Marketing defines how your company communicates with the world. It establishes your brand presence, builds trust, and supports business growth. If you, like many small business owners, have attempted to handle your marketing efforts alone, you’ll know it isn’t easy.
With technology constantly evolving, social media channels becoming more saturated, and paid search and SEO becoming increasingly complex and competitive, an effective marketing strategy demands more time and expertise than ever before.
So, how will you tackle this challenge?
One way is by hiring a dedicated marketing team. With your own in-house marketers, you’ll get the support you need to strategize, hit your goals, and grow your business sustainably — without neglecting your day-to-day duties. If this is your first time building a marketing team, you may be unsure where to start.
This guide explains why you should hire a marketing team, what attributes to look for in the team members, and how much to budget.
Why building a marketing team is important for business growth
Marketing should not be an afterthought. To be effective in your communications and grow your customer base, you need to craft messages that are authentic and credible. The content you produce should be informative and easy to digest, and the brand identity you build must be meaningful to your audience. When this is done well, it pays dividends: Effective marketing delivers an ROI upwards of 5:1, meaning for every dollar you spend, you gain five dollars in return.
It takes time and expertise to analyze your audience and develop this kind of targeted marketing strategy. If you’re busy running your business, it’s unlikely you have the bandwidth to stay on top of the latest trends, crunch audience insights, and execute a rounded marketing plan.
Many businesses turn to outsourcing to tackle this problem, but this approach has its limits. Agencies deal with multiple clients simultaneously, often from different industries. They are incentivized by their own profitability and limited in their range of expertise. This means they may not be willing or able to take the time to fully understand your goals or your clients. Obviously, keeping their customers happy and getting results for them is a strong incentive for agencies. But since most are so diversified, with many different clients, to succeed with them you will likely end up doing most of the work yourself.
In contrast, an internal marketing team will focus solely on your business. They will be immersed in your industry and connected to your other team members. As a result, they will become intimately familiar with your business and your customers. They will be able to adapt quickly to internal changes or changes in your market. Their KPIs will focus on the success of your company, rather than those of an external agency whose goal is to grow its own client base. Overall, this is a much better investment.
Next, let’s look at the typical roles within a marketing team.
Roles that make up a modern marketing team
The evolution of digital marketing has brought fresh and exciting opportunities for growth, but with it come new challenges and demands. Marketing has become a collaborative function that entails a lot of moving parts. When building a marketing team, remember that one person can’t do it all. As well as an experienced marketing leader, you’ll need experts in marketing operations, content writing, SEO, graphic design, and social media strategy.
Since the marketing industry is constantly shifting, it pays to hire experienced professionals who will strategize for success instead of wasting time and resources on ineffective marketing. You need people who can engage readers with your brand’s story and turn them into loyal customers.
You’re probably wondering, “How much will all this cost?”
Below are some of the key roles you should be recruiting for when building out your team, including average US salaries. It’s useful to think in terms of a three-person “foundational team” with a marketing leader, a marketing coordinator or technician, and a content manager. This is the minimum recommended number of people, and it will serve most SMBs well. As your business grows, you can augment this foundational team with additional members.
Marketing Director/Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
Salary: $129,162–$176,337 per year (source)
Importance: A strategic leader is the foundation of an effective marketing team. They define your target audience and sculpt your branding and marketing to deliver the best ROI. An experienced marketing director will look at the bigger picture, mapping out campaigns and events in an annual marketing plan. They will take control of your budget to ensure it is spent as effectively as possible. By analyzing your market and competitors, and staying informed about industry trends, they will ensure you are always one step ahead.
Duties: The marketing director handles strategy, budget- and goal-setting, prioritization, and performance monitoring. As well as managing the entire marketing team, they liaise with the company’s leaders to ensure everyone is working to a common goal. They also oversee marketing communications with customers to ensure campaigns are targeted and gain results.
Note: Given the importance and high cost of this leadership position, some companies start by hiring a fractional CMO.
Marketing Coordinator/Marketing Technician
Salary: $51,000–$67,000 per year (source)
Importance: Once your marketing director/CMO has created your long-term strategy, they will need help executing it. The marketing coordinator/technician is one half of the execution side. These people are analytical and technical. They deal with dashboards, metrics, and data. They need to be flexible and willing to learn as technologies and best practices evolve, and they need to be able to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.
Duties: The marketing coordinator/technician supports the marketing director and other team members. They are skilled at research, project management, campaign monitoring, vendor management, and SEO performance.
