The 4 Roles Every Small Marketing Team Should Have

Too many small businesses start with straightforward and scalable marketing, but then before they can blink their marketing turns into an all-consuming and energy sucking monster that they struggle to sustain. 

Usually, it’s becuase they aren’t investing in the right things or the right people. 

After auditing the marketing of hundreds of small businesses, we’ve found that there are four roles that every monster-proof marketing team has. In this post, we’ll walk you through what those roles are, different ways they can manifest in your team, and provide some examples of how to structure your marketing team. 

It doesn’t matter if you have a marketing team of 1 or 100, all those roles need to be filled if you want sustainable, scalable, and monster-proof marketing. 

The #1 mistake small business owners make when hiring marketing support is, they hire the wrong role at the wrong time

Marketing starts out pretty straightforward. You start creating a little content, maybe experiment with ads or something you heard on a podcast, and it works! You grow and get more sales. 

So… you market a little more. Maybe you hire a social media VA or a marketing intern to help with the content. Maybe you hire someone to take one area entirely off your plate. 

But eventually you hit a point where the things you’re doing either don’t bring the same results, or, you find yourself scrambling to feed this never-satiated content monster 🧟.  

If your marketing feels like a monster right now, I’ve got you. This is a solvable problem, and we’re going to start solving it right now! 

I’ve audited the marketing of hundreds of businesses, and those that have ‘marketing monsters’ all have this in common— they don’t have the right people or team in place. 

And where this gets challenging is what’s ‘right’ for your business is probably going to look a bit different than another business. 

But it doesn’t matter if you’re building a marketing team of one or 20+, you need to start by assigning four specific roles. 

To be clear, these four roles do NOT need to be filled by four different people. One person can fill multiple of these roles. But someone needs to take ownership of each one in order for your marketing to be successful and scalable. 

The four roles every small business needs on their marketing team

Whether you’ve got a marketing team of 1 or 20, someone on your team needs to take ownership of each of these roles so the time, energy, and money you are investing in your marketing, actually pays off. 

1. A Strategic Planner 🧠

Small Marketing team

Unless if the business owner has extensive marketing expertise, this should probably be your first hire. Getting this role right from the beginning, saves you from wasting a lot of time and money on marketing efforts that don’t move the needle. 

This persons job is to:

  • Align marketing goals and priorities with your business goals and priorities
  • Lead long-term growth planning
  • Manage your audience, messaging, and brand strategies
  • Manage marketing budgets
  • Make decisions on which channels and platforms to invest time, energy, and money into
  • Provide goals and direction to the Strategists and Implementors (more on these roles below!)

They may call themselves a CMO, Marketing Manager, or Marketing Consultant. 

In the earlier stages of the business, the business owner often takes on this role. But if they don’t pull in the right support when they need it, it can lead to a lot more stress, overwhelm, and wasted $$ if they don’t have a strong foundation of marketing expertise. Especially when they need to make big decisions or provide direction and support to their team. 

If you don’t have someone like this on your team

When you’re trying to establish your marketing or brand, getting a Marketing Consultant or Fractional CMO to audit your marketing and provide a strategy or roadmap can ensure you’re investing in the right things and people, your messaging and brand is resonating with your audience, and that you’re making the most strategic marketing decisions. (Psst— this is something we offer with our Market Better with Data service!)

When your marketing is established and you’re looking to grow, it’s often best to hire a dedicated Marketing Manager or CMO (fractional or full-time) that takes ownership of this role. Managing a growing marketing team is a lot of energy and work— and in most cases, the business owners energy and time is best spent elsewhere. 

2. A Data Analyst 📈

This is the most-often-forgotten role that can be a game changer for your marketing team. I know, data isn’t sexy. But neither is spending thousands of dollars on a marketing tactic that brings limited (or zero) results. 

Your Data Analyst 📈 works collaboratively with your Strategic Planner 🧠 to make sure your marketing efforts are driving results and that you’re prioritizing the right channels. 

This persons job is to:

  • Measure if the overall marketing strategy is on track with goals
  • Identify indicators or issues that need fixing before they impact the bottom-line
  • Analyze and identify opportunities for optimization and improvement
  • Set up and maintain the data systems (Google Analytics, dashboards, etc.)

They may call themselves a Data Analyst or Analytics Consultant. And in some cases, a Marketing Manager or Marketing Consultant can also fill this role. 

PSA – a strategist (eg. ads strategist or social media manager) who reports on data, is not the same thing as a data analyst. A data analyst looks at the data across all your marketing, not just within one or two channels. 

If you don’t have someone like this on your team

The first step is to get a professional data set up. You want and Analytics Consultant who can first work with you to create an analytics strategy for your business that considers all your marketing channels including your website, social media, email marketing, and your CRM/booking platform/online sales platform. (It’s a lot more than just Google Analytics)

Then, they’ll go ahead and configure your Google Analytics, Google Tag Mangaer, Email Tagging Automations, and Data Connectors, and (ideally) design some easy-to-use dashboards so your team can easily read & use the data. 

Once you have your data ready to use, then they (or sometimes a different Data Analyst) can work alongside your Strategic Planner 🧠 to prepare reports, analyze performance and trends, and forecast results of your marketing. 

By the way, we can help with the strategy, set up, and ongoing reporting. It all starts with a Marketing Analytics Strategy & Setup project. 

3. Strategist(s) ⚡

These are your intermediate-to-expert level people who work within an area of your marketing. If you’ve outsourced something in your marketing to an expert— you’ve probably hired one of these. 

This persons job is to:

  • Oversee the strategy within a specific channel (ads, social media, email, etc.)
  • Map out how to most effectively use the channel to achieve the goals outlined by the Strategic Planner
  • Measure if that platform or channel is on track with goals
  • Support the implementor(s) working on their channel

They may call themselves a social media manager, an ads strategist, a copywriter, etc. 

