How to Build A Killer Marketing Team (Game Included!)


a marketing team


20 min read

Marketing Departments are vital to the success of any business. If you’re a new business with a considerable amount of money to invest into marketing, and you’re looking into how best to structure a marketing department or project, then look no further!

This post gives a little bit of context around the skill sets, personality types, and positive behaviours of people in marketing roles.

For a more detailed deep dive into marketing roles, check out our post on marketing roles and job descriptions.

If you’ve just found this because you have a general interest in marketing and have a half hour to kill, then why not scroll down to our Marketing Department Dream Team challenge and build yourself a marketing department out of some of the most famous and talented marketers, artists and writers to have ever lived!

If you fall into a third category, and are just looking for some help with your marketing endeavours, then why not get in touch with Canny directly and see what we can do for you today.

Right, let’s dive into ‘How to Build a Marketing Department!’

an in progress marketing presentation

Head of Marketing

This- unless you’re a marketing team of one and have to wear all of the hats at once- should be the role for someone who has a great oversight of the business as a whole. They understand the business goals, and understand what they need to do to achieve them. This role ends up being a mix of project management, firefighting, ambassador, lawyer, liaison and all round badass. With the amount of small tasks a marketing manager has to do, and the meetings and reports and endless emails, they need support.

Thankfully, that support is easy to find! Below are the key roles in a marketing department.

Incidentally, if you’re a marketing manager, head of marketing, CMO, or a product manager in need of a marketing team, why not get in touch and see how Canny Creative can help? Just imagine what you could achieve with an extra 12 marketers helping you out!

person holding a blue pen

Content Strategist

Content strategists oversee the strategic elements of your content marketing efforts. Strategy, broadly speaking, breaks down into three parts:

  1. Realistic Goal
  2. Route to Success
  3. Resources Available

The goal is the desired outcome. Thinking strategically about the desired outcome from a content marketing perspective means setting realistic, attainable goals for any particular marketing endeavour. This means that if you’re just starting out your goal shouldn’t be to become the richest man in the world within 6 months. Realistic goal setting is vitally important to the next aspect of content strategy: The route to success.

Route is simply the route your marketing campaign needs to take to achieve your goal. If your desired goal is more conversions from your site, then it’s likely that the content that will require the most focus is your on page web copy. If your goal is a greater social media following, then carefully curated social media content will be the route. Greater domain authority and backlinks, SEO and graphic design content.

Goals typically aren’t as simple as that, so the route often ends up being a strategic mix of content that speaks to several different audiences and purposes at different times throughout the campaign.

Once your route to success is set, you need to execute your plan. This is where the final piece of content strategy comes in- resources available.

The resources available to you will affect the timescales for the route. If your goal is more content, and your route is to publish 100 blogs, the timescale and ability to execute this could be 1 day, it could be 200 days, depending on your resource availability. If you have 100 copywriters with no other work on, then that’s a super achievable goal on a short timescale.

If it’s just you blogging on your own and you have a million different things to sort out, then it’s going to take a lot longer.

Top Tip: Time is a resource and should be considered as such when planning a strategic marketing campaign.

Obviously the above example is oversimplified, but your resource management is a core part of creating realistic content strategy.

A good content strategy document considers timescales in a realistic manner, gives a solid rationale for how and why the content will work, and makes sure that the content itself isn’t so resource intensive that it makes it unprofitable or unfeasible in the long term.

Most importantly, a good content strategy document keeps the overall goal of the campaign in mind, and ensures all content is pulling singularly towards that goal.

a person writing on a page


Copywriters. The lifeblood of any content marketing campaign. They create the content based on the strategy, and ensure compelling, quality content is going out on a regular basis.

Copywriters are uniquely skilled in writing copy that converts, and understand how to position content for every step of a user journey.

For a long time now, there has been a mantra in digital marketing of ‘content is king.’ Without copywriters, you don’t have content and- to borrow a chess metaphor- without your king, you’ve already lost!

This role is very closely linked to the content strategist role, and can often be rolled into a singular role along with the SEO expert role, as there are a tremendous number of skills which are necessarily transferable within these 3 roles.

four people pointing at a laptop screen

SEO Expert

Search Engine Optimisation. 50% of the world uses a search engine in some form or another, and as business moves ever increasingly more online it is an act of insanity to ignore SEO. Considering SEO is a vital part of content strategy, and so SEO experts and content strategists work very closely together.

SEO experts will often have technical expertise as well as a strategic overview of content marketing, understanding the machinations of Google’s web crawlers and the technical coding aspects of what makes web content the best it can be, rather than just an understanding of consumer psychology and behaviour.

PPC strategy

PPC Manager

PPC managers target audiences, keywords, and visibility using paid advertising. This involves a lot of data analysis, looking at what paid campaigns are giving the best results and what sort of audiences react most positively to the content.

