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How to Structure a Marketing Dream Team for Any Size Company

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How to Structure a Marketing Dream Team for Any Size Company

As industries prepare to make changes to marketing personnel in the coming months, marketing department restructures are on the horizon. If you’re facing the pressure to grow revenue through marketing while keeping headcount to a minimum, you’re in luck.

We’ve cracked the code on how to structure a high-performing marketing team, and now, I’m going to share those insights with you.

→ Click here to download our free guide to hiring and training a team of  all-stars [Free Ebook].

In this post, I’ll walk you through what a marketing team structure looks like for small, midsized, and enterprise businesses, which structure will work best for you, and how to make your first or next marketing hire.

Marketing Team Sizes

First, let’s define what we mean by different company sizes. You may not agree with all of them, and that’s OK; we’re only using these numbers to establish a common lexicon in this guide.

  • Small to Medium Sized Business (SMB): 5-100 Employees
  • Midsized Business: 101-1,000 Employees
  • Enterprise: 1,000+ employees (not including the massive Fortune 500 orgs)

Now that we’ve agreed on sizes, let’s talk about the marketing department structures you have to choose from.

How to Structure a Marketing Department

Here, I’m outlining three types of marketing department structures. These are dependent upon how large and how predictable your business is. Midsize companies with less predictable revenue forecasts may find a team structured by specific marketing disciplines will work better for them, while enterprise organizations with more predictable revenue forecasts can use a structure that has more opportunity for experimentation.

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1. Marketing Department Structure by Discipline

Marketing Department Structure example by Discipline for midsized businesses

Marketing departments that are structured by discipline are the most common. You’ll see these structures in midsized companies where marketing owns a revenue number and is responsible for driving leads and contributing to the pipeline of the business. These teams will collaborate to execute campaigns frequently throughout the year in order to hit the company’s revenue goals.

Here are some of the most common teams within the marketing department that are structured by discipline:

Social Media

Skills needed: Content creation, graphic design, social media management, project management, data analytics, and storytelling

marketing team structure example: social media team

Your social media team will create and execute social media marketing efforts. This team will need to have knowledge of how to make engaging content to drive brand awareness, generate leads, and connect with audiences.

To properly perform these job functions, your social media team should have a working knowledge of creating, scheduling, and measuring the performance of social content.

Basic graphic design skills or knowledge of design tools like Canva or Adobe will be necessary for the content creation side, while social media management tools will help teams track performance, measure success, and schedule content.

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Teams also need to be comfortable with customer service, as social media teams will be the ones responding to customers who engage through social media tags or posts. They will also be communicating to customers through content copy, blog posts, and comment sections, so an understanding of the company voice and ideal customer is key.

To help small teams, social media management software provides marketers with the tools they need to execute an entire social media strategy, such as the tools within HubSpot’s Marketing Hub.

Social media structure by team size:

SMBs with a team member dedicated to marketing should have a general comfortability with basic marketing practices and social media experience to build an online presence. If you can afford multiple marketing roles, start specializing in marketing functions like social media manager, which can be its own role.

Enterprise teams can structure their social media team by having specialists and managers to lead and oversee social media strategy, as well as roles for day-to-day social media activities, such as creating Instagram Stories and Posts, video editing for Facebook, and content management.

Potential roles:

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  • Head Account Manager
  • Social Media Specialist
  • Content Creator
  • Social Media Analyst

Content Marketing

Skills needed: Writing, editing, organization, graphic design, project management, SEO, HTML, and storytelling

marketing team structure example: content marketing

Your content creators will be the ones making sure your brand has enough content to tell a cohesive, compelling story. The content they produce will be useful in every facet of your marketing functions, from video to blog posts.

Content creators are skilled writers; they usually know how to create a solid blog post or webinar. They also have to be keen on editing — their blogs, videos, and social media content depend on it.

This team will be the go-to for the production of high-quality multimedia assets for your business, including podcasts, videos, ebooks, or other materials as needed. They may have to work on projects with other teams to make sure the messaging is correct, so your content creators should be ready to collaborate with others.

When building this team, make sure that your content creators are familiar with online management software, like HubSpot’s Marketing Hub. This makes their job easier. Instead of having to analyze data from multiple different sources, online software keeps all of that data in one place.

Content structure by team size:

In a startup, your content creation team might also be your social media and product marketing team. Though the roles are similar, content marketers need to have good organization and time-management skills in a fast-paced environment, so make sure the person you hire can work autonomously and in a team setting.

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Hire a content creator who understands the story of your brand and brand voice. Their methods of sharing your voice through video, podcast, or ebooks should ultimately incentivize prospects to learn more about your business.

Larger companies hiring for a content creation team can hire by skill or by the needs of other teams. For example, Social Media Agencies need content creators for every client or group of clients.

