment, innovate, and pivot strategies as needed, embracing the 'fail fast' approach to learn and improve continuously.

As Marketing Executive Monu Kalsi mentions below, this agility allows a team to effectively navigate challenges, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and maintain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving marketing landscape.

Monu Kalsi, Marketing Executive

Monu Kalsi, Marketing Executive

“Adaptability and Agility: The marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and it is crucial to be adaptable and agile. Encourage teams to experiment and innovate, even if this means failing fast. By staying flexible and responsive, you can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and keep your team ahead of the curve.


Read more of Monu Kalsi’s thoughts here.

Encourage Growth

In this world where the latest marketing trends, technologies, and strategies can change on a dime, continuous learning and development are arguably just as vital as agility. This commitment to ongoing education fosters a culture of innovation and adaptability, ensuring the team remains competitive and effective in a dynamic market landscape.

By prioritizing learning and development, marketing leaders not only enhance the skills and knowledge of their team but also drive sustained growth and success for the organization.

Michelle Chuang, MMS Brand Consulting

Michelle Chuang, MMS Brand Consulting

“Continuous Learning and Development: A successful marketing management team must live a culture of continuous learning. For example, I once initiated a program where team members attended industry conferences, participated in webinars, and shared their learnings internally. This investment in professional development enhanced our team’s expertise, fostered creativity, and kept us at the forefront of industry trends.”


Read more of Michelle Chuang’s thoughts here.

Leading Into the Future

Throughout this article, several key strategies for leading a successful marketing management team have come to light, with three critical takeaways: 

  • A diverse team can bring varied perspectives to the table, developing fresh and innovative ideas that should be championed and protected by the CMO.
  • Managing with intention means understanding the impact you have on team members' lives, and supporting through autonomy and professional growth.
  • Creativity and innovation are nothing without strong processes in place. These should streamline workflow while remaining flexible enough to respond to changes.

I hope the insights from these eight seasoned executives offer a roadmap for you to cultivate teams that are not only effective but also inspired and empowered. For more content like this, plus professional resources and some of the best software recommendations, be sure to subscribe to The CMO newsletter. You’ll get all of the best tips straight to your inbox.

Stephanie Hood
By Stephanie Hood

Stephanie Hood is an experienced marketing professional and Editor of The CMO. With nearly a decade spent as Marketing Manager at Discover Holidays and Executive Editor at VIVA Lifestyle & Travel, she built her career leading editorial and marketing teams and strategies that turn six-figure budgets into seven-figure profits. She now enjoys connecting with the world's top executives to learn their secrets to business success, and shares those insights right here with her community of like-minded professionals. Curious what she’s uncovered? Be sure to sign up for The CMO newsletter.