What does a marketing team do, anyway? As you probably know, the work varies from creative tasks, such as writing and designing, to organizational and research roles. Learn how to build the best marketing team structure to cover your needs.
Quite a few decades ago, marketing was usually done externally. Companies would hire well-known ad agencies with a team of people working on developing creative campaigns. Smaller businesses usually only advertised locally, with the help of traditional methods such as fliers or even radio.
These days, things are a lot different. Every company has an in-house marketing team, whether just 1-2 people or dozens of different marketing roles.
But how did we arrive here, and what are the benefits of keeping your marketing team members in-house? Let’s answer those questions before explaining how to build a marketing team that fits your business.
Inbound vs outbound marketing
The significant shift in marketing didn’t come overnight. However, these days, we refer to a difference between inbound and outbound marketing.
Outbound marketing is the “traditional” way of marketing your business, meaning you target potential customers through advertising. That means you try to sell your products first and then attempt to build a customer’s relationship with your brand. Some forms of outbound marketing are:
- TV ads
- Cold calling
- SMS ads
- Print advertising (flyers, catalogs)
So, what’s the big problem with outbound marketing? Simply, it’s annoying. Unable to target an audience that likely has an interest in your product or service, you will reach many dead ends. It can also seem aggressive and harm your brand image.
In contrast, inbound marketing is all about attracting clients to your business organically. Producing informative and quality content (videos, blog posts, guides), connecting with your audience in a meaningful way (social media and newsletters), and sharing knowledge (webinars, infographics, research, etc.) are just some ways in which you can attract customers that actually need your product.
Inbound marketing is a result of a switch to digital marketing. However, the global shift towards inbound vs. outbound marketing didn’t come about with the early days of the Internet.
SEO and email marketing looked a lot different in the early days, and all it took for a page to rank high was to stuff it with keywords. And email software had very poor or no spam filters, which meant inboxes were flooded with mail nobody ever opened.
These days, things look a lot different. You need to actually produce informative, quality content and engage with your audience on a personal level. Responding to their needs and solving their problems should be the guiding star of your business and marketing strategies.
So who are the people that actually put these plans and tactics into motion? Let’s see!
Marketing team roles
If you ever rolled your eyes at the question, “what does a marketing team do” you’re not alone. There are many marketing team roles that deal with vastly different types of tasks.
Here’s an overview of a marketing team structure with some of the most critical roles.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving and increasing your website traffic through keywords, backlinks, and more.
Sounds simple? Not quite. Google uses around 200 algorithms for ranking websites. So, you can imagine just how multifaceted the search engine optimization process must be to meet all of the criteria.
SEO requires a whole lot of work to get any results whatsoever. It’s well known that users rarely venture onto the 2nd page of search engine results, while Moz found that a staggering 79% of people click on a single search result.
So, what does that mean for your SEO marketing team? There are a lot of roles to fill, and here are a couple of the most important ones.
- SEO strategist comes up with a list of relevant keywords and designs plans and tactics for improving your SEO.
- Optimization specialist works with developers to ensure the technical side of SEO is taken care of.
Content creation team
While SEO does the research, it’s up to the content creation team to put plans into motion. With an SEO strategy in place, these team members come up with content that’s both search engine optimized and useful to the reader.
SEMrush found that an overwhelming majority of companies (97%) claim that content marketing is a part of their marketing strategy. Content Marketing Institute reports that most organizations find content marketing has helped them increase brand awareness (80%) and build credibility and trust (75%).
So, investing in a high-quality content team is definitely a good idea. According to SEMrush, most companies hire 1-3 content specialists. However, a number of them (47%) also planned to grow their teams in 2022. So, here are some content marketing team roles.
- Content lead creates a content strategy and oversees its implementation; in many organizations they’re also responsible for content partnerships, such as guest blogs.
- Content writer produces written content used for inbound marketing purposes, such as blogs, infographics, guides, etc.
- Copywriter produces written content for paid marketing campaigns and promotional activities.