Potential roles:

  • Head of Content

  • Video Producer

  • Staff Writer

  • Content Creator

  • Jr. Content Creator

Product

Skills needed: Research, analysis, strategic planning, cross-functionality, writing, customer service, a creative problem-solving mindset, technical knowledge, pricing strategy, and solving for the customer

marketing team structure example: product marketing

This team is so important because they will communicate the features and benefits of your product to the customer. They’ll organize and drive the messages of a product and how it connects to your brand and the customer.

Product marketers identify target audiences to communicate with through product pages and ad copy. In addition, product marketers need to be star planners with keen attention to detail, as they will be planning campaigns for your products or services.

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When you hire a product marketer, look for someone who demonstrates a deep understanding of overall marketing functions since, for start-ups, they might be your only marketer. They need to know how to research, analyze metrics, use that knowledge to plan future campaigns and target the customer’s needs in all of your business’s marketing materials.

In order to bring a product to life, a product marketer needs to know how to build an effective product page, and include content that will highlight that. They need to be able to present their strategies to other decision-makers and have plans for every strategy.

Product structure by team size:

The product marketer you hire as a small business owner is likely your only marketer, or the one leading marketing efforts with another team member. Hire someone with a background or demonstrated knowledge in writing, presenting marketing, and business.

Remember, the product marketer will communicate the product’s usefulness to customers, so the team member’s skills should be robust. If you are hiring for a larger team, then, you can have a little more flexibility. You can hire product marketers by product stack, so for instance, phones and personal laptops could be product stacks for a tech company.

You can structure your product marketing team by specialty, as well—a role based solely on developing copy or producing strategy, for example.

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Potential roles:

  • Brand Specialist
  • Product Marketing Specialist

Search Engine Optimization

Skills needed: Writing, editing, problem-solving, experience with programming and technical thinking, analytics, spreadsheets, drive, and the ability to adapt

marketing team structure example: search engine optimization

The SEO team will mainly be driving traffic to your webpages by optimizing content and ensuring your brand is aware of the keywords necessary to rank on the SERPs for topics related to your product or service. Occasionally, they’re also required to lend expertise to make business decisions. To accomplish these goals, SEO teams need to be made up of individuals with strong technical, programming, and writing skills.

Some SEO functions require writing, editing, and proofreading content to optimize it for audiences. This is where having a strong writing background will come in handy. SEO teams should be excellent problem-solvers and think about how to optimize content specifically for search engines.

These hires should be comfortable finding and implementing keywords, which will improve how high your business ranks on Google. They will also have to develop strategies for link building and develop a basic SEO protocol for the company.

In addition, SEO specialists should be fluent in analytics software to ensure they’re able to incorporate the lessons from those metrics into their overall strategy.

SEO structure by team size:

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If you work for a small company, your SEO strategist might be melded with another role. If that’s the case, make sure that the SEO functions are being carried out by someone who has an understanding of analytics and optimizing content for search engines, as well as conducting thorough keyword research..

In other words, if they can’t speak Google or Bing’s language, they probably aren’t the right fit.

Comprehending analytics and optimizing content for SEO purposes will help your business rank on search engines and reach new prospects, or nurture leads until they’re ready to purchase..

For businesses that are large enough to build a team, hire for different specialties within SEO. For instance, you can hire for historical optimization, link-building management, or raising webpage traffic.

From there, you can hire project managers and team managers who are experts in the field of SEO and can offer seasoned advice to other team members, as well as manage multiple SEO projects at once.

Potential roles:

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  • SEO Strategist
  • Senior SEO Strategist
  • Historical Optimization Writer

Website

Skills needed: Programming, Creative Suite programs, interpersonal communication, Website and email design, user-experience orientation, content management software, understanding of web standards and best practices, and SEO

marketing team structure example: website team

Of course, any business needs a website. And as your company grows, you may find the need to hire someone full-time to maintain your website. This team will be responsible for all things dot com, so you should hire a creative proficient in web design, web strategy, and optimization.

Your web design team will use their mastery of programming and web design tools to create and maintain the message your website is conveying. They will work closely with product marketing and content teams on web page execution, so the ability to collaborate across teams is essential.

They will be the point of contact for someone who runs into a problem on your website and should be able to fix any technical issues that may arise. You should trust your web design team to create a user experience that keeps customers coming back.

Website structure by team size:

The general function of a web designer is to make the web page experience seamless, optimized, and engaging for every visitor. They’ll use their expertise to deliver a delightful experience to customers who interact with your business’s web pages.

You can structure your web design by need, but if you can afford to build out an entire team, you can start hiring Senior Web Developers to bring your site up to current standards and maintain it, while Associate level hires can assist with those job duties as your design team grows.

