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7 Essential Roles of the Modern Marketing Department

78780312The popularity of content marketing has had many effects on business strategy. But has the structure of the marketing department kept pace with the evolution of content marketing?

For the most part, effective content marketing has created positive results for organizations that develop a viable strategy and produce quality and engaging content. By now, marketers understand the process of creating great content include defining personas and creating content that addresses each buyer persona at different stages of their buying cycle.

The marketing department of yesteryear cannot be successful at content marketing in 2014. Content marketing success can only occur with evolving roles in the marketing department. The new marketing department needs skills not traditionally found in marketing. I believe the marketing department of today should be comprised of the following roles. Note, I don’t define these roles as titles, because a person’s title may not be relevant when aligning with each role.

1) The Visionary

The visionary is the owner and driver of the content strategy. He/she is usually the top ranking marketing person with a direct reporting relationship to the C-suite. This person must be very closely aligned to the strategic goals and values of the business. The visionary’s most critical responsibility is to sell the content strategy to the C-suite for approval and funding.

Additional responsibility is to be the driver of the strategy using internal and / or external resources to implement it. This person has ultimate responsibility, authority and accountability for the organization’s content strategy including building the team to execute the strategy.

2) The Project Manager

Once the content strategy is clearly defined, the project manager’s responsibility is to identify the content elements that need to be produced from A to Z. This person’s primary role is execution. He/she assembles the team to execute the vision of the content strategy.

Reporting to the visionary, the project manager should develop a tactical execution plan, identify the resources needed that may include internal and external resources and develop the roadmap to execute the plan. One of the most important skills this person should possess is project management. Someone with PMP credentials with no previous marketing experience could serve a valuable role in the new marketing department.

3) The Story Teller

The story teller reports to the project manager and is primarily responsible for the creation of the story, at least in draft form. This person primarily possesses journalistic skills. He/she can convert an interview with a subject matter expert from a seemingly mundane conversation into a compelling story, or a series of stories that fit neatly into the content plan. This is another example of transferrable skills, in this case from from journalism to marketing.

4) The Editor

It’s rare that a good story teller (journalist) is also a good editor. In some organizations the editor role is not a full time role. Whether a full time or shared resource, the primary purpose of the editor is to review the content produced by the story tellers and edit it for the 3 Ps: punctuation, polish, and power.

In addition to ensuring the story is grammatically accurate, the editor should ensure the story is told in the desired voice of the brand. And, he/she needs to ensure the story is compelling and relevant (power) for the intended audience. The editor and story teller roles are greatly integrated in the new marketing department.

5) The Creative

This person is primarily focused on making the story interesting with creative elements. Most commonly this entails graphic design. Even in long form format (like this article), creative elements are important. Effective use of imagery to correlate the main theme of a content asset plays more than a subliminal role.

Even the style and layout of an article contributes to the user experience, adding quality and distinction to the content asset. Creative skills can be found in many industries, often coming out of multi-media environments with degrees from schools with reputations for teaching creative skills such as Full Sail University and Emerson College.

6) The Technical Director

The technical director role is one that is mostly needed to “direct” the digital execution of content across various formats and channels. The most common examples of technical skills needed here include image editing using tools such as PhotoShop, video production using tools such as Final Cut Pro, other forms of digital production such as animation and audio using tools such as GarageBand or Audacity.

All content strategies should consider use of video and audio in their execution plans. YouTube content is now integrated with Google+. Instagram is integrated with Facebook. Pinterest integrates with e-commerce well. Podcasts are easily consumed through a car radio. Whether insourced or outsourced, the technical editor role is key in the production of high quality visual and audio story telling.

The technical editor is a role that manages and handles the production of content through these multi-media channels. He or she often comes out of the news reporting industry and sometimes from other businesses that are savvy in their multi media content production, e.g. RedBull.

7) The Analyst

Finally, the analyst role is the person who measures the results of the content strategy. Working closely with the visionary and project manager he/she is skilled in the use of analytics tools including marketing automation software like HubSpot, analytics tool like Google Analytics, social listening technology like Crimson Hexagon and good old fashion spreadsheets. This person should be capable of gleaning meaningful business insights out of an abundance of data to help the visionary make informed decisions.

Recruiting Talent for the Modern Marketing Department

Yesterday’s marketing department was mostly staffed with people possessing degrees in business with heavy concentration in marketing and communications. The modern marketing department should be made up of a diverse mix of skills that might be found in other parts of the organization or in other industries such as media production, journalism, even industries with heavy project management needs such as defense contracting.

I challenge every marketer to assess the current mix of skills in his/her department. You might be faced with tough decisions to make. If your team is not made up of the roles and skills outlined here, your content marketing strategy may yield limited results. You might even fail. You might even get fired. To win in modern marketing you need to build a winning team with the roles and skills needed to win in modern marketing.

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