Build the Ultimate Marketing Team

Marketing today is a team sport. All the game-changing technology and techniques look great on paper, but they’re just scribbles without the people to make it happen. Building the team to use them to peak effectiveness means finding a more diverse and highly skilled roster than ever before.

You need people who can make sense of the data, people who can get engagement on social media, people who can design everything from old-fashioned brochures to interactive digital experiences ... And above them you need people who can make sure it all gets done, and people who can see how that fits together to achieve your business goals.

This issue is dedicated to helping you build that team. With expert insights on the most in-demand titles and hard-to-find skills, examples of how successful marketers are building their own rosters, and tips for being the leader who can help them succeed.

There is no championship of marketing, but if you build the right team, there can be a whole lot of wins.

Recruiters Reveal What Marketers Tell Them They Need

It’s time to talk about what roles marketers need to fill in order to have the best possible team.

The beginning of this list is filled with the most important roles to fill — some of which are new needs, brought on by media fragmentation and the rise of marketing technology. Others are constant needs that are rising in importance and may have new job responsibilities. Rounding it out is the wish list, which is either for marketers with endless budgets (unicorns?) or for brands to peruse and decide what best meets their business goals.

Recruiters, marketing agencies and a provider of annual marketing forecasts helped Target Marketing assemble this list. Marketing research helped with the rest.

Marketing Strategist

Think marketing programs instead of just campaigns. A coherent business plan. A path toward business objectives into which marketing initiatives fit or are discarded.

Emphasizing that these are just his opinions, Bruce Biegel, senior managing director with the Winterberry Group, puts this role at the top of his list. (Speaking of Biegel’s opinions, by the way, the Direct Marketing Club of New York seeks out his forecast every year for its early January meeting.)

Biegel sees the person in this position as a planning and design leader who understands and develops strategies “around a brand’s customer journey, customer requirements and competitive landscape: translating business needs to marketing intent and plans, [and overseeing] data strategy [and] customer journey strategy.”

Lynn Baus, Shaw + Scott’s VP of digital experience, says this role calls for a “fierce advocate for building strong direct-to-consumer relationships. They know how to identify which customers are important, the technology and platforms which are most useful in reaching those customers, and the types of messages likely to activate those segments. They provide the vision and goals, and often outline the roadmap of achievement.”

Brian Hansford, VP of marketing technology services at Heinz Marketing, says marketing
itself is now the most strategic initiative at brands, “because we drive revenue.” He was speaking to an audience of marketers on March 1 during his session in Target Marketing and CabinetM’s 2017
All About Marketing Tech Virtual Conference and Expo.

Data Scientist

This is a crucial job to fill. But because of the immense level of skill involved, about 300,000 of these jobs remain unfilled in the U.S., Biegel told DMCNY. He says, marketers simply can’t find qualified candidates.

Baus describes qualified individuals as being “skilled at data manipulation, analysis and insight. They build the models and methods, which serve to capture and make sense of the ever-increasing volume of data generated by customer behaviors. Their work informs the strategic efforts, and ensures that the raw data can be harnessed and translated into actionable insights for brands to use.”

Even more than that, marketers need data scientists who can work with the information and convey its meaning to laypeople, Jerry Bernhart, principal at Bernhart Associates Executive Search, has been telling Target Marketing for years. In other words, both hemispheres of the brain have to work together in the absolutely ideal candidate, he has said.

In 2017, Bernhart says, marketers still have high expectations.

“As far as what employers are looking for that they can’t find,” he says, “the sweet spot is having that blend of marketing, analytics and technology. That is a true differentiator.”

Digital Strategist

Many of the positions listed in this article that involve online marketing may report to this marketing leader.

Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group, says: “This person can provide in-depth direction and holistic guidance on a company’s website and digital marketing strategy. Additional responsibilities include developing user experience (UX) strategies, managing usability testing across all digital marketing platforms and reporting on digital marketing performance analytics.”

7 out of 10 "job applicants lose interest in" an org if there's no contact within 2 weeks of the initial interview.

—Robert Half

UX Specialist

At first glance, user experience (UX), user interface (UI) and customer experience (CX) positions can seem the same to marketers. What’s clear is the roles aren’t necessarily confined to website optimization, as they may have been in the past.

What’s interesting, though, is how the roles are being implemented at companies. For instance, Domeyer says “UX Specialist” is “a relatively new position. This individual is responsible for designing a positive customer experience to maximize conversions. It is becoming more common as companies allocate more budget to website enhancements and digital commerce.”

While Domeyer envisions this as primarily a digital marketing position, Baus details a role that involves more cross-channel and cross-specialty examination.

“[The UX Specialist is] focused on uncovering the customer’s needs through a variety of behavioral science research and testing methodologies,” Baus says. “They provide valuable insight into which platform and type of content customers would find most useful or appealing. Their work gives the strategic vision detail and definition, and ensures that the focus is true to the customer-first goal.”

Then there’s a blended definition.

On the website for Domeyer’s company, The Creative Group, the page describing a CX Designer’s job seems to meld some of the “Digital Strategist” duties with those of the UX. The result is a hybrid, hands-on but big-picture marketing role.