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Potential roles:

  • Web Developer
  • Senior Web Developer
  • UX / UI Designer
  • Front-end Web Developer
  • Web Designer
  • Visual UX Developer
  • Graphic Design Specialist

Acquisition

Skills needed: Customer centricity, written and verbal communication, solution-driven mindset, and attention to detail

marketing team structure example: acquisition team

Though the entire marketing team should be customer-obsessed, your Acquisition team will be made up of those who live and breathe methods for delighting the customer through every step of their buyer’s journey.

Acquisition hires are the first contact with customers — they will introduce audiences to your brand. Your acquisition team will communicate to the customer as a representative and advocate for the company, and need excellent customer-facing skills and company knowledge to do so.

Another skill valued in an acquisition team is attention to detail; these teams have to be experts in how products can help customers and capitalize on little moments that can enhance the customer experience.

The biggest question for an Acquisition team to answer is, “How can we delight the customer for every stage of the buyer’s journey?” and projects should reflect that. For instance, creating compelling content offers and tracking the performance of these CTAs will be essential for teams to make impactful strategies for driving growth.

Acquisition structure by team size:

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For companies whose members don’t have the resources to build a full Acquisition team, make sure the team member you designate for acquisition can effectively communicate your brand. They should know how to delight customers every step of the way.

If you’re building a team for a larger company, hire for an Acquisition team with roles that are either exclusively customer-facing or exclusively non-customer-facing. Individual hires will be able to focus their job functions based on their interaction with customers.

For example, someone in a non-customer-facing acquisition role could have duties such as developing CTAs and content offers, so writing experience and an understanding of basic graphic design practices are critical. Customer-facing roles, then, will onboard customers, source and contact them, and identify and ease pain points they might have in their journey.

Potential roles:

  • Lead Acquisition Specialist
  • Customer Acquisition Specialist
  • Content Acquisition Manager

2. Marketing Department Structure by Function

Marketing Department Structure example by Function: small to medium size businesses

A slightly more traditional organization structure than the product structure above, the functional department structure leans heavily on the nuts and bolts of what makes great marketing work. This structure is similar to that of a bare-bones agency. It includes the pillars of taking a campaign from ideation to completion.

The functional marketing department structure works well for small teams that have limited headcount, resources, budget, and bandwidth. A team like this may be made up of a few full-time folks, part-time people, or it could be staffed completely by contractors.

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For this structure, it’s common that your marketing department won’t own a revenue number and attribution won’t be too important (non-profits, very small service-based companies). If you’re a marketer who wears many hats and needs to hire folks with a similar work ethic, try this structure.

Operations

Skills needed: workflows, automation, written and verbal communication skills, problem-solving, team-building

Your operations team is responsible for managing the technical aspects of your marketing efforts. They’ll maintain the tech stack, handle marketing automation, manage email marketing workflows, and schedule and produce webinars.

Potential roles:

  • Marketing Ops Specialist
  • Email Marketer

Creative

Skills needed: graphic design, written communication, video production, photography, copywriting, front-end web design

The creative team is in charge of what your clients or customers see when they come across your brand. This team will take on graphic design, copywriting, video production, and some web design.

Potential roles:

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  • Graphic design
  • Copywriter

Project Management

Skills needed: organization, project management, agile framework, budgeting, time management, written and verbal communication

To keep everything on schedule, within budget, and within scope, the project management team will step in. The individuals in this role will typically coordinate with both operations and creativity in order to keep things moving. They’ll manage vendors, contractors, and freelancers and also work as an event planner if needed.

Potential roles:

  • Project manager
  • Event planner
  • Vendor manager
  • Procurement specialist

3. Marketing Department Structure by Product

Marketing Department Structure example by Product: Enterprise businesses

This marketing department structure organizes marketing teams by product. You might be thinking, “But marketing doesn’t own a product?” and that is true in the literal sense of the term, but when you think of marketing as a figurative product, you can better organize people around that product’s goals.

This approach works well for enterprise teams with predictable revenue patterns that don’t need to run frequent, stand-alone marketing campaigns to generate business. If there’s a proven marketing system in place to generate demand for the business, you can leverage a product-style marketing structure to grow in new, innovative ways. Global teams may also appreciate this structure because it reduces role redundancy across regions and gives hiring managers an opportunity to recruit talent globally.

There are three typical “products” within this type of marketing structure, plus one emerging “product” that can help differentiate your business if it makes sense within your industry.

