How Lean Marketing Teams Outperform Large Ones

by Growth Marketing Firm, on Mar 11, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Remember how in Mad Men there was at least one scene per episode in which Don Draper pitched a marketing campaign that he’d been working on for months to a big client? 

The client–always the head of the entire company–would turn up his nose and say, “Nah, that’s not going to work, but I look forward to what you’ll come up with next month for that product.” And Don would just go back to the drawing board for the month and come up with the creative idea at the last minute.

Yeah, thank goodness that’s not even remotely how it works (or should work!) now. 

A marketing professional talking to a small team in a modern workspace.

Marketing Gets a Sequel

Marketing in the digital age is driven in real time by a market that demands that it be done that way. 

Because, data

And nobody does real-time, creativity, and data like lean, agile marketing teams with the right tools to do their jobs. 

They communicate with each other more than larger teams and tend to have a growth mindset in which progress has infinitely more value than perfection. 

They’re empowered to just do it, so they do. 

A lean team’s best dance move is the pivot, not an arabesque. Because that’s what the market demands. 

They don’t call it “marketing” for nothing, after all. 

Let’s take a look at exactly why lean teams are a better bet for your marketing ROI than traditional, large marketing teams. 

It comes down to these four simple concepts: 

  • Communication
  • A growth mindset
  • Data
  • Tools 

Lean Communication

Perhaps it worked in the 60s, but in the digital age, it’s just not possible or necessary for C-suite to approve the marketing for each product or service under their watch. 

Sure, executives should oversee their company’s branding, but not the subject header for every email campaign, right?!

To keep only the right people in the mix at the right time, lean teams use communication strategies like the DARCI model. It allows everyone to know who needs to be involved in which decisions when, how, and where. 

It’s like a healthy boundary that keeps things balanced–and the creative energy directed freely in the right direction–instead of every decision being pushed up to management and then back down again. 

Because they’re often small, lean teams communicate at a high level, which builds the synergy they need to: 

  • develop ideas quickly 
  • agree on a helpful tech stack that they all can use well, and 
  • generate enough creativity to practically power their own laptops. 

When designs, copy, or campaigns don’t work out, they know it (again, data!), and they adjust on the fly. 

Progress > Perfection

A group of people helping one person up a small rocky cliff by the ocean with a rope with text that reads “Progress > Perfection” from Growth Marketing Firm.

Lean marketing teams that do well are agile and make it their mission to maintain a true growth mindset that values creativity, innovation, and progress over perfection. 

This makes them better at pivoting when a design isn’t working as well as it could because they generally have backup designs ready to go. 

Lean teams, in tandem with marketing strategists, often do the hands-on work themselves–and, more often, the copywriters, designers, and developers are empowered to make final creative decisions and have a healthy amount of creative capital. 

They’re also more likely to be on a first-name basis with people on the sales and customer service teams, so they’re much more in tune with what the revops teams need in the way of content to drive sales and delight customers. 

Lean teams are often creative teams that listen carefully to exactly what sales reps need, and what actual customers are saying they want.

Data Drives It All

Companies that depend on data to make decisions about what’s working can afford to move fast. 

Marketing now is about getting the MVP out yesterday and letting the real-time data say whether it’s “going to work out” or not. 

If a headline or a campaign strategy (or any marketing asset at all) doesn’t work, you know within 24 hours. The market literally tells you it’s not working because it either drives traffic or it doesn’t. 

Because everything marketing (and sales + customer experience, for that matter) is filtered through a CRM (or should be) like HubSpot, metrics are immediately available that show whether assets need to be zhuzhed or even scrapped. 

A/B testing tools are built into HubSpot CRM and tests can be done way in advance of launch that show data on what will and won’t work.  


What used to make large teams valuable–big talent, big resources, big equipment–now tends to slow them down. At the end of the day, all of that is needlessly expensive and clunky. 

Now, what used to cost thousands of dollars to design can now be better accomplished with a creative team + a good subscription to Canva, HubSpot, Slack, Asana, and Vidyard (not to give away too much about our own tech stack). 

When you have a lean marketing team that’s given creative license and the right tools, they save boatloads of money and time for your business. 

How do we know a lean team works better? Because we ARE a lean team with over-the-moon clients who think we’re the cat’s pajamas because we quickly and professionally meet their sales enablement, inbound marketing, HubSpot onboarding + service, website design + development, branding + content, and discovery + strategy needs. 

Want to be in that place? Talk to an actual human at Growth! We’re right here.

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Topics:Inbound MarketingMarketing StrategyB2BDataTech StackGrowth Mindset