More Than the Sum: Marketing Team Members

There are a wide range of traits and conditions that work together to create a finely tuned marketing machine. You’ll find them enumerated in any number of articles online and elsewhere. In 2015, Google shed some light on what makes a great team in general with their Aristotle Project. The result of this project was a list of five characteristics that work together to make an average team great:

  • Psychological safety

  • Dependability

  • Structure and clarity

  • Meaning of work

  • Impact of work

Extrapolating from these core traits, we can find the specific factors that any company should keep in mind when building and managing a successful marketing juggernaut.
 


 

Here’s a good list to start with:

  1. Goal orientation: A clear, shared goal is the fuel that focuses your team and allows it to avoid a scattershot approach to the task at hand. If we all agree on where we’re going, we’re much more likely to arrive successfully.

  2. Strong, decisive leadership: Democracy is all well and good, but when you need a diverse team to stay on course towards a shared goal, it takes a leader who can step in when things go awry and keep the train on the tracks.

  3. Accountability: Or call it Mutual support/credit sharing/conflict resolution. A successful team is comprised of members who know their jobs, can be counted on to get them done, own their mistakes as opportunities to grow, and share credit where credit is due.

  4. Communication/transparency/coordination: Clear goals, decisive leadership, and accountability only work when the entire team knows what’s going on. But, if communication is too frequent or unclear, it can quickly turn from advantage to annoyance. Remember the “3 Cs.” Good communication should be Clear, Concise, and Coherent.

  5. Passion: We work better and harder when we believe in what we do. Does our work personally have meaning for us? Do we believe it makes a difference for others? If not, we may be on the wrong team.

  6. Data-oriented/metrics-based: Is your marketing budget right for your company and strategy? Are you investing enough? Are you investing in the right goals? Are you setting realistic but challenging targets? Having no data is like trying to build rockets with no blueprints. In the dark.

  7. Role clarity/skill diversity/specialization: This one’s tricky. It depends on your resources and the size of your company. Ideally, you have a team of specialists who can focus all of their attention on one area of responsibility. A smaller company, on the other hand, must rely more on “generalists” and take a more “fractional” approach to building their ideal marketing team.

Now let’s take a look at the structure of marketing teams, what they do, and how to most effectively build and improve them.

 

Complete Your Digital Marketing Team At A Fraction Of The Cost

What Does the Marketing Department Do?

Marketing teams have a variety of responsibilities that may vary depending on their objectives. Some common marketing team roles include investigative tasks like researching market trends and tools, carrying out customer satisfaction surveys on marketing decisions, researching and identifying your target audience, and monitoring the success of competitors.

As a result of these investigations, marketing teams and their strategists are also responsible for developing a brand image and strategies to maintain its consistency. They manage social media pages and related campaigns. They design ongoing and temporary customer outreach and loyalty campaigns. Create images and messages to convey brand values and drive sales. And develop and maintain your brand’s website.

Finally, they negotiate with ad placement agencies and carry out all of these duties by attending weekly meetings to discuss goals and deliverables and working with sales teams to coordinate overall marketing efforts.

 

SEO and More: What Does a Digital Marketing Team Do

“Digital marketing,” as you may rightly surmise, is also known as “online marketing.” Like marketing in general, digital marketing covers a diverse menu of functions.

Generally, it refers to increasing brand awareness and sales by way of strategies to boost online visibility and convert digital browsers into buyers. This is often done through specialized strategies like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), email marketing, advertising, and the publishing of digitally optimized content (images and messages) that are designed to convey core values, drive conversions, and increase loyalty.

Oftentimes, these products and services are promoted in virtual communities or online websites, designed to appeal to and provide a captivating digital experience that customers seek after.
 

SEO spelled using scrabble blocks.

 

The most effective Digital marketers use social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to publish messages and promote their business in diverse and thought-provoking ways.

Simply put, Digital marketers and strategists work to build an online community and connect with ideal potential customers in a way that general marketing can’t accomplish.

While all of this may sound familiar, digital marketers focus their marketing efforts solely online and through digital channels.