Brand Team

Skills needed: strategic thinking, written and verbal communication, creativity, copywriting, social media management, customer journey mapping, and buyer journey mapping

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Marketing Department Structure example by Product: brand team

Brand includes everything about your business and distills it in such a way that potential, new, and existing customers can relate to it and external entities can appreciate it. When you’re thinking about building your marketing team around brand as a product, consider these ideas:

  • Who would be responsible for the brand strategy?
  • Who would be responsible for the way the brand looks, sounds, reacts, and shares ideas?
  • Who would be responsible for influencing the brand in other parts of the business?
  • Who would be responsible for the day-to-day championing of the brand?

Growth Team

Skills needed: Content marketing, content strategy, SEO, copywriting, web design, UI/UX design, and HTML

Marketing Department Structure example by Product: growth team

Growth marketing is responsible for generating demand and leads for the business either in existing or new markets. When you’re thinking about building your marketing team around growth as a product, consider these ideas:

  • Who determines how much we grow, how fast we grow, and in which markets we grow?
  • In which channels do growth opportunities exist?
  • What is the short and long-term payoff of the growth strategy?

Acquisition Team

Skills needed: conversion rate optimization, UI / UX design, HTML, content development, content design, and data analysis

Marketing Department Structure example by Product: acquisition team

Once you’ve drawn the audience in and you’ve set growth goals, you’ll look to your acquisition “product” to secure leads and fill the pipeline for sales. When you’re thinking about building your marketing team around acquisition as a product, consider these ideas:

  • Who would be responsible for the acquisition strategy?
  • Who will be responsible for lead scoring and lead nurturing?
  • How will the team attribute success?

Media Team

Skills needed: Video production, video editing, public speaking, creative writing, research, data analysis, and journalism

Marketing Department Structure example by Product: media team

This emerging marketing “product” can and should encompass each of the three mentioned above, but it does so with an emphasis on the audience experience. Media products are best built when your brand product has a strong foothold in the market. When you’re thinking about building your marketing team around media as a product, consider these ideas:

  • Is my company’s brand well-respected and sought after for thought leadership, publishing opportunities with highly-respected institutions, and generally regarded for setting the industry standard?
  • Are both customers and non-customers engaging with existing marketing content from my company?
  • Do the decision-makers within my industry consume media regularly enough to make this “product” worthwhile?

Types of Marketing Team Roles & Positions

Any successful marketing department structure needs a leadership and individual contributor hierarchy. How deep or wide you choose to organize your team is up to you, but here are the primary roles (in total or in part) you can expect to see in any marketing team.

Use this list to ascertain which roles you already have on your team, who in your company you can prepare for these roles, and who you should hire next.

Marketing People Leader Roles

1. Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Decision-making, owning the vision, and championing the team culture is the job of the CMO. This role sets the tone and standard for the entire marketing team and makes the call when the structure needs to change. The CMO reports to the CEO of the company with regard to how marketing is contributing to the business’s bottom line.

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2. Vice President of Marketing

Setting the strategy for the marketing department at a high level is the responsibility of the VP. VPs may have ownership of specific products, functions, or disciplines which shapes the details of what this role looks like. They’ll have directors as direct reports and will interface regularly with skip-level reports.

3. Director of Marketing

You may see this role called a “Head of” instead of a director. The director of marketing is closely tied to their specific team which could be the entire marketing department at smaller companies or a subteam, like social media, for larger orgs. Their duties consist of putting the strategy from the VP into an actionable plan that managers can rally their teams around.

4. Marketing Manager

Marketing managers are people leaders on the front lines who manage individual contributors. Their day-to-day consists of weekly check-ins with direct reports and the director of marketing. They’re responsible for guiding their team toward meeting the goals and KPIs of the strategy.

Marketing Individual Contributor Roles

1. Marketing Consultant

A marketing consultant is typically an expert in a specific discipline like SEO or content creation. They are hired as a freelancer, contractor, or even on a part-time basis to help marketing teams reach their goals. Marketing consultants are critical to the mission of the team, but their expertise is needed in a limited capacity. If you don’t need a full-time hire on your marketing team, but would like to explore new channels, strategies, and tactics, consider bringing on a marketing consultant.

2. Principal Marketer

This individual contributor role is one of the highest-level full-time roles an individual contributor can attain in their career. These individuals are masters of their discipline rather than a jack of all trades. Internal and external team members look to them for guidance and industry-standard best practices. They may have more than a decade of experience in their discipline, but oftentimes, they have even more experience in other areas of marketing under their belt.

3. Senior Marketer

A senior marketer is one step below the principal marketer. They’re honing their skills in a specific discipline, but they may take on projects with a wider scope to build other soft and hard skills. They’re savvy with the latest trends in the marketing space and can serve as a mentor to junior members of the team.

