The marketing department in 2020

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The marketingdepartment in 202

“Companies are becoming publishers!” Have you heard? This is a rather popular quote within the field of content marketing these days because publishing models are playing an increasingly important role in addressing target audiences. How will marketing departments, that work with such publishing models, look like in the future?

Publishers, like no other, know how to play to the wishes and demands of their target audience. So obviously it makes sense that greater amount of attention is being paid to publishing models. However, if we take a look at the average marketing department, we can still see the traditional functions such as product marketers, communication employees, SEO-specialists and social-media managers. No editor, publisher, or director can be seen just yet. But let’s see how is this going to change.

Challenges inside content marketing
Whilst it must be noted that within content marketing the biggest challenge will always be the production of good, appealing content, another pressing issue is that the best content is often stuck in the heads of employees. And because not everyone is excited about writing blogs, participating in webinars or being active on social media, these ideas often never see the light of day. With this in mind, marketing organizations can aim to produce relevant content in a coordinated manner by considering these 17 roles inside their organization.

17 may sound like an intimidating number of roles, however in practice different functions will be acted out within one role. For example, in smaller organizations, just one content marketer may be enough to fill all the distinct roles- And I suppose that this content marketer will never have a reason to be bored!

Chief Content Officer
The function of a Chief Content Officer (CCO) is growing, as a result of the strategic choices made within the content marketing industry. This role can also be known as Content State gist or VP Content. The CCO is the individual who has final responsibility for the content marketing practices inside an organization. The Chief Content Officer refrains from any content creation him/herself, however working within the content creation process is definitely one of the conditions of this role. The thinking of ideas and production of content will, however, be part of who they are. Inside the publishing world the CCO is comparable with the publishers themselves.

The CCO is the gatekeeper of the company’s story, the ambassador of all the content, the “big cheese”, as it were. The CCO has to guarantee that the decentralized content from the different silos within the organization, are consistent with the editorial guidelines and connect with the target audience. Furthermore they do not look only at the market, but also deal with and the support of the content strategy within the organization.

Managing editor
The managing editor combines the tasks of the head- and the final editor. This individual is responsible for the final production of the CCO’s concepts, editorial guidelines and strategy. The managing editor is the project manager, who controls and manages the editorial calendar on behalf of the CCO. Where the CCO focuses on strategy, the focus of the managing editor rests on the implementation of said strategy. In smaller organizations the managing editor and CCO is often the same person.

Content creation team: Creating, edit and optimizing
The managing editor would usually be a Content Creator him/herself, but they would also be responsible for the amount, the capacity and the format of other people’s involvein the creative process. Important contributions often come from ‘subject matters experts’ inside the organization. These can be, for example, consultants, product managers, innovation managers, C-level management or analysts. These content creators do not have to be fantastic content creators as the managing editors will be capable of translating their stories and messages into content. They stand in the middle of the organizational chart and are able to share their knowledge, expertise and experience in the most relevant and transparent way. Content creators may also use ghost writers, conduct interviews or even edit already existing pieces in the production of content.

Content Curator
The Content Curator searches the web for news, trends and developments which are relevant to the target audience. The Curator is not a separate function as these duties could be combined with those of a Content Creator or the Social Media Manager. Relevant content is brought to attention via social media channel or forums maintained by the content creation team. Curation can be embedded effectively to enrich the content of the company, allowing it to remain current and increase the cohesion of the already existing content.

Chief Listening Officer (CLO) or Social Media Coordinator
The Social Media Coordinator is the individual who mediates between social media channels and the organization. This person follows all the online communication channels, takes part in the conversations on social media on behalf of the organization and involves the right departments for specific questions and discussions. For the content marketing team, this individual is an important source of new information about the activities of the target audience. Therefore he/she plays an important role in communicating new trends and facts within the organization, while also contributing in the creation of a more up-to-date content.

Audience Manager
The Audience Manager is responsible for the monitoring and shaping of the target audiences, the decision-making units and the buyer persona’s. The core of content marketing is about playing to the wishes, questions and needs of the target audience. It is therefore of interest to constantly secure this mentality and to respond to new triggers on time.

