Who is Missing From Your Marketing Team?

October 14, 2021

By Christina Wells, Don Batsford, Jr.

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Is there a key person missing from your marketing team?

What skills do you need to bring onboard and develop to be more successful? Executives today must think about hiring and retaining the correct resources to build the right team as well as future proofing an organization in the world of modern marketing.

This question arises now because, in a world where machine learning is the driving element for growth, building a team with smart humans is the secret acceleration element. Moving forward, it is important to understand how and why consumers decide to purchase a product. Thus, this informs how marketers can be creative, inventive, and empathetic in users' often non-linear flow to decision-making.

As a marketer, it is your team's responsibility to provide new ideas, build brands, create exposure, and offer helpful experiences as users make their way through the looping relationships between exploration and evaluation.

As such, marketers need to hire teams that understand the behavioral quirks humans have — and provide users with valuable information and the confidence they need to complete transactions. Humans have large pools of experience that aren't always represented in data feeds and conversion data. Your role as a leader is to hire the right talent and align your business not just to survive but thrive by leaving that very human set of knowledge and skills.

With that in mind, these are the five people you need to make sure are on your marketing team:

1. Creative Empaths: You need to make better ads


Empathic creatives approach processes from a behavioral science understanding — and unlock why people act how they do. Hire creative empaths and point them towards the ongoing question of what images, voice overs, product walkthroughs, talents, ad copy, and calls-to-action your company needs in your video, search, social, and programmatic assets.

  • For example, did you know that images featuring people perform over 30 percent better for their campaign goal versus images that don't? Or did you know that 64 percent of consumers say they took some sort of action after seeing an ad that they considered to be diverse or inclusive? Creative empaths will be your key resource on insights such as these and understanding how to tell our story.
    • "Our creative empaths are our translators, our storytellers. These teammates are crucial in bridging insights, consumer needs, and strategy. In our world, the partnership with Creative Empaths is critical as they often produce our first touchpoint with our customer. You only get one shot to tell your story the first time." Christina Wells, CMO, Bankrate

2. User Experience Sculptors: You need to create better experiences


Team members that can understand current and potential audiences and carve out new human experiences. Focused resources not only shorten the distance between trigger and purchase, but also open up new users' engagement paths that are currently untapped.

  • For example, companies who commit to great mobile design are seeing 32 percent increases in revenue and up to 400 percent improvement in conversion rates.
    • "Our user experience sculptors have a tough assignment. They have to have a maniacal focus on the consumer and their needs while wearing their performance optimization hat, even amidst a dynamic consumer landscape. It's also very easy to lean hard in one direction or the other. The best experience sculptors find the balance and tailor KPI's accordingly, viewing the user's journey as something that is not always linear." Christina Wells, CMO, Bankrate

3. Algorithm Whisperers: You need systems thinkers.


As machine learning's pattern recognition driven by deep data integration continues to be the centerpiece of impactful campaigns, employees with a deep quantitative curiosity should be on your team. They are willing to develop an intimate knowledge of what factors are taken into consideration by different channels, how they should be measured, and how you can feed these systems to grow your business.

  • Research has shown that companies that link their first-party data sources can generate 1.5 times the incremental revenue from single ad placement, communication, or outreach.
    • "As a marketer, data and data use have never been more critical. We've seen more shifts from the traditional CMO roles to chief digital officers or chief experience officers. It's a bit of a forcing mechanism to bring data and analytics to the foreground of the picture. It's our responsibility as marketing leaders to build teams that are data and insights-driven; reading consumer signals, harnessing data for decision making, and creating feedback loops that fuel growth. It's also what allows us to be more aligned than ever with our business teams." Christina Wells, CMO, Bankrate

4. Inventors: You need to be able to offer new products and services


Team members who can find new ways forward will drive future business lines. Those who embrace radical innovation and have a deep curiosity for groundbreaking technologies, innovation trends, and consumer needs bring a willingness to challenge the status quo and shake things up. The biological needs of ego create irrational behaviors and interpersonal interactions that quite often machines will have a blind eye towards. Allow space for human ideas that can later be supercharged with machine learning. Celebrate the unorthodox series of connections that happen in the human brain.

  • Thought starter: 56 percent of people say that watching live streams can be just as good as being at an event in person.
    • "The inventors are critical in our work not only for bringing human intuition to our data or machine learning observations, but also in serving as 'dot connectors'. We consider Inventors the glue that prevents siloes from impeding creative problem solving." Christina Wells, CMO, Bankrate

5. Entrepreneurs: You need to be able to stumble and keep running.


Often the measure of success on a team is who has a willingness to thrive in ambiguity. A healthy foundation of grit allows pivots, and the ability to test and iterate.

  • Business should apply continuous learning, thus, optimizing campaigns throughout their cycles.
    • "At Red Ventures, we have a mantra that has proven itself time again in my 10+ years with the company and that's to 'fail fast'. It sounds simple but it's what keeps our entrepreneurial spirit strong even as we grow and encounter new challenges. It's often what gives us the confidence to bet on ourselves." Christina Wells, CMO, Bankrate

Overall, people have a unique data set that people have that machines don't have access to. Humans can ask new, innovative questions, while computers often refine existing ideas. That is why creative, empathic, and entrepreneurial humans will be key moving forward — as you look to understand how your consumers decide and untangle the non-linear flow to decision-making.

As a marketer, it is your team's responsibility to provide new ideas, branding, exposure, and positive experiences as users make their way through the looping relationship between discovery, exploration, and evaluation. Superpowered by the impressive possibilities of machine learning, your team should lean-in to understand behavioral quirks humans have and provide users with the information and confidence they need to complete transactions.


Christina Wells is the SVP at Red Ventures and Don Batsford is the head of industry at Google.


The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.


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