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Internet Marketing Zodiac: Building the Perfect Team

Yup, I’m back! Had a great vacation, and as always spent time wondering if my office would still be there when I returned. Of course it was. I have a great team.

You can build a great internet marketing team, too. Not by saying “I need a developer” and “I need an SEO expert”. That’ll get you something resembling an Edsel, only less functional.

Instead, make sure you have a few folks that fit these basic internet marketing zodiac signs:

The Muskrat

The Muskrat is the ultimate generalist. This person understands both the technical and the marketing side of internet marketing. She also knows that the latter is supported by the former – technology does not equal marketing.

The muskrat

Like the animal, the Muskrat internet marketer thrives in all habitat. She’s just as good at developing strategy for cars or brassieres. And she’s a hard worker, always learning and adapting. She knows SEO, PPC and quite a bit about social media, too.

Caution: Unfortunate parallels between the muskrat and the Muskrat include territorial behavior and burrowing that destroys levees. Also expect clutter. You’ll need a Meerkat around to keep them on track.

Sadly, the internet marketing Muskrat is not as prolific as the rodent. These folks are hard to find. If you do find one, do all you can to keep them around, and happy.

Muskrat = Internet marketing guru

The Meerkat

The Meerkat is social and super-organized. He’ll work to make sure nothing goes awry, always on the lookout for a late deliverable or an unhappy client.

The Meerkat

He’s most at home working in a group and always offers to help. He’s also competitive, and may engage in foot races with other Meerkats.

Most important, the Meerkat is alert. He’ll keep everyone else organized, and warn the group if trouble’s coming.

Real Meerkats like to race too. I didn’t make it up. Read the Wikipedia entry.

Caution: May socialize too much. Eats bugs.

Meerkat = Project manager

The Worker Bee

Don’t look down on the Worker Bee. She’s the one who gets stuff done. She knows how to design a web page, build it and get it up and running.

The Worker Bee

She’s happiest when left alone to do her work, but takes instructions and gives advice to the Meerkat and Muskrat. She’ll know what’s possible and what’s not.
Without her, the project won’t survive. A good Worker Bee is hard to find.

Caution: If annoyed, may become aggressive. Can sting.

Worker Bee = Designer, HTML programmer

Other Creatures You May Need

That’s the minimum team. For a larger team, you may also need:

  • More of each person.
  • One or more Ants, to write applications.
  • A Ladybug or two, to create motion graphics.
  • The more specialized Chickadee (SEO) or Woodpecker (PPC).

Beasts to Avoid

The Gorilla. He thinks he’s in charge, makes a lot of noise, but stops short of actually doing anything.

The Hippo. Looks cuddly and helpful. Will bite you in half if given the chance.

The Lion. Prefers to let others hunt for him.

The Vulture. Nuff said.


OK, this post got pretty silly. But hopefully you get my point: It’s not about specific skill sets so much as people who can think about a campaign a certain way.

If you have a generalist, a project manager and a doer, you’ll succeed.

CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie.

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  1. @Alex “Today stay away from large bodies of water. The rivers are more your speed. Avoid angry ducks.”

  2. Very interesting post.
    Hmm…I’m trying to identify the folks I work with in these roles.
    I think I’m a muskrat.
    We have a worker bee.
    I think I’ve got someone outside the scope of your characterizations here, though. Best described as the Diseased Platypus. Nasty, smelly, and good for just about nothing.

  3. Ah, the Platypus. The good news is, they’re like a Swiss Army Knife of comedy. You can make fun of them for their duck bills, their tails, the way they walk…

  4. I think I’ve got someone outside the scope of your characterizations here, though. Best described as the Diseased Platypus. Nasty, smelly, and good for just about nothing.Since I reckon you’re a self-confessed muskrat, maybe a post with Internet Marketing horoscopes for these critters is in order.

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