How to Build a Digital Marketing Team that Drives Results

“We are seeking a versatile and dynamic Digital Marketing Specialist who can handle a wide range of marketing responsibilities. You will be responsible for planning, executing, and optimizing our digital marketing efforts across various channels to drive brand awareness, website traffic, lead generation, and customer acquisition.”

Chances are you have either come across a job description like this or have been guilty of posting a similar one yourself. You’re not alone.

Many have the misconception that a single “jack of all trades” marketer can handle all aspects of their digital marketing strategy. After all, it does seem like an affordable and efficient solution. Unfortunately, the results are far from effective.

Digital marketing is a dynamic and multi-faceted field with specialized expertise required for every aspect. It’s unrealistic to expect a single person to excel in every area while helping you meet your marketing goals.

The key to building a winning digital marketing team lies in assembling a team with the right skills and expertise, and strategically leveraging their strengths in their respective areas (or to consider outsourcing all of our digital marketing – we’ll touch on the best way to do that).

Top 3 Hires for Your Digital Marketing Team

In an ideal world, you would be able to hire individuals who have expertise in areas such as digital strategy, content marketing, SEO, analytics, and more. However, that’s not always the case for businesses building their marketing teams from scratch.

With limited resources and a wide range of digital marketing disciplines to consider, it can be overwhelming to determine the order in which to hire team members.

To simplify the process, here are the top three hires you must prioritize for your new digital marketing team in order of importance.

If you don’t have the budget to hire multiple people, you have two real options:

  • Have your Director of Marketing (or Marketing Manager, etc…) manage a relationship with a digital agency (more on this later)
  • Hire a Digital Marketing Manager to either work with an agency or manage specialist consultants

Also, before we dive in, we recognize every business is different. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but it should get you thinking about how to approach hiring for digital marketing wisely.

  1. The Manager 

Picture this: you’re setting up your new digital marketing team, eager to establish a strong online presence. Before you rush to hire that SEO or advertising expert, take a moment to pause and consider the bigger picture. 

While SEO and digital advertising are important, they’re pieces of a larger puzzle. What you need first is someone who has strong strategic acumen and a deep understanding of the digital landscape. This is where a marketing manager comes in. 

This person needs to take charge of developing the overall marketing strategy, aligning it with the company’s objectives, and take ownership of the marketing KPIs

While it’s important for a marketing manager to have a strategic mindset, they should also have a strong foundation in digital marketing. This will help them set realistic goals, provide guidance and make informed decisions.

Finally, make sure you hire someone with good delegation and leadership skills because as the team leader, they should effectively manage the team, identify strengths and allocate tasks accordingly.

  1. The Creative

In today’s competitive digital landscape, it is essential to find innovative ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. A key factor in achieving this differentiation is having a strong creative marketer on the team. 

This creative professional will be responsible for developing and maintaining a consistent brand identity and messaging. They will help develop a distinct and recognizable brand presence that aligns with your brand values and resonates with your target audience. 

It is essential that this individual has a thorough understanding of branding principles and strategies. This knowledge will enable them to craft a cohesive brand identity, ensure consistency across various touchpoints, and adapt the brand as needed to stay relevant.

During the hiring process, look for candidates who bring a fresh perspective and are willing to push boundaries to generate innovative ideas. As a lean team in the initial stages, you need to hire someone who has a strong command of design tools and software too which will enable them to bring their ideas to life. 

  1. The Specialist(s)

Before you hire the specialist(s), consider the nature of your business and the channels that are most relevant to your industry. These could be SEO, paid advertising, content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing among others.

This approach ensures that you hire specialists who align with your business goals.

Once you have a clear picture of the channels you want to invest in, you can hire specialists who have in-depth knowledge and experience in their respective domains which includes the latest trends, tools, and best practices. 

Apart from their knowledge, it’s also important to hire individuals with a growth mindset so they’re able to continuously learn, stay ahead of the curve, and bring fresh insights to the team.

Consider Outsourcing to a Digital Marketing Agency

If you don’t have the budget to hire full-time employees, you can also outsource to a digital marketing agency that can cover all aspects of your marketing needs ranging from strategy and designing creatives to execution and analytics.  

As agencies have a team of specialists across various channels and disciplines, you can tap into their expertise while saving time and money. 

However, managing an agency requires time and it would be worth hiring a digital marketing manager to manage this relationship and be the bridge between the agency and the internal team.

5 Hiring Strategies to Build a Winning Digital Marketing Team

Let’s explore five hiring strategies that will help you build a strong foundation for a high-performing digital marketing team that will drive your business’ online presence. 

  1. Hire the manager first

The marketing manager will play a vital role in building and shaping the team. They can assess the team’s needs, define roles and responsibilities, identify the skills required for every position, and manage resource allocation.

Hiring the manager first also allows them to actively participate in the recruitment process for other team members, ensuring they directly shape the team’s skill set, cultural fit, and working dynamics. 

  1. Define your team needs

Defining team needs sets the foundation for a successful and efficient team. Start by understanding the overarching goals of the business and identify the corresponding marketing objectives – are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads or expand into new markets?

This will give you a clear understanding of the channels you should invest in to achieve those objectives. 

For example, if you are a fashion e-commerce business, social media channels such as Instagram and TikTok could be highly relevant for your business. It would make sense to have a strong social media marketing professional.

On the other hand, if you operate in B2B software, these social media channels may not be the most relevant. Instead, you would benefit more by investing in paid advertising tactics and you might want to prioritize a performance marketing specialist.

  1. Prioritize specialists over generalists

Now that you have a marketing manager on the team and know what you want to achieve, you need to focus on hiring specialists who are experts in their respective fields and contribute to the execution of specific digital marketing strategies. 

When each team member specializes in a specific area, they can work together more effectively by leveraging their unique skills and perspectives. This synergy contributes to a well-rounded team and results in optimized performance.

  1. Design role-specific assessments

You must have a targeted recruitment strategy in place while setting up a new marketing team. Start by clearly defining the profiles of ideal candidates and developing detailed job descriptions that communicate the responsibilities and requirements. 

It’s also important to assess technical competencies in their areas of specialization by designing role-specific assessments. Let’s say you’re hiring an SEO specialist. You can give them a case study asking them to analyze a webpage for its on-page SEO elements and provide recommendations to optimize it. 

By creating assessments that reflect real-world tasks, you can assess how well candidates approach marketing strategies and apply their knowledge. 

  1. Assess soft skills 

Assessing a candidate doesn’t end with technical competencies. It’s equally important to evaluate soft skills such as communication, teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking to name a few.

One of the key skills a marketing professional must have is a learning attitude. As the digital marketing field is constantly evolving, you must ensure team members are open to acquiring new skills and knowledge. 

They should be able to seek out new ideas, adopt emerging techniques and experiment with innovative solutions. 

Build a High-Performing Marketing Team with Specialized Skills

It’s safe to say that if you want to build a high-performing digital marketing team, you need to be structured and specific in your approach – the “jack of all trades” approach will no longer work. 

By strategically prioritizing the hiring process and implementing targeted strategies for success, you can successfully build a lean and effective digital marketing team from scratch. 

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