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4. Marketing Specialist

A marketing specialist plays more of a generalist role on the team. If the principal marketer is a master of one, the marketing specialist is a jack of all trades. They’re encouraged to explore a wide variety of marketing disciplines to gain an understanding of how tactics work together to achieve the strategy. From there, they’ll develop their skill set in one area of marketing that they’ll use to guide the rest of their careers.

5. Marketing Coordinator/ Marketing Associate

A marketing associate is an entry level position for recent graduates or new marketing professionals who want to change careers. They’ll take on ad-hoc assignments in various marketing departments and begin to build relationships with more senior team members. They may have an interest in one area of marketing, but they’ll work on several projects to become familiar with marketing as a whole.

6. Marketing Intern

The marketing intern is a temporary employee that is completing a degree of some kind, usually in an area of marketing or communications. They’ll explore various disciplines during their time in the company and learn how to apply the marketing lessons they learn in class to real-world situations. They may be offered a full-time position as a marketing associate or coordinator upon graduation.

How to Build a Marketing Team

1. Create a hiring strategy.

Before you can hire anyone, you need to put a strategy in place for building your marketing team.

You’ll need a clear understanding of your organization’s hierarchy. Consider how the roles within these teams overlap. For example, think about how the Acquisition and Content teams will work together.

2. Write the job descriptions.

After that, you can start to write the job descriptions and begin recruiting.

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You can post jobs on your website, or on job boards like Indeed. When the applications begin rolling in, you can start to interview and vet your candidates.

It’s important that the people you hire mesh well with your team, so don’t hesitate to ask marketing friends for referrals.

Additionally, pay attention to LinkedIn connections while you’re vetting potential candidates in case you have a mutual connection. Leadership skills and the ability to fit in with your company’s culture are key here.

Plus, keep in mind that you want to hire experts. Your team should have experience and know what they’re doing.

3. Source candidates.

Before you begin recruiting candidates from external sources, look to your current team to see if anyone is interested in a marketing career. Not only does an internal candidate give you an opportunity to help someone progress their career, it saves you time and resources that you’d otherwise spend looking for external talent and getting them up to speed on your business.

If you’ve exhausted your internal talent pool or you need a more specialized skill set, there are several resources available to make this happen. Look to recruiters, headhunters, and candidate sources to help with the search. You can also browse candidate collectives or private membership groups like Black Marketers Association of America to list your job posting.

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4. Extend an offer.

There’s a lot of discourse about how to interview for top marketing talent. How many interviews are too many? How do you know which candidate is the right fit? How long should the process take? We know that can be a challenge for small and large companies alike, so use this free resource to understand what you need to ask to evaluate your candidates objectively.

Once you’re ready to extend an offer, consider all the variables: their experience, their interview performance, their formal marketing training (courses, degrees, certifications), and any special skills that will help round out your team.

Use this information to craft a fair offer that aligns what they bring to the table with what the market demands. Be prepared for negotiations and questions about commonly overlooked benefits like insurance, on-call responsibilities, and professional development allowances.

5. Onboard the team.

After you’ve hired your team, you aren’t done building a great team. Building a great team continues long after the hiring process. For example, your onboarding process should help your employees understand the team culture.

Over time, building a great team is about documenting your goals, identifying gaps, and iterating on your process.

Build Your Marketing Dream Team

Hiring the best talent will require knowing the best skills for each role. Even if you’re hiring for a startup or small business and only have resources for 1-2 marketing roles at the moment, it’s still helpful to know the most transferable skills that will help you hire people who can grow into new roles in the future.

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When you start with the right structure for your business type, put the right steps in place for hiring, and get the team aligned on a common vision, you’ll have a marketing team that will make even some fortune 100 companies envious.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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MARKETING

Crafting Effortless Sales Through ‘Wow’ Moments in Experience Marketing

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Crafting Effortless Sales Through 'Wow' Moments in Experience Marketing

Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

In an era where consumers are bombarded with endless choices and digital noise, standing out as a brand is more challenging than ever. Enter experience marketing – a strategy that transcends traditional advertising by focusing on creating immersive, memorable interactions. This innovative approach leverages the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity to forge strong emotional connections with customers, making the sale of your core product feel effortless. But how can businesses implement this strategy effectively? This guide delves into the art of crafting ‘wow’ moments that captivate audiences and transform customer engagement.

The Basics of Experience Marketing

Experience marketing is an evolved form of marketing that focuses on creating meaningful interactions with customers, aiming to elicit strong emotional responses that lead to brand loyalty and advocacy. Unlike conventional marketing, which often prioritizes product promotion, experience marketing centers on the customer’s holistic journey with the brand, creating a narrative that resonates on a personal level.

In today’s competitive market, experience marketing is not just beneficial; it’s essential. It differentiates your brand in a crowded marketplace, elevating your offerings beyond mere commodities to become integral parts of your customers’ lives. Through memorable experiences, you not only attract attention but also foster a community of loyal customers who are more likely to return and recommend your brand to others.

