Marketing capability

Marketing Capability: Taking a look in the Mirror

Marketing capability guide

First of all, marketing transformation means many things. Saving time, saving money, increasing marketing effectiveness and return on investment. But what about the in-house expertise? Do you have enough people with the right skills? Do you manage your marketing for success? Read on to reflect on a few marketing stories that shine a light behind the scenes on marketing capability.

Marketing agencies in the spotlight

Agencies typically provide the following services according to Hubspot [1].

  • Website design and development
  • Inbound marketing
  • Design and branding
  • Full service digital
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Advertising

Fewer provide marketing consultancy, marketing strategy & plans, sales enablement, sales funnels, lead nurturing & lead scoring, predictive marketing, neuromarketing or marketing training courses.

Even within the categories above, there are agencies specialising in different channels, software tools, paid and organic. Therefore, the marketing ecosystem could be sizeable and gets harder to manage as you increase the number.

If you would like to speak with an expert on marketing transformation call 01625 682110 or e-mail

Some examples: marketing team structures

To further explore the variation in marketing capability, here are a few examples from our customers and prospects:

1. A B2B services firm with a single marketing executive and six marketing agencies

a) The in-house marketing executive has a marketing degree and manages the relationships, performance and spend with six agencies.
b) The business owners expect the marketing executive to lead on marketing strategy, develop marketing plans for different areas and manage the marketing budget.

2. A B2C ecommerce business with a single web developer and no marketing staff

a) The website was built in a non-standard software tool that limits the changes to the website developer and the website performance can be improved.
b) There is no in-house person to advise on marketing strategy and no budget until website sales fund future advertising, SEO/SEM and inbound marketing activities.

3. A B2B wholesaler with six marketing assistants, a marketing director and five marketing agencies

a) The in-house marketing assistants have no marketing degree and post to social media, send e-mails and attend trade events but do not interact with the five agencies.
b) The marketing director has no marketing qualification but manages the five marketing agencies. Additionally, they are the main point of contact for the sales team and manage all new products.

None of the above sound like the optimum solution. Roles that are too broad, staff needing training and unrealistic expectations, possibly due to a failure to explain the value added by marketing. Agencies need to work together in agile organisations so are you set up for success?

What is the optimum structure for marketing?

There is no set answer to this. The marketing ecosystem will be dictated by business goals translated into marketing goals and the marketing logic by which they will be achieved. Furthermore, the industry, market, marketing plan, customer personas, sales channels, propositions and business size all impact structure. Here are some common tips for a successful marketing capability:

  1. Marketing degrees are a minimum but hiring a Chartered Marketer can help with your marketing strategy and direction. This ensures your ecosystem fits your strategy.
  2. Outsourcing all marketing to agencies creates a tough role for the one or two remaining in-house staff who become co-ordinators. You may benefit from a consultant on the board.
  3. A tall marketing structure with junior staff reporting to a marketing director reduces scope for career progression and coaching. Why not consider mentoring or training.
  4. Many agencies can mean that the training needs of staff get overlooked as the agencies offer to fill all of your in-house gaps so consider investing in a training plan.
  5. Agency staff can earn up to 30% more at client organisations (Hubspot) and this churn may impact in-house hiring. It may be time to review your marketing return on investment (MROI).
Marketing advice made easy

The CIM Chartered Marketers at Think Beyond are part of an elite group of just 3,000 worldwide. Our team can recommend ways to safeguard your marketing investment and ensure value for money marketing. We offer marketing consultancy to help our clients grow and we focus on measurable results. Based in Wilmslow, Cheshire, our marketing consultants work with all types of businesses. Also, our clients stretch across Manchester, Lancashire, Derbyshire, North West, London and beyond.

In summary, to speak to a marketing expert you can call 01625 682110 or e-mail

Additionally, request a free one-hour initial consultation and see how we can help by completing our quick contact form.

Finally, you can check our upcoming events, read our customer testimonials and follow our marketing insight blog.


  1. Hubspot Marketing Agency Growth

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Marketing Capability: Taking a look in the Mirror

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