Marketing Guide

Building a Marketing Team

Building a Marketing Team

Marketing departments are critical to a company’s profit and growth because of their role in finding, attracting, and retaining customers. Without robust marketing efforts, potential customers may find it difficult to learn about your products or services. Additionally, your company may not be able to discern the best target customer base to advertise products, and the general public would come to their own conclusions about your brand overall. 

From managing the company’s brand and image to promoting upcoming products or events, here’s what you need to know about marketing teams. 

What does a marketing department do?

A marketing department drives the promotional engine of a business. It is responsible for increasing brand awareness overall, while also driving potential and recurring customers to a company’s products or services. Therefore, a marketing team is a vital part of a company’s structure because it should be the team that brings in business, retains it, and helps your company grow and achieve financial and organizational goals. 

To that end, a marketing department is responsible for many tasks, and a company’s marketing department structure will vary depending on the volume and scope of those tasks. 

Key marketing department responsibilities

Because marketing activities can vary widely, companies often run the risk of the marketing department becoming a catch-all for tasks that don’t necessarily have another place to land. However, in a company with a well-defined marketing department structure, the functions of the marketing department will most likely include, but aren’t limited to, the following: 

  • Outlining market strategy: The head of the marketing department, whether the chief marketing officer or the vice president for marketing, will work with senior marketing staff to set the marketing strategy for the company. The marketing strategy will then provide direction to other members of the marketing team who will carry out the relevant tasks. 

  • Organizing market research: Market research can be conducted in-house, where members of the marketing team conduct surveys and analyze industry data to ascertain which segments of the market should be targeted. Market research can also involve marketing team members directly speaking to customers or potential customers or holding focus groups. Finally, market research is sometimes conducted by a third party, and the marketing department would be responsible for analyzing this information and making market decisions based upon it. 

  • Assisting with product development: Because marketing teams have an intimate understanding of the target market, potential customer base, and competitor offerings, they often assist the product development department. The marketing department will be able to inform product designers about gaps in the market and will be able to relay feedback from customers. 

  • Strategizing and spearheading promotion: Promotion is one of the elements most people would assume that a marketing department handles, and they would be correct. Strategizing and spearheading promotional opportunities — whether digital, print, pay-per-click, or earned media — is an integral part of a marketing department’s responsibilities. 

  • Managing and planning events: Within the remit of most marketing departments is the planning and management of a range of events, from webinars designed to generate leads to product launches that will garner publicity. 

  • Supporting sales and distribution teams: Marketing departments don’t carry out their work in a vacuum. Instead, everything they do affects other parts of the company. One of the key responsibilities of a marketing department is to support sales and distribution teams in order to ensure these areas are prepared for the marketing activity they plan and execute. This might mean prepping the distribution team ahead of a planned promotional activity, checking inventory before coordinating a marketing campaign around a product, or qualifying leads using demographic and behavioral data to help sales teams sell more effectively. 

Marketing departments cover a range of functions that are critical to the success and growth of a company. Now, we’ll look at the specific roles that ensure these responsibilities are carried out. 

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What are typical roles in a marketing team?

The specific roles in each marketing department will vary depending on the size of the company, the industry, and the target audience for the product or service. For example, a small plumbing company probably doesn’t require a data analyst. However, a large multinational might have an entire team of data analysts working to optimize the marketing team’s efforts. 

Here is a selection of typical marketing department roles: 

  • Chief marketing officer: Whether the head of the marketing department is referred to as the vice president of marketing or the chief marketing officer (CMO), those in the role have similar responsibilities around generating revenue through marketing efforts, minimizing costs and risks, and supporting overall company goals. 

  • Marketing director or marketing manager: Once the CMO has designed the marketing strategy and priorities, it is up to the marketing director or manager to create campaigns and plans to achieve that strategy effectively. A marketing manager also directly oversees the marketing team members as they complete tasks that advance the department’s stated mission.

  • Marketing specialist: Depending on the needs of the company, a marketing department structure might include a selection of marketing specialists who have particular areas of expertise. These areas of expertise can include digital marketing, SEO marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing. These specialists will take full control of their area of expertise and might even work with a team of lower-level marketing team members to carry out these daily tasks and campaigns. 

  • Data analyst: Because a company’s marketing function is driven heavily by data, a data analyst is a role most companies will require. In fact, large companies might have entire teams dedicated to data analysis. Data analysts in marketing departments measure the impact of campaigns, identify best-performing channels and verticals, and enable teams to make informed, data-driven decisions.  

  • Content writer: A marketing content writer is responsible for writing many different types of content, all designed to build the company’s brand, draw in potential customers and retain existing customers. Marketing content managers may be tasked with writing website copy, eBooks, mass emails and newsletters, social media copy, video scripts, and advertisements. They must also be adept at optimizing each of these content types for SEO to attract traffic to online content. 

  • Visual designer: Sometimes called a graphic designer, a visual designer is responsible for creating various types of on-brand graphics and imagery. These can include infographics, event signage, images for print or online platforms, and visuals for email and online marketing. They design visuals that help promote the brand and support marketing campaigns. 

  • Tech expert: Marketing departments often benefit from employing a tech expert who is adept at coding and can therefore manage the website and product shop. Tech experts might be called upon to design A/B testing for an email campaign and should be able to expertly manipulate content management systems. 

  • Marketing project manager: Companies often employ marketing project managers who are responsible for specific marketing projects. Marketing project managers might focus their time on a single large campaign or a few smaller projects, and they would oversee the staff involved in carrying out these projects. For example, a marketing project manager might oversee a digital campaign designed to support a product launch or serve as project manager for a large company event. 