Most importantly, PPC management involves tight budget control, strong decision making and the ability to be reactive to change. If a previously profitable campaign becomes non-viable, the PPC manager has to decide whether to change it up or stick with it. If a campaign suddenly shows a phenomenal ROI the PPC manager has to react and decide whether or not to put more spend behind that particular campaign vertical, or to diversify the profit into other PPC avenues.

Budget management and an understanding of the wider business ecosystem, and the core demographics targeted by a particular marketing campaign, are vital to the success of paid advertising endeavours. Without an understanding of the psychology of your businesses’ clientele, PPC campaigns will be ineffectual as they won’t target the right audience at the right time with the right content.

a screen with social media apps

Social Media Manager

Social media marketing is a huge industry right now, and for good reason. Social media networks are a great place to cultivate an audience and grow your brand by interacting with your customers in the places they exist. Social media marketing is the next step in the evolutionary food chain of marketing, and the most important and effective advancement in marketing since the invention of the television.

Having a social media marketer who understands the appropriate content, the audience, and the etiquette of various social media platforms can be invaluable to the success of any marketing campaign, and business overall.

videographer filming

Videographer/ Photographer

Multimedia advertising and original images and video makes all of the difference when it comes to marketing. People connect to real images and footage far better than they connect with stock imagery.

Being in a position to show exactly what it is your product or service does, using real life examples or easy to understand explainer videos is a vital tool in every marketer’s arsenal.

Having a videographer on hand to create engaging multimedia content and capture exactly what it is that your core demographic audience wants to see can create a massive boost in traffic, interest in your product or service, and conversions.

Check out the Canny showreel on the homepage and consider how dynamic and exciting it feels in comparison to the ‘Our Work’ pages. Both are good, and serve different purposes, but the showreel is far more dynamic.

Video is, as of now, a criminally underutilised vehicle of brand positioning, digital marketing, and even SEO marketing in almost every sector across the board.

Consumers like easy to consume content.

Videographers make easy to consume content.

It’s as simple as that!

a collection of various images

Graphic Designer

As above. Graphic designers make sure that all of your content and how your website appears is as clean, consumable, and user friendly as possible. Content marketing is all about reaching your target audience and then engaging with them. Strategy, SEO, PPC and social media reach your target audience. Copywriters, videographers, and graphic designers engage them.

If your copy is fantastic, but looks dull and boring, no one will engage with it.

Similarly, if your video content is incredibly informative, but is entirely greyscale and hard to look at, no one will engage with it.

Having a graphic designer (or graphic designers) available to you when executing your marketing strategy is useful, as they can make sure the content engages the target audience.

Add to that the benefits of understanding your visual identity and brand positioning from an aesthetic perspective, and you’d be a fool to discount graphic designers when putting together your marketing dream team.

Speaking of marketing dream teams…

Marketing Dream Team

Why not try building your dream team from our selection of candidates below. The rules are:

  1. You are the head of marketing. Well done!
  2. You have 12 points to spend- you don’t have to spend them all though!
  3. You can spend the points however you like- but if you don’t cover all the positions you’ll end up with a weaker team!
  4. If you’re not sure on who the person is, have no fear! We’ve put together bios for the candidates below!

Will you opt to spend the maximum 3 points and get Steven Spielberg in as your videographer? Will you save your points elsewhere to pull in Paul Rand in the graphic design position?

If you’re a marketing manager, or already in charge of a marketing team, why not join our Facebook community and share your dream team- and see how it compares to other people’s choices!

Content Strategists

Here is your cream of the crop picks for your content strategists. For this one, I take Albert Lasker- but I’m a bit of a fanboy for the grandfather of modern marketing. I think he’d make a great podcast guest, if not for the fact he passed away in 1952!

Gary Vaynerchuk- 3 points

Head of VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuk is a master of content strategy. He appears everywhere, and gives advice and guidance on content creation and engagement across the board for all businesses. Dynamic, charismatic, insightful, and more often than not about 2 years ahead of everyone else in the game, Gary Vee is a leviathan of modern marketing.

Albert Lasker- 2 points

Albert Lasker. The man invented modern advertising. Before Lasker, newspaper placements and advertising simply explained whatever product or service that was available. Lasker pioneered the technique of advertising by what he called “salesmanship in print”. Without Albert Lasker, there is no such thing as marketing and advertising as we know it.

Sun Tzu- 1 point

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is widely regarded not just as the greatest military strategy book ever written, but one if the greatest approaches to strategy generally. Sun Tzu basically invented strategy. He’s only so low down on the list because things have moved on a bit in the last… 2500 years! He’d probably need a pretty long induction period and might struggle to hit the ground running!

shakespeare bust


Writers. Without strong written copy for your website, any business will struggle. For this one, I go with Stephen King. He’s a bit of a budget choice, and it kills me to leave Harper Lee on the table, but I’ve got to go with him to save some points for later picks, and for the sheer output. 63 novels and 200 short stories? Imagine how many blogs you could get out of him!

