8 Essential Roles for Successful Digital Marketing

Digital platforms play a key role in the discovery of small and medium businesses, as well as in consumers’ purchase decisions. According to Statistica, 77% of small and medium enterprises owners believe that a digital presence helps with customer acquisition.

With such an impact on the bottom line of businesses it is only natural that digital marketers and business owners, strive to get the best returns on their digital marketing efforts and budgets.

Recently Mike Huber, Director of Business Strategy at Vertical Measure spoke at the Digital Summit conference in Kansas City where he asked the audience, ‘How many of you have been successful with content marketing for at least a year?” In the audience of approximately 300, only about 10% raised their hands. [Vertical Measures]

We regularly find that while digital marketing managers will rightly give due consideration to their digital marketing strategy, content and channels; they will often overlook their investment in setting up the right roles in their digital marketing team leading to a good strategy being poorly executed and delivering underwhelming results.

Here are the essential roles and competencies required in your digital marketing team and the value that they deliver in running effective digital campaigns.

Essential roles

One of the key challenges in digital marketing, just as in orthodox marketing, is that a digital marketing team requires a diverse set of skills. From making business and digital strategies to graphic design, to writing creative copy, running ads and analysing data analytics all of these roles need have the right competencies to create effective punchy campaigns that deliver business results.

Be warned that your digital marketing budget can easily go up in smoke if the right roles and competencies have not been allocated.

Project Manager

A project manager serves as the liaison between your business goals and the digital marketing team. The role is very useful for busy executives and allows them to have a single point of contact to keep everything aligned, manage the team, assign tasks effectively and most importantly ensure that you are always kept abreast of developments. All the digital marketing processes and approvals are handled by the project manager.

Marketing Manager

Impactful marketing can only start once your audience’s needs and requirements are understood in context of business goals. A marketing manager aligns the business strategy to the digital strategy. While a project manager is concerned with the progress of overall project, a marketing manager hones customer targeting through thorough persona analysis. He/she maximizes the ROI by measuring results and adjusting campaigns through data

analysis. Furthermore, a marketing manager establishes key performance indicators (KPIs) for all digital campaigns.

Content Creator

The creativity and conceptual depth of your brand is showcased by the content you produce. Depending on your budget and requirements, you may need a single content creator or a team. They are responsible for converting ideas into words and copies that resonate with your target market. A content creator delivers engaging and interesting facts, prose and readability, built on SEO keyword requirements and competitor content research so that your marketing efforts are always on point.

Graphic Designer

‘A picture speaks a thousand words’, could not be truer in the digital world. Just like a content creator, a graphic designer translates your brand visually and delivers inspiration for your brand. The vision of your brand and ideas are the driving forces behind graphic designer’s inspiration. They help you in building your brand digitally and also cutting through the digital noise. Using stock photos or ‘guided’ tools to create social media posts or adding images on your website will only work to a certain extent. A graphic designer is the expert on UX/UI design of website, social media, and email campaigns.

Social Media Manager

Social media provides an extremely cost-effective avenue for brand engagement. A social media manager delivers results through a depth of understanding of your audience’s behaviours across different social networks and capitalizes on the facets of each channel. Through effective community management, he or she garners customer loyalty and brand advocacy. A social media manager depends on the content creator and graphic designer to realise the social media calendar.

SEO Specialist

Search is key for middle of the funnel engagement and ultimately lead and sales conversions. If your social and website content is not being optimized for what you target audience is looking for and its placement does not rank well in search, your potential customers are probably not going to find you at the very time that they are in the buying window. An SEO specialist is a master at tools like Google Analytics, Search Console, Keyword Planner etc. and use them to create SEO strategies that will deliver top ranking pages and conversions. She or he is critical to lowering the cost per acquisition (CPA) of new customers and increasing revenue and ultimately return on your marketing budget.

Ad Manager

Media buying is a critical component of a healthy digital marketing strategy and arguably the most effective investment when trying to deliver conversion while getting started with digital marketing. Your ad manager runs campaigns for your products/services targeting potential customers outside your current engagement circle leading to acquisition of new customers, which would otherwise not have been reached and then monitors and optimizes these campaigns to lower the CPA (Cost Per Acquisition). These targeting strategies lead to high volumes of relevant traffic at the lowest CPC (Cost per Click) rates across Facebook, Google, Bing etc. Amateur ad managers can easily end up burning your media budget.

In-house Team or Digital Marketing Agency

The single biggest reason for compromising on roles and competencies lies in the challenge of diverse specialised roles and the cost of hiring and retention. Having the right team is absolutely fundamental to achieving great results.

Given the number of specialist competencies and roles that blend together to make a digital marketing team that delivers it is often challenging for small and medium organisations to put these roles on staff. At times it is possible to find a single individual with two or three specialisations but it is rare to be able to go much beyond that and often there is an insufficient quantity of continuous work to justify so many roles.

For business owners and digital marketing managers it often comes down to a choice between a less experienced in-house dedicated team or hiring a digital agency that is able to distribute the cost of a more senior team amongst multiple clients.


With increasing levels of digital noise standing between you, your potential customers and your business goals it is increasingly import that you run great campaigns. Great campaigns are a product of the collective efforts of multiple professional. Whether in-house or agency make sure you consider the roles and competencies of your team when considering your digital marketing strategy and budget.

Qasim Khawaja
The best marketing doesn't feel like marketing.
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