Content Manager/Managing Editor
Salary: $75,000–$96,000 per year (source)
Importance: A content manager translates the marketing strategy into messaging. They are also the glue that binds your marketing strategy together, ensuring all members of your company are contributing to deliver effective campaigns. For small businesses, they form part of the core marketing team.
Duties: Content managers support the marketing director and other team members. They assist with content strategy and coordinate the planning, creation, and publishing of marketing content. They will usually write content themselves as well as oversee freelance writer output. They also act as the liaison across silos, interviewing team members in different departments to gather key information for blog articles and campaigns.
Salary: $56,400–$85,201 per year (source)
Importance: Video content often sparks greater engagement on websites and social media than still images. With the rise of Instagram Reels and TikTok, it is an important way to connect with younger generations. Video can also be used to increase your online presence and form an additional revenue stream through YouTube. While basic video can be filmed on mobile phones, luxury or people-focused brands, in particular, will benefit from investing in professional video production.
Duties: Videographers produce videos for social engagement, including filmed testimonials, case study interviews, educational content, and interviews with team members.
Salary: $60,000–$75,000 per year (source)
Importance: Persuasive, engaging copy is integral to almost every aspect of marketing. A talented copywriter will help you develop a branded tone of voice that remains consistent across all your marketing collateral. They will create content that is informative, reliable, and relevant to your target audience. SEO-savvy copywriters will also produce content that is optimized to reach as many online prospects as possible. Often, small businesses hire an in-house editor supported by freelance writers.
Duties: Conversion copywriters bring your content strategy to life by writing persuasive copy for blog posts, email marketing, ads, press releases, social media, posters, and other marketing materials.
Salary: $63,756–$76,939 per year (source)
Importance: There’s no use developing content if no one can find it. By identifying the topics your target audience is searching for, an SEO specialist will make your output more relevant and therefore more visible online, increasing your organic traffic. They will analyze engagement, identify your most popular content, and optimize it for maximum benefit. Since the mechanisms of SEO are constantly shifting, having an expert on your team is invaluable, especially if you rely on acquiring customers online.
Duties: SEO specialists optimize content for search engines, ensuring your website ranks highly. They do this by monitoring keyword rankings on the SERP (search engine results page), identifying and leveraging your highest performing content, conducting outreach to build backlinks, and performing SEO audits of your site.
Salary: $38,000–$87,500 per year (source)
Importance: Many businesses use a CRM to collect data about their customers, but they fail to utilize it. A CRM specialist helps you leverage this data to improve customer care, boost your brand’s image, and increase customer acquisition and retention. By making your CRM more efficient and user-friendly for both customers and employees, CRM specialists also maximize your investment in this expensive software.
Duties: CRM specialists manage customer data, online form submissions, lead tagging, targeted campaigns, and data cleanup.
Salary: $49,763–$63,819 per year (source)
Importance: Your visuals act as the front cover of your business. Graphic designers help create a cohesive and attractive brand image that represents your products or services in a recognizable way. Whether it’s your shopfront, website landing page, Instagram feed, or blog, graphics play an indispensable role in drawing prospects in. Some graphic designers are also proficient in web design and development — an important element for ensuring your website fits your brand style and maintains functionality. Depending on your business needs, you may choose to hire a freelancer over a full-time designer.
Duties: Graphic designers create your company’s visual brand, ensuring attractive and consistent media and collateral.
Paid Search Specialist
Salary: $45,862–$57,654. per year (source)
Importance: With organic social media reach declining, paid online advertising has never been more important. A paid search specialist will research the most effective way to allocate your online ad spending, analyze ad performance, and adjust your strategy to reach your desired outcomes.
Duties: Paid search specialists drive pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and the associated strategies (e.g., Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.).
Social Media Manager
Salary: $58,000–$93,500 per year (source)
Importance: Social media is one of the most effective ways to engage with existing and potential customers. Anyone can tweet, or create a Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn post, but it takes planning to execute a cohesive, long-term social media strategy. A social media manager will help you make an impact online and curate content that drives the discussion about your company. They will help you build a cohesive look and voice for your brand through compelling captions, images, videos, and live online events.
Duties: Social media managers execute social media marketing strategy, including creating and scheduling posts. They also respond in near-real time to messages and comments from clients and prospects, acting as the online face of your business.
