How to go about structuring your marketing team

08 Sep 2022  |  by Olivia Parkes

Structuring a marketing team is a huge task. After all, team structures and job roles are continually evolving in what is an incredibly fast-paced environment.  

In order to structure your marketing team correctly, you must make sure you know which skills you require and the marketing roles you need to fill. Even if your marketing budget is small and you’re only hiring one or two people, it’s still vital that you know which skills will translate to which position and how your chosen structure could grow and evolve alongside your business.

To help you hire the right people and to ensure you’re planning the right marketing team structure, we’ve outlined the different types of roles available within teams and the skills required for each position. We’ve even covered how to build that team depending on your business size. However, before we dive in, let’s first take a look at how your marketing team structure can set your business up for success.

How your marketing team structure can set your business up for success

By putting the right marketing team structures in place, you can set your business up for success. This is because marketing teams can provide a competitive advantage in a world where trends are continually emerging, and opportunities are fleeting, flexible and agile. Plus, a well-organised team with the right talent can also help you avoid making big (and costly) mistakes.

Similarly, if silos prevent your team from working cohesively, you could create a stagnant structure that stops your company from evolving. Ultimately, this will mean that your team gets left behind by more agile rivals. For this reason, you must focus on putting the right people in the right places and creating a team structure that can scale with your business and evolve with trends.

However, although putting the right people in the correct positions is vital, you also need to make sure you put the correct support structures in place when you create your team structure. For example, over-burdened team members and under-resourced departments can be supported by freelancers. Likewise, if you have a knowledge gap that needs to be plugged and require specialist support, an agency could be perfect for this.

On top of this, when creating a marketing team structure, you must also consider the role that marketing tools can play in helping individuals do their jobs to the highest standard. From targeting and analysis, to audience building and campaign automation, a marketing insights platform can help improve your marketing efforts and support agile team structures. It does this by ensuring you understand your customers better than ever before and that your marketing materials are relevant, targeted, and personal.

Structuring your marketing team

If you’re building a marketing team from scratch, it’s first essential to realise that there isn’t only one correct way of doing this. In fact, there are many potential possibilities that are all perfectly valid, and no one marketing department structure will work in every company.

This is because different arrangements will suit different budgets and focuses. Plus, different structures will also suit different industries, different ways of communicating with customers, and different organisational structures.

That said, regardless of whether you’re designing a marketing team that will include a couple of generalists who need to learn on the job or 30 specialists who are experts in their field, you’ll need to ensure you’re covering several core functions and essential skill sets.

Core team functions

The exact functions your marketing team will carry out depend on the specifics of your company and the goals it’s looking to achieve. However, generally speaking, the goal of your marketing team is to promote your brand to audiences worldwide.

Due to this, the marketing department is responsible for crafting the image of your company, attracting leads, and retaining customers. To do this, the marketing department must plan, create, and coordinate all the materials that represent your brand.

Core team functions include:

  • Defining and managing your brand: Your marketing department’s key role is to establish precisely what your brand stands for. This includes details on its values, characteristics, and visions
  • Develop marketing strategies: From identifying your audience to deciding what channels your brand should focus on, marketing teams should make data-driven decisions that inform your company’s marketing strategy
  • Plan and oversee campaigns: The marketing team must also determine the resources required for each campaign, how long the campaign will run for, the results that need to be achieved, and how the results will be analysed
  • Market research: The best marketing teams understand their target audience inside-out. They conduct thorough research into the demographics, behaviours, and motivations. They also continually analyse what the competition is doing and look for ways to improve
  • Asset production: Finally, the marketing team must also create content and other marketing assets across a range of platforms, including social media, email marketing, blogs, and digital adverts

Skill sets to hire

As you can see from the above, marketing teams have varied responsibilities. As a result, to create the ideal marketing team structure, you need to employ people with different skill sets, interests, and strengths. This way, you can build a balanced team that covers every core team function.  

For example, if one of your new staff members is brilliant at creating interesting content and catchy advertising slogans, then your next hire will likely need to be someone with strong technical skills.

But which skill sets suit which marketing roles? First, let’s examine some of the sub-teams/departments that exist in large marketing teams.

Sub-teams/departments and their responsibilities

In large businesses, the marketing team will be split into smaller sub-teams/departments that each have their own responsibilities and require specific skills. Examples of these teams and their responsibilities are:

Social media team

Your social media team is responsible for creating and executing all social media marketing efforts. In this team, the skills required include content creation, graphic design, social media management, and project management.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) team

The SEO team is responsible for optimising your website and driving traffic towards it. Required skills in this department include writing, editing, problem-solving, experience with programming and technical thinking, analytics, and the ability to adapt.

Acquisition team

Your acquisition team is responsible for delighting the customer at every stage of their journey with your company. Skills required in the acquisition team include customer service, excellent written and verbal communication, a solution-driven mindset, and attention to detail.

Product marketing team

Your product marketing team is responsible for communicating the features and benefits of your product to the customer. Skills needed in this team include research, strategic planning, writing, a problem-solving mindset, strong customer service skills, and technical knowledge.

