Identifying Gaps in Your Marketing Team

When attempting to fill gaps in a marketing team, company leadership typically invests in one of three areas:

1) professional training/development for the existing team,

2) hiring of new team members that can fill skill gaps, or

3) outsourcing of certain tasks/projects to a marketing agency.

Choosing the right route relies heavily on where the team’s gaps are located, current needs and budget, and the company’s industry. Uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing team requires a marketing skills gap analysis.

What is a Marketing Skills Gap Analysis?

A marketing skills gap analysis allows marketing leaders to audit their team. When conducting a marketing skills gap analysis, leaders get clarity around what the right next step is for their marketing team - whether that is hiring new talent, redistributing existing talent, offering additional training or agency support to the current team, or even firing underperforming team members.

When is a Marketing Skills Gap Analysis Appropriate?

Conducting a marketing skills gap analysis is appropriate in any scenario where leadership wants to better understand the current state of their team.  

This can include when:

  • a leader enters a new role,

  • a team receives a poor performance review, or

  • as an annual exercise that leadership uses to check team alignment.

It can also be used to prepare teams for significant changes within the organization - ranging from new technology adoption, significant growth, operational shifts, to major staff changes.

How Do You Conduct a Marketing Skills Gap Analysis?

While there are various ways to conduct a marketing skills gap analysis, the goals are always the same:

  • To evaluate how individuals’ day-to-day work benefits the overall organizational goals

  • To analyze how often the team is leveraging data to drive decisions

  • To assess accountability metrics/key performance indicators (KPIs)

  • To understand how aligned the team is culturally and operationally (i.e. Is everyone upholding company values? Are time and resources being used efficiently?)

  • Quantifying all insights to help leaders better understand where gaps exist and how to address them.

“When I start a new gig, I prioritize everything that the marketing team is doing on a scale from 1-5. Then I give each program/tactic a grade (A to F). So if something has a high priority and a low grade, that’s a good indication that there’s a gap in expertise on the team that has to be addressed.”

Jeff Perkins, CMO at Parkmobile

Related: Bridging the Gap in Marketing Talent

Identify gaps in your team to optimize your company for the utmost success.

One way to go about a marketing skills gap analysis is with the following process:

Step 1 | Plan

Outline the company’s business goals and values. Every action should be rooted in and ultimately ladder up to the higher goals of the organization.

Once goals are clearly defined, list each team member and their job description. Do the job descriptions align with organizational goals? How are the individual skill sets being utilized? Which skill sets are most valuable? Which ones are missing?

Step 2 | Assess

Evaluate people on both an individual level and as part of the larger marketing team. How accountable are they to their role and how do they fit into the bigger picture?

  • Individual: Conduct regular performance reviews and leverage those reviews to drive action. Define the employee’s skill set and compare that skill set with the skills required for his/her job. If the employee’s duties have changed or they’re working towards a promotion, then perhaps training or mentoring opportunities are in order. If leadership finds that an employee is underperforming, it may be time to develop an action plan.

    Because less senior employees have a ground-level perspective, they are essential to leaders in illuminating gaps on the team. Investigating these gaps will provide additional insight into the problems and solutions of what the larger team needs.

  • Team: Determine if the team has both the capability and capacity  to handle upcoming projects or if external help is needed.

    Then, analyze the overall relational dynamics of the team, searching for cultural problems.  Conduct assessments to gather insights on employee personalities to ensure an equal balance of motivators and thinkers are present using DISC or other team assessments.

Todd McCarty, the Principle Digital Marketing Strategist at WSI Marketing Upside, recommends using the Birkman Method to determine which employee needs to be coached to become the best version of themselves and utilized in their role efficiently.

“You have to look at personalities (assessments work great), individual employee goals (moving up, buying time, looking for a change) and thought process (do it the way it’s always been done, benchmark vs competitors or truly innovative and think outside of the box) when assessing your team.”

Adrian Sasine, President at brandinghawk

Step 3 | Measure

Outline all key performance indicators at the individual level and team level. Then compare these metrics to some sort of benchmark (it could be an industry benchmark or a historical benchmark). This will help illuminate key areas of weakness that require attention.

Step 4 | Evaluate

Once opportunities, threats, and skill gaps have been identified, it’s time to evaluate possible action steps (Note: This step depends on the industry, project, or knowledge gaps).  

  • If a team can be trained to fill the gaps, then providing additional resources like mentoring, access to professional events or educational conferences, formal training, or opportunities to obtain certifications may be the next course of action.

  • If there is a significant skill gap that cannot be salvaged by the current team, it may be time to invest in a new hire.

  • If there is a real capacity problem on the team, it might be time to bring in a marketing agency.

If you are ready to hire an individual to become a part of your team and fill a role, we offer a recruiting service to help you fill gaps with qualified candidates.

If you are ready to hire a marketing agency to act as an extension of your team to provide the skills and competencies necessary, we can help you find the perfect match.