This is the final article in a series of four blog posts focused on marketing strategies and tips as companies update plans for the new year.
Setting up the right team structure for your marketing department or company’s marketing needs looks different for everyone. While there is not necessarily a right answer, there are aspects to consider to ensure you have a structure that works efficiently for you. Enterprise marketing teams have long, sometimes complicated org charts and hierarchies with multiple divisions and roles. Small businesses may have 5 or less team members handling all aspects of marketing. Understanding the needs of your business, current marketing resources and opportunities for growth or partnerships in areas where you are lacking, are all important things to assess prior to establishing your marketing team set-up. Continue on this website to develop a marketing plan, or to grow a mediocre marketing plan to the best, all over again.
Start with business needs and goals
Where do you want to go and how will you get there? What do you need from marketing to support that? What kind of budget are we talking?
Think through the needs of your business before jumping into marketing just for marketing’s sake. At a high level, consider what you need to make the following work harder for you:
- Your website
- Sales, leads and customer journey funnels
- Owned content — email marketing, blog posts, articles, white papers, ebooks, etc.
- Events or tradeshows (virtual or in-person)
- Social media, video and additional brand awareness/customer engagement platforms
- General branding, visuals and design (including key messaging and/or specific product line support)
Understand marketing tasks and needs
Regardless of your size, start by answering questions around distribution of tasks. Understand where the gaps are (and what works well) before determining the structure of your marketing team. For instance, do you have (or will you need) team member who are able to:
- Establish an overall strategy and marketing plan for the company and/or department
- Understand and are able to report on metrics and goals
- Manage all of the moving pieces so that deadlines and deliverables don’t fall through the cracks
- Act as the go-between for sales, product development and/or your leadership team
- Facilitate areas of paid, owned and earned media
- Create compelling content for both print and digital formats; do you have people who can take on the role(s) of:
- Content strategists
- Community managers
- Website programmers or managers
- Email marketers
- SEO specialists and paid media planners
Once you have the answers to the above (or have identified, from current resources, who will be in charge of each component) make your list of additional needs or resources to add.
In-house or out-source?
It is not uncommon for small and mid-sized businesses to outsource a portion of their marketing needs. It’s also common for even the large brands to outsource portions of their marketing projects so internal teams can focus on daily tasks and deliverables.
Out-sourcing your marketing needs (or working directly with a marketing agency) may be for you if:
- There isn’t anyone in-house or on your team to provide strategy or overall marketing insight
- You don’t have enough resources or skills with your current team members
- You have a need for help with a specific project, area of marketing or campaign
Out-sourcing additional marketing needs is also a great way to beef up your marketing team without the commitment or overhead of new, full-time employees. It can be a way to test the waters in new areas before bringing those components in-house.
Be great at a few, not mediocre at all
It’s easy to assume that marketers can take on multiple roles and responsibilities. While many can, be careful not to stretch your team too thin. As you think about the marketing support that will best suit your business, ask your team what they need help with. Social media content creation and management, for instance, can quickly become overwhelming if you have one person tasked with managing all of the components across multiple channels. Designers can become overwhelmed if they’re expected to produce print materials, digital imagery, website layouts or conference swag without additional support.
We can’t all be great at everything; if we try, we end up being mediocre at best. Protect your brand by investing in the right marketing team and set goals for incremental increases in resources and support along the way. Set measurable KPIs (key performance indicators) for your team–full-time staff, part-time staff, contractors, freelancers or agencies–to keep a pulse on what is working, what’s not and where investments may need to be expanded.
We would love to be a part of your team this year. If there are aspects of your marketing that you need help with, we are all in. Contact us for guidance around marketing strategy, content development, digital media or anything in between. We want to make you successful in the new year.