Marketing is an essential part of any modern company. It's exceedingly rare that a company can exist without proactively reaching out to find customers these days.
Since anyone with a bit of funding and gumption can start up a competing business, if you aren't marketing yourself, you're going to become a market gap and will be overrun in short order.
Let's take a look.
Let's start by skipping over the smallest possible teams, which are those businesses with under, say, 30 employees.
When you have that few employees, you don't really have the luxury of building out a robust marketing team. More likely, you have two or three people working in various aspects of marketing, hiring people to work with you as you grow and can afford it.
Once you're in the 30-100 employees range, you're able to start building out a more comprehensive marketing team. So, who are the people involved in this team, and what are their roles?
Your marketing director is the unifying force behind all of your marketing efforts. They're the one who handles the overall strategy rather than the day-to-day tactics. They interface between the other directors and C-levels and the other marketing team members who will be doing more of the ground-level work.
The director is a manager, a guide, and a resource to answer any questions and solve any problems that come up. As such, they need to be highly experienced, cool under pressure, and capable of making decisions accurately and rapidly.
Social media is a rapidly-evolving world where a constant, responsive presence is nearly required. At the bare minimum, a good company should maintain a Facebook account, a LinkedIn account, and probably a Twitter account, though this is rapidly growing less useful by the day.
Other social media accounts that can be valuable, depending on the business, include Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Reddit. There are also additional social sites you can use, depending on how widespread you want your presence to be. Smaller businesses should limit how many they use to avoid underutilizing them.
SEO is a very technical subject with a lot of different web-based optimizations to make. These can range anywhere from UI and UX, to keyword usage, to meta data, to site speed, and many more besides.
There are over 200 different factors that go into SEO, and almost all of them can be tweaked by a site owner. The SEO expert needs to be a highly technical, detail-oriented individual with a lot of experience and the ability to work with everyone else in the company to ensure that their SEO is on point.
Customer acquisition is, to an extent, the overarching goal of all marketing. However, the acquisition specialist needs to have a particular proactive role. This individual will often be the first point of contact for a potential customer. They reach out with cold calls or warm leads, they help answer questions, they answer customer service requests. Moreover, they develop processes, scripts, and content plans that can help engage customers at every step of the funnel.
Far too often, the customer acquisition specialist is relegated to customer service, which wastes many of their talents. If you need a dedicated service agent or two, hire them, don't make your higher-level employees do lower-level tasks.
The product expert is an advocate for your existing products. Moreover, though, they work with your R&D to help join customer feedback with development. They process feature requests, help identify what is and isn't important to the audience, and refine what the company needs to be producing.
On the flip side, they work with the rest of the marketing team to promote the products, features, and developments that the product team is producing.
Content is a huge part of modern marketing. Very few brands can survive on word of mouth, paid ads, and an offline presence alone.
Your content creator will largely be tasked with creating written content for landing pages, blogs, ad copy, product descriptions, and other sources of marketing text. However, you also need images, and you might want to produce audio or video content as well.
This is usually the first area to expand as a company gets larger. One person won't be able to create the amount of content your brand truly needs. Hiring a long-form content expert, a short-form ad copy expert, and a graphic designer as a team is generally the best starting point. Freelancers and contract workers fill these roles very well, which is another reason why this is the first team to expand.
As your business expands and you look to hire more people to do more marketing for you, your marketing team will expand.
Specifically, each of the people listed above will become the head of their own team as part of the marketing department, and their roles will be subdivided amongst new employees. Sometimes, the people you have hired don't want to work in (or won't thrive in) a managerial role, so you will need to hire someone new to be the manager, but either way, the team expands in that manner moving forward.
At this point, your managerial team is made up of the people listed above. The former marketing director becomes the marketing c-level, and the individuals in charge of each sphere of marketing become managers.
These managers guide their own teams with a unified vision and direction from the director and their work with the rest of the executive suite.
The social media team expands in two ways. First, it expands into other social networks. The larger the team, the more networks can be kept in active use. You may have individuals dedicated to different purposes, as well. For example, you might have someone who works with the content production team to create content for social media, someone who works with the customer acquisition team to run paid advertising on social media, and someone who works with the brand advocate team who handles customer service and communication through social channels.
