For years, marketing departments of all shapes and sizes have built teams of individuals charged with the task of reaching audiences. But the tasks of marketing have changed in recent years. To reference the Cluetrain Manifesto, the markets themselves have become conversations.
So the question is this: How does this massive technology-driven shift affect the structure of your marketing team?
Marketing Has Become Guerrilla Warfare
About 3 years ago now, I wrote about my own paradigm shift, related to how small businesses could leverage teams of humans who are skilled at using social media tools.
This quote, from David Killcullin’s scholarly paper entitled Counter-insurgency Redaux, was what sparked those ideas:
“Thus insurgent operational art remains fundamentally a matter of aggregating dispersed tactical actions by small groups and individuals, and orchestrating their effects into a strategically significant campaign sequence.“
Consider this in the context of marketing teams utilizing social media tools. It makes sense that if the trend towards humans engaging humans maintains, then the structures of corporate marketing teams need to reflect that shift and fill from the bottom up as opposed to adding more top level management.
1. Online Listening and Response
Monitoring conversations around your brand and category keywords is critical to any social media marketing program. This role requires that the individual be skilled at the following:
- Building and implementing keyword strategies.
- Advanced understanding of search engines and search marketing tools.
- Ability to work with RSS feeds.
- Knowledge of and exposure to various listening tools and systems.
- Understanding of social CRM and influencer identification applications and how to use them to manage the customer database.
- Internal processes and how information flows throughout their own organization.
- Various analytic platforms and how to interpret the data collected.
2. Content Publishing, Production and Distribution
Content is the constant on the web today. For any social media marketing program to survive, the brand and individuals must be able to produce content at an almost alarming rate. Skill sets to look for in team members include:
- Video and audio production capabilities that include and understanding of lighting, shooting, and editing.
- Basic photography skills.
- Aptitude with image and video editing applications.
- Basic knowledge of graphic design.
- Ability and comfort with being on screen for interviews, etc.
- Basic HTML and PHP.
- Experience with production equipment set up and maintenance.
3. Community Management and Customer Engagement
Online communities are now common platforms that brands use to engage their customers before, during and after the sale. Attention to questions, comments and complaints can build significant online influence for a brand via word of mouth or social referrals.
Since most brands will have multiple social outlets, community managers must be able to spread their focus across platforms and manage multiple conversations at once. They are frequently skilled in the following:
- Understanding the culture and context of different social networks and online communities
- Knowledge of the different network shorthand and norms
- The functionality and features of different social media engagement tools
- Utilizing and leveraging information stored in SCRM tools
- Strong interpersonal communication skills
- Copy writing and editing
4. Strategic Leadership Content Marketing
For the success of any content marketing program to be ensured, there needs to be someone responsible for organizing the efforts of the team.
The leadership of the unit oftentimes acts as a liaison between the content marketing team, other departments and management of the organization, with their key responsibility focused on program design and making sure that content and social media efforts align with business objectives. They are responsible for tracking and reporting on success metrics and held accountable to campaign performance.
Effective content marketing team leaders tend to possess the following:
- Knowledge of and aptitude in all team roles
- Solid project management skills
- Problem solving skills and the ability to think on their feet
- Strong interpersonal communication skills
- Willingness to lead from the trenches
- Deep understanding of analytics and how those translate to business goals and KPI’s
Each of these roles combined can support multiple content marketing functions in an organization, from managing a collaborative blog to facilitating a customer community and beyond.
In the not-so-distant future, I believe that a large part of corporate marketing departments will include specialized content marketing teams that include each of the four components.
What about you? How is your content marketing team organized? Do you have one in place in your business? If not, what are some of the barriers your are facing today?