Staffing Your Email Team — 8 Key Roles

Whatever the percentage, there is no arguing that email’s contribution is significant, and with this level of revenue on the line it is critical that retailers have a solid team in place to manage and execute this aspect of the business.

There are eight critical roles that the digital marketing aspect of a business should include. Depending on the size of your business, some of these roles may be shared with other departments or, conversely, some might require multiple associates for adequate execution.

1. Strategy

A Strategist’s responsibilities include:

  • Producing quarterly plans detailing tactics for that period of time.
  • Recommending special projects, segmentation strategies, a testing plan for optimization, and key performance indicators to target.
  • Formulating content for the campaigns, including working with merchandising to identify product selection, promotions/offers, copy/content, and subject lines.
  • Ensuring the email program aligns with strategies and tactics across channels: social, mobile, web, search engine marketing, retargeting, etc.

2. Creative

After the plan is in place, a Designer will create the email concept, taking care to align it with strategy and larger company branding. Your Designer should be well-versed in designing for email, including optimizing for the preview pane, for images blocked, and the ability to build the campaign in “old school” HTML or in-line CSS styles.

Responsibilities include:

  • Designing the creative concept(s).
  • Accommodating any variations for segments, languages, or testing.
  • Optimizing individual graphics to build the campaign.
  • Ensuring adherence to brand standards.
  • Overseeing consistency in style across all channels.

3. Production Specialist

Responsibilities include:

  • Building the HTML and in-line CSS of the email.
  • Testing rendering across multiple email clients and ISPs (Outlook, Google, Hotmail, etc.).
  • Performing quality assurance testing.

4. Business Analyst

Smart, relevant email campaigns require data — the more the better. A Business Analyst bridges the gap between a Strategist and the Developers to translate marketing goals into an actionable plan. Your Business Analyst should be well-versed in the Email Service Provider (ESP) platform, its capabilities, requirements, limitations, and data structure.

Responsibilities include:

  • Meeting with key stakeholders to understand the project’s goals and measurements.
  • Estimating projects and writing project plans or statements of work for approval.
  • Documenting the solution and data integrations via a functional requirements document.
  • Interacting across departments and teams to ensure the project’s success.

5. Developer

Once the functional requirements have been written, you may need a developer to complete data integrations, write queries resulting for appropriate segmentation, or code dynamic elements.

Depending on the complexity of your digital marketing programs you may have a team of Developers

Responsibilities include:

  • Executing the functional requirements document as part of the project plan.
  • Performing quality assurance testing to ensure appropriate segments, content, and data are resulting in expected cases.
  • Understanding and integrating with the ESP’s API and its technical capabilities.
  • Coding highly dynamic content based on relational data from third party systems (eCommerce, analytics, CRM, etc.).
  • Creating data flow diagrams to ensure data integrity and immediacy.

6. Quality Assurance

Testing all stages of an email campaign’s development from concept to build to deployment is a necessity.

Responsibilities include:

  • Creating test plans for special projects and ongoing campaigns.
  • Performing rigorous testing of the campaign, focusing on content, rendering, segments, dynamic components, and deployment efficiencies.
  • Documenting the success or failure of a campaign’s testing and re-testing
  • Identifying opportunities and proposing solutions to automate processes, eliminating the risk of human error

7. Data Analytics

Once a campaign has deployed, the Strategist and key stakeholders will want to know how it performed.

Depending on the size of the organization and team, this role will likely serve more than just email, performing data analysis across multiple channels.

Responsibilities include:

  • Performing measurement against campaigns deployed in comparison to previously established key performance indicators.
  • Identifying trends and anomalies for further investigation.
  • Appending additional data and cleansing records as needed.
  • Collaborating with the Strategist to define subscriber segments for better targeted future messaging.

8. Project Management

Email marketing is very often deployed quickly to meet a competitive opportunity or challenge. To execute campaigns effectively in a small window requires a Project Manager or Traffic Manager — someone to keep the process on schedule, keeping the project’s momentum and ensuring that no corners are cut.

Responsibilities include:

  • Scheduling the above resources for appropriate times.
  • Collecting assets for a campaign (graphics, copy, links, etc.).
  • Creating project timelines for all resources.
  • Cross-function communications regarding project status and challenges.
  • Scheduling meetings as appropriate.
  • Enforcing timelines.

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