William Shakespeare- 3 points

The Bard. If you don’t know who Shakespeare is, he’s basically The Beatles of writers. The Muhammad Ali of prose. The original, unchallenged, all time great. If you don’t know who Shakespeare, The Beatles, or Muhammad Ali are… well, I give up!

Harper Lee- 2 points

To Kill a Mockingbird is very possibly the greatest novel ever written.The 1961 Pulitzer prize winner, Harper Lee writes with emotion, sensitivity, and has an uncanny ability to force a reader to feel every description, every word. If you can find a copywriter who can do this even a tenth as well as Harper Lee can, cling onto them forever and never let them go!

Stephen King- 1 point

The king of horror. Stephen King has written so many bestsellers and has so many books that have been converted into blockbuster movies that he is an unmissable figure in modern literature. He’s probably worth 2 points as well, but loses points for being so morbidly fascinated with all things frightening!

SEO Experts

3 SEO heavyweights, from 3 of the biggest search engines out there. Any of these choices are ultra strong, but I have to go with John Mueller just because of how invaluable and insightful his Twitter Q&A sessions and his explainer videos about Google updates have been to me.

John Mueller- 3 points

John Mueller is the senior webmaster trends analyst at Google. He often runs videos, Q&A sessions, and general outreach to explain exactly what Google is looking for from a technical and content standpoint. He is almost uniquely placed in his insights into how Google works, and has insider knowledge any SEO would kill to have access to. An obvious choice for the 3 point SEO slot.

Qi Lu- 2 points

Previously the vice president of Microsoft, and CEO of Microsoft’s search engine Bing, Qi Lu is a huge name in search engine history. Having acted as lead on projects such as Bing Search, Yahoo! Search, Microsoft Office and Skype, his CV speaks for itself- a huge hitter in computer development and SEO generally.

Rand Fishkin- 1 points

Rand Fishkin is the co-founder and CEO of Moz, a website and tools suite that have been absolutely invaluable to SEOs the world over. One of the leading voices in the SEO world, Fishkin has likely forgotten more about SEO than even other industry pros will ever know. An absolute steal in the 1 point bracket, and only not worth the full 3 points because of his lack of insider knowledge!

PPC Managers

For the PPC choices we went with historical figures we thought would give the best insight and utilise the audience targeting aspect of PPC best. Roll on the brainiacs! I went for Lillian Moller Gilbreth for this choice- the first ever industrial/organisational psychologist. Respect the pioneers!

Bill T. Gross- 3 points

A pioneer in modern online marketing and business, Bill T. Gross is credited with the invention of pay per click advertising. Need I say more?

Lillian Moller Gilbreth- 2 points

Lillian Gilbreth lived and died before the invention of the internet, but during her lifetime she revolutionised management practices, organisational psychology, audience classification, business efficiency and industrial efficiencies. An absolute badass of psychology and reactive business practices, Lillian Moller Gilbreth would make a superb PPC manager!

Walter Dill Scott- 1 point

The first psychologist to recognise the importance of emotion, sentimentality, and sympathy in advertising. He also developed personality tests to put people into demographics based on their personality types. These tests were used in World War 1 by American forces to assess the psychological suitability of soldiers for leadership roles, linguistics roles, and for servicemen.


    • An incredible understanding of buyer behaviour and advertising? Check.
    • An incredible understanding of audience personas, before buyer personas were even a thing? Check
    • A war hero? Not really relevant, but not a bad thing to have on the CV.

He’d make an excellent PPC manager!

Social Media Manager

These are the Kings and Queens of various social media platforms. Definitely the most modern of selections, I imagine this is the section that I’ll have to update sooner rather than later as soon as TikTok influencers become bigger than YouTube and Instagram stars! For this one, I take KSI- boxing, video games, and football? I think we’d get on.

Zoella- 3 points

An early adopter of blogging culture and YouTube vlogging, Zoe Sugg has garnered nearly 2 billion views on her YouTube channels. Zoe Sugg was one of the first beauty vloggers, a market which is now worth an estimated 250 billion dollars a year. The best thing about Zoella is that the growth of her channels and the loyalty her fans feel for her came about totally organically- there wasn’t a plan or a roadmap of how to become famous vlogging about beauty products. Zoe invented YouTube marketing, and is a natural born genius when it comes to social media management.

Kim Kardashian- 2 points

Broke the internet. Holds the honour of receiving the first ever Webby award for breaking the internet, which recognises multimedia which ‘goes viral’. Her 246 million Instagram followers suggest that Kim would be an excellent choice for a social media management position in your marketing department!

