Gone are the days of a single marketing generalist who can do everything. In the modern marketing world, a well-structured B2B marketing team often includes a variety of roles, each contributing unique expertise to achieve your company’s marketing goals.
Since the advent of the Internet followed by more and more social media platforms, smartphones, tablets, SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and constant platform and technology changes, the amount of expertise and knowledge needed in a marketing department has exploded, and it is impossible for one person to expertise in all areas.
So as a B2B CEO, when you’re ready to make a serious investment in marketing, getting started can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to deciding which positions to hire when building your first marketing team.
Whether you’re considering hiring in-house, outsourcing to agencies, or exploring the option of a fractional CMO and marketing team, it’s important to first understand the different roles that make up a typical B2B marketing team.
Depending on the size of the company, one person may have to roll up their sleeves and handle more than one of these functions, or often some of these functions are managed in-house, and others are outsourced.
Understanding these different marketing roles will help you to better gauge which roles you need first, which roles can be combined, and what type of experience your in-house hires or outsourced marketing people need to bring to the table.
Here are some of the typical marketing roles you’ll see in a best practices B2B marketing team today:
- Chief Marketing Officer (CMO): The CMO is the strategic head of your marketing department. They are responsible for understanding the business landscape, identifying opportunities, and crafting the overarching marketing strategy that aligns with company objectives. They work closely with the other leaders in your organization, including sales, customer success and product development to stay on top of what’s happening with prospects, clients, the product and the marketplace, and make sure this is reflected in the marketing strategy and initiatives. \The CMO also manages the other marketing roles in the organization and ensures all marketing activities align with the company’s overarching marketing strategy. In smaller companies, this role may be called VP of Marketing or Director of Marketing.
- Product Marketing Manager: This role focuses on understanding the product or service from a branding, messaging and market perspective. Product Marketing Managers are responsible for positioning the product, understanding the competition, and creating the messaging and content that communicates the value of your product to the target audience. Larger companies will have more than one Product Marketing Manager, each assigned to a specific product or service area.
- Demand Generation Manager: The Demand Generation Manager designs and implements campaigns to drive awareness and interest in your products or services. They often work closely with the sales team to ensure marketing activities translate into actual leads and revenue. Other position titles that may perform the same function include Digital Marketing Manager and Marketing Manager.
- Marketing Operations Specialist: A Marketing Operations Specialist oversees the systems, tools, and data that power your marketing efforts. They handle the tracking and analysis of marketing performance, process optimization, and technology management to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. This role is sometimes called marketing project manager.
- Digital Marketing Specialist: Digital Marketing Specialists focus on online marketing channels to drive brand awareness, generate leads, and increase customer engagement. They develop and manage digital marketing campaigns, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing. Digital Marketing Specialists track and analyze campaign performance, optimize digital channels, and stay updated on the latest digital marketing trends and tools.
- Content Marketing Manager: Content is the fuel that drives many modern marketing strategies. A Content Marketing Manager plans, creates, and manages the content that attracts and engages your target audience, from blog posts and whitepapers to webinars and videos.
- Social Media Manager: This role manages your company’s presence on social media platforms. They create engaging content, foster community interaction, respond to customer inquiries, and monitor online reputation.
- SEO Specialist: An SEO Specialist is focused on optimizing your online content to improve visibility in search engine results, making it easier for potential customers to find you when they’re looking for the solutions you offer.
- Graphic Designer: A Graphic Designer is responsible for creating visually engaging content that aligns with your brand identity and enhances your messaging. This can include everything from website visuals and social media graphics to brochures and product packaging.
- Website Designer: A Web Designer is a creative and technical professional responsible for designing and developing visually appealing and user-friendly websites. With a keen eye for aesthetics and a deep understanding of user experience, the Web Designer collaborates with the marketing team to create websites that align with the brand identity and marketing objectives.
Some B2B companies with regions, territories or channel partners will also have a need for two additional roles:
- Field Marketing Manager: Field Marketing Managers play a crucial role in planning and executing marketing activities at the regional or local level. They develop regional marketing strategies that are aligned with the overall marketing objectives of the organization. Field Marketing Managers are responsible for coordinating local events, trade shows, and sponsorships to drive brand awareness and generate leads within their specific regions. They work closely with sales teams to support regional lead generation and pipeline development, ensuring effective collaboration between marketing and sales to drive business growth in their target markets. They become “in the trenches” experts around the unique nuances of their specific regions.
- Channel Marketing Manager: A Channel Marketing Manager is a strategic role responsible for developing and implementing marketing programs and initiatives that support the organization’s channel partners. The Channel Marketing Manager works to build strong relationships with channel partners, providing them with the necessary marketing support, training, and resources to effectively promote and sell the organization’s products or services. Because channel partners often sell a variety of other products, it’s essential to develop strong relationships and make sure they have everything they need to make selling your product easier and top of mind.
As you can see, the types of roles that can make up a typical B2B marketing team reflect how complex marketing is today, and the specialized skills that are needed. And while this is an exhaustive list of the types of roles that are included in a typical best-practices B2B marketing team, it doesn’t mean you need to hire for all of these roles right away.
In fact, there may be other ways to start out and get the marketing skills and talent you need at the beginning without having to hire in-house at all. For instance, companies building their first B2B marketing team may choose to outsource their entire marketing function to a Fractional CMO and an expert B2B marketing team.
This enables companies to put in place the senior leadership and expert marketing expertise they need right away, get their initial strategy and marketing foundation in place, and begin executing on their content marketing and other programs.
Having a Fractional CMO & team quickly put your strategy, foundation and initial marketing programs in place can give CEOs valuable information on exactly what marketing roles they may need to hire internally, if they are ultimately planning on building an internal team. Additionally, your Fractional CMO can help guide you at this stage in terms of who to hire and assist you in the hiring process, to make sure you have the right people with the right skill sets in place. It also sets up your internal hires for success as they don’t have to start from scratch and have a valuable foundation and marketing data and information in place as a baseline.
This approach provides the advantage of accessing seasoned professionals who have extensive experience and knowledge in B2B marketing, along with a team of experts who are used to working together and have established systems and processes in place. A Fractional CMO can help craft your marketing strategy, provide guidance on the roles needed, and oversee the outsourced team’s activities. This allows your company to benefit from specialized expertise while maintaining flexibility and scalability.
Next Steps: The CEO’s Ultimate Guide to Building an Effective B2B Marketing Team in Today’s Complex Marketing World
To help you make important decisions around your marketing investment, we’ve created a comprehensive 33-page eBook: The CEO’s Ultimate Guide to Building an Effective B2B Marketing Team in Today’s Complex Marketing World.
In this eBook, we walk you through the six most important questions B2B CEOs need to answer in order to build their first marketing team and choose the right marketing model for their stage of business:
- How Do You Know It’s Time to Invest in Marketing?
- What are B2B Marketing Best Practices?
- How Has B2B Marketing Become More Complex?
- What Are the Top Challenges in Getting Started in Marketing?
- What Does a B2B Marketing Team Look Like?
- Should You Hire In-House or Outsource?
You can download the eBook RIGHT HERE
If you have any questions about this blog post or the eBook or would like to schedule a consultation with myself and Jen Kelly, NIM’s Founder and one of the Fractional CMOs to get more guidance around your next steps in marketing, you can send her an email or book a consultation time.
Nicole Croizier is the lead Fractional–CMO at New Initiatives Marketing Inc. Take charge of your marketing success today with us as your Fractional CMO + Marketing Team. Since 2009, we’ve been supporting mid-size b2b businesses worldwide through effective implementation and execution of marketing strategy. Not ready? Sign up and learn from our monthly newsletter.