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Sep 9, 2016    Good Company

How To Make A Good Marketing Team Great


I can say without any hesitation: “I respect my team at Rock Candy Media.” It’s incredibly rare to find the combination of creative talent, strategic thinking and the sales savvy (which I believe to be innate) that each of my team members possesses. Everyone excels at their specific job roles, but no one is confined to their job role. Each member of the Rock Candy Media marketing team contributes to our clients’ success, whether they are a senior designer, master of UX, copywriting genius, online advertising whiz, projects architect or creative visionary. It’s amazing how often a case of writer’s block is broken by an off-hand comment by our developer or project architect. Everyone on my team is a strategist. And that’s the RCM differentiator.

Building this team wasn’t easy (or even close to easy). RCM has been through a lot of changes over the past few years and with those changes came growing pains. However, I always tell clients that if they aren’t in a “chicken or egg” scenario once a year they aren’t growing. Looking back, the growing pains are a healthy sign I see in correlation with revenue. Here are some truths that I’ve discovered as we’ve built one of Austin’s best marketing companies.

Nothing Is More Important Than Character

Advertising is a hard business. Our success depends on our clients’ success, so everyone on my team has to be deeply invested in our clients. You can’t take the easy way or just do “good enough.” It would be a disservice to the entrepreneurs that trust us to grow their business, and they’ve already done the sweat equity part.  I’ve found a team that is willing to put in the hours and sacrifice required to make sure we do our job the best we can. However, creative burnout is the biggest enemy to what we do, so any days I can give my team a breather I will. Give me any day, Columbus Day, and you’ll find us not in the office. Why? I believe creative visions – whether it be conceptual or a tagline – come to you when you’re living life and not behind a desk. It’s  those 8 a.m. moments in the shower or the 3 a.m. moments you slept on something, woke up and had to write it down.

Your Team Must Welcome New Challenges

The Rock Candy Media of two years ago is very different from the Rock Candy Media of today. Back then, we focused primarily on digital marketing. We continue to create great websites and build eye-catching campaigns, but as we’ve grown in size, we’ve also grown in sophistication. It’s reached a point now where we’re frequently called in as marketing consultants for businesses that already have in-house marketing teams. Our websites are not only great but they are also true lead generation machines. Clients rely on us to guide strategic vision, refine messaging and branding, and produce creative that they wouldn’t think of on their own. If they could they wouldn’t need us. We have to take whatever hours they have in a day and replicate them into unforgettable digital experiences.

There Will Be Turnover

Not everyone is cut out for agency life. It’s a stressful business and if you’re not able to keep your head above water, you’ll drown. What has been the hardest lesson for me is not in the details, but it’s that the “character” I hire for has now changed to “sense of responsibility” – as character can take months to reveal itself, while responsibility is apparent very quickly. The most important thing is to not let it affect team morale. One bad apple can affect a great team. It’s not worth keeping someone on if you can’t see them leading a team one day. When you believe in the work you’re doing, the rest is just noise.

Good Work Must Be Rewarded

I’ll never understand the bosses that think employees should be satisfied with a paycheck and nothing else. When my team does great work, I let them know. When there are problems it is my responsibility and no one elses. That is the part of the job I took on when starting a business: I knew that all the successes could be mine but all the mistakes were also mine. It sounds bad but the freedom of knowing that suits me to a T. Encouragement can take the form of saying “bad ass work guys” and a little walking around money courtesy of Venmo (I call it YOLO money – no one can use it for anything responsible or it’s not fun to dole out). I also like to keep morale high with weekly lunches catered by Opal Divine’s, retirement matching plans, yearly pet care courtesy of ZippiVet and monthly massages in the office. Beyond any material perks, I always tell my team how proud I am of them and the work that they do.

Leaders Reveal Themselves Early

I never hire with the expectation that an employee will stay in the same role forever. My goal is for every new hire to one day lead his or her own team within the company. I can tell within a few weeks who has that leadership quality and who doesn’t. The ones who do are the ones that stick. Weirdly, if I bother you a lot it is a good thing. The smarter someone is the more I’m on them. If I know someone isn’t right in their role, it’s rare I have a real conversation with them. This is definitely my own behavior I’ve recognized and am transparent about with my team.

If you’re looking for a marketing team that will treat your business like it’s our business, request an RCM Positioning Analysis. You’ll get to meet all of the amazing people that I’ve been bragging about and see how we can position your business to grow.  

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