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The Perfect Digital Marketing Team Structure

Reading time: 16 minutes
Improve Your Marketing Department

Today's digital landscape is competitive, and consumer behaviors change constantly. So, companies must look for creative ways to boost visibility, credibility, and profit to stay in business.

The problem is most businesses don't have well-structured marketing teams to ideate and execute these creative ways. Take most companies' ability to generate inbound leads, for example. Only five out of 100 marketing professionals believe their content teams are structured for success. You risk losing leads, customers, and profits without the proper marketing team structure.

You'll also lose ground to competitors with well-structured teams. Teams that complement each other's skills look for ways to innovate and have the skills to execute that vision.

The ideal composition varies based on the organization's specific goals and needs. But having collaborated with dozens of marketing teams, we have seen that the most successful ones tend to fill these roles. Individually, these positions solve every marketing problem your company has. Collectively, they complement each other's skill sets and are equipped to innovate.

Note: If you'd like to skip the hiring process and tap into an existing team of marketing industry veterans, you can learn about our agency here and our fractional marketing services here.

What Kind of People Make up a Great Marketing Team?

Key Marketing Team Roles

Marketing leadership can make or break a marketing team, and can positively (or negatively) impact the company's entire revenue generation efforts. So, this is the most important thing to get right.

Marketing Leadership (CMO, CRO, and other titles)
Marketing Leadership Structure

Marketing leadership oversees the entire operation and ensures the smooth and successful execution of the marketing strategy. This can be a CMO, VP of Marketing, Director of Marketing, or a combination of these roles, sometimes substituting "growth," "demand," or other trendy terms for "marketing" in their title.

Without a CMO, the marketing team lacks direction and strategy. This makes it hard to get everyone on the same page and allocate budgets effectively for your digital marketing strategy. Certain organizations will even hire a part-time fractional CMO.

Some organizations have a Chief Revenue Officer instead of or in addition to a CMO for several reasons, mainly related to the holistic approach to revenue generation and alignment of sales and marketing functions.

In today's tech-heavy digital marketing environment, the role of Marketing Operations has emerged as an important leadership role.

What follows are several roles that exist in the perfect marketing team structure. All of them do not always directly report to marketing leadership — sometimes some report to intermediaries like the Editorial Director and Acquisitions Director.

Editorial Director

Within 0.05 seconds, website visitors form their first impression of your brand. The editorial director ensures that the first interaction with all your content is positive. They supervise text like ad copy, graphical content like infographics, and audiovisual content generation and oversee all efforts to attract and retain interest. This way, your company is better suited to convert visitors into leads and eventual customers.

Reports to: CMO or VP/Director of Marketing.


Content Manager

Content Managers direct the content marketing strategy and all content generated for and by the company. They ensure every piece of content is up to the desired levels of quality and adheres to brand guidelines. They also help develop content to attract and retain traffic through all the target channels.

Without a content manager, team members not used to building inbound demand must coordinate content creation and distribution themselves. This is time-consuming and leads to inconsistencies in content or missed opportunities.

Reports to: Editorial Director.


Blog Writer

Once considered a simple trendy feature, blog writers have become one of the driving forces behind inbound lead generation for companies.

Those in charge of writing and editing the content for blogs are tasked with the immense responsibility of presenting target audiences with the right amount of value to generate further engagement through the marketing funnel.
HubSpot's blog is a well-known example of blog writers' power. They established the brand as a thought leader and a trustworthy company. Without them, their reputation, monthly traffic, and inbound revenue would be hundreds of millions of dollars less valuable.


Media Editor (Video + Audio)

Video and audio podcast engagement have grown substantially over the last few years. According to Demand Sage, in 2019, there were approximately 274.8 million podcast listeners. However, by 2023, the number had risen to 464.7 million, indicating a remarkable increase of around 69.16%.

