Thanks to the emergence of new media channels and a push toward measurable, quantifiable results, marketing as a discipline has changed rapidly over the past couple of years. “These changes are part of the evolution away from marketing simply as art into a hybrid of art and science,” says marketing executive and author Adele K. Sweetwood in an article for the Harvard Business Review. “All marketers today need baseline skills in data and analytics.” And with that comes a handful of new marketing roles critical to the success of growing businesses. Here are seven new marketing roles blossoming small businesses might consider.
Digital marketing director
A digital marketing director knows how to leverage multiple channels — web, search, social, email marketing, advertising — and create strategies that take advantage of convergence. This person looks at the bigger picture and uses data to analyze how internal teams can collaborate to achieve the greatest success. According to Sweetwood, this leader works closely with data analysts, SEO managers, native advertising teams, and content marketing departments to ensure the company is telling one cohesive story that drives results.
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Content marketing director
Creating compelling, effective content is now essential to get your company on the map. That’s why a content marketer is such a key hire. This person should have a solid understanding of all marketing channels and how they work together (especially blog, social media, and email marketing), and be able to craft content that engages, attracts, and retains your customers. Your content marketing lead needs to write well (it’s a good idea to give them a writing test as part of the interview process) and demonstrate an ability to leverage strategic content campaigns to drive brand goals.
Native advertising director
More than ever, these are the days of sponsored content and strategic partnerships. Considered the evolution of paid marketing, this role is responsible for generating new business leads by collaborating with outlets in a way that feels organic and reflects the ethos of both advertiser and media channel. From managing the strategy behind paid campaigns to testing partnerships that will help expand reach, this role is critical, as HubSpot notes, in generating revenue using the most noninvasive marketing techniques.
This role is not just about being a numbers person (though that helps). A good data analyst is able to look objectively at marketing campaign numbers and extract insights about what’s working and what’s not. With this hire in place, your business can be more strategic about how to approach all aspects of your marketing — saving you from the “throwing things at the wall” approach, which can get you nowhere.
SEO (search engine optimization) manager
If you want your business to rank high in Google search results (who doesn’t?), it might be time to hire an SEO manager. This person (who often works hand in hand with your content manager) can help identify and then execute strategies to get your business to show up when people search for certain keywords, like “Austin’s best coffee shop,” for example. While it’s true that you can learn SEO basics on your own, the field is constantly evolving. (Google changes its search algorithm regularly.) So it might be worth having someone on board — or even bringing on a consultant — who can stay on top of the most current best practices and provide recommendations for your business.
Social media manager
Social Media Examiner’s 2015 industry report found that 90 percent of marketers attributed increased brand exposure to social media efforts. So it’s no surprise that even the smallest businesses are scrambling to hire social media managers. Social media is a tricky medium to master, and whomever you hire needs to be able to craft engaging content, be quick on their feet (and good with customer support), track results, and know all of the top (and emerging) social platforms in and out. Their job may also extend beyond the 9 to 5 — after all, social media never sleeps.
This person not only knows some degree of coding and how to navigate different CMS systems but also has graphic design experience and a visually driven portfolio that jives with your company’s style and branding. Look for someone who can take your website from beyond just your URL into a cohesive ecosystem, seamlessly and strategically weaving in your online store and content efforts.