Building an effective online marketing team is all about creating flexibility. Best practices dictate you bring the function in-house yet create a team that can change as fast as the market. Best structure is to hire a full-time employee who knows enough about each area drive maximum ROI from the team and bring in contractors to execute / implement. Contractors provide flexibility in a world that is changing rapidly. Traditionally contract staffing has been associated with only execution/implementation as a way to retain flexibility and reduce costs. Increasingly organizations are realizing that they can also bring in executive level interim marketing talent from a Creative Director to a Digital Strategist to maximize your online presence and / or use of analytics.
Online marketing teams are different depending on industry but ultimately all organizations need some basic functions. With the proper strategy and execution, your marketing dollars will go farther online than they can in any other form of media.
Digital Marketing Strategy
Strategy matters, too often the interactive world is filled with the “ready, fire, aim” approach and significant dollars and opportunity are lost in the process. Depending on the size of your organization you may need a strategist full-time or an interim practitioner, not a consultant, to come in and move your organization forward.
Search Engine Optimization / Search Engine Marketing
It is amazing how few organizations are really doing this well, considering the potential ROI from doing it properly. This is the most cost effective form of advertising available in any medium and the longer you wait to institute best practices, the harder it will become to get results.
Your SEO / SEM expert(s) will provide both natural and paid search services, to maximize awareness / leads from a minimum possible investment. Including but not limited to, keyword advertising / ranking, keyword bidding, copy optimization. Doing so across multiple platforms, while reporting on success / ROI and managing continual improvement.
Online Media Buying and Planning
The complexities of online media buying, planning, tracking and reporting are daunting, here there is no substitute for experience. The latest in online advertising options include geographically and behaviorally-targeted marketing. The challenges of building and launching a successful online ad campaign have grown as have the rewards of doing it properly.
A well thought out e-mail marketing team, starts with the realization that subject matter experts are needed and in great demand. The ability to take outside lead lists or an internal database and design, test, deploy, measure results and make necessary improvements is critical to long-term success. And that’s not all, reviewing creative to make sure messaging is consistent with core brand and CAN-SPAM compliant, while being a project management guru is a lot to handle. So in a nutshell: bring in the best to set strategy, plan and measure to maximize revenue.
Public Relations (Online)
This is much more than someone to write, manage and publish online content. This position is responsible for online messaging, including using guerilla marketing to leverage social media. It is also important for organizations to have someone who can help them to understand what makes content newsworthy. In a rush to be online, too many organizations are publishing content for content’s sake.
It is vital to measure, adjust and ultimately continually improve. Proper analytics gives you the knowledge and power to increase revenue and build a better online brand. Proper analytics programs include, online tracking, predictive analytics and segmentation, strategy, execution and reporting. Big question is do you have someone who can interpret the data and merge your online and offline analytics to properly focus your overall marketing mix?