With marketing teams facing layoffs and budget pressure, it’s easy to think talent retention should be the least of a marketing manager’s worries. After all, you need to focus on keeping the ship afloat. But that’s faulty logic – looking after your top crew is never more vital than when the waters get rough.

You see, with smaller teams, you need each member pulling more weight. Doing outstanding work, not just filling seats. It does no good to simply throw more warm bodies at a problem. You need to retain marketing talent who can steer you through the storm.

Invest in retaining the bright minds, and you’ll have clear skies ahead. Lose them, and you’re sunk. This is the worst time to have people abandoning ship – so here’s how to keep them aboard.

First, you’ve got to show your team you’re committed to helping them get ahead in their careers.

Take a page from Coca-Cola’s book – they were named the number one employer of choice in the US for good reason. Coke offers employees full visibility into open positions all around the company and encourages them to take on short-term assignments to build new skills. Savvy workers know that if there’s nothing left to learn at a company, it’s time to ship out. Even if your marketing department isn’t massive, look for ways people can stretch their legs with new roles, campaigns, and challenges, like learning new AI marketing tools. A little variety and growth potential go a long way.

Next, give your team more say in big decisions, within reason.

Nobody likes a dictatorship! Solicit input from all levels when plotting strategy, through surveys, 1:1s and town halls. You make the final calls, sure, but knowing their voices are heard keeps people engaged. As they prove themselves, start loosening the reins and delegating decisions to them directly. Let them skin their knees a bit without coming down hard. Empowerment is motivating!

Finally, don’t get hung up on degrees when scouting talent.

It’s less about the right qualifications and more about the right qualities. Critical thinking, communication skills, and strategic chops – are what matter as routine tasks get automated away. Raw talent trumps pieces of paper. Some of the sharpest tacks I ever met didn’t go to college. So bin any CV prejudices and focus on competence.

There you have it – a few tips to attract and retain marketing talent even when job listings are bursting at the seams. Because at the end of the day, it’s talented people who’ll help your department thrive come rain or shine. Invest in them, and they’ll return the favour.


dee fletcher

Dee-Anne Fletcher

HR & Marketing Divisional Manager