All of these take place via the same basic social media management platforms, which are usually SaaS platforms that unify dashboards and ensure proper communication across platforms and sites. Individual roles may include account managers, content creators and strategists, and platform experts who understand what's going on with new developments at each social network and how those developments impact your brand's use of that site, for good or ill.
SEO is often going to be working very closely with your content production team because a lot of SEO is reliant on the work of the content team and vice versa. The SEO team likely performs keyword research that can fuel paid advertising and organic content. They identify gaps in content coverage, opportunities for excellent pillar content, and all manner of technical optimizations.
At the same time, the SEO team will create lists of improvements and optimizations that can be made to the website to improve search ranking. These can include things like accessibility options, UI and UX design, technical SEO and onsite SEO factors, and off-site outreach and link building efforts.
A lot of the SEO team's work will be done on a technical level or on a strategic level. They're less of an individual team and more of a network of connections between other teams. Still, there can be individuals with specific SEO roles in your organization, such as SEO strategists, optimization specialists, and data analysts.
The customer acquisition team is a hybrid of customer service and proactive advertising. They will tend to work on individual tasks such as calling leads, pushing sales, and engaging customers. They may also handle customer service, though you could also have a different team for that. The acquisitions team can also include data analysts to manage split testing, calls to action, paid advertising, and a variety of other duties.
This is one of the most variable teams per organization. Some companies split the duties of the acquisition teams across other teams. Other brands assign many of their duties to managers and directors while leaving the rest to low-level customer service. It's all over the map.
The largest brands have entire departments dedicated to things like lead acquisition, customer experience, user journey mapping, and other aspects of the acquisition funnel.
Your product marketing team is another widespread team that integrates other non-marketing roles into marketing. Where your R&D and product development teams will work in relative isolation, the brand and product teams will be the go-to channel for feedback.
This team handles market research. They gather customer feedback, distill it into actional information, and give that information to the product developers. They present reports to managers and C-levels to help fuel the overall strategy of the company.
On the flip side, this team is also responsible for taking what the developers are working on and the strategies envisioned by the directors, converting those into actionable information for the acquisitions and content teams, and communicating with customers about upcoming features and products.
This team can include brand specialists, product managers, marketing specialists, and even individual product specialists for brands with numerous offerings.
Content production is a huge task, and the larger a business grows, the greater the expectations for the content the brand produces.
Content production is reflected in blog posts, landing pages, product descriptions, and marketing copy. It's also reflected in less regular content, like white papers, outreach emails, newsletters, print advertising, and eBooks.
For non-written content, your content team may be producing images for blog posts, landing pages, product pages, and other forms of marketing. They may also create infographics, motion graphics, and kinetic typography. On top of that, if you're investing in audio (such as podcasts or radio ads) and video (for YouTube, video advertising, or TV commercials), there will be whole teams dedicated to this as well.
Content is a near-infinite well. You can hire more and more people to produce more and more returns, and you're relatively unlikely to see a flatline in the rate of return. You'll see diminishing returns, sure, but only after a surprisingly high bar.
Don't forget that, on top of all of this, you also need editors of varying types, content and blog strategists and managers, and other people to tie the content team to the other teams. The whole vision for the company needs to be unified, after all.
The larger your business gets, the more flexibility, customization, and options you have available to you for all of these teams. Businesses reaching a certain point in growth often turn to outsourcing to save time and money, and get greater degrees of expertise for things like content production. Then, as the business continues to grow, it becomes more valuable to maintain greater control by hiring internally again. Finally, upon reaching the global brand stage, it again becomes worthwhile to hire outside agencies and contractors, often for near-inconceivable amounts of money for globally-recognized expertise.
The truth is, there's not really a wrong way to hire and structure your marketing team, except to under-fund and under-appreciate it. You want to make sure your marketing crew, however large or small it may be, is made up of experts who can handle the level of duties you require of them. The more overworked they are, especially if your higher-level employees are doing menial tasks, the less effective your marketing will be.
Above all, it's important to invest in strategy. Marketing isn't something you can go into blind, fumble around, and expect to come out the other side better off. It's far too easy to waste money and lose market share due to missteps. Treat your marketing team well, and your business will thank you for it.