Marketing

3 Approaches to Structuring a Digital Marketing Team

Jun 30, 2022

Digital marketing teams can follow three structural paradigms, depending on how you do business.

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William Delong - Guest Contributor
3 Approaches to Structuring a Digital Marketing Team

What we'll cover

You've decided to ramp up your digital marketing efforts, and you have the right team to handle the job. But how does your digital marketing team work together to accomplish your marketing goals? Does the team perform better in silos or cross-functionally? And, what tools do they need to succeed?

In this article, we will discuss three approaches to structuring your digital marketing (or martech) team and their pros and cons so you can decide which one works best for your organization. 

1. Siloed experts 

Digital marketing includes several distinct, yet interconnected roles. Each has its own lingo, processes, and methods to accomplish various tasks. Here’s what a typical marketing team can look like:  

  • UI/UX designers know how to create strategic websites, landing pages, newsletters, and guides.

  • Search engine management (SEM) or paid ad experts thrive on developing the best advertising for Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms.

  • Tech SEO specialists know how to get websites in top form to get noticed by Google and other search engines.

  • Content writers add their knowledge and skills to expand your brand recognition, attract leads, and ultimately sell your products or services.

Individuals who excel in each of these categories bring their expertise to your digital marketing project. 

What this looks like:

Let's say you want to make Google Search and Display ads that get the most efficient cost-per-click (CPC).

  • You'll need an SEM person on the project to optimize the ad and track it properly.

  • Next, the content writer ensures that the landing page the ads point to is optimized with the right keywords.

  • Finally, the tech SEO expert confirms the backend of the CMS works and loads quickly enough for a good user experience, while sending the right messages to Google.

  • All three members must work cross-functionally for best results.

Pros

Having experts in each aspect of digital marketing in-house is a great way to verify that your digital marketing efforts are fully functional and performing well. To ensure key performance indicators (KPIs) align with expectations, each expert needs to focus only on one primary task to be successful.

Cons

The downside to this structural model is that there's little agility or flexibility. Your content writer knows an adverb from an adjective, but can that same person implement local schema or defer JavaScript using a plugin to make the site load faster?

What if one of your experts goes on vacation? Can someone else step into the role? Having siloed experts reduces agility and flexibility if you need something done in a hurry. 

The second type of team structure might alleviate these concerns.

2. Project manager model 

The project manager model requires a manager who is adept at performing all aspects of digital marketing and can handle campaigns by themselves. The manager will know the campaign backward and forward, including when to adjust something such as if a campaign has a zero bounce rate, or if the search impressions start to dip. 

What this looks like:

This worker-of-all-marketing-trades can align the buttons on a CTA just as quickly as changing a website's sitemap.

  • Rather than having a collaborative, cross-functional team working with one client, one person works on this project.

  • The project manager model means a sole person is responsible for deliverables across the entire contract for a single client.

  • The person must know the ins and outs of several different facets of marketing, such as SEM, SEO, tech SEO, writing, inbound marketing, and perhaps web design.

Pros

This structure can be effective because the project manager doesn't need to ask for assistance from another staffer when something requires an update. They act as a project manager for the entire campaign, whether internally on your website or as an agency representative. Your project manager gets to know the project (or client), while delivering the best results and forward-thinking strategies.

Cons

One downside of having this digital marketing project manager on staff is that you'll have to pay that person more. Higher and varied skill sets demand more pay. Put four of these people together, and are they less expensive than one SEM expert, one tech SEO guru, a UI/UX designer, and a content writer? 

Other questions to consider are: What if this person leaves the company? Can someone step into the role of project manager effectively and quickly? 

A third option can mitigate concerns of having too much work and not enough people to cover it.

3. Hybrid in-house and outsourcing a digital marketing team

Picture this: You just received a massive order, but your marketers are already overloaded. You're growing, and you need solutions right away but you don’t have the time to interview, hire, and onboarding another digital marketing expert. Outsourcing might be your solution. 

Pros

Outsourcing is typically less expensive than hiring another full-time employee. This structure also allows you to be agile as long as you keep freelancers and independent contractors ready to accept work at a moment's notice. 

Cons

Though a quick solution, outsourcing has a few cons. You have less internal control over the finished work because freelancers aren't on staff full time. Normally, they don't sit it on internal or client-facing meetings, so they won't have the same information. Secondly, you never really know what quality of work your freelancer will produce. 

To solve this issue, ask your clients or customers for permission to record onboarding meetings, take lots of notes, and give your freelancers as much information about customers as possible.

Find the right software tools to help your digital marketing team

Do you need the best grammar checker you can find? What about an excellent plugin to improve your technical SEO chops? 

There are no easy answers to which team structure works best. It depends on how your business model works.

However, there are ways to invest in your digital marketing or martech team to help them be more efficient at what they do.

GetApp can help you find the right marketing tools at the best price to enable your digital marketing team to achieve top results without spending too much money. 

Check us out to see what we can do for you! Our app compares similar tools in scope and price to help you determine what's best for your company.

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About the author

William Delong - Guest Contributor

William has been a professional writer and editor for 13 years, delivering SEO-focused copy that engages with target audiences across a wide swath of industries, from legal and medical to marketing and technology. His ultimate goal? Write a bestselling Star Trek novel.
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