Imagining the ideal performance marketing team structure

Published Mar 30 2023 Last updated Jun 11 2023 5 minute read
performance marketing team

As technology continues to evolve, the role of performance marketing teams is shifting to encompass a range of new skills and techniques. This also impacts how a perfomance marketing team is ideally structured. 

Let's explore the types of performance marketing team structures and what skills performance marketing leaders need to stay competitive.

Two ways to structure your performance marketing team

There are two main ways you can set up your digital marketing team structure:

  1. Expertise-specific roles: In this structure, team members are assigned roles based on their areas of expertise, whether that's SEO, PPC advertising, social media marketing, etc. Each team member is responsible for executing campaigns and other marketing activities solely within their area of expertise.
  2. Platform-specific roles: As the name suggests, in this structure, team members are assigned roles based on the platforms they'll be working with, such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, and email marketing platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact.

So, how do you know which structure will work best for you? That depends on your specific needs and goals. A few things to consider include:

  1. Your team's size: Large marketing teams with broad ranges of expertise should tap into all of that experience by setting up expertise-specific roles to allow team members to focus on what they do best and produce the best results.
  2. How complex your campaigns are: If your marketing efforts are complex and you use multiple platforms, you may want to structure your team based on the platforms they use. This allows team members and marketing leaders to gain experience and knowledge on specific platforms while ensuring campaigns are executed as proficiently as possible.
  3. What resources you have available: Platform-specific structures generally require more resources because your team members will likely need access to specific tools and software for each platform they use. However, expertise-specific structures can require more training and development to ensure team members stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies.

Expertise-specific roles in your performance marketing team

Some examples of expertise-specific roles to help elevate the performance of your entire team include:

1. Data analyst

Data analysts monitor and report on the performance of marketing campaigns, which, in turn, helps them spot trends and glean insights that can boost campaign performance — in the present and future.

According to Columbia University, skills that are required to be an effective data analyst include:

  • Strong analytical skills
  • Ability to break down complex data insights so non-technical team members can understand them
  • Data visualization skills
  • Algebra
  • Critical thinking

2. Creative strategist

Creative strategists work closely with designers, copywriters and other team members to create effective creative strategies that are compelling and engaging.

Skills that are required to be an effective creative strategist include:

  1. Strong creative and strategic thinking skills.
  2. Ability to work collaboratively with designers and other team members.
  3. Familiarity with marketing platforms and metrics.
  4. Good insights into the problems, needs, and desires of your target audience.

Although the word "creative" is in the title, it's also important to note this role is rooted in data. For example, analyzing numbers to determine what's performing well and what's not.

3. Strategist

A strategist is a marketing leader responsible for developing effective marketing strategies that align with the business' greater goals. They're also responsible for choosing the right marketing channels and optimizing campaigns to maximize ROI.

Skills that creative strategists should possess are:

  1. Strong strategic thinking skills.
  2. Strong analytical skills.
  3. Excellent collaboration skills.
  4. Knowledge and experience using performance marketing platforms and metrics.

Related Reading: Three critical skills every marketer needs 


Platform-specific roles

If you decide to take a platform-specific approach to your performance marketing, consider the following roles:

1. Social media specialist (all Social platforms)

Social media specialists manage a brand's presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. They work to develop and implement social media strategies and content.

Skills required include:

  1. Deep knowledge of social media platforms and which platforms your target audience uses.
  2. The ability to analyze social media data and make informed decisions.
  3. Excellent communication and collaboration skills.

2. Search ad specialist

Search ad specialists manage search advertising campaigns on Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc.

Required skills include:

  1. Strong knowledge of search advertising platforms and tools.
  2. Analytical and data-driven decision-making skills.
  3. Ability to manage multiple campaigns and priorities.

3. Affiliate ad specialist

Affiliate ad specialists work with affiliates to promote a brand's products and/or services, manage affiliate relationships, and optimize campaigns.

Required skills include:

  1. Strong knowledge of affiliate marketing platforms and tools.
  2. Analytical and data-driven decision-making skills.
  3. Ability to manage multiple campaigns and priorities.
Other possible roles in a team focused on platforms are an email marketing expert and an SEO strategist. These roles are sometimes within the content marketing team instead of the performance marketing team, but this varies per company.

Why roles based on expertise are better than platform-specific roles

Roles based on expertise are better than platform-specific roles, because they allow for a more holistic approach to advertising.

To execute a successful advertising campaign today, you need a team of people with diverse skills and expertise, which is the main focal point of expertise-focused roles. When you structure your team based on expertise, each member can focus on their strengths, leading to higher-quality work. Conversely, platform-specific roles limit members to a specific platform or technology, limiting their output, productivity, and creativity.

Also read: The ultimate guide to performance marketing


What's more, teams that are structured based on their expertise are better equipped to tackle complex problems and innovate solutions due to each team member's unique viewpoints and skill sets.


What skills are needed in digital marketing in 2023?


Here are some of the top skills needed for digital marketing in 2023:

1. Creativity

With all the AI tools available, human creativity has become more important than ever. You need to be able to think creatively to come up with new ads that stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, your ads will get eyeballs but leave no real — or lasting — impression.

You can also get creative with your problem-solving by using data to inform new tests to experiment with.

2. Data literacy

Even if you are the creative strategist or the channel strategist, you still need to be able to work with data and understand it. This is increasingly important as data becomes more and more pervasive. Data is the most valuable asset of modern companies. The Economist even refers to data as the world's most valuable resource, meaning learning to collect, store, analyze, and use data effectively is vitally important.

3. Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a free tag management platform that lets marketers use and track data by easily adding code snippets to their websites. They can track conversions, website analytics, retargeting, and much more without relying on a webmaster.

4. Math

Math skills are needed to interpret data correctly and put it to use effectively. Math is vitally necessary for tasks like calculating conversion rates, analyzing customer behavior, and determining the return on investment for a campaign. Marketers need to be able to use statistics skills to do several things, including testing hypotheses, measuring results, and identifying patterns and trends.


Essential software/tools for a performance marketing team

The following tools can help you harness the power of performance marketing:

  1. Google Sheets is a spreadsheet tool that lets you track and monitor the data you collect.
  2. Google Tag Manager can help track key metrics.
  3. Visual design tools, like Canva, Figma, or Photoshop, can create engaging visuals for your campaigns.
  4. A project management tool like Asana or Trello can be used for project tracking, collaboration, and task management.
  5. A marketing data hub like Funnel allows you to collect data from more than 500 marketing and sales platforms in a few clicks.
  6. Google Data Studio and other reporting tools create comprehensive reports to track campaign performance and ROI.

Final Thoughts

As performance marketing evolves to meet ever-shifting consumer needs, many marketers see the value of expertise-specific roles when looking to expand their teams. Expertise-focused positions offer many advantages over skills-based functions, because they allow for a more holistic approach.

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