Forget the Unicorn: Building Your Marketing Automation Team

Still chasing after one magic marketing person who can do it all? It’s time to wake up. LeadMD CEO Justin Gray explains why you need a team to fully leverage marketing automation properly, and points to five critical roles to hire for first.

This may radically change your way of thinking, but it must be said: marketing automation is marketing. That is, MA is not something that lives and operates separately from the rest of your marketing endeavors. Unlike search, PPC, advertising, direct mail, email and events, marketing automation is a platform on which to structure your overarching marketing strategy and goals.
Now, similar to those other tactics, marketing automation requires a mix of skills to make it truly effective. The challenge is organizational mindset. Too many organizations think marketing automation is just a matter of software that someone must manage. As such, they try to find one person who can manage the whole thing — the mythical MA unicorn.
Except in very rare cases, this person doesn’t exist. Each of the skills you need is just that — a skill. Sure, you may find some crossover, but expecting to find an all-in-one employee will only lead to disappointment, or worse, poorly executed marketing automation campaigns. The fact is, marketing automation is now the home of all of those core marketing activities you’ve come to know, which means you not only need team members with the skillsets to cover each of those key areas, you also need to have someone on board who knows how that strategy fits into the overall platform, and… wait for it, your overall buyer journey.

5 Key Roles on a Productive Marketing Automation Team

It takes a team, working together, with a unified vision to successfully take advantage of the full power marketing automation can offer. If you’re not going to work with a consulting agency, these are the people you’ll want to have on your team:

  1. Marketing Strategist: This should be someone who is experienced with MA funnel and campaign strategies. They combine this experience with general marketing expertise to create executions strategies.
  2. Graphic Designer: You’ll need someone to ensure your content and MA templates look professional and eye-catching. Chances are, you already have a designer on your marketing team (or at least a freelance resource), so be sure to loop them in.
  3. Content Writer: Despite what many people think, writing good content is a skill not everyone has. Invest in a good writer if you don’t already have one. You’ll see the difference in your conversions.
  4. Technology expert: Most of the top marketing automation systems have a lot of integration and customization options, but it requires someone with expertise in development and database management to really maximize the opportunities.
  5. Analyst: There’s no point in using marketing automation if you don’t have someone who can analyze the data and spot the paths to improving results. This person should be in tune with revenue goals, and understand that net new leads is not a successful measurement.

There’s a sixth position you may need as well — a marketing automation administrator, someone who knows your chosen MA system inside and out and takes care of the setup. This may be covered by your strategist or tech expert, but if you can swing it, this is a valuable person to have on board.
Of course, the size of your organization and your marketing budget will determine how many of these people you can have on your team full time. The rest you may have to outsource to a contractor or freelancer.

Bottom Line: Give Up on Your Unicorn Dreams

You do what you do best. Others do what they do best. No one can be best at everything. Stop chasing a myth and start focusing on building a great team.
Are you in the process of implementing marketing automation? What’s going well and what challenges are you facing? Let us know in the comments below.

Image by Eric Wagner

Justin Gray
Justin Gray

Justin Gray is the CEO & Chief Marketing Evangelist of LeadMD. He founded the company in 2009 with the vision of transforming traditional "grassroots" marketing efforts through the use of cloud based marketing solutions. Gray sees grassroots marketing dollars shrinking and traditional branding efforts being strewn aside in favor of a true Conversational Marketing approach.
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