Creative Keystones to Building the Best Team

By Matt Dodgson - Dec. 5, 2018
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Matt Dodgson – Director at Market Recruitment. His opinions are his own.

Good marketing comes from building great teams.

Honestly, good creative work — marketing or no — relies on both talent and teamwork. In a world where freelancers, gig-style deals, and online help are all too easy to come by, why even fuss over assembling your own crew anyway?

The answer is simple: creative collaboration rests at the heart of brilliant work. We see it all the time: workplace success comes from more than a swanky portfolio or a flashy reel. People chemistry, engagement, and genuine conversation make for the real magic — especially for our competitive clients with B2B marketing that needs to bring home the bacon.

Let’s get serious, now: what players will you need?

The Innovator

Alias: The Dreamer, The Tech Visionary, The Trendsetter, The Wow Factor

Whether you’re building banner ads for tech companies or smart sorting systems on a factory floor, no team makes big moves without an Innovator. What’s hip and fresh? What’s big now, and what does that mean for the up and coming? The Innovator will be able to tell you.

Great teams need the spark, the lightbulb, the jump-off-the-page: it’s the personality we think of first when “marketing recruitment” gets tossed around. You know, the artsy ones.

Be mindful, though — great Innovators come in a broad range of packages, and you might not find everything on the CV. Sure, they can be designers, but they may also have a passion for products or system development or photography. What you really want is a risk taker; someone who doesn’t take rules or past practice for granted. A player to show your team problem solving in a different light, and perhaps to get the job done in a whole new way.

The Realist

Alias: The Skeptic, The Real Real, The Problem Solver, The Manager, The Researcher

For every inch of an Innovator’s sunshine daydreams, creative teams need a personality who isn’t afraid to poke holes in new ideas. Analytics, list making, organization: yep, you’ll find all of these in The Realist’s toolbox. And it’s essential for your success — that oh-so-healthy skepticism keeps half-baked ideas from soaking up essential time, talent, and resources.

The evaluation offered by The Realist boosts business from phase one of every project: these players work in the world of evidence, data, hard facts, and customer feedback whenever possible. They eliminate weaknesses, unnecessary spending, and overplayed ideas before anyone else even realizes they exist. This is the key person on a project who smacks down wildfire-driven excitement and wrangles good ideas into the parameters that make them great.

Does The Realist come with a particular resume? Not really. We find them with backgrounds in budgeting and finance, project management, or similar skillsets in which a healthy respect for order reigns supreme.

The Listener

Alias: The Curious One, The Fresh Face, The New Idea, The Perspective Shift

In any team — especially in marketing and technology — there can often be too many ideas flying around the room at once. Recruiting a team and building your dream roster requires some unfortunate awareness, of differences. Creative, communicative, or just plain id-based conflicts are an unfortunate part of the way teams behave.

Enter The Listener. This player tends to be more even-keeled, calm, and quiet than the straightforward Innovators and Realists. They resist getting attached or claiming immediate ownership in a conversation, and instead choose to take it all in. Does The Listener ever actually contribute? Most definitely. A marketing recruiter can quickly pick The Listener out in an interview based on their thoughtful, succinct responses and careful, thorough handling of questions.

The Listener pays attention — but really. They take it all in, and may take a moment to collect their thoughts; it’s hard to actually listen and prepare a response at the same time. They tend to be grounded and realistic without the harder edge of The Realist.

In addition to boosting value for a project, a good Listener makes teamwork flow. They distill ideas and make their teammates feel heard, appreciated, and valued. Looking to boost morale and team dynamics? This is the personality you’ll need next.

The Connecter

Alias: The Smooth Talker, The Social Butterfly, The Networker, The People Person

Austin Kleon wrote an entire book based around the concept of “stealing like an artist,” and your team needs its own creative jewel thief. The Connecter is savvy and aware of what competitors, customers, and even other departments are doing well, not doing yet, considering doing, and — most importantly — what they want.

Is it important for you to be ahead of the news? Better yet, do you want to make the news? Marketing recruiters will point you straight to The Connecter for headline potential, because that’s the world where they thrive.

The Connecter may bring a background in public relations, social media, or even market research to your team: this personality thrives in webs nearly as well as a spider! They understand the essential power of networking, updating, posting, and taking in the news so that your team can get ahead of it all. They’re on the job to support The Innovator’s trend-savvy ideas, and they can happily sniff out data to appease The Realist.

The Guru

Alias: The Voice of Experience, The Overseer, The Big Picture, The Long Game

While The Guru may arrive in a variety of roles, career stages, and creative capacities, the strength is always the same: large scale vision. Whether this player is a senior specialist with loads of experience, a manager with intricate understanding of your industry, or a mentor with first-hand insight, The Guru keeps your team from wandering off down rabbit holes and trains their eyes on the (big picture) prize.

Considering a rebrand, or launching a new product? Taking on an otherwise unexplored industry, client, or specialty? Feeling a little lost? Come to The Guru. Your team can tap into this player’s vast resources for credible insight, troubleshooting, and inspiration. Did I mention that hiring a Guru also comes with a confidence boost and extra swagger? It often does. Any great team will have hires that blend a mix of perspectives, experience, and specialties. That diversity brings both brilliance and conflict, and The Guru works as a peacekeeper in the heat of the moment. After all, big picture success is what the whole team strives to achieve! The Guru’s driving sense of direction informs project discussions large and small, and makes a great workplace mentor for less experienced staff, too.

There’s nothing more beautiful than building a terrific team — and finding the missing piece to get to the next level. Good luck!

Matt’s passion is marketing, whether he’s helping clients with their recruitment projects or hatching ideas to win more clients. His biggest achievement is completing 3 Ironman triathlons, but since these he’s come to his senses and likes to spend time with his wife and two daughters.


Matt Dodgson

Matt’s passion is marketing, whether he’s helping clients with their recruitment projects or hatching ideas to win more clients. His biggest achievement is completing 3 Ironman triathlons, but since these he’s come to his senses and likes to spend time with his wife and two daughters.

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