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Why silos are the biggest barrier to effective marketing

2nd Aug 2016
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A barrier that has long been an issue to marketers’ ability to deliver smooth and seamless customer experiences are silos. It’s simple. If one channel is run by one team and another by a different team, and the two share no integrated KPIs, the way a customer interacts with the brand across those two channels is going to be inconsistent.

Silos in organisations continue to be a problem, especially for big businesses with multiple channels and larger teams, as illustrated by the recent 2016 Digital Marketer Report. According to the survey, 59 per cent of enterprise marketers work in teams broken out by channels and are 54 per cent are more likely to rank ‘facilitating alignment’ their top priority.

 Silos – what’s the problem?

When aiming to deliver seamless and consistentcustomer journeys, silos in your marketing approach remain a huge barrier. This is because modern marketing, in particular data driven marketing, requires brands to communicate intelligently with their customers. This needs to be as one single entitiy, rather than a multitude of different voices.

The proliferation of smartphones over the last decade has significantly increased the volume of touchpoints available to a marketer by facilitating an easy transition between channels and devices.

What’s more, not only are customers active on multiple channels, they also have high expecations when it comes to service levels. If they tweet a brand a request, it’s commonplace to expect that brand to respond via email or through an app, regardless as to whether the brand considers those channels as separate streams.

Individual channels cannot be treated in isolation. This is where silos become a real concern. Today’s consumers demand a cross-channel experience and brands that are riddled with organisational and channel silos are going to struggle to provide that.

According to the survey, only 30 per cent of marketers work in teams that are fully integrated. That leaves 70 per cent of marketers operating either completely siloed by channel or in a partly integrated set up.

Why do larger (enterprise) companies feel the fear more?

When looking solely at larger organisations, the prevelence of silos in organisations only increases. According to the 2016 Digital Marketer Report, a huge 59 per cent of enterprise-level marketers work on marketing teams that are broken out by channel.

This is because team and channel structures have to evolve to deal with the sheer volume of messages each channel receives, making it difficult for marketers to dedicate the required level of attention to their allocated channels.

However, big brands need to acknowledge that times have changed, and in accordance to this, they need to alter the way they operate in order to put the customer experience first.

Small companies are naturally more agile. Their marketing teams are often fully integrated simply because they’re a single team already. It’s a painful process but big brands need to put the customer first and do what they can to break down those channel barriers.

It’s clear that big brands have recognised the issue. In the same survey 42 per cent of c-suite executives at enterprise companies ranked overcoming internal silos as a top priority.

Conquering the silo mountain

A major step forward is ensuring that all your teams measure the same KPIs. If you’re still doing attribution by channel you need to structure and incentivise your teams to work collaboratively.

If you have channel conflict, price discrepancies or conflicting sales models, it’s time to fix them. Having separate profit and loss statements and objectives designed around each channel only provides the scenario for missed opportunities and gaps in the customer experience.

It’s going to be a hard and painful process but it’s one that needs to happen.

To begin, try encouraging your teams to work together more on individual projects. Communication and collaboration are key. Motivate them to share their goals and share success. Sometimes different channel teams don’t even sit in the same building and sometimes they haven’t even met! Make sure this isn’t the case with you. Once you start breaking down those silos, owning a single customer experience will naturally follow.

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