Businesses put a lot of time and thought into strategy and planning, but often wonder why their efforts fail (sometimes in major ways) after so much initial effort. It shouldn’t be a surprise, because the answer is quite simple. The successful execution of a plan requires accomplishing many different things in the right way and in the right order. And this, my friends, requires teams, not individuals.

“TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK”

Most of us have heard this pithy John C. Maxwell quote, and probably often enough that it has become a cliché. But Maxwell was right: the key to achieving goals is not through individual specialization but in the collective knowledge, skills, and capabilities of a multidisciplinary team. And in my experience, this is almost always true, especially in the complex and evolving world of digital marketing.

THE ARGUMENT FOR A TEAM VS. A CONSULTANT

On a recent trip, I was discussing digital strategy with a client, and as I typically do, I was making recommendations to invest in specific areas and initiatives. This kind of consulting is valuable to organizations, and the industry is full of consultants, strategists, and subject matter experts (SMEs) who can help companies identify the right strategies. But companies need teams, not just consultants. All too often, consultants deliver a list of recommendations that, although beautifully wrapped in a strategic plan, leave the client wondering how to implement it all.

A plan is just a plan if it lacks clear implementation steps and a team that is trained, ready, and empowered to do the work. So much can go wrong if these essentials are missing.

  • What happens when the client lacks the resources to execute the project as planned?
  • What happens when the client has to supplement the company’s in-house people with external resources but doesn’t have the necessary experience to find and vet the right talent to get the job project well?
  • What happens when the project does not go as planned?

These common scenarios typically result in poor project outcomes. The projects are not only badly executed but can sometimes completely stall, which is frustrating for clients who invest time and money but don’t get the results they wanted or expected.

GREAT STRATEGIES ARE GOOD, BUT ONLY IF WELL EXECUTED

Digital marketing is not a one-time investment or a “set it and forget it” effort. It’s an ongoing investment in various channels and initiatives and requires constant attention, analysis, and optimization to be successful. Once a company identifies and develops the digital channel strategies and marketing initiatives it needs to meet its goals, the real work starts…and it never ends.

THE CROSS-FUNCTIONAL TEAM

A digital marketing team is a critical component for executing a digital marketing strategy and a great example of the value that a team brings compared to an individual. The typical digital marketing team is comprised of specialists in their disciplines who are also highly knowledgeable in multiple functional areas. They know how everything works together, understand the current landscape, and keep up with emerging technologies and trends.

This combination of skills, deep knowledge, and strategic thinking, set against the backdrop of a collaborative team environment, can make a monumental difference in the success of digital marketing efforts. But the key to success is not simply to work with a team—it’s critical to build a great team in the first place.

HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAMS = HIGH VALUE

Successful companies know the value of building great teams and share some common characteristics when it comes to setting up their teams.

  1. They know strong teams are necessary to accomplish their objectives. They set up core functional teams but are flexible enough to assemble project teams from across functional departments on a regular basis.
  2. They know strong teams are highly competent and successful. These teams are made up of high-performing individuals who know how to work well together and combine their individual specialties in the right way to achieve and exceed objectives.

Successful companies apply this business knowledge to all functional areas and departments. This is why 84° and Sunny uses multidisciplinary teams made up of the best senior-level people—those who can use their blended skillsets and hard-earned expertise to guide and execute.

If a company wants to stay ahead of the curve and maximize its chances of success, it should make sure that its digital marketing team, whether in-house or a firm, is comprised of experienced, talented, and enthusiastic people with a proven track record.

Do you want to invest in digital marketing or boost your current efforts? If so, we’d love to hear from you.