- Editor/Proofreader checks the accuracy of content and spots mistakes.
- Video production specialist is responsible for overseeing video production, including the script, editing, design, etc.
Social media team
Social media marketing is so significant nowadays that many laypeople equate it with digital marketing. Then again, many business owners leave this aspect “for later” and focus on acquiring website traffic first (through SEO).
Whatever the order you do it in, your social media absolutely needs care and attention.
Social media doesn’t just entail the creative side (writing the copy and creating designs). These marketing team roles require ample knowledge of social media management tools (such as Hubspot and Buffer). People in these jobs also need stellar interpersonal skills, as they’ll be the ones responding to people’s queries and complaints submitted through social channels.
- Account manager, also known as social media manager sometimes, oversees all social media efforts. They use a social media management platform to schedule posts, plan the content calendar, and, in some companies, also do social media audits.
- Content media strategist, if one exists, takes care of the tactical planning and research (while an account manager executes the strategy).
- Content creator might be a writer, designer, or video editor, who actually creates the content for social media.
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Hang on a minute? What does a marketing team do if not acquire customers? Of course, the whole point of marketing is to get potential customers aware of your business and brand. But before that happens, you need to understand who your buyers are and how they move through your sales funnel.
Creating these definitions and developing a strategy each team can implement is the job of the acquisition team.
Smaller companies usually don’t have a dedicated acquisition team (a marketing manager role usually takes on these responsibilities). Still, here are a few examples of acquisition roles you should know about.
- Acquisition specialist helps define the market and opportunities; develop and implement acquisition campaigns, analyze results and then optimize future campaigns to performance. It’s similar to the role of marketing manager in most companies.
- Content acquisition manager can be in charge of content (planning), but is also concerned with how content is used to drive sales. For example, they might specifically focus on the creation of lead magnets.
- Brand specialist helps define the brand, most importantly, its mission, vision, and values. They work with other team leaders to ensure that all marketing efforts align with the brand image. It’s a role usually in marketing agencies rather than small businesses or medium-sized companies.
Paid advertising team
Although inbound marketing focuses a lot on organic traffic and leads, there’s plenty of room for a well-executed paid campaign.
Paid search and social media campaigns help you put your business in front of the right people. They’re also a way to distinguish yourself from the competition and stay top-of-mind. Here are some people that might help you do that:
- PPC specialist runs PPC campaigns across different channels. They have similar skills and tasks as people in SEO departments, but their job is more sales-oriented. They need to be good with numbers and analytical since a significant part of executing a successful PPC campaign is running tests and trying different strategies.
- Google Ads specialist is a pro in running paid campaigns on the Google Search Network. They have to be comfortable with the Google Ads interface and stay up-to-date with the requirements of running campaigns in Google. Of course, they collaborate with other team members needed to execute campaigns, such as designers and copywriters.
- Facebook Ads specialist is a tremendous marketing team member if social media is your primary advertising channel. Facebook Ads manager is notorious for constant changes and tweaks, so having someone on your team who is proficient in this area of digital advertising can be a game changer.
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Websites are the virtual storefronts of modern businesses. That means they require a lot of work from many different people. Designers, writers, and SEO strategists are just some of the team members without whom you can’t have a decent website.
However, many technical skills are required to keep the website operational. Even if you don’t update your website regularly (which is virtually impossible with today’s need for SEO-optimized websites), glitches and issues still happen from time to time. So you usually want someone on-hand who can take care of it.
Here are some of the roles in your website team.
- Senior developer usually has lots of experience in one or more programming language and oversees the work of other developers in the team. It’s often both a managerial and hands-on role, as senior developers often need to step in and resolve issues that juniors struggle with.
- Junior developer assists with software design and coding. This role entails a lot of learning as a way of becoming more independent from senior developers or development managers.
- Front-end developer is focused solely on the front end of a website or product (how it looks to the user). Therefore, they work closely with web/UX designers.
- UX/UI designer creates the look and feel of a website or product. They also devise information architecture - how information is grouped and presented for an optimal user experience.