Principles of Experience Marketing

At the heart of experience marketing lie several key principles:

  • Emotional Connection: Crafting campaigns that touch on human emotions, from joy to surprise, creating memorable moments that customers are eager to share.
  • Customer-Centricity: Putting the customer’s needs and desires at the forefront of every marketing strategy, ensuring that each interaction adds value and enhances their experience with the brand.
  • Immersive Experiences: Utilizing technology and storytelling to create immersive experiences that captivate customers, making your brand a living part of their world.
  • Engagement Across Touchpoints: Ensuring consistent, engaging experiences across all customer touchpoints, from digital platforms to physical stores.

Understanding Your Audience

Before diving into the intricacies of crafting ‘wow’ moments, it’s crucial to understand who you’re creating these moments for. Identifying your audience’s pain points and desires is the first step in tailoring experiences that truly resonate.

1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

This involves deep market research, customer interviews, and leveraging data analytics to paint a comprehensive picture of your target demographic. By understanding the journey your customers are on, you can design touchpoints that not only meet but exceed their expectations.

  • Identifying Pain Points and Desires: Use surveys, social media listening, and customer feedback to gather insights. What frustrates your customers about your industry? What do they wish for more than anything else? These insights will guide your efforts to create experiences that truly resonate.
  • Mapping the Customer Journey: Visualize every step a customer takes from discovering your brand to making a purchase and beyond. This map will highlight critical touchpoints where you can introduce ‘wow’ moments that transform the customer experience.

Developing Your Experience Marketing Strategy

With a clear understanding of your audience, it’s time to build the framework of your experience marketing strategy. This involves setting clear objectives, identifying key customer touchpoints, and conceptualizing the experiences you want to create.

  • Setting Objectives: Define what you aim to achieve with your experience marketing efforts. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, or improving customer retention, having clear goals will shape your approach and help measure success.
  • Strategic Touchpoint Identification: List all the potential touchpoints where customers interact with your brand, from social media to in-store experiences. Consider every stage of the customer journey and look for opportunities to enhance these interactions.

Enhancing Customer Experiences with Surprise, Delight, and Reciprocity

This section is where the magic happens. By integrating the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity, you can elevate ordinary customer interactions into unforgettable experiences.

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  • Incorporating Surprise and Delight: Go beyond what’s expected. This could be as simple as a personalized thank-you note with each purchase or as elaborate as a surprise gift for loyal customers. The key is to create moments that feel special and unexpected.
  • Applying the Principle of Reciprocity: When customers receive something of value, they’re naturally inclined to give something back. This can be leveraged by offering helpful resources, exceptional service, or customer appreciation events. Such gestures encourage loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
  • Examples and Case Studies: Highlight real-world examples of brands that have successfully implemented these strategies. Analyze what they did, why it worked, and how it impacted their relationship with customers.

Best Practices for Experience Marketing

To ensure your experience marketing strategy is as effective as possible, it’s important to adhere to some best practices.

  • Personalization at Scale: Leverage data and technology to personalize experiences without losing efficiency. Tailored experiences make customers feel valued and understood.
  • Using Technology to Enhance Experiences: From augmented reality (AR) to mobile apps, technology offers myriad ways to create immersive experiences that surprise and engage customers.
  • Measuring Success: Utilize analytics tools to track the success of your experience marketing initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) could include engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction scores.

Section 5: Overcoming Common Challenges

Even the best-laid plans can encounter obstacles. This section addresses common challenges in experience marketing and how to overcome them.

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  • Budget Constraints: Learn how to create impactful experiences without breaking the bank. It’s about creativity, not just expenditure.
  • Maintaining Consistency: Ensuring a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints can be daunting. Develop a comprehensive brand guideline and train your team accordingly.
  • Staying Ahead of Trends: The digital landscape is ever-changing. Stay informed about the latest trends in experience marketing and be ready to adapt your strategy as necessary.

The Path to Effortless Sales

By creating memorable experiences that resonate on a personal level, you make the path to purchase not just easy but natural. When customers feel connected to your brand, appreciated, and valued, making a sale becomes a byproduct of your relationship with them. Experience marketing, when done right, transforms transactions into interactions, customers into advocates, and products into passions.

Now is the time to reassess your marketing strategy. Are you just selling a product, or are you providing an unforgettable experience? Dive into the world of experience marketing and start creating those ‘wow’ moments that will not only distinguish your brand but also make sales feel effortless.


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The Current State of Google’s Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

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The Current State of Google's Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

SEO enthusiasts, known for naming algorithm updates after animals and embracing melodrama, find themselves in a landscape where the “adapt or die” mantra prevails. So when Google announced the launch of its Search Generative Experience (SGE) in May of 2023 at Google/IO, you can imagine the reaction was immense.