Media editors (media specialists, in some cases) ensure all media content, such as video or audio, is of the highest quality and meets your brand standards. They also work closely with content creators and designers to edit and produce engaging content that speaks directly to your target audience. The absence of one will hinder your team's ability to create high-quality, engaging video and audio content, costing you time and money.


Community Manager / Social Media Manager (SMMs)

Social media is more than just a way to promote content and ideas. These are the channels prospects and customers use to communicate directly with a company, offer feedback, issue complaints, or just start a conversation with a brand they love.

SMMs need a high level of emotional intelligence and empathy to handle everything – the good and the bad – with tactical care to avoid offending anyone and giving the business harmful exposure and with the shrewdness to make full use of all the feedback to make suggestions to improve operations.

Social media managers also leverage marketing tools and analyze feedback from your social media campaigns to provide invaluable insights and recommendations for enhancing business operations. That's why SMMs play a crucial role for brands that do social media marketing.

Their expertise helps increase brand awareness, maintain a positive brand image, and cultivate lasting customer loyalty.

Reports to: Acquisitions Director


Creative Manager

Creative Managers supervise the company's brand's visual and audiovisual assets. From the website structure and layout to the logo to the tactical actions to ensure a top-of-mind with the audiences, this role requires the capacity to innovate and attention to detail.

Creative teams lack direction without a dedicated leader. Branding tends to be inconsistent, messaging unrelatable, and marketing unprofitable. All while doing more work than a growth-driven designer or creative director would indicate. 


Front-end Developer

Your website is the face of your online business. If the Editorial Director ensures clothes look good in the showcase, the front-end Developer guarantees that the store where these garments are displayed looks pristine. 

When presented in terms of a retail business, it sounds obvious that you want someone to guarantee a fantastic buying experience. But most online companies don't act upon this "obvious" knowledge. Kanopi found that almost 8 out of 10 prospects bounce off a website that doesn't get its user experience on point. Having a front-end developer prevents this from happening.


Brand Strategist

Brand Strategists lead the strategic parts of creative marketing activities. 

  • What kind of logo would work best and why? 
  • What colors and fonts should be used on the website? 
  • Is the company tone funny or professional? 

The brand strategist's job is to answer these questions using hard data and proven methods to optimize the company's presentation. 

 

Acquisitions Director

Acquisitions Directors oversee all efforts to convert leads and close customers. They ensure the more technical aspects of the marketing strategy are optimized, such as the content for search engines or the website for optimal engagement. They also oversee the team that handles all the direct attempts to target prospects, such as paid campaigns and sales.

Reports to: CMO or VP/Director of Marketing.

Graphic Designer

The more visuals your content has, the better it tends to perform. Images make blog posts likelier to succeed, social media posts more captivating, and ads more scroll-stopping. 

Graphic designers are the people who include engaging visuals in your communications. They translate decision-makers' vision into a consistent image that makes the brand stand out among competitors. 


Analytics Manager

Analytics Managers oversee data. Their job is to leverage the power of metrics to fix or improve issues and generate the best possible results based on scientific analysis. They are optimizers by nature.


Data Analyst

Data Analysts take the cold, complex data provided by any range of analytics tools and give it meaning. 

  • Are users staying longer on one page than others? 
  • Are they clicking some links more and others fewer times? 
  • Are they interacting with a specific page but bouncing off without further engagement with the rest of the website? 

Data Analysts see behavior where others just see numbers, and they understand drive or lack thereof where others simply see metric parameters. These analysts will glean more profound answers from the data and make the appropriate suggestions for improvement. This role is invaluable to any digital marketing team as it helps you understand customer needs and how to satisfy them.


A/B Testing Specialist

When the CRO Specialists and Data Analysts reach conclusions and make observations based on data, the Testing Specialist takes that information and creates specialized tests to find the best versions for changes. This testing improves the likelihood of success for your marketing plan.

If something is not working, they devise several solutions and test them all out, using that secondary data to determine which works best. Many of these tests can sound unexciting because of their small scale. But they can be widely profitable.

