The age-old question, what makes great recruitment marketing teams? It’s a question that so many of us try to answer to justify our teams, our growth plans and as a goal to aim for. But can you ever achieve ‘greatness’ or is it a moveable goalpost that shifts backwards every time you edge a step closer?

What defines great marketing teams in recruitment?

There are different ways to define great. For some, it’s probably clearer than for others. Benchmarking against other marketing teams and their performance is maybe the most logical approach. When you look at the top 20% of marketing teams what they have in common is that all the basics are there. They’re activity focused, competently run and have fixed their data black holes. When you push to the top 5% of teams it’s clear that they’ve started to focus on building a community, establishing their business as a specialist and they’ve got tracking ROI nailed (as much as you possible can anyway). 

Recruitment marketing teams vs. Consultants

But is there a paradox between how marketing defines success vs. how leadership in your recruitment business judges it? Often it’s a challenge to get the board to understand why certain things are being done, or not being done. That feeds into putting significance on tracking and measuring success, with it often seen as vanity metrics rather than essential feedback. 

That tension can also be seen when trying to define what is a marketing lead and what’s a sales lead. Let’s be honest, often it’s a mixture of the two – with a candidate coming off the back of a marketing managed platform or piece of content and then sales sealing the deal. But, systems and consultants don’t always want to take that joined-up approach. Systems and manual processes can be a time drain for many marketing teams. Many of us spend extra time double-checking leads and manually updated source tags to try and gather accurate data. It seems that there isn’t the perfect tech solution that marries together the sales requirements with full marketing capabilities. Maybe that’s another reason why it’s difficult to quantify what a great recruitment marketing function looks like?

“If only we had…”

One of the other challenges of defining what a great team looks like is the constant battle between resources and what we can do. At some point there needs to be a conscious decision about what we’re not going to do, usual suspects are internal comms or maybe PR. Drawing that line in the sand helps focus us on what we need to be doing to support business growth and with being realistic about our capacity. The trouble with that is everything else is always there niggling away in the background. If you know you aren’t doing everything surely you aren’t a great marketing function? 

Focus on you. Not others.

Perhaps our view of a great team shouldn’t be graded on an external perception of other teams. Is it instead of looking at what your team can achieve with your resources? If that’s the case then having automations and processes in place that maximise your productivity should be key to being a great marketing function. Automations should cut out repetitive, unnecessary thinking time allowing your team to be more productive and effective, in other words enabling them to get more work done. Isn’t that what a great function is all about?

We’re really interested to hear from you about what you think makes a great marketing function and any examples of that in practice. For us, it feels like we can’t define it. At this point, there are so many external limiting factors – tech, resources, business structure, culture, that no matter how well we’re doing we can see how much more we could do. How we could improve results and streamline processes if only we had more. Instead of creating a catch-all definition of great, it’s about looking at the structure of your business and creating a vision for what great looks like for you and your team and then using that as inspiration to move forwards.

This article was created off the back of a Lonely Marketers huddle with a number of the most senior recruitment marketers in the industry representing £100m’s worth of turnover and established around the globe.

This is a regular feature of The Lonely Marketers community which TwoEnds is proud to power as we aim to complete our mission of building the best recruitment marketing teams there possibly can be.


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