Although SGE has the potential to be a truly transformative force in the landscape, we’re still waiting for SGE to move out of the Google Labs Sandbox and integrate into standard search results. 

Curious about our current take on SGE and its potential impact on SEO in the future? Read on for more.

Decoding Google’s Defensive Move

In response to potential threats from competitors like ChatGPT, Bing, TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, Google introduced SGE as a defensive maneuver. However, its initial beta release raised questions about its readiness and global deployment.

ChatGPT provided an existential threat that had the potential to eat into Google’s market share. When Bing started incorporating it into its search results, it was one of the most significant wins for Bing in a decade. In combination with threats from TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, we see a more fractured search landscape less dominated by Google. Upon its launch, the expectation was that Google would push its SGE solution globally, impact most queries, and massively shake up organic search results and strategies to improve organic visibility.

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Now, industry leaders are starting to question if Google is better off leaving SGE in the testing ground in Google labs. According to Google’s recent update, it appears that SGE will remain an opt-in experience in Google Labs (for at least the short term). If SGE was released, there could be a fundamental reset in understanding SEO. Everything from organic traffic to optimization tactics to tracking tools would need adjustments for the new experience. Therefore, the prospect of SGE staying in Google Labs is comforting if not entirely reliable. 

The ever-present option is that Google can change its mind at any point and push SGE out broadly as part of its standard search experience. For this reason, we see value in learning from our observations with SGE and continuing to stay on top of the experience.

SGE User Experience and Operational Challenges

If you’ve signed up for search labs and have been experimenting with SGE for a while, you know firsthand there are various issues that Google should address before rolling it out broadly to the public.

At a high level, these issues fall into two broad categories including user experience issues and operational issues.

Below are some significant issues we’ve come across, with Google making notable progress in addressing certain ones, while others still require improvement:

  • Load time – Too many AI-generated answers take longer to load than a user is willing to wait. Google recommends less than a 3-second load time to meet expectations. They’ll need to figure out how to consistently return results quickly if they want to see a higher adoption rate.
  • Layout – The SGE layout is massive. We believe any major rollout will be more streamlined to make it a less intrusive experience for users and allow more visibility for ads, and if we’re lucky, organic results. Unfortunately, there is still a decent chance that organic results will move below the fold, especially on mobile devices. Recently, Google has incorporated more results where users are prompted to generate the AI result if they’d like to see it. The hope is Google makes this the default in the event of a broad rollout where users can generate an AI result if they want one instead of assuming that’s what a user would like to see. 
  • Redundancy – The AI result duplicates features from the map pack and quick answer results. 
  • Attribution – Due to user feedback, Google includes sources on several of their AI-powered overviews where you can see relevant web pages if there is an arrow next to the result. Currently, the best way to appear as one of these relevant pages is to be one of the top-ranked results, which is convenient from an optimization standpoint. Changes to how attribution and sourcing are handled could heavily impact organic strategies. 

 

On the operational side, Google also faces significant hurdles to making SGE a viable product for its traditional search product. The biggest obstacle appears to be making the cost associated with the technology worth the business outcomes it provides. If this was a necessary investment to maintain market share, Google might be willing to eat the cost, but if their current position is relatively stable, Google doesn’t have much of an incentive to take on the additional cost burden of heavily leveraging generative AI while also presumably taking a hit to their ad revenue. Especially since slow user adoption doesn’t indicate this is something users are demanding at the moment.

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While the current experience of SGE is including ads above the generative results now, the earliest iterations didn’t heavily feature sponsored ads. While they are now included, the current SGE layout would still significantly disrupt the ad experience we’re used to. During the Google I/O announcement, they made a statement to reassure advertisers they would be mindful of maintaining a distinct ad experience in search.  

“In this new generative experience, Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. And we’ll continue to uphold our commitment to ads transparency and making sure ads are distinguishable from organic search results” – Elizabeth Reid, VP, Search at Google

Google is trying to thread a delicate needle here of staying on the cutting edge with their search features, while trying not to upset their advertisers and needlessly hinder their own revenue stream. Roger Montti details more of the operational issues in a recent article digging into the surprising reasons SGE is stuck in Google Labs.

He lists three big problems that need to be solved before SGE will be integrated into the foreground of search:

  1. Large Language Models being inadequate as an information retrieval system
  2. The inefficiency and cost of transformer architecture
  3. Hallucinating (providing inaccurate answers)

 

Until SGE provides more user value and checks more boxes on the business sense side, the traditional search experience is here to stay. Unfortunately, we don’t know when or if Google will ever feel confident they’ve addressed all of these concerns, so we’ll need to stay prepared for change.

