Jun 26, 2018
When it comes to the organizational structure, there is no such thing as a perfect team structure framework. Why? Because each company is different. Large companies have different business units and supporting functions as well as different geographical locations. Some have centralized organizational structures, while others are decentralized. All of it impacts how you form and staff your teams.
In my years leading digital teams inside brands, as well as working with global enterprises across a variety of industries on their digital transformation strategies, I saw similarities in roles that are necessary for the success of the digital marketing function. In this article, I will walk you through just some of the critical ones that you need to consider in shaping your own team. But please note that this list isn’t exhaustive.
Moreover, the most successful teams I’ve seen do the following two things:
Keeping that in mind, let’s look at the key roles you need to consider in building out your digital marketing team.
A strategist on the team – whether he or she focuses on digital in general or social media specifically – is a senior role that can cover a variety of responsibilities:
The role of community manager is critical, because it represents a face of the company and is usually the first line of defense on social networks. My recommendation is to hire a more senior person into this position – and not an intern – because this person will be engaging with your customers daily and he or she needs to have enough experience and stamina to do so in a professional way.
The community manager needs to know and understand the brand and its values, tone, and messaging. He or she needs to balance the needs of the company and the needs of the target community in a delicate way, because, let’s face it, a lot of times they don’t align – the company wants to push its product, while the community wants value-add and entertaining content. The community manager needs to know each single network inside and out, and understand the latest features that the company can use to its advantage.
The right person will also be able to collaborate well with both the content strategist (to figure out which content performs best and what types of media the community wants to see the most) and the data scientist (on the impact of the engagement).
A content strategist is someone who creates impactful content strategy; collaborates with the branding team and agencies to produce compelling content in a variety of formats for various digital channels; and partners with the community manager to not only distribute the content, but to create the feedback loop with the community on which content performs best.
A BI analyst or data scientist looks at the overall business impact of the digital function across the responsibilities of every single team member. He or she builds reporting dashboards and consolidates the data. This individual could also be responsible for the ‘listening’ function – using social listening tools to gather intelligence and understand what consumers are saying about the brand and its specific products, as well as monitoring any potential social media crisis.
This person is also responsible for compiling data from multiple sources and turning it into actual business insights; sometimes a supporting agency involvement is required, as this might take multiple tools and more time that one role can allow for.
Some say there is no such thing as organic exposure anymore. Due to the ever-changing algorithm across social networks, most brands will need to promote their content to be noticed. There are two ways to approach this role. One is to partner with someone on the media team (sometimes it’s a separate function) and the other is to create a position that would specifically deal with the new ways of digital promotion (starting with social media).
To boost the visibility of the content created by the content strategist and distributed by the community manager, you might need a budget and a person to manage the paid media side of the house.
The program manager is a supporting function across the team. This person, for example, can be responsible for:
These are just a few of the critical roles to consider as you are building your team. Interestingly, more often than not, team members share in different responsibilities. If your team is small, the members will need to get creative in how they perform the critical roles, and several roles on the list may sometimes be combined under one person until additional people can be approved for hire.
Furthermore, as certain strategies get created and implemented, the roles might change and grow for each person. As certain processes are created, the needs might change and the roles shift accordingly. I have seen that happen, often – it happened to me when I was building digital capability inside a brand. The key sign of the progressive team is its members’ willingness to learn in real-time and adapt their roles and responsibilities as the function evolves over time, together with the market.
Earlier in this article, I mentioned collaboration as a critical factor of a digital marketing team’s success. Examples of key indirect stakeholders you need to work with closely include (but are not limited to):