  • Public relations: While most marketing roles are focused on promoting products or services and building a company’s brand to increase profit, public relations team members are tasked with marketing the company itself to the general public. This might involve writing press releases about key appointments or promoting charitable initiatives to relevant media.

Advanced marketing team roles

Companies often require advanced marketing team roles, especially when they are looking to grow in scale and scope. These include roles within the following categories: 

  • Demand generation: Demand generation marketing department staff are responsible for creating and implementing strategies to attract, nurture, land, and retain customers for the business. Whereas other marketing department roles are often measured by the number of leads they bring into the company, success in lead generation roles is measured by the amount of profit they generate for the company. 

  • Marketing operations: Another advanced marketing area is that of marketing operations. Often referred to as marketing ops, this department is responsible for ensuring that the marketing team’s technology and processes work in an efficient manner. They are in charge of the work management software or marketing tools the team uses on a daily basis to carry out their work. 

  • Automation: Automating certain marketing functions can greatly improve the efficiency and efficacy of the marketing department, capitalizing on leads and helping nurture them into purchasing a product or service. Marketing automation involves acquiring as much data as possible about a prospective customer and tailoring and automating the information and communication they receive.

How to build a marketing team

Building a marketing team can be a daunting task because it is such a crucial aspect of business success. Hiring the wrong person can be costly, frustrating, and can set your company’s growth back significantly. In fact, 74% of companies report an average cost of $14,900 per bad hire, according to one survey. But it is possible to build a strong marketing department that can help your company succeed quickly. 

There are many ways to build a marketing team, and your marketing team needs will vary depending upon the size of your company and your specific marketing requirements. If you are in the initial stages of building your marketing team, there are two common routes to consider:

  1. Start with a marketing team leader and marketing generalists: Your marketing department will need a leader from the beginning, but whether you choose to hire an executive-level marketing team leader like a CMO will depend on the future prospects for your company. Small or mid-level companies and start-ups might begin instead with a marketing manager as team leader, marketing generalist, and visual designer. A marketing generalist is someone who has experience with several different areas of marketing but who doesn’t specialize in one particular area. For instance, a marketing generalist might be able to manage writing website content, email campaigns, and social media but wouldn’t necessarily have specialized skills in SEO or data analysis. 

  2. Build a digital team first: Another route to building your marketing department is to focus on a digital marketing team first and hire several roles that allow you a more broad base of specialties from the start. A digital marketing manager will be an important first hire, followed by a selection of digital specialists, including a data analyst who can help drill down your company’s target market segments, a content writer who can populate your website and social media to attract customers, as well as a website and visual designer to support the marketing team’s design needs. 

Freelance marketing specialists and project managers hired on a contract basis can help support your marketing department, filling gaps in your team as the company scales.

How to structure a marketing department

The structure of a marketing department depends in part on the size and type of company. Very small or fledgling start-up companies might only have a handful of people on their marketing team. Meanwhile, mid-level companies and large multinationals have significantly broader needs when it comes to marketing functions. 

Here is an example of an enterprise marketing department structure: 


Which skills are needed in high-functioning marketing teams?

Marketing departments are fast-paced environments, with a slew of projects, tasks, and moving parts in motion every day. Marketing teams need to recognize and adapt to changes in customer desires and master the best ways to reach those customers using a myriad of channels

These hard skills are critical to a high-functioning marketing team: 

  • Data analysis: Because marketing departments rely heavily on data analysis to evaluate how to access potential customers, the ability to analyze information and strategize based on those findings is critical to a marketing team’s success. 

  • Writing: From blog posts to eBooks, website content to ad copy, writing skills are highly important for high-functioning marketing teams who need to shift tone and style to reach a variety of customers and draw them to the brand. 

  • SEO: In the last decade, optimizing content for search engines has become one of the best ways for companies to get their products and services in front of customers and generate leads and sales. A marketing team needs to stay at the cutting edge of SEO practice in order to excel. 

  • Social media: Arguably just as important as SEO, social media is a critical element to any marketing department’s skill set. The ability to create engaging and even viral content for a range of different social media, work with social media influencers for product placement, and respond to customer queries is important for a marketing team. 

  • Technology: These days, marketing is inherently reliant on technology, from managing websites to software for scheduling the above-mentioned social media campaigns or e-commerce options for selling products and services. The marketing department’s technology stack is extensive, and fully integrated work management software can help efficiency, visibility, and accountability.

What’s the best way to hire for marketing department positions?

When you’re building your marketing team, one of the biggest questions you might have is what is the best way to hire the best people? Marketing candidates are often excellent at using networking tools like LinkedIn, making that a valuable place to start your marketing search. Referrals from existing marketing team members is another great strategy for ensuring that potential marketing team employees will be a good fit with company culture and that they have the skills required to push your team to the next level. 

While many marketing candidates will need to work in an office-based capacity, some roles can be fulfilled remotely, which can greatly increase the potential pool of marketing applicants to build out your team.

What tools do marketing teams need?

Because marketing departments deal with a host of different metrics, social media channels, and a range of print and digital media, the marketing department tools they use will make all the difference. Marketing departments often rely heavily on work management or marketing management software, and one key element that all marketing departments should look for in their marketing tools is app integration. If possible, a marketing department should use work management software that integrates as many of the apps they use on a regular basis as possible, like WordPress, MediaValet, and Mailchimp. 

Wrike’s work management add-ons like Wrike for Marketers are specifically designed to streamline a marketer’s workflow, cutting down on time lost switching between platforms and supercharging their performance every day. 

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