by Rebecca Trengove
, posted on 2 Dec '20

8 Elements You Need for a Successful Marketing Team


All higher education marketing teams are striving to achieve similar goals and objectives but what makes you different to the rest? Rebecca Trengove’s team at the University of Dundee was named Marketing Team of the Year at the Heist Awards 2019 so we asked her to share her experience.


With most higher education marketing teams now working from home, teams and individuals have had to adapt to new ways of working, as well sector and market changes. What stays constant are the core elements of success. As the Director of Marketing & Communications, I’ve led the University of Dundee’s marketing team the last five years and learnt that the following elements are needed to build a great team.

#1 Clarity of purpose

This is essential - your team need to understand the team’s overall purpose and their individual roles in delivering that. The leader’s job is to communicate that purpose and keep it focused, setting realistic goals.

#2 Customer focus

Vital for any effective marketing team. In higher education that means continually seeking to understand what prospective students want, how those desires or needs align with our offer and how we pitch that offer most effectively. As well as external market insights, use your in-country teams, agents, academic staff and recruitment colleagues.

#3 Collaboration

No-one has all the answers, and good teams recognise and draw on their different skills, and those of colleagues outside their immediate team, in order to achieve their common purpose.

#4 Commitment

If people believe in what they’re doing they’re really committed to it. Your overall university mission may help here – at the University of Dundee knowing that we are transforming lives is a very powerful motivator.

#5 Continual development

We’re always a work in progress, as individuals and as a team, and Marketing as a discipline is constantly changing so we need to develop as well. How to do that?

  • Seek opportunities for upskilling as both individuals and teams, potentially by bringing expertise in-house and sharing that knowledge around the team.
  • Encourage team members to take charge of their own development (it’s their career after all so they should invest time in it).
  • Empower people to come up with their own ideas and supporting them/make decisions.
  • Review and reflect on activities and outcomes, as an individual and as a team, and adjust where necessary.

#6 Agility

As well as Marketing itself changing, so do our external circumstances, never more so than this year, so we need to be ready and able to adapt speedily.

#7 Compassion

We’re all human and we all face challenges, whether personal or professional. This year those have come in spades and in a good team people look out for and support each other.

#8 Celebrate

It’s important to celebrate progress against targets and successes, both individual and team, to build a sense of momentum and cohesion. And it’s a good excuse for a social outside work hours.


Rebecca recently presented at our November Marketing Conference webinar. Each month, we’re inviting colleagues from across the sector to share best practice and learnings with you at our FREE webinars. In December we’re taking a break, but we’ll be back in January with a PhD themed webinar. To find out more and hear when registration opens, email [email protected] to be added to our mailing list or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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