As a growth-minded entrepreneur, if everything goes to plan, you’ll need to hire some people to help run the business. Hiring for some roles are easier than other. It can be hard to know what the ideal ecommerce marketing team structure looks like.
Do you hire one person who can do it all? A few people, each with specific skills? Or is there a different approach you can try?
Building a team is tricky, difficult, and can be a baptism of fire. And that’s even if you’ve done it before. It’s a wild ride!
As we look at creating the ideal ecommerce marketing team structure, my aim is to encourage you to think about who you need and not blindly copy the competition. Your business is unique, and so you should take your own path.
Why Is Hiring For A Marketing Team Difficult?
Hiring someone to pick and pack is a fairly simple task. The majority of people can do unskilled jobs. The same is true with customer support agents and to a large extent, many other ecommerce roles.
However, marketing is its own beast. There are so many moving parts involved. It can easily be too much work for a single person. So, you might need to hire multiple people, work with an agency, or take a hybrid approach.
I recommend clients create a list of responsibilities rather than tasks. Consider what skills are needed to handle each of these duties. Next, hire people with the right attitude, mindset, and some (or all) of these skills. You can always train someone who’s willing to learn.
It’s much harder to train someone for attitude or mindset. So focus on those as skills that can be developed.
What Basic Responsibilities Do We Have?
The role of marketing manager encompasses everything from ensuring you have product photos, fixing broken internal links, dealing with PR inquiries, and generating reports for management meetings. It’s very broad indeed.
We could silo roles based on marketing channels. So we’d need someone that could handle PR, social, email, SEO, and paid ads. Plus, you. Meaning your team would be at least 6 people. Chances are running a team of this size is a pipe dream, well, at the moment.
Another option is to create a list of marketing activities you want to complete each week and dive and conquer based on the skills you and your team have. However, you’ll always have a to-do list that’s longer than hours in the day. Not fun.
You’ll probably want to take a blended approach with you taking on some tasks, having a small team, and working with a marketing and/or ecommerce web development agency.
Let’s take a deep look at what responsibilities we had for each marketing channel and how we can separate them into a few roles and build an ecommerce marketing team structure that helps you reach your business goals.
Ideal Ecommerce Marketing Team Structure
After highlighting the basic roles that should make up your ecommerce marketing team, it’s worth exploring what responsibilities each should have. Again, you should develop team members to have multiple skill sets and the right mindset.
The marketing manager is in charge of the overall strategy, budget, competitor analysis, and team development. Ideally, they’ll have a strong understanding of different tactics but should leave the execution up to others.
You should see the marketing manager as the axle that holds the team together and ensures consistency of the brand across all channels and media, including packaging.
I was tempted to split this into multiple parts as it can be too much for a single person to handle. You need someone (or a few people) who can handle copywriting, article writing, image editing, link building (internal and external), and more.
A mix of development and maintenance, this role is critical to keeping the show on the road. They’ll need to work with the team to build new website features, but also keep it up to date and resolve any bugs or technical issues.
Usually, the SEO lead and website development team fight over who gets to upload the products, articles, and pages. It’s best to have a clear idea before hiring. Otherwise, it can get messy and lead to inaction.
You’ll probably find you can hire a media buyer to set up and run ads on both search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) and social networks (Meta, Twitter, TikTok, etc.).
This person will gather/create the creative assets they need, plan what keywords to target, and build the campaigns. Many media buyers will work with a graph designer and photographer to create images and visuals.
Like SEO, social media slots into two camps: organic and paid. It takes someone with insight to run social channels as it’s not about posting daily or trend hopping. You need someone with a mix of skills that’s analytical, strategic, and a strong copywriter. Again, they’ll want to work with a graphic designer/photographer to build creative assets.
Launching successful email campaigns involves several skills. They need to be a strong copywriter, able to brainstorm offers, analytical, and a strategic thinker. They’ll also be good at using existing creative assets to build email templates.
Handling the press is more than having fancy lunches! It’s a sales role mixed with a particular type of copywriting. You need to find someone who can quickly reply to PR requests. They also should build relationships with publishers and influencers to pitch your products.
I say it’s a sales role as it’s rejection heavy. So you need someone who easily bounces back and keeps going. Plus, as its relationship based, you want someone who likes talking with people and building new friendships.
Who Should Be Your First Marketing Hire?
Here’s where it gets exciting. There are plenty of options, and no one size fits all. So, it’s worth talking about your starting point and building from there.
If you’re a founder, you might want to hire someone will a completely different skill set that can complement you and take over the responsibilities you dislike.
Another option is to hire someone with some skills and train them to take over the marketing within a few months. From there, they can build out what they feel is the right ecommerce marketing team structure for the business.
I’d recommend considering working with a few freelancers. Over time, you can figure out who is worth hiring as a full-time employee and weed out anyone who isn’t quite suitable for your vision.
Bring marketing in-house
If you’ve scaled quickly and hired agencies, but now want to bring those tasks back in-house, you’ll want to look for someone will a range of skills and not just those that you’re hiring them to cover. Look for someone with the right attitude that’s willing to get stuck in and help out.
Hire For Attitude
As I’ve said before, it’s worth hiring someone with the right attitude with lesser skills than a superstar who’s inflexible. You can always shape the former to be a superstar, while the latter will cause problems; and quick.
There are no right or wrong ways to build a team. The only certain thing is you’ll make a ton of mistakes along the way. If you learn from them, you’ll do better next time.
My top recommendation is to think. You can’t build a successful ecommerce marketing team structure without some serious thought. So, you’ll want to consider each hire and how to best use them to build your business while keeping them happy.
You can have all of the marketing tactics in the world. But without the right ecommerce marketing strategy, you won't get the results you deserve.
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