Everyone always asks, "What digital marketing tactics or strategies should we employ this year to really move the needle? Is it influencer marketing? Is it web personalization? Is it TikTok?" While your marketing activities are obviously an important part of your team's success, our first response is almost always to take a peek behind the strategy curtain before thinking about shiny new tactics.
Today we're going to walk through the most underrated marketing tool at your disposal -- the team charter. Before you fall asleep or click away, hear me out! If you've ever felt like your team was stuck in a rut, or a state of controlled chaos, there is a good chance that it's time to take 10 giant steps backward, and give some TLC to the basics of your team's operations. For us, the best way to do that is with a charter.
A team charter is a cornerstone document that outlines key aspects about your digital marketing team -- why you exist, what you're tasked to do, how you will operate, what roles exist on the team, and other defining characteristics. The purpose is to document the core details of your team so that anyone -- whether they are on the team or not -- knows exactly what to expect and what you're working towards.
Moreover, for those on the team, it is an agreement. An agreement for what's expected of their role; an agreement for what they can expect from their teammates; an agreement for how they should approach their work. In essence, it helps any member of the team truly buy-in to "the team", rather than simply working independently next to their coworkers.
Simply put, a digital marketing team is one of the most complex teams in an organization. By nature, this team is made up of cross-functional experts, from writers and designers to developers and technologists, and everywhere between (managers, traffic specialists, web editors, project managers, PR specialists, media buyers. The list goes on and on). Chances are, everyone on the team will have vastly different experience and expertise, and therefore will have different context from which they do their best work. Without a charter, these unique contexts are a recipe for multiple directions, lack of coordination, and loss of effectiveness. Even if everyone is doing their best work individually, if they are all sprinting in opposite directions, there is little hope for managing a unified digital marketing program.
A charter pulls your team together. No matter their function or expertise, anyone operating under this governance document is tasked with going the same direction and working from the same foundational principles. Yes, they will still flex their own individual expertise and work-style, but it will be enveloped within the overall approach of the team. It's this unification that is truly the most valuable benefit of a team charter.
Without it, you're in a state of chaos -- controlled or otherwise.
There is no *one* team charter template that works for every team. However, we've included an outline here of some of the most important components to consider (At the end of the post, we also have a downloadable Word document that can get you started).
Below you'll find a team charter template that we've used with a number of clients to get the ball rolling. In every case, we ended up adding or subtracting elements of the template to fit the exact needs of the team. Some need more prescriptive direction, while some simply need a barebones framework.
We recommend taking this template and working through it as is at first. Fill out the whole thing as it fits the specifications of your team. By the end, if you need to add more context in certain areas, or new sections entirely, go for it! The point is not to regurgitate a cookie cutter team charter template -- but rather use it as an accelerator to develop a critically useful governance document for your digital marketing team.
Got more questions about your digital strategy? We'd love to talk to you!