Internet marketing is very much the sum of its parts. It’s as much about the relationship between the web site, the media plan, the search engines and such as it is about those parts.
So, three people you must have on your internet marketing team:
The Creative Leader
This person may or may not be a designer. They might be a writer. Doesn’t matter.
They must be able to step into the customer’s shoes and get a good sense of what will make them take action. This isn’t simple, and it can’t be determined using research. It requires instinct, the willingness to talk to the customer instead of at them, and an ability to create advertising, not art.
The creative leader is the most important member of the team. Without them, you may create a sales pitch, or a PPC ad. But you will never create an advertising campaign.
The Search Strategist
Pick any slice of time, and 75% of the people online are using search engines to find what they want. So the search strategist really has to be present from the very beginning.
Note that I called them a search strategist, not a search specialist or search engine optimizer. This person should certainly know search engine optimization, and paid search marketing. But their primary job is to guide the creative leader by providing answers to questions like:
- How do people think about this product/service? What phrases pop into their head? How will they try to find us?
- Can/should we target this campaign at searchers?
- Do customers use the same search phrases to find our competitors as they will to find us?
- Are we doing something that will just kill us in the search engines?
The information architect has to translate message, unique selling proposition, search phrases and the client’s requirements first into a set of personas, then into an overall structure for advertising and media, and finally into a site structure that can support it all.
Ideally the architect should be a sharp, creative thinker with a solid grounding in information design. I’m not just talking about pretty flow charts. I’m talking about a genuine ability to structure information in a compelling way, without sacrificing an advertising message.
The information architect will work with the creative leader to figure out what the audience should see first, and under what circumstances.
You’re about to e-mail me asking: What about the social media specialist? The designer? The developer? The e-mail specialist?
I’m not saying these other folks won’t be on the team. I’m saying the three people I’ve described must be on the team.
I’ve seen campaigns succeed without a designer (gasp, I know), without a developer, and without touching a single blog. I have never seen an internet marketing campaign succeed without a creative leader, a search strategist and an architect.