For example, User Experience (UX) designer Jared Spool once changed the register button from a website to a continue button. This minor test resulted in $300 million worth of new revenue for the company he was working for.


Lead Generation Manager or Growth Hacker

Lead or Demand Generation Managers are focused on targeted acquisition. While others work from within the company, these guys find ways to go out there and proactively obtain leads. 

Sometimes called Growth Hackers, they will find quick, efficient ways to capture leads and drive them through the funnel to generate customers. Going without one can result in inefficient lead generation, missed opportunities, lower conversion rates, limited scalability, and a lack of specialized expertise. 

Reports to: Acquisitions Director


Email Specialist

Email Specialists aim to nurture relationships with your ideal customers through email, one of the most important digital marketing channels available to digital marketers

Whether as part of existing leads, a customer database, or a cold outreach campaign, these professionals need to be in complete mastery of their craft. The sheer volume of emails sent daily makes competition fierce, and they must know how to generate effective open rates and engagement with the content.


Paid Ads Specialist

Social media and search engines are powerful tools for marketing campaigns. Organic traffic is an excellent source of credibility and authority for companies, but the road to closing customers is long and arduous. Enter the Paid Ads Specialists.

These are experts in using the paid options of social media or the diverse range of paid ads across platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to target specific audiences and lure them in with copy or content explicitly designed for them. 
They are marketing sharpshooters who need to know where to aim, when to pull the trigger, and how to land that second shot through remarketing in case of a miss.


SEO Specialist

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialists exist outside everything and within every department. They understand what users are searching for and just what needs to be done to optimize paid ads, website or blog content, or even social media to drive organic traffic.

An SEO team will be full of keyword wizards, and their magic must permeate the entire marketing strategy. They optimize your web pages by conducting keyword research, optimizing on-page elements, monitoring performance, etc. These specialists create an SEO strategy that improves organic visibility, search rankings, and traffic.

Reports to: Acquisitions Director

 

From Strategists to Creators: The Dynamic Profiles of a Great Marketing Team

An archetype is a pattern of personality that humans have shown over time. For example, some people want to be heroes. Heroes take risks, strive for competence, and work on their weaknesses. Many people born with this archetype pursue careers that allow them to fulfill these needs, such as medicine to save people, law to spread justice, and the army to protect

Every archetype has strengths and weaknesses. Thus, you can't have a team full of just heroes. Instead, your marketing team should have people with different archetypes so you experience the benefits. There are seven archetypes in the context of marketing that you can mix.


The Thinker



These are the thinkers, the marketing strategists, who pool all their creative resources into giving life to elaborate plans and tactics that can reach the desired goals. They may be the ones to lead your marketing department's content marketing efforts or even its center of excellence.

Not every team needs a designated Marketing Mind, but having one can be incredibly beneficial. They can bring a fresh perspective to the team and push boundaries others may not have considered.

 

The Metrics Interpreter

 

These guys swear by the power of analytics – they live and die by the might of numbers and KPIs. These data-driven professionals will leverage complex mathematical information to develop solutions, interpreting figures to glean otherwise unfathomable insights.

 

 
 
 
The Wordsmith

 

Every letter, every word, every sentence, and every paragraph matters. They focus on content creation that will attract, retain, and connect with audiences, and they will tell stories that forge lasting emotional or intellectual bonds. This is usually your copywriter, email specialist, social media manager, etc.

 

 
 
 
The Relationship Builder

 

Prospects and customers want to know they are valued and their opinions matter. Relationship Builders are there to make sure that is the case. They engage with audiences through all available marketing channels, make them feel appreciated, listen and learn from their experiences, and turn that valuable feedback into ideas for potential optimization. They improve your customer experience exponentially.