- System administrator helps with technical issues and queries that are not related to coding and web development. They help fix bugs in operational systems, software and hardware, security and network administration, etc.
If you haven’t gotten the idea already, marketing entails a lot of graphic design work. From regular social media and blog graphics to the all-important website design.
Having a complete design team is practically impossible for most small- to medium-sized businesses. Virtually every part of the marketing team we’ve mentioned previously will require a designer of its own. So, a design team might consist of roles such as:
- Social media designer
- UX designer
- Brand designer
- Motion graphics designer
- Digital designer
And the list goes on. In most cases, businesses have a design team of one or two people. And, more often than not, these creative professionals simply cannot meet all the company’s design needs.
That’s where outsourcing graphic design can be a tremendous asset, especially with unlimited design companies. This way, you get access to a team of designers with different skills, usually at a flat monthly rate significantly lower than a single employee’s full-time salary!
How to build a marketing team that fits your needs
If you were to have all the marketing team roles we’ve mentioned on your payroll, well, let’s just say you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.
Instead, you’re here to get an answer to the question of how to build a marketing team that’s small yet still covers all your basic needs. Follow these tips to ensure your budget is optimized and your marketing efforts work like a well-oiled machine.
1. Understand what matters to your customers
You cannot create an ideal team structure if you don’t know who your customers are and why they’re drawn to your business.
Every single marketing tactic should be created with your customers’ needs and values in mind. An extensive SEO strategy might not yield the desired results if they’re turning to you for essential everyday products. Building a powerful social media presence and community may be a more effective route in this case.
2. Focus on the things that drive results
TikTok is a major social media channel these days. Does that mean your accounting business should have a very trendy social media presence? Probably not.
By understanding who your customers are and what they’re looking for (what problem you need to solve for them), you’ll probably have a good understanding of which marketing efforts bring the most results. It’s also called the Pareto principle, which suggests that you should focus on the 20% of the things that bring 80% of the results.
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3. Share value and offer solutions
Once upon a time, marketing meant being the loudest or most persistent. You’re competing in a much bigger arena for minuscule snippets of attention these days. So, how can you make it work?
The answer is: provide value. Whether it’s valuable content, free trials, or something else, you should focus on marketing efforts that bring something to potential clients before asking for something (usually money) in return.
In addition, you should ensure that your messaging conveys how you solve a particular problem. Don’t assume people want to buy your product: start from the question why they need it. It’s the first step in building a sustainable company and strong brand. And, of course, a viable marketing team structure.
4. Use the right technology
There’s no way you can bypass digital marketing these days - so you may as well do it right. The Internet offers tons of fantastic solutions to help your marketing team run smoothly. There’s virtually a digital platform for everything, from design and social media management to CRM (customer relationship management) solutions. They are often affordable and easy to use, which is why many smaller teams consider them a lifesaving tactic.
Of course, not all are free or even cheap. It’s a good idea to establish which of these are worth investing in and where it may be easier to add an additional team member to do the job.
Speaking of hiring new people, is hiring someone full-time your only option? Definitely not! Over a third of US businesses use outsourcing as a way of increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and driving more value.
From content writing to graphic design, numerous modern solutions help your marketing department work more efficiently. Still, there are 2 crucial factors you should consider when outsourcing:
- Staying in charge of the creative process: You can outsource creative work, but you shouldn’t outsource creative thinking. Apple products are manufactured all over the world, but the design is still done in-house. Rely on outsourcing as a way to execute your ideas, rather than create them.
- Time management: If you’re spending more time overseeing remote workers than you would an in-house team, perhaps it’s not worth your while. Opt for solutions that can work independently, and provide some sort of quality assurance.
We hope this article gave you a good overview of how layered marketing teams can be. Of course, few companies can afford to hire an entire marketing team.
Still, if you have a clear understanding of your target audience and tactics that yield the most significant results, you can focus your efforts to maximum effect.
Additionally, you should also use the help of modern technologies and outsourcing solutions to fill potential gaps in your own marketing team structure.