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How to build a digital marketing team: Attract, hire, and retain top talents

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Public Relations

If someone asked whether you’d like superpowers, I think it’s a pretty safe ‘yes.’ Why wouldn’t you want to do extraordinary things, after all? It sounds like an odd opening salvo to a discussion on digital marketing, but the truth is that an all-star digital marketing team can feel like your business has superpowers. 

It takes a special blend of individual talents and abilities to get there, but every business should aspire to craft a superstar team of marketers to lead your brand into battle and get your products in front of the right people. 

Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to find the right talent, and you still need to land the hire once you do. Even once they’re in your team, competitors will likely be open to hiring them and you’ll have to work to retain them. We’ll explain how to do it all and get your dream team assembled. 

What to look for in a digital marketer

The specifics of your hires will hinge greatly on your individual circumstances, needs, and aspirations as a team. However, there are several key elements and specialized skills that good digital marketers possess. 

When a team member’s role can be split into a vast range of disciplines—content creation, social media management and marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization, project management, paid advertising, and more—you have to know exactly what your business needs before starting a recruitment drive for those essential roles.

Keep in mind that we always recommend vetting each candidate by their merits as they progress through the recruitment funnel. Somebody might be a great candidate on paper but not be a good fit with your company culture, or vice versa.  

digital marketing team

Creativity

Creativity is a vital part of any marketer’s toolset. With the rapidly evolving relationship between brands and consumers across digital marketing channels, as well as competing digital marketing agencies to fend off, the ability to ideate unique and out-of-the-box campaigns to show off your USPs is a must-have. 

Industry expertise

Digital marketing is underpinned by a vast array of advanced tools and techniques, including those for agency automation which streamline complex tasks and enhance strategic decision-making. A well-versed team member will have particular expertise in using these to go above and beyond in your marketing campaigns. Whether an SEO is a SEMRush wizard or your social media manager can automate an entire content campaign, keep an eye out for candidates with specific tool knowledge.

Attention to detail

Small mistakes can lead to big issues when campaigns are being pitched to millions of potential customers, and the nature of modern social engagement means that you’ll be appropriately burnt for particularly ill-informed releases. 

Entire product lines and, in extreme cases, business reputations have been irrevocably damaged as a result of sloppy marketing strategies or tone-deaf content that offends or ignores the target customer’s tastes. For this reason, attention to detail is a critical skill your candidates need in their list of marketing superpowers.

Curiosity, drive, and accreditation

These are brilliant qualities in any candidate and don’t necessarily relate to digital marketing specifically, but we’d be remiss to ignore two of the most important features of any valued employee. 

Your in-house team needs to stay on top of their game, learn new techniques, and ensure their skillset is razor-sharp at all times. Without the drive to continue their learning and support from your business, they could quickly fall behind. Look for accreditations from platforms such as the Google Ads Certification program to ensure they have the required knowledge and have taken the time to achieve these benchmarks. 

digital marketing team

How to attract top talent

Once you know what you want in an employee, that’s half the battle won. While it’s all too easy to think that your company is a top place to work, the reality is that each candidate wants a different relationship with their employer. 

While it’s impossible to account for everyone’s demands, there are several things you can do to ensure new hires are more likely to sign with you over a competitor. An applicant tracking system can help streamline the hiring process and identify candidates with values that align with your own. These tracking systems also keep notes on where applications fell through, which can offer valuable insight and help you improve your hiring strategies.

Showcase your company culture openly and proudly

It’s a simple fact that every pairing can’t be a good fit. Sometimes, values just won’t align and the relationship won’t work out – this has never been truer in business. The best way to avoid surprises down the line for both parties is to give honest insight into your company culture and values from the get-go. 

Create content in the careers section of your website that discusses your culture. It’s a good idea to include interviews with employees to help potential team members get a feel of what their day-to-day life would look like. Include key parts of this information in your job adverts and encourage applicants to visit your careers page before applying. 

Finally, leverage PR and HR resources to incorporate these values into your wider structure, online presence, and marketing materials, such as social media posts. 

digital marketing team

Provide modern benefits, amenities, and tools

All businesses should be investing in their structure and their team. The more you support your employees, the more they’ll give in return. Understanding a company’s financial health through key metrics like the cash flow-to-debt ratio not only ensures that it is on solid ground but also signals to potential hires that it is a stable and reliable employer. 

Provide plenty of amenities in your physical locations, offer employee training and tech schemes, and aim to incorporate any other benefits that can make the daily life of your team better. 

