It is crazy to think that it was thirteen years ago that I first launched MyBinding.com. In those days, I did a little bit of everything. I was able to grow the site to a few million dollars in revenue before I realized that I just couldn’t do it by myself anymore. To be fair, others probably knew this long before I admitted it. Even so, the past 10 years of my career at MyBinding have been spent working on building our digital marketing team.
Over the years, I have tried a number of different structures for my team. At times one team member has had to play multiple roles. Other times, I have had to fill the gaps myself or use agency partners to keep things running. Still, after a lot of trial and error, this is the structure that I have found to work the best in driving growth at MyBinding.
Nearly every marketing task inside an ecommerce company can be split into one of three areas. These areas are Acquisition (driving traffic), Site Experience (converting visitors) and Retention (getting customers to come back again and again). I have found it to be highly effective to build teams around these three functional areas. Here is how these teams break out…
This team is in charge of driving traffic to the site. They manage SEO, new product additions, social media, paid search advertising, comparison shopping engines, retargeting and content marketing. This is my largest team and the most complex to manage. Most of this team is internal. However, with the size of our organization, I currently find that it is most effective to partner with agencies to supplement this team in managing paid search and comparison shopping management. As advertising spend (and management fees) continue to increase in two areas I will most likely look to bring the skillset into our internal team but for now it is more cost effective to outsource these areas.
Primary KPI’s: Traffic, New Customers Added, Return on Ad Spend
On Site Experience
This team is primary responsible for conversion rate optimization, user experience, personalization, mobile experience, testing (A/B and Multivariate), video marketing, site search and for merchandising. This team is dedicated to making the site better. Creating a better buying experience and for increasing the conversion rate on the site. Testing is a huge part of the team as they work to find statistically significant wins for the site. They also work very closely with the developers (both front end and back end) to add new features to the site, launch new pages and templates and to code and QA tests.
Primary KPI’s: Conversion Rate, Bounce Rate, Time on Site
This team is tasked with getting customers to come back and purchase from us again and again. They are responsible for email promotions, segmentation, replenishment, cart abandonment, direct mail, transactional emails, coupons/promotions, browse abandonment and in box advertising. This team also works alongside customer service inside the company to ensure that we are providing the best possible customer experience to customers post purchase.
Primary KPI’s: Customer Lifetime Value, Revenue from Repeat Buyers, Email Revenue
Having a solid designer on staff is incredibly important to support all three of the teams. I list design separate from the three primary areas because our designer is constantly assisting on projects in all three primary areas. If you can afford a UX designer in this area you can accomplish a ton of amazing things in a short period of time. Over the years I have had a number of designers and I can honestly say this is a make it or break it position for the team. Invest in quality here and you will be glad you did.
If you want to launch new features, tests and fix bugs on your site you are going to need a good developer. However, the truth is you may actually need more than one developer. Currently we have a really good front end developer on staff and have a full time back end developer overseas with an agency. Eventually I would love to have an awesome back end developer on site with the rest of the team. However, the current combination allows us to launch A/B tests and landing pages very quickly during the day and deal with larger development projects overnight.
Although technically part of the acquisition team we have two staff members dedicated to marketplaces (Ebay and Amazon). I am listing them separately here since they technically are basically running a different store and are measured by different KPIs (sales volume, transactional volume and profitability). We currently have a strategy/channel manager role and a back end data role on this team.
Where to Start
If you have the budget and time, I would highly recommend a structure similar to this for your digital marketing team. If you are just getting started or are running a smaller group, you might need to have one person play multiple roles or you may end up playing a number of these roles yourself. In much larger organizations you may be able to scale these particular areas out even further with multiple specialists per area. Either way, dividing the responsibilities in your organization along these lines will help you to drive growth on multiple fronts at the same time.
How do you structure your team? Have you tried something similar? Any suggestions or lessons learned?