Digital marketing’s magnificent seven

For marketing teams working with digital products, there are seven key roles you need to cover.

7 is a powerful number. At Google the leader-to-doer ratio averages 1:7 according to a study by Tomasz Tunguz at Redpoint Ventures. 7+2 is the ideal scrum team size, Jeff Bezos at Amazon popularized the 2-pizza rule, where teams shouldn’t exist if they can’t feed themselves on two pizzas. 7 also seems to be the ideal team size for defending a small Mexican town from marauding bandits.

For marketing teams working with digital products, there are also seven key roles to cover. Each role contributes to increasing the visibility and reputation of your brand, and ensures that it delivers an engaging experience for the audiences you are focused on.

Read our free eBook on digital marketing here.

  1. Content strategist

This role should be at the centre of everything to do with how your brand expresses itself using content. The individual components of marketing, such as website content, campaign pages, social media assets and even display advertising concepts won’t mean anything unless they are created with a bigger overarching plan in mind. The content strategist identifies the content that is needed across all your channels to support your sales and marketing goals. They work closely with designers to create a user experience that engages and supports real-world customer journeys, and create workflows and processes to test and validate content designed for well defined customer segments. The content strategist can also play a central role in training organisations in managing the internal changes needed to get web, marketing, sales and communications teams to start adapting and producing the content needed to support the content strategy.

Mona Wiheden Digital marketings magnificent seven

Above: Mona. Personal mantra: «Content strategy takes care of the emotional bridge between online business and the customer»

  1. SEO specialist

Works closely with content strategists and producers to ensure that content is optimized to succeed in competitive digital channels. Much of this work is actually market research, a term not often applied to search engine optimization. Keyword strategies for example are based on competitor research, looking for page-level opportunities and search terms that resonate with target audiences. Technical SEO is focused on web infrastructures and channel metadata, creating links between content in your ecosystem so that whichever path a visitor takes, they are presented with a consistent brand experience.

Morten Mikkelsen Digital marketings magnificent seven

Above: Morten M. Personal mantra: «Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”

  1. Senior Designer

This role requires a designer with an ability to define and communicate site and page structure, interaction models, task flows, screen designs and UI specifications. The UX strategist has responsibility for how your digital product feels, as it flows logically from one step to the next. Getting insights into user needs user behaviors is a critical success factor. Qualitative research should be continuously used as a feedback system to spot stumbling blocks in the user’s experience of digital products. Quantitative data is provided by the SEO and the Analyst, and this can be used to steer navigational options, content headlines and sub-headers and visual design work based on what works best for users, and for the brand experience. The point here is that user insights and testing is no longer confined to the start of a project, but should be part of the lifecycle of any digital product. Planned changes, upgrades, content and design tweaks can be validated by feedback from real users. The relationship between UX design, content strategy and SEO has moved even closer now with the introduction of Google’s RankBrain machine learning algorithm which explicitly measures, and ranks websites, based on user interaction with content. To maintain or improve rankings, a brand’s UX needs to show the relevance of the experience to the search query. In other words, UX combined with content strategy is a direct contributor to search result ranking, and therefore a critical success factor.

Marte Hellum Olaisen Digital marketings magnificent seven

Above: Marte. Personal mantra: “Design what’s needed and deliver it quickly. Get meaningful feedback from customers as fast as possible.”

  1. Marketing Analyst

This is also a non-traditional marketing role which has moved front and centre with digital ecosystems. The analyst is responsible for gathering all the data from user interactions with websites, campaign pages, social assets and advertising in third party channels. Tagging content is an important first step in measuring its effectiveness. As with user testing, analytics is an ongoing process across the life of each digital channel. Defining the key performance indicators that are at the heart of digital sales and marketing is one of the first tasks a new analyst should focus on. An analyst is ultimately responsible for «attribution management» – and will track «hard» conversions such as product sales, as well as «soft» conversions such as web page impressions, information downloads, completed web forms and other kinds of digital interaction. The analyst´s toolset includes a web analytics package, a tag management system as well as advertising campaign tracking software.

Marthe Øynes Digital marketings magnificent seven

Above: Marthe. Personal mantra: “If you think analytics is boring, then you’ve got the wrong numbers!»

  1. Content writer/editor

With much digital marketing now shifting from advertising in external channels to content development in owned channels, the need for experienced and flexible digital content creators has never been greater. Primarily text specialists but also photographers, motion designers and even app designers. All work with content, and an effective content strategy is one where content concepts support customer journeys, by creating focused pieces of content which can be re-used in different contexts. Whether content creators should be an in-house or an external role will depend upon the level of specialisation needed. Our experience across many clients has shown that the ideal is a mixed model, where a brand owners small in-house team are supported by external content producers; for example, longer articles, white papers or thought leadership topics where a professional journalist is needed. Infographics and motion graphics are two other examples of areas where buying in professional support is more cost effective than employing specialists.

Kjersti Vangerud Digital marketings magnificent seven

Above: Kjersti. Personal mantra: “If content is king, context is god»

  1. Developer

Adding a well rounded developer to your marketing team may seem like an extravagance. In 2016 it’s more like common sense. A developer able to work with front end and back end processes gives your marketing team a whole set of technical execution capabilities. For example, working with systems infrastructures, creating and querying databases, creating technical specifications and documentation as well as being able to manage a development process. Ideally your developer is comfortable working in one or more back end APIs such as .Net, node.js and Java. They should also have front end fluency in languages such as html, javascript (react, angular etc.) and CSS. The ideal developer in a marketing environment has broad knowledge of systems, architectures and languages, without necessarily being a deep specialist in any one area.

Morten Strand Langbakk Digital marketings magnificent seven

Above: Morten S. Personal mantra: “Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.”

  1. Marketing manager / project manager

The de facto leader of the team, but also a servant to the needs of the team from day to day. The manager role is responsible for ensuring that this cross disciplinary team works smoothly and in an agile and iterative way. The manager’s job is to see that project tasks are executed by the right people, as part of the right workflow, and in the right timeframe. In the early stages of a digital marketing project, the team may be spending more time creating than managing. Keeping the team on track and on budget requires an agile coach, who can manage the weekly backlog of tasks and help the team report to its executive sponsors and other stakeholders.

Bjørn Husby Digital marketings magnificent seven

Above: Bjørn. Personal mantra: “continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection»

Like other digital product teams, digital marketing teams should also be based on agile principles. Your 7-member team needs frequent face to face contact, and regular project check-ins where work can be shown, challenges discussed and help channeled to where its most needed. The above 7 roles represent the main pressure points of digital marketing in 2016 and beyond. Digital marketers are experiencing continuous change; in channels, ecosystems, toolsets and customer behaviors. Tactics that worked 18 months ago now fail to engage. Success depends on triangulating customer attitudes, online behavior and contextual content in each of your channels, all the time. So marketing is now a continuous learning loop, where tactics are continuously being tuned based on customer and market data. This is why the new model of digital marketing teams has to be a blended solution, based on a small core of in-house resources supplemented by external consulting specialists.

Read our free eBook on digital marketing here. (in Norwegian)