Content creation team

Your content creation team is responsible for ensuring your brand can tell a compelling story on every channel. Skills needed by these team members include writing, editing, multimedia production, photography, and graphic design.

Web design team

Finally, your web design team is responsible for everything to do with your company’s website. Key skills in this team include programming, use of creative suite programs, interpersonal communication, website and email design, experience with content management software, and an understanding of web standards and best practices.

Example marketing team structures

As we mentioned earlier, there’s no one-size-fits-all marketing team structure. This is because different models work better for different organisations and industries.

For example, if you’re a large company with a lot of resources, then you’ll be able to afford to build a vast marketing team that can propel your growth. In a marketing team of this size, you can have a dozen roles for individuals in one team and multiple teams spread across your entire marketing department.

However, the truth is that although this solution is ideal for many, it’s simply unaffordable. If you’re operating on a smaller budget and want to make sure your marketing team is structured correctly, then here are three example marketing team structures that can help you:

1. Small-sized business: Agile, lean and scrappy

If you work in a small business, then the odds are that you’ll only have the budget to hire a couple of generalists to help you with your marketing efforts. In these scenarios, you need to employ adaptable all-rounders who have a great sense of drive and a willingness to learn. After all, alongside you, these people will need to help:

  • Create content: Including updating website content, blog posts, copy for social media, and emails
  • Create graphics: At a minimum, one of your team members will need to have a working knowledge of Photoshop or Canva
  • Make technical changes: A basic grasp of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will likely be essential here, as would a working knowledge of using a content management system, such as WordPress
  • Manage social media accounts: Although tools can help with this process, managing social media accounts can be incredibly time-consuming. It requires time prioritisation, content creation, and swift responses to disgruntled customers
  • Manage projects: With several different tasks ongoing at once, one team member will need to make sure everything’s on track

This is a lot of work for a small team. For this reason, you must make sure you split the responsibilities before you start the hiring process. Arguably the best way of doing this is to create three separate positions:

  • Marketing manager: This person (usually you) is responsible for project management, task delegation, and task prioritisation
  • Digital designer and content creator: This team member is responsible for creating graphics and content assets for each channel
  • Marketing generalist: This person should have a keen interest in marketing and some base-level proficiency in social media management, SEO, and technical requirements

In this structure, every team member needs to be a powerhouse who can complete multiple jobs. Ideally, you need to hire marketers with skills that complement each other. If necessary, you can always outsource some specialist skills to freelancers. You should also look into investing in tools that can help your team members. This is particularly the case with tools that can automate campaigns and save time.

2. Medium-sized business: creating a platform for growth

If you’ve outgrown the first suggested structure (or your marketing budget allows you to evolve past this point after initial successes), you should develop a marketing team structure that includes the different sub-teams we mentioned previously.  

At this point, underneath the head of marketing, you should have departments responsible for content production, product marketing, and SEO. In the initial stages, these departments may only contain one person each. This is absolutely fine, but you should consider how this department could evolve and grow in the coming months and years. This way, you’ll find it much easier to split responsibilities when new hires join the team.

For example, your content team member may be an excellent writer with some design knowledge. In this instance, your next hire for this team may be a design specialist or a videographer.  

3. Large business: Specialists with deep expertise

If you’re a large business with 200+ employees, then you’ll likely need to create a marketing team that includes layers of management and specialised teams.

In these scenarios, the marketing team structure we suggested above still works. However, extra lines of accountability are drawn and each team is deeper. So, while there’s still a head of marketing and teams responsible for the content, PR, product marketing, and SEO, each of these teams will also have a team lead who is responsible for managing their team and reporting to the head of marketing.

For example, in this scenario, the content team may include a team lead, a copywriter, a videographer, a graphic designer, an editor, and a content uploader.

At this stage, you may also have additional teams that you can add to the process, such as a team that specialises in social media marketing, a video team, or an advertising and paid media team. At this stage, you should make sure that your campaigns are harmonious and deliver a truly omnichannel experience. Again, tools and software can help you with this.

Choosing the right structure for your business

The best marketing team structure is the one that you create yourself. This is because this structure will be unique to the needs of your business.

So, start by making a list of the work that needs to be done rather than creating a list of job roles. This way, you can remain focused on what will work best for your business rather than following a ‘typical’ marketing structure that may be insufficient for your needs.

Once you’ve created this job list, research your industry to uncover the structures used by competitors or companies you admire. Much of this work can be done on LinkedIn, which can also show you the job titles these people possess. Using this information, you can then sketch a loose organisational chart you can look to populate.

But, before you rush into the hiring process, you must first determine which work will make the greatest impact on your marketing efforts. By figuring out the channels, tactics, and marketing strategies that will contribute the most to the growth of your business, you can identify which positions are most important to fill first.

Once you’ve done this, you can make a job description for each position you’ve created and begin the hiring process. 

Good luck!

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Olivia Parkes

Digital Marketing and Media Specialist

Olivia joined the Apteco team in 2022 to boost the Apteco brand, improve the Search Engine Optimisation, create engaging content to push the Apteco platforms as well as sponsored advertisements. Olivia is CIM qualified and has seven years of marketing experience working in a variety of sectors.

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