Marketing operations teams are faced with the unique challenge of not only making emotional connections with customers but also breaking down internal silos and creating an aligned marketing department.
“Marketing is a strategic seat at the table; there is no other department that can see such a company panorama and bring those perspectives together.”
— Breaking Down Marketing Silos, Forbes Insights Report
Marketing silos slowly drown employee morale by creating tension throughout an organization. Even worse, these silos undermine customer satisfaction, reduce efficiency, increase costs, and erode the company’s return on marketing investment. Recent Forbes Insights and Teradata research identified 6 challenges with marketing silos.
While it’s easy to tell your marketing departments to ‘tear down those silo walls,’ we wanted to pinpoint the activities that have a statistically significant effect on eliminating silos. So, in addition to interviewing transformational leaders that have proven experience driving change within their organizations, TopRight recently partnered with Aprimo to conduct research on how 275+ marketing operations leaders successfully eliminated marketing silos within their companies. After a thorough analysis of the data, the following 4 practices were clearly shown to have a positive effect on marketing silos at a 95 percent confidence level.
4 Proven Practices to Break Down Marketing Silos
1. Have an accountable and respected marketing team
Marketing activities—and how these activities contribute to the bottom line—are often misunderstood or ignored entirely by other teams in an organization. Because of this, it is important to clearly provide data-drive results and educate other departments on the reasoning behind marketing initiatives and decisions. Most divisions of an organization should be working with the marketing team in some capacity, therefore it is important that company leaders understand how each division’s work directly intersects with marketing.
- Provide scientific, data-driven results that can be continually improved upon
- Prove ROI
- Be upfront with the metrics that matter, and hold your team accountable
- Use dashboards to offer easy visibility into marketing activities
- When you can easily produce high-quality materials in an agile fashion, your finance team notices
2. Easy and aligned budget reviews with your finance team
Establishing a pattern of transparent and easy budget reviews that are aligned with the finance team’s expectations can dramatically increase the rest of a company’s understanding of marketing activities. This goes a long way to also creating a respected marketing team and shows qualitative reasoning for any questions someone outside of marketing may have about your priorities.
- Be visible with your spending, and be sure to hold your team and other accountable
- Have a solid answer for “How, where, and when did you allocate your budget?”
3. Prioritizing partner marketing capabilities
While working with partners adds complexity, it also allows both parties to focus on what they are most efficient with and results in better ROI. It also means that your message gets more reach in the long-run with a shared burden of the cost between parties. What ?nance team is going to be upset with a marketer for messaging to more people for a lower cost? Take care though to mitigate the added complexities of partnerships through transparency.
“In an environment where I am overseeing [multiple] companies, I have to make sure that all the violins are playing together, so they sound like a symphony, not a cacophony.”
— Kelly Davis-Felner, CMO of Wi-Fi Alliance
- You need to be able to go to market with a shared message that speaks to both companies’ stories
- Have systems in place to effectively and compliantly share information, as partner marketing increases the challenge of measuring return on marketing investment (ROMI)
4. Employ efficient systems for records, asset management, and creative review/approval
Many companies today have technologies in place for asset management, but often these systems go unused by a large number of team members. These systems provide transparency and a deeper level of visibility into marketing activities across an organization but aren’t effective unless they are adopted by the entire company. To learn more about this and other ways of maximizing your marketing efficiency, see our previous writings on Agile Marketing.
- Work on your processes in addition to your technology; how good is the technology if no one uses it correctly or at all?
- Build a system that works for you through its usability, not a system that makes you work for it
Here are several real-world use cases on how successful companies are using these practices to eliminate silos and prove ROMI:
It’s important to remember that the success of these practices are reliant on the alignment of the most important aspect of your business: the customer. As the Coversant CMO says, “While it’s natural to think about how this is going to impact me personally or my group when the culture of thinking forward about the consumer is ubiquitous, integration happens.” If your company’s priorities are aimed toward the customer, silos will naturally begin to break. Let the customer-centric mindset be your muscle, and let these practices be the sledgehammer that crashes through your silo walls.
“The customers don’t care if there is a faster router that pushes more information; they just want to know how it will solve a problem and help their business and their customers. It’s about telling a story from that perspective, the customer’s perspective.”
— Breaking Down Marketing Silos, Forbes Insights Report
Breaking down silos in your marketing department is essential to consistently delivering remarkable customer experiences and increasing your bottom line. Moreover, once you’ve successfully transformed your marketing department, this process can be used to break down silos between marketing and other departments in this company.
Learn how to apply the science and art of marketing in our upcoming webinar on Monday, July 24 at 3:00PM EDT. You’ll learn how to effectively eliminate silos, mitigate risk, and hopefully eliminate the marketing mayhem altogether. Reserve your spot now and receive a free copy of the Mayhem Report: The Art and Science Behind Marketing Operations.