 
 
The Technical Architect

 

They know all the tools and how to use them for the best results. They understand optimization for searches, email marketing, landing page conversion rates, PPC (like Google Ads and Facebook Ads), and every part of the process that may need technical know-how. They favor efficiency and results over anything else.

 

 
 
The Creative Mind

 

They have an eye for aesthetics and visualization. They think about how each part of a website or social media profile is structured matters, most regarding how visually appealing it is. They communicate through images and videos because artistic inspiration fuels their work.

These archetypes often compose all marketing teams, whether separate individuals, a single individual with many hats, or anything in-between. A marketing dream team should have a bit of each, working flawlessly and harmoniously.

 

The Project Manager

They manage deadlines, team members, resources, and overall project mechanics key to any efficient marketing team. A team of creative and technical people can only be powerful if they have the proper management to work together efficiently.

What Does the Ideal Marketing Team Structure Look Like?




 

What About a Small Marketing Department Structure?

A small marketing department structure consolidates several marketing roles into one, making team members wear several hats.   

For example, your CMO or fractional CMO may be digging into project work, SEO, web development, and several areas, delegating when possible. You may have a marketing manager who sometimes acts as a C-level. 

In-House vs Outsourced Marketing Team: What Options Exist and Which Is Best?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should  build an in-house marketing team, outsource, or some combination of both. Every option has pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your specific needs and resources. Here's a breakdown to help you decide:

Building an In-House Marketing Team:
  • Pros:
    • Deep Understanding of Your Brand: An in-house team can become intimately familiar with your company culture, products, and target audience, leading to more effective marketing campaigns.
    • Greater Alignment: In-house teams can collaborate easily with other departments, fostering smoother communication and faster decision-making.
    • Long-Term Cost-Effectiveness: Over time, an in-house team can become more cost-effective, especially for large companies with ongoing marketing needs.
  • Cons:
    • High Cost Upfront: Recruiting, hiring, and training a qualified marketing team can be expensive and time-consuming.
    • Limited Expertise: Small businesses may struggle to afford a full range of marketing specialists in-house.
    • Scalability Challenges: Adding or removing team members as your needs evolve can be difficult with an in-house team.
Outsourcing Your Marketing:
  • Pros:
    • Cost-Effectiveness: Outsourcing can be more affordable, especially for smaller companies or those with short-term marketing needs. For example, one or two industry veterans will cost you between $250k and $500k per year, whereas hiring an entire fractional team with a greater variety of skills, roles, and experience can cost you much less — somewhere around $65K to $150K per year. 
    • Access to Expertise: Marketing agencies offer a wider range of specialized skills and experience than you might be able to find in-house.
    • Scalability: Agencies can easily adjust their services to meet your evolving needs.
  • Cons:
        ◦    Loss of Control: You relinquish some control over your marketing strategy and execution when outsourcing.
        ◦    Less Brand Knowledge: The outsourced team may not have the same deep understanding of your brand as an in-house team.
        ◦    Communication Challenges: Clear communication and ongoing collaboration are crucial for successful outsourcing.

Learn more about fractional marketing team services.

Learn Why You Might Want to Outsource Marketing

Building your own marketing team carries a certain amount of risk.  While it offers the potential for long-term benefits, there are unknowns to consider:

  • Hiring Challenges: Finding the perfect talent can be difficult and time-consuming. There's always the chance of making bad hires who don't meet your expectations or lack the skills you need.
  • Team Management: Building a cohesive and productive marketing team requires strong leadership and organizational skills. Unexpected challenges can arise in areas like defining roles, fostering collaboration, and managing workloads.
  • Unforeseen Costs: The initial cost of hiring and training a team can be significant. There may also be unforeseen expenses down the line, such as additional training or turnover-related costs.
Some additional factors to consider:
  • The size and complexity of your business: Larger companies with complex marketing needs may benefit more from an in-house team.
  • Your marketing budget: Outsourcing can be a good option for businesses with limited budgets.
  • Your existing marketing expertise: If you already have some marketing experience in-house, you might be better suited to build your team.