First Responder
Investment required in the creation of high quality content is large, however, small alterations such as changes to the title or the summary can have massive effect in positively influencing the rate of response. Also whether or not content will be shared via social media can be heavily influenced which can largely effect the size of the audience that engages with the content. The First Responder takes a closer look at the content before it gets published and optimizes it for a maximal effect. A lot of content may be used again in different channels however every channel has its own characteristics. Therefore, the First Responder works closely together with the Channel Marketer in order to optimize the content for each channel channel.

Content reaches the target audience via three different channels: The owned, the earned and the paid media. These channels could be for example, own online channels, social media, apps, magazines, or events. Each channel has its own characteristics, content specifications and promotion opportunities. Channels can also differ for example in the time of use or in popularity. The Channel Master is responsible for the channel optimization.

Media Buyer/ Planner
Attention shifts from paid media to owned media and earned media. For the driving up of views and reaching of specific or new target audiences, the Media Buyer remains important in the chain of communication as well as a condition for conversion. The Media Buyer / Planner is responsible for the purchase and optimizing of paid media.

Content Syndicator
While the Curator is responsible for bringing in external content, the Syndicator makes sure that (especially) own content is shared as much as possible on other channels. The Content Syndicator is responsible for generating as much exposure via earned media as possible, by making sharing accessible and attractive. That can be a sub-set of the content or of the total assets.

External Connector
The traditional PR-functionary will be in charge of maintaining the content, rather than maintaining the connection with the influencers. This person is responsible for maintaining a network of relevant contacts with other media, thought leaders, subject matter-experts and recognized trendsetters.

Lead Manager
The gap between marketing and sales can be filled by organizing a closing process in the transfer of marketing ready leads to sales ready leads. The Lead Manager is responsible for the qualification and ‘nurturing’ of the marketing leads and a closing transfer to the sales-organizations.

The Analytic-expert takes care of the reporting contentof the KPI’s and interprets the results. This expert has a close look to see if the targets set are realized and analyses the deviations.

Supplier Relationship Manager
Not all content production will be carried out by the organization itself. As the content marketing activities increase, so does the outsourcing to other parties. Freelancers can be used to contribute in the writing about specific subjects or the performance of specialized work, such as the creation of animations. However, the involvement of bureaus for the setting up and acting out of content marketing campaigns or the collection of advice can fall under the activities of others. The Supplier Relationship Manager is responsible for the involvement of these specialists and the organizational processes, securing good collaboration.

Training & Coaching Lead
The adoption of content marketing demands the development of new competencies by the entire organization. In depth expertise about content marketing may be expected of the content marketing team – and requirements may go even further. Subject matters experts, product managers and C-level-employees content related contributions are expected to disseminate the story and the messages of the organization. The Training & Coaching Lead secures the competency development of the organization.

HR Liason
While employees are the core of every service company, they are at the same time the embodiment, the story and the messages. And because every employee represents the organisation, it matters that content marketing is carried out by the HR-organization. The HR Liason secures that the HR-policy and the expectation of the employees is coammunicated in a consistent, and transparent by the internal organization.

Chief Technologist
Technology plays a rather important role inside the content marketing process. The Chief Technologist is responsible for the technological infrastructure and the development of this infrastructure such as the automated e-mail marketing software and other internal systems. Whilst, inside the team of the Chief Technologist, such as the webmaster and the software developer, can work to create custom solutions, this person will probably also lead the external service providers as well.

Make sure that all the roles will be appointed and fulfilled
A content marketing organization as outlined above, forms an ideal image with a bigger organization as starting point. It is inspired by earlier work within this focus area done by the Content Marketing Institute. In practice many functions would be combined in few roles or they may also be placed in already existing roles. The community manager who we often encounter in present day, combines the roles of the Social Media Coordinator and the Audience Manager but can also be Content Curator and External Connector. It is however of great importance to name them individually so that all the different responsibilities can be discussed in the team.

About the author:

Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Internet are recurring theme’s throughout Bob Oord‘s career. Currently he is the Managing Director of Heleview Online. Heliview Online is dedicated to realize effective online marketing campaigns with one central goal: increase the sales results of it’s customers. This article is based on a chapter from the new Dutch book “B2B Contentmarketing, de 7 fundamenten” which was inspired by an earlier blogpost by Joe Pulizzi Essential Roles in Contentmarketing

This blog was first published in Dutch on We’d like to thank a few students of the Erasmus University Jiske van Straaten, Sevi Christoforou and Daniel Boonstra (a few of our Social Media Week Heroes) for translating this article. 


Strateeg, RauwCC


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