Successful digital marketing campaigns depend on a team of digital marketing professionals. It is essential to not only find the right people but also to ensure that the marketing team is properly structured.
We have over 15 years of experience running a digital marketing agency and have seen how the hierarchy in a digital marketing department can go a long way in determining the team’s success.
In this post, we will show you the most essential digital marketing team roles and how to create a marketing team structure that is best for your business.
What is a digital marketing team?
A digital marketing team is the business unit responsible for planning and implementing the company’s digital marketing strategies.
The purpose of these strategies is to engage customers and drive revenue through online channels such as search engines, social media networks, advertising platforms, and email.
To achieve this objective, the digital marketing team requires various skills including some of those needed in traditional marketing like:
- Branding and positioning
- Strategic thinking
- Reporting and communicating
The nature of digital marketing requires teams to have additional skills. Most notably analytical and technical skills.
Digital marketing mediums afford much more data than traditional marketing channels. The digital marketing team is heavily involved in analyzing this data to make better decisions.
Because digital marketing is so technology-centered, teams also need to learn how to use a variety of software and tools.
A digital marketing team can be an in-house department of a company. Or, they can work at an outside agency, managing digital marketing for third-party companies.
Key Roles in a Digital Marketing Team
These are the important roles in a dedicated digital marketing team.
- Digital Marketing Manager
- PPC Manager
- SEO Manager
- Social Media Marketing Manager
- Content Marketing Manager
- Affiliate Marketing Manager
- Email Marketing Manager
- Web Development Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
The digital marketing manager is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing the company’s overarching digital marketing strategy.
With the typical structure of digital marketing teams, the digital marketing manager oversees a group of managers that are each responsible for a specific digital marketing channel. For example, SEO or social media.
In larger companies, a digital marketing manager may report to a VP or director of marketing.
In addition to creating a holistic digital marketing strategy, the digital marketing manager must ensure that all the digital marketing department roles are working together toward the same goal.
Some of the tasks and responsibilities comprising the typical day of a digital marketing manager include:
- Planning and executing campaigns and budgets across digital marketing channels
- Communicating with clients to explain the benefits of the digital marketing program
- Monitoring the implementation of the digital marketing plan to see if it is achieving its objectives
- Making adjustments and optimizations to the digital marketing strategy to yield maximum results
- Staying on top of the latest digital marketing trends
Digital marketing managers usually need to have at least a few years of digital marketing experience.
They also need to have extensive education and training in all the key areas of digital marketing. This can come from a college degree or from a series of digital marketing courses and marketing certifications.
Pay-per-click (PPC) managers are responsible for overseeing the marketing team’s paid online advertising campaigns.
With the majority of businesses now working to grow their online presence, there is a consistent need for companies to invest in paid advertisements to get in front of their target customers.
A PPC manager leads these initiatives by planning and implementing campaigns for advertising platforms like Google and Facebook.
Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of the role are:
- Creating and executing paid advertising campaigns
- Researching keywords to target campaigns
- Managing campaign budgets and adjusting bids
- Tracking KPIs to see where improvements are needed
- Optimizing campaigns to improve conversion rates and return on ad spend (ROAS)
- Aligning PPC campaigns to other marketing channels
- Helping to create engaging copy for campaigns
In addition to these tasks, PPC managers also communicate with clients and report any results and analyses to all relevant stakeholders.
Effective PPC managers need a mix of analytical, communication, and creative skills. They also need to be well versed in several platforms and tools including Google Ads and Google Analytics.
PPC managers tend to have a team of PPC professionals working beneath them. This can include PPC specialists and analysts as well as copywriters and designers for ads.
The manager will coordinate with the team to ensure that they always have the information needed to manage the campaigns effectively.
The next role to include in your digital marketing team structure is the SEO Manager.
This position is responsible for managing the marketing team’s strategy for reaching customers organically (without paying) through search engines.
Search engines are one of the best ways to attract audience members from every step of a digital sales funnel.
Without the right strategy and optimization efforts, however, it is difficult to rank high enough to drive targeted traffic to your site.
SEO managers work to find the best opportunities to drive relevant organic traffic to the company’s website and create a plan to make it happen.
Some of the key responsibilities of the role are:
- Researching target keywords
- Planning content to rank for the target keywords
- Auditing websites for technical and other factors
- Identifying opportunities for backlinks
- Keeping up with the latest SEO best practices
- Analyzing traffic reports and other key SEO metrics
- Communicating SEO performance with clients
Another big part of the SEO manager role is managing the SEO team. Their teams can include SEO experts as well as content creators and editors.
