The anatomy of a professional email marketing team

As a business manager you may be wondering about the skills needed in an email marketing team. Or maybe you are looking to go deep into email marketing yourself and want to know what jobs to scout for.

We made an overview including the typical email marketing job descriptions so you know you have the important areas covered.

Email marketing areas of specialisation

It is quite astounding to see everything that’s out there in the market. This article gives an overview of the more well-known email marketing job titles, organised into five areas:

  1. Strategy and Planning
  2. Client Services
  3. Email Design and Development
  4. Deliverability and Compliance
  5. Platform Innovation and Development

email marketing teams

You might be wondering how these five areas fit together and this table shows where you might find these areas – In-House, at an External Agency/Freelancer, or Email Sending Platform (ESP).

Email marketing jobs range from strategy and design through to more technical jobs such as coding and deliverability. What we are seeing is email marketing teams are often a hybrid. A combination of inhouse, agency, freelancer, and services arms of the chosen email marketing platform.

email team inhouse agency or esp

Email marketing is becoming a team sport

Nowadays the responsibility for email marketing in an organisation is most likely to be with a team as opposed to an individual.

According to the Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Industry Census 2017 the reliance on teams is now at 45%, up from 40% in 2016. In contrast, the reliance on individuals declined from 41% to 34%, according to agencies in the survey.

As a marketing agency, we looked at the services also offered by the email sending platforms we use for our clients. So we know we can use their design and template coding services for overflow work. Even when our roster is too full, we can jump straight into content creation for our clients knowing the newsletter template is taken care of.

Let’s dig into the jobs in each area:

1. Email Strategy and planning:

email strategy and planning

People working in strategy and planning help determine the best way to use email marketing to achieve the marketing goals for a business.

Here are some of the roles in strategy and planning:

Email Marketing Strategists provide support and consultation to clients and the internal team. The Strategists role is split 60% strategy and 40% team/client management.

Email Marketing Managers help with strategy, content, creative direction, acquisition, and compliance. Email marketing managers work in strategy and planning as well as production. Similar role titles include Email Campaign Manager and Email Project Manager.

2. Client Services

email teams client services
People in client services area are the primary point of contact for clients. They communicate with the client about strategy and progress of projects and campaigns. Client Services interprets client feedback and relays it to the team with targeted action requirements for each team member within the scope of the current project.

Client services are generally found in agency and email sending platforms. Client services people tend to have a very good understanding of digital marketing. This helps as they need to be aware of the bigger picture and how all the channels in a client’s marketing fit together.

Job titles in client services for email marketing are:

Account Managers oversee projects within an agency on a day-to-day basis. Daily contact with clients is a key part of the job. Offering new and forward-thinking ideas is essential to the process. Account Managers also help with strategy and planning. Email marketing is one portion of the marketing and communication channels planned for a client.

Customer Success Managers develop customer relationships that promote retention and loyalty. Customer success departments are relatively new and are used mainly in technical companies. For example Marketing Automation and Email Sending Platforms. CSMs are able to provide technical support of the products.

Support Specialists provide technical support specific to the email sending platform.

3. Email design and development (production)

email design production

Email production teams are hands-on. Production team members understand how to design for email and how to code.

Smaller teams need one person to be responsible for more areas – a jack of all trades. Larger teams allow for more specialisation. Production teams are found in-house or in an external agency or in the services arm of an ESP.

The email production team can be a combination of these roles:

Campaign Managers are responsible for the day-to-day, hands-on execution of email marketing programs. This includes ownership of the setup, maintenance, and review of reoccurring and triggered email communications. Campaign Managers work on strategy, review copy and design, development. Their role is 50% project management, 30% strategy, 10% development 10% analytics.

Digital Designers manage the visual representation of the mail and overall campaign. They combine creativity and understanding of technology platforms to create designs for online channels. For example email, website, and landing pages. Digital designers ensure consistency of brand and creative across digital customer touch points. They translate and create marketing requirements into compelling, appropriate campaigns and designs.

Email Developers are responsible for the development, execution, analysis and management of email campaigns. This includes marketing, transactional and auto-generated triggers. Email developers are able to code an email to work well on smaller screen sizes and the various email programs people use to view their email.

Content Marketing Specialists work with content for email, blog, and social media. Content Marketing Specialists help provide businesses with interesting, up to date and well written web content, giving visitors a good reason to visit a site. The content they create is used in email newsletters and campaigns.

4. Deliverability and Compliance

These roles are mainly in email sending platforms / email service providers (ESPs). Deliverability and compliance are critical factors for the platform. Shared platforms mean all users affect the greater good of the platform.

Compliance Specialist / Abuse Desk Specialist ensure emails are delivered. This work involves

  • remediating blacklists,
  • identifying spam traps,
  • working with ISPs to optimize sending rates
  • and working with clients to make sure they send email using best practices.

Deliverability Manager and ISP Relations are responsible for a platform’s overall ability to deliver mail.

5. Platform Innovation and Development

ESPs need to innovate to improve platform functionality. Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Industry Census 2017 reports user friendly interfaces have become the norm. Marketers are now looking for better marketing automation features.

Typical roles at an Email Sending Platform include:

Email Platform Engineer. Engineers help innovate and expand on an email platform’s functionality. They develop new integrations and work on APIs.

Email Operations Manager looks after infrastructure, technical support, preference centres, and reporting.

Their services arm can include email production team members depending on the services they offer their clients.

Shout out to the Email marketing Community

woman-of-emailA shout out to the Women of Email community. Members have generously contributed to this article by sharing details of their job titles and responsibilities. Women of Email is an association promoting leadership and professional growth among women in the email space. Women of Email has a very active Facebook group of over 2300 members.

To join you need to be working in a career related to email marketing (and be a woman of course!). Don’t worry there is something here for everyone. If you’re looking to hang out with email designers, geeks, and developers please join the Email Geeks Slack group.

What does your ideal email marketing team look like?

There is huge variation in titles and job descriptions. An email marketing manager in one company may work on strategy and planning while in another company do the hands on production of email.

With unlimited budget we could have the ideal marketing team but what would you choose if you had a limited budget? For example which team members would a business owner need to try ensure a measure of email marketing success?

As a business owner putting together my email marketing team, at the very least I would have a digital marketing strategist and someone to create the campaigns.

A strategist with all round digital marketing skills can help with the marketing in other digital channels.

If you have to choose between a designer and a developer I would say try to find a developer with some design skills. Email developers are more familiar with the issues of email clients which comes in handy in the day to day management of email campaigns.

If you’re concerned about the design aspect of your emails there are two things you can do:
1) have your email template designed so the developer can work accordingly
2) a style guide can ensure the email styling is consistent.

Do you have any comments or feedback on this article? Please feel welcome to share by commenting below.

Melaina Gross

About Melaina Gross


Melaina Gross is Director at Cantaloupe Digital, an email agency. Cantaloupe helps organisations make their sales and marketing emails work well for all email platforms. Design to email is our game! Cantaloupe Digital is a SharpSpring marketing automation partner.

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