Experts Chime in on Search Generative Experience

Our team has been actively engaging with SGE, here’s a closer look at their thoughts and opinions on the experience so far:

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“With SGE still in its early stages, I’ve noticed consistent changes in how the generative results are produced and weaved naturally into the SERPs. Because of this, I feel it is imperative to stay on top of these on-going changes to ensure we can continue to educate our clients on what to expect when SGE is officially incorporated into our everyday lives. Although an official launch date is currently unknown, I believe proactively testing various prompt types and recording our learnings is important to prepare our clients for this next evolution of Google search.” – Jon Pagano, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

“It’s been exciting to watch SGE grow through different variations over the last year, but like other AI solutions its potential still outweighs its functionality and usefulness. What’s interesting to see is that SGE doesn’t just cite its sources of information, but also provides an enhanced preview of each webpage referenced. This presents a unique organic opportunity where previously untouchable top 10 rankings are far more accessible to the average website. Time will tell what the top ranking factors for SGE are, but verifiable content with strong E-E-A-T signals will be imperative. –Kate Fischer, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“Traditionally, AI tools were very good at analytical tasks. With the rise of ChatGPT, users can have long-form, multi-question conversations not yet available in search results. When, not if, released, Google’s Generative Experience will transform how we view AI and search. Because there are so many unknowns, some of the most impactful ways we prepare our clients are to discover and develop SEO strategies that AI tools can’t directly disrupt, like mid to low funnel content.” – Brandon Miller, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“SGE is going to make a huge impact on the ecommerce industry by changing the way users interact with the search results. Improved shopping experience will allow users to compare products, price match, and read reviews in order to make it quicker and easier for a user to find the best deals and purchase. Although this leads to more competitive results, it also improves organic visibility and expands our product reach. It is more important than ever to ensure all elements of a page are uniquely and specifically optimized for search. With the SGE updates expected to continue to impact search results, the best way to stay ahead is by focusing on strong user focused content and detailed product page optimizations.”  – Kellie Daley, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

Navigating the Clash of Trends

One of the most interesting aspects of the generative AI trend in search is that it appears to be in direct opposition to other recent trends.

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One of the ways Google has historically evaluated the efficacy of its search ranking systems is through the manual review of quality raters. In their quality rater guidelines, raters were instructed to review for things like expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT) in results to determine if Google results are providing users the information they deserve. 

In 2022, Google updated their search guidelines to include another ‘e’ in the form of experience (EEAT). In their words, Google wanted to better assess if the content a user was consuming was created by someone with, “a degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person has experienced. There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has firsthand, life experience on the topic at hand.” 

Generative AI results, while cutting-edge technology and wildly impressive in some cases, stand in direct opposition to the principles of E-E-A-T. That’s not to say that there’s no room for both in search, but Google will have to determine what it thinks users value more between these competing trends. The slow adoption of SGE could be an indication that a preference for human experience, expertise, authority, and trust is winning round one in this fight. 

Along these lines, Google is also diversifying its search results to cater to the format in which users get their information. This takes the form of their Perspectives Filter. Also announced at Google I/O 2023, the perspectives filter incorporates more video, image, and discussion board posts from places like TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, and Quora. Once again, this trend shows the emphasis and value searchers place on experience and perspective. Users value individual experience over the impersonal conveyance of information. AI will never have these two things, even if it can provide a convincing imitation.

The current iteration of SGE seems to go too far in dismissing these trends in favor of generative AI. It’s an interesting challenge Google faces. If they don’t determine the prevailing trend correctly, veering too far in one direction can push more market share to ChatGPT or platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Final Thoughts

The range of outcomes remains broad and fascinating for SGE. We can see this developing in different ways, and prognostication offers little value, but it’s invaluable to know the potential outcomes and prepare for as many of them as possible.

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It’s critical that you or your search agency be interacting and experimenting with SGE because:

  • The format and results will most likely continue to see significant changes
  • This space moves quickly and it’s easy to fall behind
  • Google may fix all of the issues with SGE and decide to push it live, changing the landscape of search overnight
  • SGE experiments could inform other AI elements incorporated into the search experience

 

Ultimately, optimizing for the specific SGE experience we see now is less important because we know it will inevitably continue changing. We see more value in recognizing the trends and problems Google is trying to solve with this technology. With how quickly this space moves, any specifics mentioned in this article could be outdated in a week. That’s why focusing on intention and process is important at this stage of the game.

By understanding the future needs and wants SGE is attempting to address, we can help you future-proof your search strategies as much as possible. To some extent we’re always at the whims of the algorithm, but by maintaining a user-centric approach, you can make your customers happy, regardless of how they find you.

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