Football season may be winding down, but the metaphors are everywhere—especially when it comes to your marketing team. Do you have the right people on your team to send a winning message?

Delivering the right message at the right time to the right people takes talent, bandwidth, and brains. Some companies have one person handle everything; others rely on a team of teams to get the job done. Regardless of size, effective marketing teams incorporate these roles into the mix, even if one person ends up wearing more than one hat or you rely on special teams—just like they do in football.

The Coach: The VP of Marketing

Every team needs a coach. This can be the owner of your company (if your company is small) or the VP of Marketing (if your company has the bandwidth). This person sets the tone, promotes the goals, powers the pep talks, and breathes life into messaging. They hold the team accountable for metrics and push for the next best thing. When they speak, people listen, which is why they are just as effective during team meetings as they are external events.

If this sounds like you, and you’re overwhelmed with these tasks on top of everything else you do, it’s probably time to expand your team. Starting with…

The Quarterback: The Marketing Manager

Where the coach makes the plan, the quarterback makes it happen. Translating goals to action items isn’t easy, but the marketing manager somehow gets it done, breaking down the tasks into three roles: the content, the platforms, and the conversions. They do some of it themselves, find other talent they need in-house, and know where and when to outsource the rest.

The Offense: The Content Creators

This is your offense. The content creators are your playmakers; they draw the crowds, they generate excitement, and they set you up for a winning season. These are your graphic designers, your writers, your videographers, and your digital experts.

The Defense: The Data Crunchers

Every great offense has a defense that has its back. In the case of your marketing campaign, your defense is—quite literally—on the back-end, analyzing metrics, keeping campaigns agile and effective, informing the next play. If you aren’t analyzing your analytics, your ad metrics, your conversions, or your overall strategy on a regular basis, you are winging it—and that’s no way to play for keeps.

Special Teams: The Fine Tuners

If you have the creative talent and the data analyzers, then you need a way to get your brand out to the masses. Whether you handle this in-house or outsource it to a media agency, it’s important to understand what your objectives are, who you are targeting, how you should target them, and how you are using your marketing budget to its best potential.

As this is a more specialized role, it is often the one most companies outsource to marketing agencies; this makes it that much more important to find the right partner for your budget, needs, and goals. As you look for the perfect fit, consider the following:

•      Be clear about your objectives. Agencies work best when they know what you are trying to do, who you are trying to target, and how you will measure their performance.

•      Know your budget. Many agencies have minimums.

•      Be realistic. You may not need an entire full-service agency to handle your campaign; you may only need a media specialist to keep your message alive and relevant.

•      Get what you need. Would you like a daily point of contact? How much experience do they have? How and how often will they report on the campaign results? Do you want an agency solely for implementation or will you be leaning on their expertise or experience?

Converting readers into leads, leads into customers, and customers into brand ambassadors takes a dedicated effort, no matter how big your team is. The trick to getting it done—or delegated—is to be clear on the game plan and to play to your strengths.

Who is on your marketing team?