How to build a marketing team ready to win 2021

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2020 was the year of thinking on your feet. For leaders, it meant making quick decisions about pandemic safety, office closures and remote work — all while staying on top of long-term challenges, such as keeping pace with the digital revolution.

Hopefully 2021 gives us all a little time to breathe and strategize. If you are a creative and/or marketing hiring manager, part of that might include an assessment of your team. Here is what you need to know about the latest recruitment trends that will help you build a marketing team to take your company to the next level.

It is an unpredictable time — and creative and marketing professionals know it. According to Adobe’s State of Creativity survey, 87 percent of creatives think the events of 2020 will have a lasting impact on the industry. And around 83 percent think they need to expand their creative skill sets to stay relevant.

The same applies to teams — If you want to stay competitive, you must upskill and grow. The Creative Group 2021 Salary Guide points to trends that will impact almost every employer. In general, the overall trend is for diverse, dynamic teams with a lot of tech expertise.

  1. Digital transformation is accelerating. Most companies and agencies are still working toward full digital maturity. As COVID-19 drives more consumers online, creative and marketing leaders are focused on improving digital customer experiences and enhancing websites and mobile apps, according to a survey by The Creative Group. Employers are looking for professionals with digital marketing and design experience to help deliver these business initiatives, but it is proving to be a tight labor market for creatives with the skills needed.
  2. Diversity and inclusion are front and center. 2020 prompted conversations about inequality and underrepresented groups, and 91 percent of creative teams in Adobe’s survey have become inspired to bring real-world issues into their work. Creative and marketing teams are in a key position to help create inclusive marketing campaigns, as well as promote their company’s inclusion and diversity efforts. These tasks require a creative group with a variety of ideas, experiences and backgrounds.
  3. Teams are shifting to hybrids of remote and on-site staff. 2021 may see the end of shelter-in-place orders, but 74 percent of professionals said they will still want to work from home at least some of the time, according to a survey for the Salary Guide. Remote teams have advantages — 60 percent of workers cited improved work-life balance during the pandemic — but also downsides, such as isolation and a lack of managerial oversight. Many teams will have a mix of at-home and in-office workers, and it will be up to leaders to knit them into a cohesive unit.
  4. COVID-19 has changed recruitment. As a result of the pandemic, 54 percent of companies said they are conducting remote interviews and onboarding, while 42 percent are looking for fully remote workers. These changes can have a positive impact. Hiring remote employees means you can look for star performers anywhere in the world, and a streamlined recruitment process allows you to snap up promising talent ahead of less agile competitors.
  5. Leaders must build a resilient business. Managers are trying to cope with two competing priorities. On one hand, you must keep staffing budgets stable so you can weather a potential recession. On the other, you need to build a marketing team to help grow market share. The compromise is to look at flexible staffing solutions — short-term hires who can come in and help deliver projects on schedule.

In-demand creative and marketing jobs in 2021

Some of the hottest creative and marketing jobs right now are in the digital area. Experts in user experience (UX), user interface (UI) and search engine optimization/marketing (SEO/SEM) are particularly sought after. Here are some of the most in-demand positions, along with their national, midpoint starting salaries:

Salaries vary from region to region, and you can use our Salary Calculator to find starting salaries for creative and marketing roles in your city.

How to hire and retain top talent

Despite a larger candidate pool, the recruitment market is likely to remain competitive in 2021, especially for highly skilled creative and marketing professionals. Here is how to secure the talent you need.

2020 was a challenging year, but managers can draw on lessons learned from the pandemic and new trends in our industry to build a marketing team that’s strong, inspired and digitally focused in 2021. Keep these insights and in-demand skills in mind to help you hire and retain top talent in the new year.