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Digital Marketing Agency Positions & Roles Overview


Agency SEO roles and other digital marketing positions follow a different recruitment specification to the in-house recruiting strategy. In a world where organisations jostle for an 'Always-On' presence, in digital and social channels the choice of roles can appear overwhelming. There is an ever-growing array of job titles as specialisms develop to keep pace with the explosion of digital and social communications. When selecting a digital agency to help you achieve your objectives it is essential to understand what each person does and how they can help you.

In this section Craig Johnson, Digital Marketing Consultant at Craig Johnson Enterprises, defines the many different roles and positions found within a digital agency. Craig has been involved in digital publishing and online marketing since 1996 and has a fantastic track record in the digital marketing sector.

There are many different roles and positions you can fill within a digital marketing team. What are they, what do they do and how can they help your business?

Digital roles can generally be classified under three broad headings, identified by AKQA Chief Creative Office Rei Inamoto as the three elements in a successful digital start-up: a Hipster, a Hacker and a Hustler. When appointing a digital agency you need a variety of these within your dream team:

The Hipsters

The Hipsters will provide great design, fantastic content and position you as the coolest brand in your sector:

  • Creative Director: An experienced creative who knows how to balance ideas with results and who will create a vision for all aspects of your digital and social footprint.
  • (Web) Designer: An experienced designer who can provide users with a gobsmacking design that shows off great content and is easy to use; whilst balancing the limits of different devices, browsers and other technical barriers to creativity.
  • Content Editor / Copy Writer: Produces great content, with accompanying cool images and videos, that is easy to read on different devices, leaves readers hanging on every word and encourages comments and sharing.
  • Social Media Manager: Takes the results of the above and uses the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other channels to get your project in front of your target audience and encourage sharing, comments, likes, follows, mentions and links.

The Hackers

The Hackers provide smooth technology that is reliable, quick, scalable and easy to use:

  • Technical Architect: The technical architect plans the project to ensure that design and functionality match your requirements, timescales and budget. Agreeing a specification for the project, with this experienced head will ensure that you know what you are getting before the project commences.
  • UX (User Experience) Manager: Great digital projects balance stunning visual content, are easy to use and are rewarding. It is the job of the User Experience professional to ensure your audience can quickly and easily navigate through your website, app or game and get to your desired goals, such as signing up for emails or sharing via social media.
  • Web Developer / Programmer: A coding genius who makes the project happen. These often quiet and unassuming members of the team build the technology that underlies a project. A clinical eye for detail and awareness of technology limits are key attributes in this role.
  • Front-End Developer: The front end developer knits together the design elements and the technology. The output from this team member is the finished website / app.
  • SEO Executive: An analytical person who works with the Front-End Developer, the Social Media Manager and Copywriter to meet the ever-changing requirements of Google and get high search engine rankings for your business.

The Hustlers

The Hustlers make the project goals happen, on time and to budget.

  • New Business Director: Often this is your first contact with an agency. The new business professional puts together a deal that matches your needs and will be able to provide in-depth knowledge of the agency's past work, great case studies and references.
  • Account Director: The Account Director is there to ensure that you are happy and that the agency does everything it promises during the pitch.
  • Project Manager: A stickler for detail, the project manager is responsible for getting all of the tasks done, on time and to budget, to ensure that your project meets your needs.
  • PPC Manager: The PPC manager juggles bid prices, day parting, creative options, ad extensions, geographical targeting and remarketing to deliver the best possible return on investment for clients through Google's suite of paid for advertising options.
  • Affiliate Manager: Pay on results advertising through affiliate marketing can deliver great results. Recruiting quality affiliates with relevant traffic and incentive them with content and offers are keys to success in this role.
  • Display Manager: Display advertising gets brands in front of highly targeted audiences on mobile and digital channels of high profile publishers. Achieving awareness targets and a great response requires in depth audience analysis and relentless negotiation skills.

The Boss

Whereas a great digital start-up needs a Hipster, a Hacker and a Hustler most organisations will look to appoint a mature digital agency who includes at least one key individual:

  • Head of Digital / Managing Director: A mature head who runs the digital department or entire agency and can balance the diverse aims of the key teams. In most cases this strategist was once a Hipster, a Hacker or a Hustler. They ensure the organisation evolves to meet the needs of the client in the medium to long term.

The Candidate...
Great digital projects require a diverse range of specialists to help clients achieve their aims. When selecting a digital agency, check out their team structure as an over reliance in one area may highlight a company culture that ignores some of these key elements. Be sure to meet some of the individuals you will be dealing with and find out about the great work they have produced in the past.