With digital being at the heart of most modern businesses, a dedicated digital marketing team is no longer a rarity.

However, that’s not to say that there is a blanket formula for how one should be set up.

Recently, we sat down with three top marketers with three varying perspectives on the topic. 

They are:

  • Jane Newens, Head of Communications at the Open University.
  • Vinne Schifferstein Vidal, Global Category director at Pearson.
  • Jack Swayne, Chief Strategy and Analytics Officer at iProspect.

To find out what they said, watch the video, or check out the summary below.

And be sure to check out Econsultancy's best practice guide on Digital Marketing Organisational Structures and Resourcing.

A digital team is not always required

As the Head of Communications at the Open University, Jane Newens doesn’t understand the need for having a specific digital team. 

Instead, she believes that digital should be integrated throughout an entire business, with sound knowledge being a focus for all areas of marketing – not just an isolated group.

We do it in our team, because we’re constantly looking at both the online and offline experience and all the different touchpoints. Then in our acquisition team we also have a number of digital experts.

But... we don’t have a head of digital.

A digital team divided into different strands

Vinne Schifferstein Vidal explains that for a company like Pearson, digital remains the responsibility of a select few. However, she also explains how the team is divided between different verticals of the business.

With half dealing with the sale of digital products, and the other focusing on the marketing of digital channels, the different roles are brought together to make a truly collaborative team.

One side is really looking after the website and how we communicate to our target audience. On the other side, the channel might not necessarily be a digital one, but the product that we sell is always digital.

Three distinct types of digital teams

Instead of just one approach, Jack Swayne explains how iProspect chooses to structure its digital teams around three core elements – holistic, specialist, and integrated – in order to guarantee success. 

The digital world is becoming more and more complex. Within search, social, content – it’s moving at a faster pace. Changes are happening so quickly that we need in-depth specialism to make sure we’re staying ahead of it all.

By using holistic thinkers to help make sense of the ways digital is changing consumer behaviour, specialist marketers are then able to take these insights and turn them into actual solutions. 

So...

These three examples just go to show how differently digital teams can be structured. 

There are no set rules, but it ultimately depends on how a company values digital knowledge and expertise.

Whether fully integrated, specialist, or a mixture of the two – marketing teams are becoming just as complex as the industry itself.

To benchmark your team’s knowledge against their industry peers, check out our Digital Skills Index.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 20 June, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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