Build the team that’s right for your business
Depending on the nature of your business, you likely won’t need to fill every one of these roles. Some companies may need to factor in other roles, such as financial analysts to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and PR specialists to drum up publicity through press releases and news stories.
Consider your shortcomings and goals, and work with your marketing director to hire skilled and passionate people who will help you improve. Whichever roles you settle on, it is essential to select only experienced candidates:
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”
— Red Adai
Tips for building your marketing team
When considering how to hire a marketing team, it is important to take a strategic approach. Budgets, timelines, and training are all key elements of this process. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Allocate the appropriate budget
A good rule of thumb is to dedicate around 10% of your annual revenue to marketing. This includes your marketing team’s salaries and the tools and marketing budget they require. 10% of revenue might sound like a lot, but if you do it right, it will pay for itself several times over.
While it may be tempting to “save” money and ask an existing staff member with little experience (but plenty of enthusiasm) to lead your marketing, resist the urge — unless they are led by someone with expertise, they are likely to flounder.
While some of your employees may have the potential to be great for your marketing team, not hiring an experienced marketing leader early on can result in a lot of lost time (and lost money).
Build up your team over time
You don’t need to hire everyone at once. In fact, doing so is not only costly, but it can also be detrimental, since a team of all-new people won’t have a culture.
Start by hiring an experienced marketing director or CMO who can help you understand your target market, including their personas, pain points, desires, and how you can appeal to them. A marketing leader will also analyze various channels to identify which deliver the best lead acquisition, conversion, and ROI for your business.
Once your marketing leader has developed a clear strategy, they can identify which roles need to be filled first and help you begin hiring your team. During the initial stages, members will be wearing a lot of hats, so be careful not to take that for granted. Once the work outgrows the team, make sure you hire for the necessary positions so your team members can begin to specialize.
As the team grows, build in some contingency so there isn’t a single point of failure. You don’t want to delay a campaign because your writer goes on holiday. Make sure team members are capable of helping each other, or that you have a few freelancers or vendors you can rely on in case of emergency.
Hire wisely and fire quickly
When hiring, write clear job descriptions and make sure you’re not expecting something unrealistic for the salary you’re providing — you don’t want to end up with candidates who over promise and under deliver. Seek problem solvers who think entrepreneurially and put themselves in the shoes of your customers. In the interview, ask situational questions so they can share examples of their approach.
There’s no perfect hiring process. You may end up with a new team member who is a bad fit for the role or who turns out to be unqualified. Don’t fool yourself into believing these issues will fix themselves. Someone who isn’t a good fit in the first few months isn’t likely to improve over the course of the first year. Identify issues quickly and try to correct them swiftly through training and mentoring; if things aren’t working, let them go and move on.
Create a company of marketers
Marketing cannot live in a silo. If you want to succeed, it must become a part of your company culture. This means your marketing team should interact with all your other teams. Your content producers should meet or interview your salespeople and other client-facing colleagues often. This is how they’ll gather inspiration for the marketing content they produce and share.
Employees who aren’t in marketing should contribute by being involved in the success of campaigns. This can be done through company-wide sharing of all campaigns, from conception to kickoff to analyzing the results. Everyone should feel as invested in the success of your marketing as they are in the success of the business.
Forcing your marketers to focus on projects that aren’t performing is a fast track to a disengaged team. Instead, trust in the specialists you’ve hired to identify the most effective marketing streams and give them autonomy to focus on projects that deliver results. This may mean making some tough decisions and dropping underperforming projects that people believe in. Try to keep things objective and data-based.
Need help building your marketing team?
Building a strong marketing team doesn’t happen overnight. For many companies, the hardest part is getting started. It’s the chicken-or-egg dilemma: If you don’t already have an in-house CMO or other marketing leader, it can be difficult to develop a strategy and identify which roles you need to hire for your team. One way around this is to work with a fractional CMO, an established expert who works with growing companies on a part-time basis as their in-house marketing leader.
A fractional CMO can come in on a contract basis, bringing expertise and guidance without the risk of hiring someone full time. Your fractional CMO will help you identify your target audience, clarify your messaging, and communicate your USPs. And after developing your strategy and differentiation, they will help you build your in-house marketing team from the ground up.
If you are ready to build your marketing team, we’ll match you with a suitable fractional CMO who can help. It all starts with a free, no-obligation, consultation.
For a deeper dive into building an in-house team organically and profitably, check out this article: 5 Stages of Building a Modern, Agile Marketing Team.