How To Structure a Marketing Team (Advice for Small to Medium-Sized Companies)

by Blackwood Impact Group

In a previous article, The 6 Essential Positions of a Successful Marketing Team, we identified six roles we believe are crucial to carrying out your company’s marketing and branding objectives on a continual basis. In this article, Blackwood Impact Group is focused on helping you build out your team step by step. We will also help you to identify optimal qualities the talent you onboard should possess. Having the right team who is the right fit for your small to the medium-sized organization can move your objectives forward in an almost miraculous fashion.

SMB’s Can’t Market Like Mid-Sized and Enterprise Level Companies

The strategy we are outlining here is specifically geared toward small businesses.  We are making the company size distinction because how a large, multi-national company like Coca-Cola runs its various marketing campaigns will be different from how a regional or local business will do so. For one thing, the marketing budgets are very different. Also, as an established and well-recognized brand, Coca-Cola’s marketing objectives are not the same as a smaller company’s objectives.

Blackwood Impact Group (BIG) defines small to medium-sized companies as having less than 100 employees and up to $30 million in annual revenue. Depending on what percentage of your income you allocate for marketing, your budget will influence who you hire, what types of campaigns you run, the channels you chose, and the objectives you meet.

Small businesses should primarily focus on developing more high quality leads at the lowest acquisition costs possible. The secondary focus should be on improving processes so that a higher percentage of leads convert into paying customers. The right in-house team can easily meet these objectives and more.

Making Your First Full-Time Marketing Hire

Every company’s ultimate goal is to have a marketing “dream team” that contains the right mix of talent to develop customized strategies aligned with the company’s revenue goals. They also need to possess the right combination of skills to execute campaigns that are profitable for the company efficiently. To achieve this, it will take time and undoubtedly competitive salaries to attract the right people.

But the reality is many SMBs operate with just one person who is dedicated to marketing tasks. In other companies, there is no in-house person. The company owner is doing their best to post regularly on social media, or another staff member is splitting their time between random marketing tasks and other duties. When these companies realize they are losing sales opportunities, they usually get serious about hiring at least one, maybe two dedicated in-house marketing positions.

If your company is at that place and you’ve read our article, The 6 Essential Positions of a Successful Marketing Team, you might be wondering how to interpret our advice since you only have the budget to hire one, maybe two people.  For this situation, we recommend you find and hire a marketing generalist.

The ideal marketing generalist should have several key characteristics. They should have a good grasp of creating marketing strategies and developing campaigns. If they are already familiar with your industry, then they may be aware of multiple marketing channels that would be best for you to use. They should certainly have a firm grasp of how to leverage social media to brand a business.

A dream candidate would also have excellent writing skills for content creation (i.e., blogs, email, corporate communication, video scripts, etc.). They should also know their way around a creative software suite like Adobe, so they can also produce visuals (i.e., logos, packaging artwork, infographics, etc.).

Your marketing generalist should be able to manage your marketing automation software and be able to use the data it produces to adjust the marketing strategies for greater efficiency. If you have the budget for two internal positions, consider one who is the primary strategy person and one who will focus on producing the written and creative visual elements necessary for your campaigns.

When you are ready to hire your first or second position, it might be tempting to bring on an intern to train and elevate them later into a full-time role. You might also consider hiring a recent college graduate who studied marketing. To make these types of hires work, you need to be willing to dedicate time to training them and religiously overseeing their work. This might be difficult if you do not have a background in marketing.

Ideally, you’ll want someone with at least a few years of experience who can offer knowledge that isn’t already present among your staff. It would be worth investing a little more in hiring a more experienced person. Great experience to look out for is someone who worked for a marketing agency or Public Relations firm for at least three years and has experience executing different types of campaigns.

Building On Your Foundation

With your marketing generalist secured, there are still gaping holes on your team that need to be filled. You can always leverage specialized freelancers or agencies to fill in the gap until you are ready to make more internal hires. For example, you may want to outsource your graphic design needs to a freelancer, or hire an SEO firm only to manage your search engine marketing initiatives.

As your campaigns become more profitable and you are ready to onboard more in-house talent, consider bringing on specialists such as a content marketer who will set strategies and produce written pieces (blog, ebooks, case studies, white papers, etc.) designed to generate more inbound leads. Having a digital marketing specialist in-house will be vital to maximizing your social media and online advertising initiatives.

If you have an extensive website, an e-commerce site, or use your website to provide customized information and customer service, you’ll want to bring your web development in-house as well. These functions tend to have very high hourly rates when outsourced so the sooner you can make an internal hire in this area, the better.  In general, you can keep working with your outsourced partners until you are able to bring each one of the six critical marketing positions in-house.

Mid-sized to enterprise-level companies usually have a VP or Director of Marketing on staff to direct strategies and have multiple people on hand to fulfill the marketing functions we’ve mentioned above. But not every small business has that luxury, yet still has the need of building an A-list team. It can be tough trying to determine which positions to fill in-house and what to outsource. If you don’t have the in-house expertise in marketing, then a smart move would be to work with a consultant who can guide you through the process and help you make the best decisions based on your budget and objectives.

An excellent option for you to consider as you seek to build your team is to leverage the expertise of a C-Suite marketing leader at a fraction of the cost. At Blackwood Impact Group, we offer services such as Marketing Organizational Structuring and Agency Management at a fraction of the cost and risk of commitment. If you’d like to see how we can help you structure your dream team, contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.