How to build a first-class marketing team through mentoring

Some marketers are rock stars on their own. Others? Well… they get by with a little help with their friends (much to their coworkers’ chagrin). Progressive companies learn to bridge the gap by having senior marketers show upcoming newbies the ropes through mentoring. When done strategically, mentoring provides a host of benefits to not only your employees but your organization overall. Here’s what marketers from ZipRecruiter, FlexJobs, and Jibe had to say about their mentors and how they’ve benefited from them.


Mentoring strengthens skill sets

As a newly minted marketer, you aren’t going to know everything right off the bat. As such, working with a mentor can help you up your skills within a learning environment.

“When starting out, I was wet behind the ears and things were being gradually put on my plate. Since I didn’t have the educational marketing background, I learned by listening and absorbing as much as I could,” explains Michael Gutman, director of marketing at FlexJobs.

“As an inbound marketer, you’re tasked with pulling complete strangers from the internet into your website, and doing so with the resources of a startup can be quite tricky. Having data to tell you what’s working and what’s not—where your resources can be most effectively allocated—is crucial. Thanks to some of my mentors, I’ve been making data-driven decisions for a long time,” says Mike Roberts, head of digital marketing at Jibe.


Mentoring creates transparency

The marketing realm is a results-oriented one, which can be overwhelming. If you don’t have the right mindset, you can easily confuse organizational flow as office politics. This is why transparency is key to the success of your team. Partnering with a mentor, one can learn how to navigate the way of the company without getting caught in the fray.

“When you have a mentor that is so open to coaching, be open to learning and be open to the coaching. Through mentoring, I learned how important context is, not only in marketing, but also in the business sense in general,” says Jona Youdeem, marketing manager at ZipRecruiter. “If you can take a step back and think about how your role affects the business while understanding what’s going on, you can really have your whole world open to you. You take in knowledge quicker without having to be worried about every little decision and look towards your goal and reach it faster.”


Mentoring enhances collaboration

Marketers know that collaboration is crucial to the success of the organization. When first starting out, it can be tough to roll up your sleeves and jump in. Skilled mentors understand the importance of being an asset while utilizing necessary tools to show their proteges how it’s done. As a result, collaboration is taught in an organic and tangible way.

“I’ve worked at several startups with relatively flat organizational structures. As a result, I’ve been lucky enough to work beside marketing executives for most of my career,” says Roberts. “What I appreciate most about these leaders is their attention to data.”

“Collaboration tools allow teams to create a platform to harness that sense of belonging,” explains Gutman. “Having open collaboration and getting a cohesive group that works well together is important, because now you have a bunch of motivated people working together, and empowering each other to do their best work. ”


Mentoring increases engagement

According to a recent Gallup study, 70 percent of respondents reported being disengaged in their organization. To combat that staggering statistic, consider a mentorship program that gives new marketers an opportunity to learn, grow, and really become involved in their roles.

“My mentor saw how ambitious I was and was very helpful in shaping how I learned,” says Youdeem. “She was integral in helping me develop into the marketer that I want to be.”

“People want to feel engaged. We’re social creatures and a sense of belonging is there,” explains Gutman. “It allows people to feel comfortable and the person is no longer an island where they feel alone. When you create a team environment, everyone shares in the success and failure.”


Rising through the ranks

Providing mentorship within an organization is not merely a feel-good gesture; it produces results. Organizations benefit by creating a hub of actively engaged marketers that share and collaborate on a consistent and successful basis. Employees have a vested interest in staying with their companies as they see the investment their employers are making in their “tours of duty,” as Collabosphere 2015 keynote speaker Ben Casnocha put it. Tellingly, Roberts, Gutman, and Youdeem have all been promoted through the ranks of their organizations, undoubtedly thanks in no small part to the mentoring and coaching they’ve received throughout their careers.

Post by Taryn Barnes

Taryn Barnes is a freelance writer and journalist. She writes about HR Tech and the evolution of the workplace and has written on workforce trends for Forbes and Workforce Magazine.