Working with a small marketing team

I recently wrote about tips for determining the size of your marketing team. Given the state of the economy and the fact that many organizations view marketing as an expense, many people responded and asked for tips on working with a small marketing team.

Marketing teams must handle a variety of tasks: content marketing, tradeshows and events, marketing campaigns and other lead-generation activities, website management…the list goes on. Yet it is possible to do great marketing that generates revenue even with a small marketing team.

Here are three tips for working with a small marketing team:

  • Get executive and sales buy-in on your marketing strategy and message map
  • Prioritize relentlessly
  • Staff for the right roles and supplement where needed.

Get executive buy-in to succeed with a small marketing team

When you have a small marketing team, buy-in from executives and sales is critical. In a world where we’re always asked to do more with less, agreeing on the marketing strategy and goals helps set guidelines.

When all stakeholders agree on your marketing strategy, it gives you permission to turn down requests that don’t align with the agreed-on plan.

The same is true for your messaging. Invite all stakeholders to participate in creating your Message Map. Co-creating ensures buy-in, so that you gain permission to deny requests that don’t align with the agreed messaging.

Prioritize relentlessly

When you have a small marketing team, you don’t have the time or budget to market to everyone or to participate in every single marketing opportunity. Therefore, you must relentlessly prioritize the marketing activities that will have the most impact on your target audience.

Start by reviewing your buyer personas or buyer empathy maps. If you have several different buyer personas and not enough budget to market to all of them, prioritize the ones that are most important for the coming year.

working with a small marketing team
Small marketing teams market first to prospects more likely to purchase.

The same goes for marketing activities. You may not have the capacity to do campaigns, advertising, sponsorships, and webinars – plus every event that Sales wants to attend. Ask yourself which marketing activities will make the most impact on your prioritized buyer personas.

To find out which types of content work best at each stage of the buyer’s journey, see this blog by my business partner George Stenitzer.

Staff for success

Most marketing teams benefit from a healthy mix of entry-, mid-, and senior-level talent. When you have a small marketing team, you often need team members who are both thinkers and doers. This usually means hiring more mid-level people and fewer entry- and senior-level positions. You still need all levels. Just ensure you have the right balance of talent to meet your marketing goals.

The good news is that in today’s gig economy, you can supplement your small marketing team with part-time roles, from social media managers to chief marketing officers (CMOs). A part-time CMO can run your team smoothly at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO.

As you work with your small marketing team, make sure you measure marketing’s impact on the business. That measurement will demonstrate value and help you get more staff and budget in future years.

For assistance with marketing or communications needs, email me at