So as a practitioner of many disciplines within design and digital marketing, creating the perfect role for myself with title and responsibilities can be difficult, and perhaps it is for you as well. Perhaps you have been a UI Designer – designing in Illustrator, Photoshop or Sketch, a UX Designer prototyping in InVision, UXPin, or Axure and user testing the site with others – and now you’re trying to find out what the next role is to aspire to.
People that follow and read my blog may be a Front-end Developer, coding in SublimeText and creating sites on WordPress or other Content Management Systems, a Information Architect – creating wireframes, organizing groups of items, and creating sitemaps. Or you may be in a more general role as a Social Media Manager – handling personality and posting for clients or their business, SEO Strategist – identifying profitable keywords, handling onsite SEO and getting quality backlinks, or an Account Manager of some type – creating meaningful relationships with clients and working with the technicians to disperse tasks from them; but where do we go when we start to need to delegate more – and create reproducible results and manage people?
From my perspective it’s all about templating process, taking things that you do every time and making sure they are organized and available and that you’re not duplicating effort. Once you start to create these processes, and have more people under your jurisdiction – you may have the personality of a leader so you may be leading more projects naturally – it may be time for a title that makes it clear that you have more responsibility. Here are some that may apply as you start to outgrow your former role – I’m leading with the title here, but the role is the crucial piece, the title is just a clue as to that role and many have a mixed bag of responsibilities falling under more than one of these.
1. Creative Director
May have: Golden creative intuition, pigheadedness
The Creative Director‘s role is about helping form both messaging and design for a company and/or their clients in the agency world. Works with art directors, designers, copywriters and photographers to create a cohesive and compelling narrative for a company to sell products or services.
2. Marketing Technologist
May have: An insatiable knack of experimentation, device checking twitch
A Marketing Technologist should be all about trying tons of new ways to get the word out about a product or service. She should be testing with Optimizely, Pitchbox, Inspectlet one month and then be diving deep into Google Analytics, HitTail, and CrazyEgg the next month; identifying the stable of tools that help drive real meaningful interaction and getting new customers. While identifying and tweaking these tools ever closer to automation and maximum effectiveness, a Marketing Technologist should be working on attribution – the holy grail of marketing campaigns, and finding ways to show what has worked, how much, and what tools to shed if they aren’t getting results.
3. Design Director
May have: Impeccable taste for fonts and/or high converting landing pages, Weirdly strong opinions about small aesthetic details
The design directors role is all about making sure that the team of designers are taken care of and challenged – and that designs are aesthetically pleasing and effective for their intended purpose.
4. Digital Marketing Manager
May have: A love for brand stories, and measuring and analyzing what works in Digital Marketing, A lot of things on the mind from wearing a lot of hats.
This more generalized role includes much of the responsibilities of a marketing technologist, but would also could include social media marketing, email marketing, PPC and SEO. This title seems to be used when it’s a much smaller team and the Digital Marketing Manager has to do a little of everything.
5. Growth Hacker
May have: 10 things automating interaction for her at once online, a disregard for more traditional advertising
A growth hacker’s role is all about finding any and every way to ‘hack the system’ and get more word of mouth, social media clout and general exposure for a company. Tools like Flitter for Twitter, Archie for Instagram and Twitter, and Autopin.co for Pinterest are the tip of the iceburg of automation in social interaction and then from there it spreads to things like targeting the 10 C-level e-mails for the client you’re going after on Facebook ads, and finding any creative way to get your message in the right hands. Should be wily and ready to try seemingly crazy new ideas.
6. Chief Marketing Officer
May have: Voracious hunger for understanding what works in Marketing, a big ego
A Chief Marketing Officer’s role is broader in scope than many of these and is basically the biggest fish in each respective marketing system before of course your CEO and owners; their responsibilities often include elements of product development, sales, and distribution as well as overseeing creative directors and ad buying.
7. Chief Content Officer
May have: A super keen understanding of how content drives traffic, a habit of saying “How’s that article coming along?”
Each of these roles should really have some CCO mixed in at this point in the game. Every role should start to make content a high priority if they haven’t already, but the Chief Content Officer synthesizes the strategy around what landing pages, service pages and blog posts need to go out to get exposure and should have a strong understanding of SEO, Public Relations and blogger outreach. The role is all about creating a cohesive and sustainable plan to keep the content marketing plan strong and targeting to core demographics.
Be an “Intrapreneur” – find the roles that suit you and help your organization grow.
Each of these roles of course should be mixed and matched. But what does a title mean for your career? It means evolving towards where you want to grow to; so pay close attention to your strengths and what you enjoy doing so that you can use that title for the somewhat disposable tool it is – but also potentially use it to get to the next place you want to go.
Do choose a title that is recognizable to other people in the industry to help express what you do and for future networking, but don’t get hung up on it. Also choose a title that helps your organization sell to clients if you’re an agency, and that can help quickly and succinctly explain how you’ll be assisting in the strategy and implementation of the services your company is rolling out.
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