What makes a winning team?

Posted On by Tony Spelkens

Looking at the matches of the European championship one wonders what makes the best team to set out to run for eternal glory.

Whereas the goal for football is quite simple: win, the possible goals for a marketeer today seem to multiply for each new channel. And even within a channel one might aim for different things such as customer centricity or digital, price or service leadership. One thing is sure, you will need to be realistic, else you will aim for the title and be hopelessly lost when you don’t get through the first round.

Without focusing too much on the goal itself, what are the qualities a team needs to get there? Adding to the point above, you need a team that is able to handle setbacks for sure, but next to that are intrinsic team quality, team spirit and above all believe.

Handle setbacks

The road to the top is seldom build on one super decision. More often you will make bad decisions and they will influence your performance. The only thing that is more painful than a bad decision, is not learning from it and making it again and again. Make sure your team is self-critical without living in the past. Always look for the next match and try to win with what you know now.

Intrinsic team quality

Not all teams have star players, but not all teams with star players win matches. The star players in marketing are those who are able to combine strategy, sector knowledge, technology and creativity. These ‘white ravens’, as we call them in Dutch, are rare and before you go scouting, why not consider going for the combined team. Low on creativity? Add a creative marketeer! Low on the technology possibilities? Add a marketing technologist! And no, not always a full-time equivalent is needed.

Team spirit

When you’re winning, the team spirit is easy. But when under stress the devil’s tail shows. Work with people that want to work with you. Avoid negativism, embrace drive and celebrate victory. Cherish people that let other people score instead of scoring themselves. Have fun, if a customer is confronted directly or indirectly with nice, happy and caring people, it rubs off on the interaction.


Nothing kills a team more than a lack of trust in their knowledge or good intentions. But believe also comes from their interactions with customers because they matter as much as the sponsor. In football terms the customers are the fans whose hearts you either win or loose. The extra motivation that comes from these fans is far greater than any monetary rewards or awards.

Ok, marketing is no football, but at least as a company you should always focus on the fans/customers, because with who else would you celebrate your wins?