Often, a Strategist ⚡is also an Implementor 🔥 who also executes the strategy they develop (more on the Implementor below!).

If you don’t have someone like this on your team

If you have someone implementing marketing on a specific channel, for example, a social media assistant who creates and posts social content— and there’s no one on your team who can provide the direction of what types of content to post (rooted in your marketing priorities, messaging, and brand goals)… you’re likely spending money on creating content that’s not going to move the needle. 

If you’re using social media, or ads, or whatever— you want to have access to someone who knows that platform inside and out and can help guide your strategy. It could be as simple as joining a membership with a social media coach, or you hire an ads strategist to audit and set up your ads that you can monitor yourself, or you completely delegate this one part of your marketing to a person or team. 

4. Implementor(s) 🔥

These are typically the first people business owners hire because they’re looking to offload some of the work. 

They’re your boots-on-the-ground people that execute on your marketing. They create and schedule content, set up your ads, write your emails, and so on.

This persons job is to:

  • Work with the Strategist to execute the plan and strategy

These can be generalists across multiple channels like a marketing assistant, content VA, or content writer. Or, they may work within a specific channel like a social media coordinator or website copywriter. 

They can be entry level or experts— depending on what is the right fit for your business at that time. 

And often, especially if you’re hiring contractors, your Implementor 🔥 is also your Strateigst ⚡ who creates the strategy, but also executes. 

If you don’t have someone like this on your team

If you have marketing being actioned— you have one of these people. The question is whether they’re the best person for what your business needs now. 

And that’s a question that your Strategist ⚡ and Strategic Planner 🧠 can help you answer. 

For businesses that have marketing ‘monsters’ it’s usually because they have a lot of Implementors without Strategists and Strategic Planners, or they have Implementors and Strategists working in silos without a Strategic Planner to pull it all together. 

So, how should you structure your small business marketing team?

Great question! I’m glad you asked. This is a very individual decision for each business that should factor in things like the business size, brand awareness, how established the business and marketing systems are, the marketing budget, and the expertise of the business owner & existing team. 

But, here are three examples to start from that I have seen work for a variety of businesses. 

The small business that’s just starting out

In this team structure, the business owner is playing a heavy part in all four ‘roles’ but they pull in contractors or consultants on an as-needed basis when they need more expertise or support. 

Their Fractional CMO or Consultant probably gets brought in a few times a year to audit, strategize, or analyze performance and help the Business Owner make strategic decisions. They probably set up (or coordinated the set up) of the data systems. 

The Business Owner might pull on a few contractors who play Strategist or Implementor roles to help execute. 

Here’s how the roles would break down

  • The Strategic Planner 🧠 – The Business Owner, supported by the Fractional CMO or Marketing Consultant
  • The Data Analyst 📈 – The Fractional CMO or Marketing Consultant
  • The Strategist(s) ⚡- The Business Owner, supported by Contractor(s) 
  • The Implementor(s) 🔥 – The Business Owner, supported by Contractor(s) 

The small, growing business

In this team structure, the Business Owner is no longer the centre of all marketing. They get to pass that hat to a Marketing Manager or CMO (could be full time or fractional) that oversees the marketing operations and performance. 

Of course, the Business Owner is still involved in high-level marketing discussions and collaborates with the Marketing Mangager, but the Marketing Manager is the one leading the team and working in the day-to-day. 

The Specialists and Implementors might be made up of contractors, agencies, or in-house staff, but they’ve got clear roles and targets to hit that are defined by the Marketing Manager. And, there’s someone on the team who pulls and prepares all the data so the Marketing Manager can analyze, audit, and make informed decisions. 

Here’s how the roles would break down

  • The Strategic Planner 🧠 – The CMO or Marketing Manager
  • The Data Analyst 📈 – A contractor or the CMO or Marketing Manager
  • The Strategist(s) ⚡- A contractor or in-house marketer
  • The Implementor(s) 🔥 – A contractor or in-house marketer

The scaling business

Now the business is growing enough that it probably needs a full-time Marketing Manager, and likely one or more full-time Strategists to support different areas of their marketing. A business might alsohire Agency to manage one area of their marketing. 

As the business grows, little team hubs will be developed. For example, one of the “In House Strategists” could be a Content Manager who determines the overall content strategy and priorities, and then manages a small team: a content writer who writes blogs, emails, and social media content, a designer who creates graphics and resources, and a contract SEO specialist and video editor who supports the content team. 

Here’s how the roles would break down

  • The Strategic Planner 🧠 – The CMO or Marketing Manager
  • The Data Analyst 📈 – A dedicated data analyst
  • The Strategist(s) ⚡- A few in-house strategists, specialists or agencies
  • The Implementor(s) 🔥 – A team of contractos or staff that support the strategists

Do you have the right team in place for your business?

When the marketing starts to feel unmanageable, it’s usually because one of these four roles isn’t assigned to anyone, or because you have the wrong person in one of those roles. Or maybe they’re the right person, they just don’t have enough capacity don’t yet have the expertise.

💥 But the only way to fix it is to get the right people, in the right roles, for right now. 

At Akari Digital, we step into the roles of Strategic Planner 🧠 and/or Data Analyst 📈 for our clients, and we work alongside the Strategists and Implementors they already have. Or, when needed, we help them get the right ones in place!

If you need help de-monsterfying 🧟 your marketing (that’s a word right?), we’ve got you. Book a free, zero-obligation intro call, and we’ll dig into your business and marketing together. We’ll see what roles you have covered, what roles you need support with, and if we are the right fit to support you.

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