Building the right team regardless of your discipline is one of the hardest things to do in management, and one of the most important things to do in team building is create a culture that supports the organization as well as the marketing mission. Obviously, it starts with the right people, but culture must go beyond people if you want it to sustain itself as people inevitably leave yet the culture stays behind.
One of the first things to do is to make sure the organization knows that marketing is a little different. The people and processes that make up marketing require some parts that may not make sense to other groups. Having the support of the company to give your marketing team leeway to build it for success even though it may look slightly weird to others is important. That being said, make sure you don't go off the deep end either - there should be some sense of the overall corporate culture as you're building the one for marketing.
Another thing to think about is the environment in which the marketing team lives. The creative element that is essential to marketing success has to be fostered and nurtured environmentally. I'm not a big fan of the foosball table or action figures on the desks, but the marketing team can't live in a place that looks like it was made for accountants. Try to create a place that enables collaboration and creativity and it will help bring the best out of your marketing team.
It's also important to make sure fun is included. Everyone does the team outing and birthday lunch thing, but try to go beyond that and do little things each week or month that brings out the spirit of the group and add. Have games or get-togethers tied around your schedule that people can look forward to, but just as important is creating a daily sense of enjoyment among the team and in the process. We all know that we face a lot of pressure from our clients and the market so the more we can keep things fun within the walls of marketing a defining culture will emerge.
Finally, you need to think about rewards and recognition that embody the culture you want and the kind of behaviors you want to instill. We all want to be noticed for our work and part of the joy of being in an effective culture is the opportunity to do good work and know that it's appreciated. Knowing that you will be recognized for great work pushed good work forward and helps the entire team do better. This is true for individual rewards and group rewards as well, so think about ways to reward departments or teams that go above and beyond.
Culture is important and it's worth creating and defending. A winning marketing culture will help the company because it will yield the best marketing programs that exemplify creativity and excitement and will make the marketing team a true asset to the organization. It will create great marketing professionals and build a cast of future marketing leaders. Most importantly, it will help build a legacy that will go beyond tenures and leaders into something more everlasting.