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The landscape of marketing is volatile, ever-changing and never stays still for a second. Yesterday’s skills rapidly become obselete, and new skills have to be picked up on the fly.

So when it comes to managing a team of marketeers, how can you possibly keep pace and stay relevant? James sits down with Kale Duncan, SBM’s Head of Marketing, to discuss staying ahead of the curve and how to surround yourself with the best people you possibly can.


JAMES: So this is a bit of a controversial question. Something that we quite often come across in our business and our roles, and that is when businesses are at the point where they have either a marketing person or a small marketing team, and they’re ready to go to the next level.

How do they go about actually creating that marketing team within their business or externally? What skillsets do they need to look for?

KALE: If we’re looking practically, experience with digital platforms and the digital space is always going to be helpful. It’s a language in and of itself, and knowing the vocabulary just puts you in much better stead; it lets you hit the ground running.

So that’s from a practical point of view, something people should look for. The other thing is, I guess, a little more esoteric. If we’re looking for the right kinds of people in the digital marketing field, I find the curious people to be most effective. The people who are always looking for the answers, the people who are always trying to solve the problem, the people who see the data and want to know what happened, the people who see the gaps in a markerplace and try to fill them.

Anyone with that kind of intellectual curiosity is going to be a boon to any marketing department.

JAMES: Now I think that’s pretty much the answer I thought you were going to give, which was why I asked it. And I think that’s one of the challenging things that most businesses do face. Like we’ve said before about some of the other topics we’ve discussed, it can seem really daunting, the whole topic of marketing and digital marketing. There’s so many different variants and so much information that can come at us that we can sometimes feel bamboozled.

It’s not like other roles where you can go ‘tick’, yes, you have that skill, yes you have that skill, because in digital marketing, tomorrow there’s a new skill on the list and ten of the other skills are no longer required! So I think that idea, that way of thinking is even more important than the skills that are necessarily available, and I think that’s how you’ve built such a great marketing team at Smith Brothers Media as well.

KALE: Yeah, I mean, you’re right, they’re insanely awesome. But I can’t take terribly much credit for it. I try to make it a point to surround myself with the best people that I can, and the combined brainpower of the entire team is going to be so much more than the sum of the individual parts. As you mentioned before, the digital marketing space is changing in an instant. New things are coming up all the time.

We need to be across changes in industry news, we need to be agile, we need to be flexible. But we need to be more than just *looking* at what’s changing. We need to be embracing what’s changing. Something that I try to do from the top level down is have a very open attitude towards marketing, an open attitude towards creativity and innovation, and always striving to change and adapt. And the reason the whole team is great is because they all feel the same way that I do.

No one here is driven by anything other than trying to find THE best marketing practices we can do. If it means that we need to change what we’ve been doing for the last five years, we need to change what everyone’s been doing for the last ten years, we’re not going to bat an eye, because we’re willing to move forward, and if that data backs up what we’re saying…the data doesn’t lie.

Everything is going to be more effective in this method, the data proves it, we’ve got a willingness to change.

JAMES: I think that’s one of the things that drew me to digital marketing in the first place, was the fact that it IS a young industry, history DOES repeat itself, sometimes multiple times within a twelve-month cycle. We’re able to learn much more rapidly than you can in other industries.

What’s really interesting is that if you stay learning, you’re always going to be ahead, because the old learning that you had is no longer necessarily applicable. I think that’s one thing I love about the team that you’ve created, and the way that you think. So hats off to you, Kale, and the rest of the team, and I want to thank you for joining me, and sharing some of your insightful knowledge!

KALE: Happy to be here. I love talking, you know me.



Want to know how to get in contact with truly great marketing experts? Contact Smith Brothers Media for a business discovery session today!

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