How to structure a marketing team
When your business gets to the point when you’re ready to invest in marketing, it can bring excitement and uncertainty. You’re ready to grow, and you want to make sure you get a return on your investment. Your decisions around how to structure a marketing team are critical to the success of your company’s marketing.
There are multiple ways to structure a marketing team for a small business, so there’s not always a straightforward solution. You’ll need to make choices about what is right for your business based on the priorities for your marketing and your level of marketing knowledge and ability in directing marketing efforts.
Marketing teams can entail more than just full-time employees. You can get creative with the set-up of your marketing team, especially now that remote work and gig workers have become more accessible. Part-time workers and agencies can contribute to your marketing team, along with full-time in-house hires.
Let’s review examples of marketing team structures as a company grows.
Phase 1 Marketing Team
When a business is first incorporating marketing into the team, hiring one full-time marketing person is common. Their title is typically a marketing manager or director of marketing. They have a few years of experience in marketing and are focused on execution across a range of activities. They might handle social media, email programs, blogging, graphic design, events, or SEO. A company of this size might also work with a web development agency for design work.
The owner of the company is very involved in marketing at this stage. They manage marketing resources, directing projects, and reviewing and approving marketing items.
Phase 2 Marketing Team
As a company grows, the marketing team will expand to two to three people. In addition to the marketing manager, some specialists might join the team. This happens when the marketing manager’s workload is too much or they don't have enough expertise in a particular area that the company needs. For example, the company might bring on a full-time content writer or digital marketer. Or they might hire a digital marketing agency to handle online advertising and SEO.
Phase 3 Marketing Team
The company owner will reach a point where they recognize marketing can contribute more to the company beyond their level of knowledge. Or they don’t have the time to be involved as the complexity of marketing initiatives increases. At this point, a VP of marketing will join the team as a strategic leader to bridge the company’s growth goals with marketing. The VP has at least 12 years of marketing experience and will elevate marketing by planning and approaching it strategically. They will manage the in-house marketing team and partner agencies, ensuring that all marketing activities are integrated and working towards common goals.
At this point, the company owner is not involved in day-to-day marketing. The VP of marketing will keep them up to speed, leading collaboration between the owner and the marketing team.
How can a fractional CMO help?
The transition from a team of one or two managers to hiring a VP of marketing is a huge step in how to structure a marketing team. It signals a significant change in the direction the company’s owner wants to take in marketing. At this point, the business owner wants to spend more time in other areas of the business and expects marketing to impact the company’s growth.
Finding a full-time VP of marketing with the right experience might take time to find. And they will expect close to $200,000 in salary, plus benefits.
A fractional CMO can help accelerate marketing growth at any phase of a marketing team's structure. If you would like to bring on a strategic marketing leader to help the company scale but are hesitant to invest in a full-time hire, a fractional CMO can help. They have the same level of experience as a VP of marketing and can strategically plan, direct, and execute marketing activities for less cost and commitment of a full-time hire. You'll be able to spend more time on other aspects of your business while benefiting from a strategic marketing approach.
There is no right or wrong way when it comes to deciding how to structure a marketing team for your small business. It depends on your company’s goals, the talents of your marketing team as it grows, and your willingness to invest. Start with the structures we shared here as a starting point and see what works best for your company.
Lesson #1 Why Your Company Needs Education Marketing Strategies
Lesson #2 Attracting the Right Customers with Buyer Personas and Messaging
Lesson #3 Why Marketing Campaigns Fail
Lesson #4 What is a Marketing Stack?
Lesson #5 How to Structure a Marketing Team for Your Small Business