By Shannon Stull
You’ve been the principal designer for awhile now. And the webmaster. And of course the strategist. And pre-print production department. Let’s face it - this place wouldn’t last a day without you.
Hopefully your boss has realized this, and has finally decided to give your department a hiring budget. There are a million jobs to be done, but you only have the budget for a few helpers. Assuming you will stay on as the principal designer, do you even know where to start?
Don’t worry, I can help you get your team up and running in no time. Present these classic roles to your manager, and get started on building a world-class marketing team.
If you’re going to amp up your brand, you need a good copywriter. They will be integral to establishing the voice of your brand, and bringing it up to the next level. Like you, a good copywriter can wear many hats. They can serve as writer on all print materials (ad campaigns, catalogs, brochures), as well as for all of the content on your company’s website. A good copywriter with web experience should also help you with some basic SEO, which will help increase your company’s site visibility. They will serve as an editor, which means there should never, ever be a “there” instead of a “their” in your promotions again. And, they can be your social media manager.
If that doesn’t keep them busy enough, your copywriter can also be initiating thought leadership releases and articles. This is essential for additional free press, as well as SEO. If you didn’t think you had a need for a writer, believe me, you do.
Most people don’t do both of these roles well; either they are a great coder and “meh” designer, or vice versa. In this case, they don’t need to be a brilliant designer. You’ve got that covered. Choose someone who can build the crap out of your designs. Good programmers are hard to find, and will be the most expensive to hire. However, having a website that works, is secure, and can evolve over time is essential to your business. If you can find someone who can throw in some decent design in a pinch, that’s even better. This could be a lifesaver when the production load is high.
In time, your workload may increase enough to support a few full-time production artists. However, if you’ve been meeting your workload and crazy deadlines (all-nighters, anyone?) as a one-man band, your hard work may backfire on you on this front. One downfall to doing a great job is that you make it look easy. That’s what’s bitten you in the butt so far, right?
Start small. Choose a talented up-and-comer who is fast and willing to learn. Let them start by taking on those ad re-sizes, template set-ups, and the pre-press work. You are going to appreciate having someone else do these tedious types of projects so you can tackle the larger brand-focused pieces. As your workload increases, feel free to hire more production artists. The time and money saved by using juniors to do junior-level work is extraordinary, and this will become apparent once it’s evident how much work can be achieved between the two (or more) or you. Sometimes it just takes time.
As the number of people and projects in your department increase, so will the complexity of your initiatives. You will NOT want to be managing all of the moving pieces and designing at the same time. Let your project manager keep your team organized. Let them set the time tables, and be the gatekeepers that keep other members of the company out of your hair. Most of all, choose someone who is a hard ass to everyone else, but is someone that you get along with. Of all of the roles you are hiring, this will be the person you will appreciate the most. After all, their deadline negotiating skills may just win you back a weekend or two.
Good luck in your search for new talent. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to a brand new, tiny powerhouse of an internal agency!
Did I forget anyone you think is an essential part of a small but mighty marketing team? Share your thoughts in our discussion below.
Shannon Stull is a principal and Creative Director at WHOISCARRUS, a full-service advertising agency based in Orlando, FL. She has experience on both agency and in-house teams in various roles, including; copywriting, art direction, and creative direction. More information about Shannon and her agency's services such as web design, branding and green advertising is at www.whoiscarrus.com.