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Building a High-Performing Data-Driven Marketing Team: Best Practices and Strategies

Not so long ago, marketing departments had an air of mystery around them. They were staffed with clever, creative people who somehow pulled off great campaigns but their methodologies weren’t really understood outside their own ranks. That’s not the case anymore. Today’s marketing departments are driven by data, metrics and analytics. Sure, there is creative work but it no longer leads; today’s savvy marketers are data driven. 

Data Driven Marketing

It’s all about the data

Building today’s marketing team starts with marketers who are pros with data tracking tools and know how to glean insight from a set of metrics. Successful team members can be thrown into the deep end of the data pool and can make successful decisions based on what they find.

Leading research and advisory firm, Gartner, encourages businesses to consider tailoring job descriptions to specific skills gaps. A team of nothing but data scientists is probably not the correct line-up for any marketing department. 

What a data-driven team looks like

Gartner also suggests that marketing team size depends on the company’s size and industry. A rule of thumb is to hire seven or eight data analysts for every billion dollars in revenue. They also encourage companies to define roles based on needs but there are a few roles that should be consistent within each marketing team.


  • Executive Sponsor


  • Director of Analytics


  • Social media

  • Social listening

  • WebSegmentation

  • Digital media

  • Data architect

  • Data visualization

  • Tagging

  • Statistician/modeling

  • Mobile apps/games

Hire top-notch skills

Recruiting for big data experts may feel like it’s out of your wheelhouse but it’s critical to hire the best talent you can find for your data-driven marketing team. The Kellogg School of Business has great ideas on hiring—and retaining—the best data scientists for your team. Bear in mind that one size does not fit all when hiring data experts. It’s critical to understand your business first and then hire to fill in the gaps appropriately.

Consider various backgrounds of team members

You may be surprised by where some of your data-driven marketing team members come from. It’s not unusual for IT pros to make the move to marketing to work in analytics where SQL and JavaScript skills are very helpful. And when it comes to consumer behavior and user experience, look to prospective employees with psychology and sociology background for their invaluable perspectives on consumer behavior, statistics and sampling.

Train current team members

Marketers are some of the most inventive people in your organization so put those skills for early adoption to their best use. Your current team members can be trained for new skill sets based on their current capabilities and interests. There are all types of analytics books, conferences and classes available online and held throughout the year at various locations. 

Invest in the people who have performed for you in the past and chances are very good that they’ll appreciate the opportunity to learn and extend the scope of their own capabilities as they drive the business forward.

Invest in the right tools

Not everyone on a data-driven marketing team will be a data scientist—and as mentioned earlier, that’s really the best scenario. However, you can provide user-friendly analytics tools which will help those with no IT background come up to speed quickly so that can optimise your digital marketing spend.

 You’ll want to make sure you have customer relationship management software as well as some marketing automation tools that provide detailed customer and prospect information to build personalised campaigns.

Business intelligence software will help you retrieve, analyse, transform and report on data to give you better insight for your business. Typical tools include ad hoc reporting, dashboards, data visualisation and software integration.

Create the right culture

Technology is the foundation of a data-driven marketing team but it’s also critical to build a data-driven culture in the department. Hiring the right people and providing appropriate tools are a great start but it’s so important to validate what your team is doing and elevate their work across the enterprise. 

You may have some resistance among some team members who are stuck in the intuitive mode of marketing and don’t feel comfortable with data and analytics. 

Transitioning to a new way of working and approaching marketing can be a challenge but if the culture is innovative and open, they will get on board with the new way of taking your brand to market.

The age of data-driven marketing lets companies create the right messages to be delivered to the right people at the right time. Building these campaigns requires a deep dive into customer profiles and campaign performance which requires new, evolving skill sets for marketers. As the data-driven marketing team gains traction, it can influence others in the enterprise to create a truly data-driven culture for the business.


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