How to build scale

As modern marketers, the job is to be quicker and smarter than your competitors, to be creative, to be authentic and to embrace technology, (more on this) all the while keeping margins high and overheads low.

So how do you as a CMO/ Marketing Head run a lean team while ensuring you continue to add value to the organisation? How do you effectively resource the team – by adding headcount, outsourcing your marketing function or maybe a hybrid model – what is the right formula…?

First, you need to assess the team

Where are the gaps, where are you strong? Sounds obvious right, but in my experience, people are quick to make assumptions on what is and isn’t needed – often guided by noise around what the business could be doing, rather than what it really should be doing….Strengths should match with the business strategy or you should be considering realigning, resizing or upskilling in other areas. With your gap analysis, you need to go beyond basic capability assessments. For example, you may have a gap in influencer marketing, but you may not need that in your current plans, therefore if you incorporate your strategic marketing plans into the wider business plans, and use data to inform your thinking around customer needs and market trends, you will make more informed choices.

Don’t fear the agency

Another thing I see is the fear of admitting that there are people better equipped to do the job than you and your team. This isn’t an acknowledgement of failure; in fact, it shows good manager foresight and, if used effectively, can free you up to focus on strategic planning and delivering value for the business.

Explore agencies for those avenues that are either obvious knowledge gaps or are labour intensive where external counsel is going to allow you to get up to speed quickly and educate you on the right way to do things. Areas such as data-driven marketing where this is a real skills shortage, communications where you can often get a full team from the price of a headcount or technical product knowledge where people may need deep insight into the market before being able to deliver good content.

Once you’ve secured an agency – involve them. The most successful client/agency relationships are those where the agency has access to all the information, can make informed choices and acts as an extension to your team.

Invest in training

We know that hiring and training is a huge drain on costs and resources. Have a strong succession plan in place, both for yourself and your team. Seek out the future leaders, understand where they want their career to go, and where possible, align this ambition with learning and upskilling. According to Gallup, highly engaged teams are 21% more productive than those with low engagement.

There is no one answer to producing the perfect formula for marketing functions today. What we do know is that the traditional business model of large in-house marketing teams is under pressure, and those functions who will prosper are the ones that are comfortable with challenging the status quo. We at Axis Insight can help you do this. Contact us now.

Please contact me for an initial discussion – Andy Crummey +44 7788 560973 or

Call me for an informal discussion about your marketing challenges.

Phone Andy on +44 7788 560973

Or send me an email …