In today’s world, full-time employees and independent professionals, service providers and freelancers work together, providing marketing a more flexible and imaginative ground. Due to the situation created by the coronavirus in the world, 62% of managers* think that their workforce will remain virtual. It also strongly involves the work of marketing teams, and in this blog post we will look at 5 key roles that should be covered in your marketing. This article by Mari-Liis Vaher was first published in the August 2021 issue of the leadership magazine Director.
Marketing is constantly changing, and so are the traditional concepts of the roles of marketing teams. Until now, marketers have worked very firmly in distinct roles, but now new, more hybrid roles are becoming more and more popular. If you are preparing to build a modern marketing team or want to change an existing one, you need to keep in mind that there are several key roles to take into account.
The key roles that each marketing team should have to effectively achieve their marketing goals:
A leader and a visionary who knows where we are going and what steps are needed along the way. He or she is able to distinguish important activities from non-important, necessary information from background noise and makes sure that all activities are guided by the right goals. The leader knows the importance of communication, productivity and time management of team members, and he or she is the one who motivates and works with team members on a daily basis to make the goals and deadlines realistic.
The leader is responsible for monitoring the team's progress, training when necessary, strong work ethic and resolving conflicts within the team. This role can be well performed by a person who is directly involved in the management of the company (eg owner and CEO) or by someone from outside (eg a consultant) who has sufficient management and industry experience. The latter may even benefit from a broader horizon, and an externally hired manager is less likely to be emotional or biased in his or her decisions. The leader of the marketing team does not have to know everything, but they must be able to find the right people around them who can carry out the necessary activities.
A project manager plans the resources needed to carry out the activities, makes sure that planned activities remain within the budget and gives an overview of the activities to the leader. This role also includes delegating, scheduling and managing specific tasks, reviewing the budget, and documenting reports. A good specialist has analytical thinking, is able to set deadlines realistically and adhere to them, and has a high ability to organize. He or she keeps an overview of all the activities, evaluates and plans projects, distributes activities and creates plans to fulfill each task, and can successfully re-plan situations if necessary.
They are also good documenters and can give the leader an overview of the progress of the project. It is important that the specialist brings the necessary information to the leader's desk for decision-making and receives guidelines and goals from the manager to implement. This role is mostly fulfilled in-house, but it is increasingly seen that outsourced professionals are also used, especially if they have sufficient experience and are able to keep the leader very well informed and manage the activities perfectly via project management tools from distance. Again, experience and competence in the industry are important, and the flow of information between the leader and the specialist is critical - if it is well organized, the problem will not arise even if the project manager's service is either outsourced or the employee is working virtually for you.
These are the type of people who like numbers and who are logical and analytical in interpreting information. The scope of their work usually includes data collection (including sales, marketing, etc.), the identification of patterns and trends in data sets, and the interpretation of results. A leader must be able to base their decisions on data collected and interpreted from trends before they can decide what to do in their marketing and sales.
The digital specialist must have the ability to analyze large data sets, which means that technical skills are also needed to analyze and interpret the data. Today, a digital specialist has a good understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and should be able to manage and direct the activities related to it. One-off activities can be managed on a project-by-project basis if necessary, as it is important to retain someone who knows enough about data and analytics to plan and manage related activities in a targeted way, ie to help develop a strategy for achieving an organic result.
This is your company's voice on various social media accounts, on the website, in communication with the press, including creating and writing stories or arranging it with a foreign partner. A good communication specialist should be clear both orally and in writing to have effective conversations with customers on any platform and should be able to write different stories about their brand to increase communication on social media and reach more people.
Today's communication specialist can successfully create posts with images, infographics or visual aids, as the relevant platforms (eg Canva.com) have made this work easy and capable for everyone. A good professional understands how to use all company channels (website, social media and regular media) to increase their followers and interest in communication and should be able to create content for different types of output, including blogs, videos or podcast scripts, etc.
Communication specialists here are usually highly independent and therefore this position can be successfully outsourced as a service if the necessary management skills are available.
The purpose of all communication here is to increase the awareness of your brand, inform and keep in touch with customers, introduce products or services, etc. Therefore, the content must be well written and informative, and each content in your social media accounts and website must be in line with your marketing strategy. The person responsible for communication should be able to make sure that readers receive relevant information, as well as be aware of following SEO principles in communication, and good cooperation with a digital specialist is important here.
There are still many positions in marketing that are more niche-specific, and those people should be involved by project managers as needed. In small and medium-sized enterprises, these roles are usually always outsourced on a service or project basis and include, for example: web developers, designers, digital and marketing strategists, mentors, AI specialists, developers, etc.
Involving any type of employees is always a risk, and an employment contract does not guarantee a good job. Innovations in the workforce put leaders in a situation where more needs to be done in a hybrid landscape with good and clear communication and management skills, where some members of the marketing team are in-house and others are around the world virtually there for you.