When it comes to marketing success, it’s all about the right team—and this seems to be consistently looked over. It’s not hard to see why: Prioritizing experience over cultural fit can be tempting. Trust me, I get it. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone who has been in the game for years?
Here’s the problem: When you prioritize experience over fit, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Sure, the person may have the technical skills to get the job done, but if they don’t fit in with the rest of the team and overall culture, you’re in trouble.
We’ve all seen it before. Your company hires a rock star marketing veteran they think will come in and totally revamp your team, taking it to the next level. But if the cultural aspect is missing, this can quickly go sour. That’s why casting the right people matters more than ever.
The marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and you need a team that can adapt to those changes. You need a team that shares your values, is diverse and inclusive, and has the emotional intelligence to connect with your audience and brand—even as both evolve.
So let’s talk about how to build that winning team. Why culture over experience, you ask?
Aligning with your audience: In today’s world, cultural diversity and empathy are absolutely essential. A team that reflects the community it serves can make a considerable difference. Building a team around core values can help ensure that everyone is on the same page, working toward a common goal. It isn’t just about the campaigns created, but the team behind them. Your team, especially when it comes to marketing, is an extension of the brand—much like your brand personified. You need to ask yourself: Do the brand and team members align?
Empathy and emotional intelligence: Marketing campaigns are meant to connect with people emotionally. That’s what makes or breaks them. Therefore, it’s essential to prioritize empathy and emotional intelligence when hiring. These skills help the team create campaigns that resonate with the intended audience and create a positive brand image.
Collaboration and adaptability: Great marketing campaigns arise from collaborative efforts, where team members share their strengths and work to improve their weaknesses. Adaptability is crucial, given the ever-changing marketing environment. The team must be flexible and open to changes to succeed.
The impact of a poor fit
Sometimes you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot when you’ve found an experienced hire. But prioritizing experience over fit can spell disastrous consequences for your marketing team in the long run.
A poor cultural fit can cause decreased productivity and increased turnover rates. Your team’s morale can be dampened when a team member feels out of place or like they don’t belong, leading to negativity and decreased work satisfaction. Team members who can’t connect with others on the team might not enjoy working with them and may not check in with communication points regularly. The feeling of exclusion and lack of collaboration can make tasks take longer to complete, impacting team output.
If team members quit, it can be disruptive to the workflow, and remaining team members become frustrated with constantly having to readjust. And it’s not just the internal workings of the team that are affected: A poor cultural fit can result in poor customer experience, affecting the company’s reputation. That can directly lead to financial costs, among other things.
So, when you’re getting swept up in the excitement of a potential hire, take a step back. Check to see if they fit in with your team’s values. Their work experience is important, of course, but let’s not ignore the bigger picture. After all, what use is that experience if they can’t contribute to a productive and encouraging work culture?
The hiring process
With all this said, hiring is where the right fit starts. Here are some tips on attracting, identifying and nurturing the right fit.
Job descriptions: Crafting the perfect job description can help emphasize cultural fit. It allows you to skim resumes for specific experience and qualification, making it easy to weed out any non-qualifying applicants. However, more than skills and requirements, it’s essential to look at the candidate’s personality and how they’ll fit in with your team. A job description’s tone can give potential candidates a sense of what kind of organization they’ll be joining. It’s crucial to use words aligned with your company’s mission and values.
Behavioral assessments and interviews: Conducting behavioral interviews helps assess how a candidate would respond to certain situations, providing insight into their natural communication style, leadership style and conflict resolution skills. This type of interview enables you to know the candidate on a deeper level than just the skills you see on the resume. It’s crucial to look for cues in their answers that help you determine if this person is a good fit for the team.
Soft skills: Assessing soft skills like empathy, emotional intelligence, collaboration and adaptability are essential components of the hiring process—it’s vital to evaluate the candidate’s personality, work ethic, communication and ability to fit into the company culture. You can achieve this by posing questions that require thoughtful, creative responses.
Team interviews: Incorporating team interviews can make a whole lot of difference, as people love working with those they like. It’s essential to evaluate the candidate’s compatibility with others within the organization to determine how productive and effective they’ll be as a team. The team interview helps ensure that the candidate is a team player and can work with different personalities and in a collaborative environment.
The importance of continued investment
Investing in the right people shouldn’t stop after the hiring process. Continued investment in your team is necessary to ensure long-term success. Effective onboarding and training will not only aid in the transition for new hires, but it will also equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles. Continued investment also goes beyond career training—it can dip into team benefits, cultural events, inclusion and personal development.
Your team is your greatest asset, and investing in them will lead to greater success in your marketing efforts.
When experience doesn’t matter (as much)
The core message is that culture, heart and grit always matter more than experience. Casting the right people for your marketing team is essential for success. Building a team around core values, empathy, collaboration and adaptability can lead to increased productivity, better customer experiences and retained high-performers. On the other hand, a poor fit can lead to decreased productivity, increased turnover, negative team morale and financial costs. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not take that risk.