The manager needs to delegate tasks and provide training and guidance to allow the team to perform their jobs effectively.
Social Media Marketing Manager
Social media managers are responsible for overseeing the marketing team’s social media marketing strategies.
It is an important position as social media is one of the most essential departments in digital marketing. It gives businesses a way to consistently engage their audience through their preferred channels.
Social media also makes it easy to collect copious amounts of information about your target customers.
Social media managers devise a strategy to engage with users and grow the brand’s online presence through different social channels.
Important responsibilities for the digital marketing role include:
- Researching the best social media networks for the business to focus on
- Designing the brand’s social media pages and profiles
- Creating a social calendar and scheduling posts
- Learning the target audience and the most appropriate types of content to use
- Tracking the engagement for posts
- Reviewing competitors’ social media presence
- Checking for user-generated content
Juggling all these responsibilities requires social media managers to develop a strong skill set in many different areas. Communication, creativity, analytical thinking, and time management are the most important among them.
Content Marketing Manager
Content marketing managers are responsible for planning and implementing the company’s content marketing strategy.
Content marketing has grown in popularity as many businesses have come to understand how influential it is in connecting with your target audience.
The content marketing manager aims to create engaging content that can both drive traffic and provide value to your readers.
Depending on the size of the team, the content marketing manager may write some of the content on their own.
Or they could just handle the planning and oversee the writers that create the content.
Some of the other day to day responsibilities of a content marketing manager include:
- Researching topics and trends for your industry
- Planning content for a variety of channels
- Editing content to ensure it aligns with the brand’s style
- Scheduling and publishing content
- Managing the distribution and promotion of content
- Monitoring content performance
- Collaborating with other departments to align content with overall marketing strategy
In addition to good writing and editing skills, content marketing managers need to have strong SEO abilities. This enables them to plan and create content that will rank well and drive traffic to the business.
Content marketing managers also oversee the content creation team. This team can consist of content marketing specialists, writers, editors, and content strategists.
Affiliate Marketing Manager
An affiliate marketing manager is responsible for overseeing the company’s online affiliate program.
The position is less common than the other digital marketing roles on this list as not every company has an affiliate program.
However, it is still an important role if you want to use this channel effectively. Without an affiliate manager, most affiliate programs yield little to no results.
The affiliate marketing manager handles everything from structuring the program to managing the relationships with affiliates.
Below are some key responsibilities for affiliate marketing managers:
- Developing a recruitment strategy to attract new affiliates
- Responding to affiliate inquiries
- Collaborating with third-party affiliate networks
- Designing branded materials for affiliates to use
- Working with top affiliates to develop new sales strategies
- Implementing a tracking system for affiliate referrals
- Creating bonuses and incentives to motivate affiliate activity
Affiliate marketing managers tend to have experience in other areas of digital marketing as it allows them to better understand the traffic and revenue generation tactics of affiliates.
Email Marketing Manager
Email marketing managers are responsible for planning and executing the company’s email marketing strategy.
Today, email remains one of the best digital marketing channels as it gives businesses a direct line to communicate with their customers.
A good email marketing manager is able to find the right people for the company’s email list while creating campaigns that are engaging.
Some of the day-to-day functions of the position include:
- Creating tactics for gaining email subscribers
- Designing templates for landing pages and emails
- Aligning email content and messaging with the brand’s vision
- Monitoring the effectiveness of campaigns
- A/B testing different variables in email campaigns
- Creating and presenting reports
Email marketing managers need a balance of marketing, creative, and analytical skills. They also need to be technically savvy, with the ability to use various email marketing solutions.
Like other digital marketing team roles, email marketing managers tend to rely on a sub-team of various positions to help them execute their strategy.
This can include copywriters, graphic designers, and email marketing specialists.
Web Development Manager
Last on our list of key digital marketing roles and responsibilities is the web development manager.
This position manages the technical infrastructure needed for the company’s website to operate.
They handle the end-to-end delivery of any web-related projects and are responsible for overseeing the work of web developers and designers.
Timeliness is a key for web projects, so web development managers must work closely with their team to ensure they can work as efficiently as possible.
Here are some of the other responsibilities of a web development manager:
- Designing and developing website architecture
- Managing servers and databases
- Creating a strategy for designing and enhancing the online user experience
- Providing guidance on technical issues
- Working with clients to create web design concepts
Naturally, web development managers need to have a high degree of technical skills to perform the job well.
It is common for managers to have experience with common web development languages such as Java, HTML, PHP, and Python.
