| Mar 22, 2024 | | 8 min read

Build Your Dream Team with These Key Marketing Agency Roles


Digital agencies play an important role in today’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), dramatically enhancing their marketing capacity while enabling them to focus on core business activities. The reality in our extensively digital world is that everyone from the mom-and-pop down the street to the well-established enterprise in town requires a comprehensive, robust suite of digital marketing solutions to succeed.

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With the right team, your agency can meet this ubiquitous need and help your clients reach their goals faster. To maximize your impact without succumbing to hiring bloat and hit your agency’s profit goals, it’s important to identify and hire for the right marketing agency roles. In this blog, we’ll walk you through exactly which roles should be on your radar as you build out year organization, tips for making your agency a well-oiled machine, and insights for identifying the right time to hire.

7 critical roles in a marketing agency

When starting a digital marketing company, it’s normal to wear many hats. But as you scale your agency, it can be beneficial to hand some of those responsibilities to a team with diverse skills and expertise so you can focus on the big picture. Let’s take a look at the key roles that make up a successful marketing agency.

1. Account manager

Forming strong relationships with clients is a great way to keep them around long-term, and account managers play an significant role as the key point of contact between client and agency. This position involves ongoing client communication to make sure they’re satisfied, their needs are met, and that all opportunities for additional upsells and cross-sells are explored.

People in this role should be top-notch communicators and on the ball about following up. In addition to organizational and communication prowess, account managers need to be effective multitaskers who can juggle many client accounts at once.

2. Marketing strategist

If your agency offers a large portfolio of solutions, you need to effectively propose the ideal suite or bundle for each client. Each customer won’t need every tool or service available. Marketing strategists architect marketing plans that are tailor-made to the needs of each client, taking into account market research, industry trends, and client specifics.

3. Creative team

The work of digital agencies is part science, part art, and creative teams make up the “art” portion of the equation. Creative marketing agency roles include graphic designers, web designers, copywriters, and videographers. Content creation and design often fall outside of the wheelhouse of SMBs, who would rather focus on sales and developing their product or service rather than learning the intricacies of Adobe or crafting conversion-boosting copy. The work of creative teams generally supports content marketing efforts, social media, and ad campaigns.

4. Digital marketers

Digital marketing can include search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC ads), email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, and more. Digital marketers create and run campaigns in any of these areas. A large organization may have separate roles in digital marketing for each specialization, while smaller outfits might have one or two digital marketers covering all types of campaigns. Overall, the aim of this role is to improve clients’ visibility, traffic, brand recognition, and ultimately, sales.

5. Data analysts

Data analysts collect and process data, converting it into meaningful and actionable insights that can be used to make better decisions. This can include ad campaign performance data, website user interaction data, SEO data, and more.

6. Project managers

Agencies with large teams have more advanced coordination requirements, and that’s where this marketing agency role comes in. Project managers take the strategies devised by marketing strategists and oversee their implementation, working with digital marketers and creative teams to see them to fruition.

7. Business development

The role of business development teams is to grow an agency’s business by finding clients and building the sales pipeline. Some degree of churn is to be expected in any business, and digital agencies are no different. This means there’s an ongoing need for lead generation to maintain a healthy pipeline of prospects to both replace churned-out clients and add new ones.

How to build a kick-ass marketing agency team

A successful agency startup has many moving parts, and the digital marketing department structure is just one consideration (admittedly, an important one). Let’s take a holistic look at the elements that make up a thriving, profit-crushing agency.

Define your agency's niche and target audience

Specialization is essential for standing out in a crowded agency space. You can’t be everything to everyone, and the sooner you learn this lesson, the sooner it will show in your agency’s bottom line. Identifying your agency’s niche and target audience will enable you to better position your services to precisely the clients you’d like to work with.

Hire a diverse team with complementary skills

A diversity of agency skills and perspectives will help your agency more dynamic and capable of solving complex problems for clients. When hiring in any of the digital marketing agency roles discussed above, look for hires who complement your strengths and those of other team members. For example, are you a data wonk who can effortlessly glean the implications of a chart or graph? If so, a creative thinker might be a good complement to your strategic mind.

Want to know more about building a phenomenal in-house agency? Check out this episode of the Conquer Local Podcast:

Foster a creative and collaborative work environment

Whether you’re working remotely or on-site with your team, it’s a good idea to prioritize collaboration. Different marketing agency roles can all learn from each other and benefit from understanding one another’s perspectives. If everyone just works in their little silo, you’re unlikely to get the groundbreaking creative results that could set your agency apart.

Invest in the latest marketing tools and technologies

Digital marketing is a technological field, and tech is constantly changing. For your agency to stay ahead, investing in new tools and technologies as they come out is non-negotiable. This doesn’t mean you have to amass a huge bill every month by subscribing to every last bit of software on the market. However, it does mean you should keep your finger on the pulse of what’s new, and implement the tech that’s most relevant to your work.

Continuously learn and adapt to industry trends

Industry trends, like technological progress, are always on the move. Constant learning should be expected of everyone on your team. Attending conferences and webinars is a great way to do this.

Develop strong relationships with clients and deliver exceptional results

Competition is a normal part of any business, but you significantly protect your business by making strong relationships a cornerstone of your agency. When a shiny new competitor comes along, your clients are far more likely to stick with you if they know and trust you. Prioritizing top-notch results is a no-brainer, but it’s just as important to communicate regularly and transparently and to regularly check in with clients about their needs.

Establish a strong brand identity for your agency

A strong agency brand conveys trustworthiness and competency: don’t shoot yourself in the foot by overlooking this aspect of your business. Ensure the brand is identifiable on your website, social media channels, marketing collateral, and across all client touchpoints.

In-house vs. freelance: when to hire marketing agency roles

For many agencies, hiring for all the digital marketing agency roles we discussed isn’t feasible. Sometimes, working with freelancers or white-label agencies is a better fit. Consider these factors when making your choice.


There’s no getting around the fact that full-time employees are costly, especially if you want to hire top talent. If you have the budget, they can be a great asset to your agency, but if you have no experience or have a limited budget, outsourcing may be a better option.


The expertise you require in your digital marketing agency roles depends on the specifics of your niche. Often, in-house hires are more experienced than freelancers who need to be good generalists. White-label experts can be a great option if you require a high level of expertise and specialization without the significant commitment of hiring.


Agency life can involve a bit of feast and famine: busy periods followed by quieter stretches. If that sounds like your business, outsourcing has the benefit of greater flexibility, making it easier to manage fluctuating workloads.


The more complex your client projects are, the more they may need control and oversight. In this case, an in-house hire may be more appropriate.


An in-house digital marketing department structure may be better able to work closely together and form a collaborative environment that leads to top-notch problem-solving and results. It isn’t impossible to achieve this with freelancers, but it may not come as easily.


As an agency owner, you offer critically valuable services to your SMB clients, relieving them of the burden of having to handle their digital marketing in-house. That’s a big responsibility, and having the right people for the job is essential. By understanding the different marketing agency roles, how they work together, and what your outsourcing options are, you can make the best, most informed choice for your business—and your clients.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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