For some of my clients, I manage all of the talent necessary for their digital marketing efforts. For others, they have a small staff and we augment the skills necessary. For others, they have an incredibly robust team internally and are just needing overall guidance and an external perspective to help them stay innovative and identify gaps.
When I first launched my company, many leaders in the industry advised me to specialize and pursue a specific role; however, the gap I saw in most companies was that they rarely had a balanced team and it generated gaps in their strategies that went unseen. That didn’t mean they were failing by any means, it just meant that they weren’t reaching their full potential with the assets they had.
Should You Hire or Partner?
Not every organization has the resources to hire full-time personnel. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to have an external partner in its digital marketing efforts.
- Tool Licensing – I have access to enterprise toolsets that I’m able to offset the cost of across clients. This can actually save a company quite a bit of money.
- Focus – As an external resource, I have the distinct advantage of not having to concern myself with company operations, meetings, politics, or even (most of the time) budget restrictions. I’m typically hired to fix a problem and then pursue that relentlessly – with a company paying for the value I provide rather than a salary that may or may not be productive.
- Turnover – Virtually every company has turnover, so I’m able to cover gaps in skillsets when my clients have staff that’s turning over. And virtually every organization has turnover!
- Implementations – Implementing new solutions can overtax a team and really frustrate your staff. Bringing a partner onboard for implementations is a great way to get the temporary expertise and resources you need to have a successful implementation.
- Seasonality – Companies often have seasonal demands that exceed their internal resources. Having a great partner that can augment your staff comes in handy in busy times.
- Niche Expertise – Most companies can’t hire a resource for every role necessary, but I’ve developed that network of skillsets over the years with proven leaders. That means that I can bring in the necessary roles as needed, optimizing the budget and bringing in true champions that will increase the chances of success.
- Broad Expertise – By working across industries and staying on top of industry trends, I bring innovative solutions to my clients. If we test a strategy or platform at one company and it works well, I bring it to all of my clients and implement it with a lot less difficulties than if the client did it on their own.
This infographic from Spiralytics, How to Structure Your Digital Marketing Team, details the 13 roles necessary for a modern digital marketing team to succeed.
Digital Marketing Aptitude
Today’s marketing departments are under a lot of pressure. There are often pressures to cut staff, migrate to new toolsets, and always to grow marketing through new mediums and channels. It’s difficult for marketing teams to innovate with limited resources… never mind carry out daily activities. As we look to hire resources for our own teams or make recommendations to our clients, we often do behavioral testing to ensure the right fit… not just the right skills… are hired on:
- Self-Motivated – With little time to mentor and assist within a marketing team, you must find staff that are comfortable with researching and finding the information they need online. Waiting on training isn’t necessary nowadays given the world’s knowledge at our fingertips.
- Role-Flexible – Most marketing departments don’t have two of each position, so cross-training and role flexibility is essential. A graphic designer may need to jump into an email platform and design an email. A social media specialist may need to write copy for the site. Finding people that are not only comfortable with flipping roles but look forward to it is fantastic.
- Risk-Tolerant – Marketing requires testing and failure to identify opportunities to succeed. Having a team that frisk averse is a sure-fire way to slow your progress while your competitors leap ahead. Your team should understand the goals and plow forward to learn, adjust, optimize, and exceed expectations.
- Logic Creativity – Understanding data and processes is an essential skill of every marketing member. Marketing team members should be able to analyze processes and results and find creative solutions to overcome barriers.
- Technical Aptitude – It’s a digital world and it’s essential that you have a marketing team that’s tech savvy, hungry for automation, and looking to expand your target market’s experiences with your brand.
In my personal opinion, investing in behavioral testing to ensure a team member can succeed independently, along with your team, and within the culture of your organization is worth its weight in gold. If you are looking for a partner, I’d be remiss not to extend our team at Highbridge.
Digital Marketing Department Roles:
- Digital Marketing Manager, Campaign Manager, or Project Manager – to oversee projects and ensure the team and your campaigns are operating effectively and meeting the needs of the organization.
- Creative Director or Graphic Designer – to maintain the visual consistency of a brand’s communication through digital channels.
- Developers or Solution Architects – integration and interactive elements are a must for every organization nowadays, so having a team prepared to build a solid back-end with a great user experience on the front-end is essential. If your organization has a development team within IT, it’s critical that they are a shared resource that are rewarded for their ability to enable your team.
- Digital Marketing Analyst – it’s essential that every digital marketing team has a planned means of measuring its impact as well as effective reporting that will help leadership and the team recognize the results.
- Digital Marketing Strategist – every initiative should be helping to drive key performance indicators and overall goals of the organization. A strategist fits these pieces together and ensures that all channels, mediums, and media are fully leveraged.
- SEO Manager or Specialist – search engines continue to lead all channels with a user’s intent to research a purchase decision. Organic search platforms provide a plethora of information that digital marketing teams can use as well as a perfect inbound channel for driving leads. Having someone driving these cost-effective strategies is a must for every organization.
- Search Advertising Specialist – while organic search requires momentum and authority to lead in search engine result pages, advertising can fill the gap to drive leads. It’s not without expense and expertise, though. Buying ads can be a terrible and expensive mistake if you don’t have the expertise.
- Display Advertising Specialist – there are other sites that own the audience you’re trying to reach, so advertising on those sites to drive awareness, engagement, and conversions is a solid strategy. However, the number of ad platforms, targeting capabilities, ad types, and testing variables is nothing short of a science. Getting someone to grow the impact of your display advertising is a must.
- Social Media Manager or Specialist – social media continues to be a resource for engagement with your prospective buyers as well as a great channel for developing your personal or professional brand’s authority. Having someone research, monitor, and grow your community through advocacy, support, and information is a solid strategy for any modern brand.
- User Experience or User Interface Designer – Before your front-end developer can code an experience, it needs to be developed and tested fully to reduce frustration and improve customer satisfaction. Having someone that understands human computer interface design is a necessary investment when developing those experiences.
- Writer – Whitepapers, use cases, articles, blog posts, and even social media updates require talented writers that can fully reflect the tone, personality, and information that you’re attempting to disseminate. Having a writer on staff may be a luxury for many… but it’s essential if you want the investment in your content to actually have impact.
- Email Marketer – From deliverability, to subject line, to content design… email is a unique communication medium that requires talent and expertise to get results. Our inboxes are packed nowadays, so getting subscribers to open and click is a challenge.
- Content Marketing Specialist or Strategist – What are the topics that your prospects and customers are seeking? What does the library of content that you’re producing look like? A content marketing strategist helps prioritize and identify the topics that are going to resonate… as well as ensuring you’re staying a head of your competition.