During a company’s startup phase, marketing responsibilities tend to fall on the shoulders of the company founder or anyone else who has the time to manage these activities. From producing blog content to posting on social media to sending email updates to current customers, marketing activities are often done on the spur of the moment and without any clear goals, follow-up, or results measurement.

As a company grows, its marketing efforts will often become more formalized and planned out. This requires more manpower and pushes small business owners to consider hiring an official marketing team, versus just letting the responsibility fall to the person who has time to handle it. Other clear signs that it’s time to hire a marketing team include:

  • Stagnating sales. If your sales team is working as hard as it can to boost revenue numbers, a poorly-orchestrated marketing approach could be holding it back.
  • Projects aren’t getting done. Even the best-laid marketing plans won’t come to fruition if there isn’t any available manpower onboard to handle them.
  • There’s a clear marketing skills gap. Up until now, it may have been enough to keep your website updated and send out a few social media posts every week. But if event sponsorships, public relations, and search engine optimization (SEO) are on your marketing to-do list, you may need an experienced marketing professional to handle those projects.
  •  Sales is asking for better leads. If your current marketing approach isn’t producing good leads for your sales team to act on, it may be time to hire one or more marketing professionals to help level up your lead generation approach.
  • You don’t really know what is or isn’t working. If you find yourself trying new marketing strategies in “hopes” that they work, it’s time to start tracking metrics to ensure that your marketing dollars and time are both well spent. A marketing professional can help in this area by setting clear goals, taking ownership of those goals, tracking results over time, and adjusting accordingly.

If you've hit any or all of these roadblocks, it may be time to build a marketing team. An essential part of running a successful business, marketing focuses on communicating your products and services to new customers to engaging with buyers and shepherding them through their buyers' journey, marketing teams manage a wide range of projects centered on a core goal: building awareness of a business's products and services.

The Building Blocks
For a business ready to delegate marketing responsibilities to internal team members, building a marketing team is an important step. Businesses that are ready to expand market share, serve a new geographic region, or may be going head-to-head with a larger competitor should consider this move. Because it’s generally more expensive to build your own team versus work with an outside agency, budget is another important point to consider.

When you hire one or more full-time marketing experts, you’ll be paying their salaries plus recruiting and training costs, payroll taxes, pensions, and benefits. And when you hire a marketing agency, you’ll either pay a retainer or flat fee for its services — without the added cost of training, salary, and benefits.

When working with a marketing agency, companies also gain access to an entire team of marketing professionals who have expertise in different areas.[1] On the downside, you’ll have less control over an agency’s day-to-day activities, strategies, and performance. This is a key reason why businesses start their own in-house marketing departments.

The Fractional CMO Option
For businesses that may not be ready to go all-in with a marketing team, fractional CMOs (chief marketing officers) are another viable option. These are outsourced marketing executives who work with multiple companies on a part-time basis, and who can support your nascent marketing team without commanding a full-time, C-level salary.

Fractional CMOs possess high levels of knowledge and experience and specialize in managing stakeholders, the marketing team itself, and even third-party partners. This can be a viable, affordable option for a small company that only requires part-time marketing support.[2] As those needs grow, companies can add new marketing team members and a full-fledged CMO when the time is right.

4 Tips for Success
Regardless of how you build out your marketing team, you’ll need adequate funding to support the effort. You may be able to self-fund your new marketing team, or you may want to apply for an SBA loan, bank loan, or take on an outside investor.

If you’re applying for a loan, you can increase your chances of being approved by preparing your business plan, expense sheet, and financial projections for the next five years. Once you have your materials ready, you can contact banks and credit unions to request a loan. Be sure to compare offers to get the best possible terms for your loan.[3]

Here are four more success tips to use as you build out your own marketing team:

1. Start by defining your goals. What specific goals is your new in-house or outsourced marketing group going to help your company achieve? Some ideas include attracting new customers, creating deeper engagement with current clients or improving market positioning against a larger competitor.

2. Then, set a budget. Exactly how much money will you spend—both on hiring/training and on the marketing efforts themselves—and where will the funds come from?

3. Next, choose your marketing team. Do the research and select an approach (in-house, fractional CMO, agency, etc.) that aligns well with your current resources, budget and goals.

4. Finally, measure your results and pivot as needed. Hiring a marketing team isn’t a “set it and forget it” exercise. Continually track the results of your marketing campaigns, review what is and isn’t working and adjust accordingly.