 

Marketing Roles

Depending upon the resources available to you and your company’s individual priorities, there are a variety of roles and skillsets you’ll need to consider filling when building your ideal marketing department or marketing team. Do you want more generalists or more specialists? Is a fractional approach that makes use of specialists on a part-time basis the right approach for you, or do you want to keep it all in-house and full-time?

Regardless of your decisions as to which and how many roles will be assigned to individual team members, here are some of the duties you’ll want to make sure are covered:

A graphic showing the marketing team working together.

 

  1. Marketing Manager or The Marketing Mind: Oversees the entirety of your marketing campaign(s). The marketing manager collaborates with, motivates, and manages team members to meet deadlines and goals. They monitor the team’s progress, provide coaching, and resolve conflicts. 

  2. The Metrics Interpreter: The number cruncher. The data doctor. Their role is to gather and analyze the data that provide insights on current marketing strategy performance. They help you to better understand the success of strategies, help you make informed marketing decisions and shine light on ways to improve upon your methods in the future.

  3. Copywriter or Wordsmith: If your marketing efforts are wide-ranging enough that the content manager can’t do it all themselves, you’ll need at least one of these for them to oversee. The copywriter creates copy for blogs, ebooks, or white papers. They write scripts for videos or podcasts. Need words? This is where you get them. 

  4. Relationship Builder: A relationship builder understands how to connect and prioritize customer needs, building a foundational relationship of trust and transparency. They listen and help bring valuable feedback to the table to optimize strategies and skills across the board.

  5. The Technical Architect: They’re not just SEO experts. This specialist also develops inbound and digital marketing strategies as they relate to SEO in collaboration with the content marketer, data analyst, and public relations manager. They know the tools and how to best use them.

  6. The Creative Mind: responsible for a variety of tasks. They help ensure that your visual marketing materials align with your brand's values and objectives. They keep graphic design choices consistent across all platforms. 

  7. Project Manager: A project manager guides your team members. They’re responsible for bringing a concept to life through organized workflows to efficiently achieve the desired result of a project. They identify and coordinate the resources needed to complete a task, assign roles and tasks to team members, create and oversee a schedule, review the budget, and document reports.

More specific roles may include:

Public Relations Manager: Your PR person is the caretaker and architect of the public perception of your brand. They harness all marketing team members and work together to establish consistency and a positive brand image across your marketing efforts.

Content Manager: This individual oversees the writing, editing, and publishing of any kind of written content you may need across marketing channels. They may work closely with SEO specialists to align content with your brand's objectives by incorporating SEO strategies and keywords to increase traffic to your websites.

Web Developer: Your website can have a significant impact on the success of your overall marketing efforts. The web developer creates a website that‘s consistent with your brand's image, one that’s easily navigated and attractive to your target audience. It’s their job to create an internet presence that best supports your overall objectives.

Social Media Manager: It takes more than an occasional tweet, selfie, or thumbs up to capitalize on the awesome potential that is social media. This social butterfly is the voice of your company on your social media accounts. They know the latest terminology and are key members of any marketing team. Social media platforms are customer service conduits, providing an easy two-way exchange. According to Statista, 59% of customers prefer brands that reply to their questions or complaints on social media. The social media manager is your voice in the social media darkness.

 

Marketing Team Structure

Depending upon the size of your company, there are a variety of ways to create the perfect structure for your In-house or fractional marketing team.

A billion-dollar company might have 10 to 15 people in its marketing department. As the size of the company decreases, though, the number of specialists will be reduced, and the breadth of each marketer’s capabilities will increase.

Let’s take a look at some sample structures for small, medium, and large companies.
 

A picture of interconnected gears in different sizes.

 

The Big Dogs

In that billion-dollar company, you’ll likely have a VP of Marketing - someone to oversee the direction of strategic marketing, the budget, as well as upward communication and reporting.

The remaining positions reflect any large company’s participation in a mixed bag of channels – from events to a plethora of channels across digital.

Positions like product marketer, copywriter, content designer digital strategist, social media manager, SEO experts and developers can exist individually, or sometimes be broken down into departments, depending on the organizational structure of the company and its managerial requirements.



The Middle of the Road

What about a 50-million-dollar company?