Ultimately, the best approach  depends on your specific situation. Consider your resources,  needs, and  comfort level with outsourcing before making a decision.

Marketing Team Costs

Below we cover the range of costs you might find in outsourced vs full-time employee marketing teams. Remember: you can outsource and augment portions of your existing marketing team — we see this quite often in all but the largest, enterprise-level marketing teams.

Fractional Marketing (Outsourced) vs In-House Full-Time Employees

 
Fractional team icon

Fractional Team

Fulltime hires icon

Full-Time Hires (FTE)

Cost: Marketing Team Only

$68K-$102K per year

2 to 4 experts with varying skill sets

$250K-$500K per year

2 to 4 Full Time Employees

Cost: Marketing + Tech + Sales Team

$102K-$136K per year

4 to 8 experts with varying skill sets

$500K-$1M per year

4 to 8 Full Time Employees

Benefit Analysis

+ Flexible: Month-to-Month Contract.

+ Done for You: Project and team member management.

+ The Power of a Team: Fast execution, redundancy, shared brain power, strategic thinking, and new ideas.

+ Reliable: Track record of success and industry expertise.

- Additional Costs: Benefits, payroll taxes, PTO, employee infrastructure.

- Ramp-up Time: Interviews and onboarding.

- Risks: Underperformance, employee churn, lack of strategic thinking.

Proven ROIYesMaybe
Onboarding TimeDaysMonths

What Roles Can You Outsource With a Fractional Team?

Marketing

  • CMO
  • Marketing Strategist
  • Marketing Data Architect
  • CRM + Automation Expert
  • ABM Specialist 
  • SEO Specialist 
  • Paid Advertising Specialist 
  • Content Strategist 
  • Graphic Designer 

Sales

  • Chief Sales Officer (CSO)
  • Sales Coach
  • Appointment Setter
  • LinkedIn Organic Producer
  • Outbound LinkedIn Rep
  • Social Selling Rep
  • Sales Enablement

Technology

  • Chief Technical Officer (CTO)
  • Technical PM
  • Lead Technical Architect
  • User Experience Designer 
  • Web Designer 
  • Front-end Developer 
  • Back-end Developer
  • Data and Analytics Expert
  • CRM Integration Specialist

What Are the Keys to Establishing Efficient Marketing Team Operations?

The day-to-day operations involved in creating the best results through marketing require more than a dream team. Having every role filled by the right person without teamwork is not enough.

There are four critical elements to the success of any marketing team, whether they are in-house, outsourced, or a combination of the two:

Sound Communication: No single person in the marketing team is an island. To get results, good communication is crucial; everyone needs to learn from each other and work together to achieve the established goals. Questions need to be asked and answered, instructions issued, and concerns voiced.

Clear, Concise Roles, Tasks, and Goals: Disorganized teams seldom do well. To avoid chaos, everyone needs to know what their role within the marketing team is, the kind of workflows involved in making processes efficient, what their tasks are (including what they are and are not authorized to do), and they need to know what the goals are.

Respect: Respect is the foundation of productivity. Toxic environments will not provide the best quality of work. Respect is vital to make everyone feel welcomed and valued.

Corporate Empathy: We are all complex human beings. Usually, work is not the sole factor that defines us. For the team as a whole to function properly, everyone needs to understand that there is a person behind the role. Empathy helps clear the air, understand when others are going through personal issues, and it helps create deeper bonds within the team.

 


About Seth Viebrock

In no particular order, Seth has built websites for famous artists like Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey, led a team as CTO at a social network startup company, co-presented at Stanford and the International Society for Neuronal Regulation Conference on an EEG study in consciousness, traveled to Tokyo for data center network security assessments, worked on world-class e-commerce software as a software engineer, and provided Drupal expertise for Estee Lauder and their many international brands. Seth grew up with the web, starting his first web design company at the age of 16, and this company in...
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