KSI- 1 point

Olajide Olayinka Williams “JJ” Olatunji, or KSI to his fans, has over 8 billion views on his YouTube videos. He’s been a New York Times best selling author, has had two albums make the top 40 list in the UK, has an undefeated record as a professional boxer, donated half a million pounds to charity, and is in the top 5 highest paid YouTubers in the world.

As far as social media managers go, KSI is probably one of the most recognisable names in social media in the world right now, and so wouldn’t be the worst choice in the world!
video snap board

Videographer/ Photographer

Where would a website be without all of the brilliant images, videos and multimedia to make it stand out from the crowd? This category might be divisive, as everyone has their favourite films. I go with Ridley Scott for this one- born in South Shields, just south of Newcastle, you’ve got to back the local lad!

Steven Spielberg- 3 points

Jaws. Close Encounters of The Third Kind. Indiana Jones. E.T. Jurassic Park. Saving Private Ryan. Catch Me If You Can. Minority Report.

Basically every film project Spielberg has touched in the last 40 years has become a global phenomena. His filmographic back catalogue also shows a great versatility, meaning as your videographer he’d be able to cover all sorts of different content in a brilliant, professional, and award winning way!

Kathryn Bigelow- 2 points

A trailblazer in the film industry, and the first woman to win the academy award for best director, Kathryn Bigelow is undeniably one of the most talented directors alive. Bigelow also has a flair for innovation, with a ton of her action sequences being shot on purpose built camera equipment designed to capture the physical nature of her action scenes.

She’s also got a pretty good pedigree in advertising too, filming Superbowl slot adverts for budweiser and the Army National Guard. To be honest, if the entirety of Bigelow’s CV was just her 2009 film The Hurt Locker she’d still be a strong contender!

Ridley Scott- 1 point

Blade Runner, The Alien films, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator… another absolute giant of modern cinema. One of the main reasons Ridley Scott is included on this list (aside from the obvious) is his work on the Apple advert ‘1984’, which introduced the Apple Mackintosh PC. As the director of a bona fide piece of advertising history, Ridley Scott would be a masterful videographer.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s a North East England local, either!

Lightbulbs on Wooden Background

Graphic Designers

An understanding of your visual identity and brand is vital for the success of your business. Graphic designers shape all aspects of the customer facing assets of your business, and are vital to your marketing efforts.

For this pick I take Sagmeister & Walsh, because it’s economical to double your resources and I get two bodies for the price of one (and their approach to what is beautiful is uniquely awe inspiring and they are probably two of the most talented people on the planet.)

Paul Rand- 3 points

Art Director Club Hall of Famer and professor emeritus of graphic design at Yale University, Paul Rand was an obvious choice when we were brainstorming the biggest hitters in graphic design. A master of developing business identities, and an original New York ‘Mad Men’- designers based on Madison Avenue.

Paula Scher- 2 points

Described by TED in the description of her TEDtalk as ‘A master conjurer of the instantly familiar’, Paula Scher is one of the best designers ever. As head of Pentagram, a design agency at the cutting edge of the craft, Scher has overseen 4 decades of growth and business branding excellence. Not a bad pick for 2 points!

Stefan Sagmeister & Jessica Walsh- 1 point

Sagmeister and Walsh come as a pair. They sort of have to- it would be like going to buy ice cream and having just ‘Ben’ instead of ‘Ben and Jerrys’. Just Haagen, no Dasz (that isn’t a pairing of names, but I did have to look it up).

Either way, separating Sagmeister and Walsh would be nothing short of graphic design sacrilege. Transcendent designers that make graphic design a form of aesthetic philosophy in itself, their style can be a little bit overpowering for some, but for me they are some of the most interesting designers alive today.

And there you have it. My team ends up being:

  • Content Strategist- Albert Lasker (2)
  • Writer- Stephen King (1)
  • SEO- John Mueller (3)
  • PPC- Lillian Moller Gilbreth (2)
  • Social Media Manager- KSI (1)
  • Videographer- Ridley Scott (1)
  • Graphic Designer- Sagmeister and Walsh (1)

And, with the exception of my graphic designer choice (which was made for me due to a lack of restrain with my earlier picks) these choices probably say a lot about how I prioritise marketing efforts in my head.

Just looking at the weightings of my choices, I clearly favour strategy and SEO over the majority of other marketing avenues.

What does your team make up say about you?

Does it highlight any areas where you might need some support in your marketing efforts and strategy?

At Canny, we offer end to end marketing support and can help cover any and all weaknesses, knowledge gaps or things you might not have the time to be executing exactly as you should be.

Get in touch today and find out what you can achieve with a real dream team of marketers behind you!