Domeyer’s company interviewed Denis Dyli — the founder of Pivofy, a digital agency that specializes in designing and developing e-commerce websites — about his role as a CX Designer. He came into the role after working in UX, UI and development.

“My main job,” Dyli says, “is to design blueprints — including wireframes, roadmaps, workflows, personas and scenarios — of websites that have an enhanced customer experience and higher results on metrics, such as conversion rates and customer engagement. I analyze the audience, customer behavior and what things affect their decision-making, and then build around these key metrics. In a few words, I am a designer that solves problems.”

So it seems these roles may still be evolving.

Content Specialist

Here’s a biggie. Hansford says marketers need content in order to market — anything. At all. Period. That’s because whether it’s B-to-C or B-to-B, it’s a person paying for the product or service. And that person will want to see content.

“This role has become key for companies that want a robust marketing and communications plan,” Domeyer says. “Core duties include overseeing content requirements, creating content strategy deliverables and conducting content audits.”

Bernhart agrees that it’s critical marketers know the importance of authentic storytelling.

Baus elaborates that this role calls for a person who is “responsible for curating or creating the content necessary to fulfill the experience. They give life to the experiences through their ability to deliver graphics, copy, video and photography that jibes with what the customer wants and needs to encounter to connect with the brand.

As customers engage more directly with brands, content specialists have become experts at leveraging user-generated content, such as social media mentions, or ratings and reviews, to bolster brands’ profiles. Content specialists can fulfill a strategic role by ensuring that, as the need to provide dynamically driven, real-time experiences increases, there is the proper structure in place so that brands continue to tell cohesive stories as customers travel across multiple digital platforms.”

Biegel envisions a tiered approach to content marketing. One solo role, “Content Strategist,” would develop content strategy and taxonomy.

Another set of roles, reporting to marketing operations, would be “Content Marketing Architects” and “Content Marketing Workflow Managers.” These professionals would “assess and manage the creative needs across site and media (paid, earned and owned) executing on the content strategies developed, managing cost, performance and relationships against KPIs.”

Marketing Operations

“This is a new career,” Hansford says. “This is complex stuff.”

In Biegel’s opinion, aspects of content marketing fall under this marketing team member’s supervision. This role of “marketing resource management execution and reporting” includes either executing or delegating the content marketing architect and workflow manager duties, as well as those of “Marketing Technologists” who “manage the ‘stack’ of tools, solutions and data, evaluating current performance and assessing new solutions that will provide improved ‘always-on’ and batch effectiveness, cycle time efficiency and feedback reporting — optimizing against price [vs.] performance considerations and marketing’s needs.”

Big Thinkers

Bernhart says organizations tell him they want a marketing professional who can’t be classified. Sure, they need data-driven marketers. But the big picture has to drive far more than strategy and operations, as well as every other marketing discipline.

“The other thing I hear a lot is creative thinking,” he says. “Brands want marketers with big ideas, which they see as crucial in connecting people to the brand on a more emotional level. In general, marketing has become much more influential because of the increasing focus on customer experience, so they also need to be willing to flex and work ‘beyond the job description,’ as I like to call it; particularly in smaller companies that have an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ type of culture.”

Parts of the big picture can, of course, be broken down into specialist roles, such as these Bernhart describes as “marketers who can help transition companies from finding customers, to getting found; marketers who know the importance of authentic storytelling; marketers who can break through silos to erase seams between channels and experiences; marketers who can use data to target precisely; [and] marketers who experiment aggressively and challenge business model assumptions.”

Marketing Hybrids and Uber-Specialists

Subsets and mixes of the roles already described can be useful at organizations.

Biegel details two subsets, which are outlined below:

• Decision Scientists — Analyze first-, second- and third-party data/market research and provide statistical analysis, insights to the strategists, device-testing methodology, analyze results and provide future recommendations and analysis.

• Marketing Optimizers — Work with data science and campaign execution teams to assess and optimize programs and campaigns on a continuous basis, fine-tuning approaches for ROAS [return on ad spend] and marketing ROI.

Domeyer sees the position of “MarCom Manager” mixing content marketing, channel optimization and analytics. “This person is instrumental in overseeing projects related to search engine optimization, website updates, social media and email automation, all of which are business priorities for leading companies today,” she says.

Baus suggests brands need a “Marketing Planner,” who “organizes and coordinates a comprehensive digital marketing plan, which aligns with the brand’s business strategy. They translate the strategic roadmap into the execution plan, which spans the many platforms, content types, technologies, vendor and partner relationships required to implement the vision.”

All Hiring Wishes Granted

According to Karen Carroll, co-owner of Paoli, Pa.-based staffing firm Blue Plate Minds, here are some titles that would be on a large corporate marketing team:
• Director, Brand Marketing and Strategy
• Director or Manager of Digital Strategy
• Director or Manager Digital Marketing and Media Optimization
• Director or Manager Marketing Research and Planning
• Director or Manager Social Media
• Director or Manager Direct Marketing
• Director or Manager Multicultural Marketing
• Director or Manager of Communications

Then there is the *creative* team:
• Copy and Art
• Creative Director
• Art Director
• Graphic Designers
• Web Designers
• Editors
• Proofreaders