Here, you’ll typically find just three to four marketers. You’ll still likely find the executive-level marketer, a CMO, or perhaps a VP driving strategy. These are likely a combination of positions - the VP of Sales and Marketing, but they’re still tasked with driving strategy and perhaps revenue.

The positions underneath this executive are marketing implementation roles, but these positions are pushing the limits of effectiveness if they're tasked with doing everything themselves, so they’ll typically outsource areas like web design and development, copywriting, or even work on specific channels, like social media marketing. 

You’ll likely need at least six positions if you want to accomplish everything in-house - your marketing team should be at 70-80% of capacity. The alternative is to work with an outsourced marketing team partner or freelancers.



The Little Guys

For a 3-million-dollar company or small business, you might have only one or two marketers tasked with doing everything. These jack-of-all-trades marketers work directly with executives like the CEO to determine and carry out everything from strategy down to social media publishing.

Because of this lean staffing, these companies might also hire agencies and freelancers to supplement limited bandwidth and limited resources.

 

Marketing Team Org Chart

 

O8's Ideal Marketing Team Structure


 

How to Improve Your Digital Marketing Team

Chances are unless you’re just starting out, you’ve got a marketing team of some sort in place. So, what steps can you take to improve that team and your marketing efforts, in general, to take your company to the next level?

Here are 15 tips to guide you:

Include Multiple Stakeholders

When you’re assessing your marketing strategy, include as many stakeholders as you can from within your company. Everyone in your company should have a chance to provide their input. 

Identify the Gaps in Your Marketing Strategy

Where are the gaps in your current strategy? Is your existing infrastructure up to the task? Do you need to develop more efficient processes to support your marketing plans?

Double-Down On Your Core Strengths

What are the core strengths of your current marketing department?

Identify Your Most Important KPIs

Digital marketing lets you track virtually any kind of data you can think of. It’s tempting to track everything but if you spread yourself too thin, it’s hard to stay on top of any of it.

Set Your KPI Targets

Once you decide what KPIs you’re going to focus on, set targets for each of them. 

Create a Reporting System to Track Your KPIs

Knowing what KPIs you’re focused on and having goals to aim for won’t help if you don’t have an effective way to measure your results.

Create Audience Segments and Personas

There are very few products or services that appeal to everyone. Most have a narrow target market, to varying degrees. Some products might even appeal to different people in different ways.

Identify Internal Barriers

As you gather more and more data about your marketing campaigns, you’ll likely identify barriers in your process. Once you identify those gaps, use the intelligence you gather to define your action plan.

Look for Efficiencies

Are there areas where you’re doubling up on efforts between two departments? Or is there a way to streamline a process to get the same results in less time?

Recruit Top Talent

You should always be on the lookout for “A” players in your market.

Develop a Performance Mindset Throughout Your Organization

Everyone in your company, from the customer-facing teams to the lowest-profile job, should be performance-driven. They all need to understand your strategy and goals so they can do their part to help the company reach them.

Create Your Marketing Funnel

Your marketing funnel is the path your customers take from the point they first land on your website to becoming a paying client. It gets its name from the visualization of how the process works.

Balance Short-Term and Long-Term Marketing Campaigns:

Short-term marketing campaigns can be quite profitable. If you can tap into a current event or something happening in your market, you might be able to generate a lot of traffic and sales. 

Long-term campaigns take a lot of time to set up and may need to run for a while before you start seeing results.

Ideally, you should have a mix of both types of campaigns in your marketing. 

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools in Place

Once you have your initial strategy planned out, make sure you have all the tools you need to execute it. This is particularly important for your technology stack since the tools need to be in place before you’ll be able to gather certain types of data.

Stand Out From the Rest of Your Market

At the end of the day, one of the best ways to improve your marketing department is to be remarkable in your industry. If your company is the first one that comes to mind when your customers need the products or services you offer, you won’t need to do nearly as much work to generate new business.

 

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O8 is a web and digital marketing consultancy based in Minneapolis, MN offering expert-level UX Design, CRO, and strategic consulting, as well as highly-technical capabilities in Drupal, WordPress, and HubSpot

We work differently from traditional agencies in that we extend your team with ours.