What size should my marketing team be? People around a table with a marketing word cloud on it.

What size should my marketing team be?

Over the last few months, I’ve had several clients, large and small, ask me what is the ideal size for their marketing team.

The answer is … it depends. Businesses need marketing to help raise brand awareness, develop a preference and generate leads. So I always recommend at least having a marketing department to do so. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the size of your marketing team can vary depending on a variety of factors.

Here are key factors to consider when determining the right size for your team:

  • Business and marketing goals
  • Size of your organization
  • Marketing budget
  • The desire for in-house marketing, an outside marketing agency, or a mix of both.

What are your business and marketing goals?

Marketing’s job is to help raise awareness and preference for your brand. To offer content that buyers want, to generate leads, and help Sales sell.

Your business and marketing goals will help determine how many marketers and what types of marketers you need.

Piece of paper that says "marketing goals" - Marketing team
Your long-term marketing goals can help decide the right size for your marketing team.

A good place to start is to set your marketing mission and strategy. Then ensure that they link to your business goals. Once you have your written mission and strategy, you can better determine how many people you will need to achieve your goals.

Check out our free templates for creating your content marketing mission and strategy.

What is your organization’s size?

The size of your organization also will help you decide how large your marketing team should be. Startups often hire only one or two marketing generalists to start. And then they grow the team as the company grows.

Larger organizations may have marketing departments made up of 30 to 100+ marketers. More of whom specialize in certain areas of marketing.

What is your marketing budget?

Often, the amount you can afford to invest in marketing will help determine the size of your marketing team. When you plan your budget, take a long-term view. It can take a while to see a return on some marketing investments and activities, particularly if you have a long sales cycle.

Marketing budgets vary by industry and by the size of the company, but most companies spend around 11% of their overall budget on marketing.

When creating your marketing budget, consider whether you can get work done less expensively in-house or by outsourcing it. Consider what types of marketing you need most urgently. Do you need brand awareness, lead generation, customer retention – or all three?

Remember to include staff costs in your budget. My business partner George Stenitzer has more tips for how to set your marketing budget in this blog.

Do you want an in-house marketing team, an agency, or a mix?

I’m often asked by clients to recommend whether they should have an in-house team or rely on an agency. I almost always recommend a mix.

Here’s why: In-house marketers are essential. Because they know your business and your clients, and devote themselves to marketing your brand full-time. But they also get drawn into other projects and often have so much work to do that not everything in the marketing plan gets done. And smaller marketing teams often don’t have all the skills necessary to fully execute the marketing plan. It also depends on your marketing team structure.

Marketing agencies can devote themselves to special projects without getting pulled into the day-to-day business of your organization. They can bring a fresh perspective, generate new ideas, help you develop your marketing strategy, and help your marketing team brainstorm new approaches to raise awareness and generate leads.

Organizations need marketing teams to raise brand awareness and preference and to help generate leads. To determine the best size for your marketing team, consider your business and marketing goals, budget, and the size of your organization.

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