Furthermore, ensure your departments have the right digital marketing tools to succeed. The needs of a social media team will differ from the content team or the project manager, for example, so learn what is important to them and ensure they’ve got it available. 

If your business supports remote working practices, be sure to have a robust communications tool in place. Provide training and support materials, including a cloud PBX definition, best practices, and a contacts list in case of issues. 

Highlight your accolades and ambitions for the business

Keep your hired marketing talent and potential applicants well-informed of the direction your brand is headed in. If your product stack is changing, make them aware of what will likely become their new focus. If your company has been nominated for an award (or won one), shout it from the rooftops. Is your business planning on launching a new green initiative? Let people know. 

You want candidates to be excited about the idea of working with you, so make a point of emphasizing all the good things about your company. 

Keep ahead of your competitors

The final key is to keep informed of your competitors’ activity and stay ahead of them wherever possible. In many cases, you can use their benefits as a benchmark for your own and make improvements where your company is lagging behind. 

digital marketing team

How to retain your talent

Now you’ve landed your team of marvelous avengers, it’s time to keep them. We’ve already discussed some approaches to attracting digital marketing specialists and these will go a long way to retaining them, but there are several factors you’ll need to consider that touch upon the working relationship you’ll have with new hires.

These are good business practices across your whole company but will be particularly relevant to online marketing and creative disciplines, where the approach to tasks needs to be flexible and the workload varies over any given week. Here are some of our top picks.

Encourage autonomy and proactivity

With the wide range of tasks that a digital marketing employee might engage with – both within their department and as part of cross-department projects – a certain degree of autonomy is required to let them work effectively, whether drafting blog posts or crafting white papers.

This approach to flexible working is quickly becoming a popular choice for businesses but is vital in a flatter structure that digital marketing teams often employ. Let your team manage their time and priorities, and if they’re excited about a new campaign or social media content rollout – encourage them to dive in and go for it! They’ll be far more engaged and will deliver stronger results overall, so everyone’s a winner. 

The same goes for proposing new strategies or tactics. Create an environment in which your team feels confident putting forward new ideas for selling to retailers or integrating new tools and give them the freedom to run with them if they’re valid. 

Build a collaborative atmosphere

Collaboration leads to creativity, and the extra comradery you get from nailing a tricky project together can’t be replicated elsewhere. Build a strong atmosphere of collaboration across the structure of your business—horizontally and vertically—-and encourage your team to work together to tackle problems and to create a stronger end-product from efforts. 

Let your content creation teams look over the latest email marketing campaigns to provide feedback. Promote showing graphic design options to the social media team. It all helps to foster collaboration and build strong foundations.

Consider involving various departments early on when drafting a new business proposal; this approach not only enriches the proposal with diverse insights but also reinforces the collaborative culture you’re aiming to cultivate.

It must be said that it’s not as simple as just allowing collaboration. Some fresh hires may have never worked in an environment like this, so they will not be equipped to work in this manner. You’ve got to encourage the approach and take steps to actively get your team working with one another. Once the culture sets in, you’ll find it becomes second nature to your whole team.

digital marketing team

Be open and honest

Above all, be direct with your employees at all stages. Whether it’s discussing internal shifts in the business, changes to product lines or team structure, or your expectations of them for upcoming campaigns, honesty and openness will benefit everyone involved. 

Problems will quickly arise if an employee is not apprised of critical information, such as their progression opportunities, feedback on completed work, or even what they’re being measured on performance-wise, and these kinds of pain points will linger and grow if not resolved effectively.

The next steps

We’ve outlined the steps you need to take to find, attract, hire, and keep hold of truly special employees, the next stage is to go out and get them! While roles might need filling urgently, be sure to take the extra time when deep in the recruitment process to find the right fit for your business over simply filling the position. 

The wrong hire will only result in another recruitment drive when they don’t work out and will cost you in the long run, so do the due diligence, learn about your applicants in-depth, and ensure you’ve got the best team member. If you can land a few critical hires, you’ll quickly see the all-star team kick into action and will reap the rewards on future marketing campaigns.

Natasha Thakkar
Natasha Thakkar brings over a decade of marketing expertise to her role as Content Marketing Manager at Oleeo, a tech company that specializes in producing recruitment software solutions. Skilled in lead generation and communication, Natasha shapes content that enhances Oleeo's brand and resonates with audiences. With experience handling global campaigns and an approach rooted in innovation and engagement, she excels in strategic campaigns, skillfully adapting to trends and connecting with audiences to optimize visibility. Connect with Natasha on LinkedIn.

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