Hierarchy in a Digital Marketing Department
Your digital marketing team structure sets the foundation for how the group will operate. By building an efficient marketing team structure, you can keep the entire department in sync and aligned with the company’s goals.
The best marketing team structure will depend greatly on the company, the industry, and what you are looking to accomplish with your online marketing.
That said, there are some common characteristics amongst the structures many digital marketing teams use today.
One of the most fundamental similarities is the adherence to a hierarchy in which each team member has clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
Below, we’ve outlined a common digital marketing team hierarchy:
The key feature of this marketing team structure is the segmentation of each specialization.
By breaking the hierarchy into individual disciplines, the marketing team can cover a broader range of digital marketing channels more effectively.
Managers and their team members can specialize in a single focus area, allowing them to become a master of that aspect of digital marketing.
This structure also gives the digital marketing manager a big-picture view of the overall digital strategy as they can see how each department is contributing to the business reaching its overall objectives.
With this digital marketing structure, each manager oversees a sub-team of people that are responsible for helping execute their strategy.
Below is an example of how the sub-team for an SEO manager might look.
As the SEO manager creates their SEO strategy, they will share the objectives with the team and begin delegating tasks.
Each member of the sub-team has their specific focus area, whether it’s writing content or testing website performance.
As projects move along, members of the SEO team will report their progress to the SEO manager.
The manager will then compile the most relevant information into reports to share the team’s performance with the digital marketing manager.
How to Build a Digital Marketing Team
There are several ways you can approach building your digital marketing team. The most common methods are:
- Hiring a team of digital marketing professionals
- Educating your staff using digital marketing courses and certifications
- Outsourcing the work to an agency
- A mix of in-house and outsourced digital marketing responsibilities
Hiring a team of digital marketing professionals
The first approach you can take to building your team is to build it internally by hiring experienced professionals to fill each digital marketing role.
Creating a new team dedicated to digital marketing instead of adding to or converting an existing team, can give you a specialized team with clearly defined functions and accountability.
If you choose to build a dedicated in-house digital marketing team, you will need to hire managers for all the key marketing departments including social media, SEO, PPC, email, and such.
You will then need to fill each sub-team with digital marketing professionals.
Educating your staff using digital marketing courses and certifications
If you want a completely in-house digital marketing team but do not want to hire an entirely new department, you can train your current staff in how to use digital marketing.
This can save you the effort and cost of having to recruit new team members. If you have employees that are underutilized, it can also be a way to fill the open bandwidth.
One of the most effective ways to teach your in-house marketing team about digital is to have them follow a digital marketing course and obtain a certification.
With an online course, your team members get access to a single resource to help them go from beginner to competent in various digital marketing functions.
Certificates validate this achievement. If you run an agency, they have the added bonus of helping market your proficiency to potential clients.
Once you have an understanding of the digital marketing team structure and roles you want to use, you can review the skills of your existing team to see who would be a good fit for each of your planned positions.
Outsourcing the work to an agency
If you do not want to use an in-house marketing team structure, you can always outsource the various marketing activities to an outside agency. Doing so will allow you to focus on reaching your business objectives while the agency focuses on the details of implementing a digital marketing strategy.
Outsourcing digital marketing to an agency can also help you get your strategies up and running faster. While your business is unique, the agency will have experience working on similar projects and will know how to avoid common pitfalls when starting a digital marketing campaign.
The outsourcing approach can also prove cost-effective as the agency can strategize and execute more efficiently. With hiring, it can be hard to find the right people and you need to find a lot of them to round out your entire digital marketing team.
Plus, there are plenty of marketing agencies, freelancers, and contractors out there for each area of digital marketing.
This structure works best for smaller businesses that may not have the resources to create their own digital marketing team.
A mix of in-house and outsourced digital marketing responsibilities
The final way to create your digital marketing team is to take a hybrid approach. With this structure, your digital marketing team will have a mix of in-house professionals, trained employees, and outsourced agencies, and digital marketing consultants.
This is a very common structure as it provides great flexibility.
You can fill the roles that are most important to your business with in-house positions and outsource the other areas that may be less essential.
For example, you could hire SEO, content, and social media marketing managers to oversee the strategies for these channels and then outsource the copywriting and graphic design work to freelancers or an agency.
To implement a successful digital marketing strategy you need a team of digital marketing professionals.
The ideal structure for digital marketing teams is to have a manager for each digital channel with a sub-team working under them.
By sticking to specialization, the entire team can stay more organized and work more efficiently.
Digital marketing teams can be built through hiring, outsourcing, or a combination of the two.
The hybrid approach is often preferable for companies without the resources to build a whole team internally.