How to lead a marketing team

When it comes to being a manager, how do we really know if we’re ready? When and where do we learn the skills to not only manage our own workloads, but also understand how to lead a marketing team?

Considering 45.1 percent of UK managers are ill-prepared for the role, it’s clear that leadership is a difficult skill to learn. It is often misunderstood and massively oversimplified. I’m sure we can all think of really great (and really not-so-great) managers that we’ve experienced throughout our careers. 

Here are some top tips on what makes a good marketing manager and how to lead a marketing team.

Set goals and expectations

To succeed in leading and motivating a team effectively, you need to set clear goals and expectations. 

If your team don’t understand what is expected from them, you’re setting them up to fail. To avoid this, provide clear and concise goals to show your team that their work is valued and that you believe in their ability as marketers.

Your team’s goals should be a combination of your expectations of them and their own personal career goals. Empower your employees to reach their own career goals and make them more motivated to perform.

Encourage your team to complete a professional career plan, both for the short and longer term. This will help you to understand your team and inform the goals that you set for them.

Lead by example

When considering how to lead a marketing team, you should consider the qualities that you value in a leader and try to incorporate them into the way that you lead. 

Any expectations that you have for your team need to be applied to yourself as well. If your team don’t believe that you would be willing to do the things that are required of them, how can you expect them to respect you?

Leading by example is a clear way to demonstrate support for your team. This will make them feel more comfortable working with you and more likely to work towards the goals that you have agreed.

Provide training and support

Providing your employees with adequate support and training is vital to ensuring they feel valued. This can be anything from regular 1-1 meetings so that they can discuss concerns or development opportunities, to funding professional memberships such as the Girls in Marketing Membership

According to a recent survey, 20% of workers don’t trust their senior leaders and management. If managers don’t provide support to their teams, they damage any trust between themselves and their employees. This inevitably leads to a breakdown in communication and job dissatisfaction.

The training and support that you provide to your team should be based on their needs as marketers and give them the tools that they need to succeed in their roles. Use your team’s professional career plans to identify the right training and development opportunities to provide.

Trust your team to do their jobs

Whilst ensuring that your team trusts you as a leader is incredibly important, it’s also vital that you put your trust in your team. All too often marketers’ creativity and drive is stifled by ineffective leadership and unnecessary approval processes so that they feel unmotivated and distrusted.

Give your team the autonomy, responsibility and trust that they need to fulfil their roles. As a result, you will benefit from a more engaged and dedicated workforce.

When considering what makes a good marketing manager, trust is arguably one of the most important things and it can be shown in many ways. Some practices that you can start to implement today are:

  • Allow your team to lead on projects in their area of expertise
  • Give your employees a platform to share their ideas with the rest of the team
  • Take your team’s ideas to other senior leaders and credit them for their work


13th & 14th September 2023

Marketing Leadership Virtual Conference

Training opportunities for your marketing team

Explore the Girls in Marketing Team Membership and invest in your team’s development