Brilliant Reads: silos and how to break them

Welcome to Brilliant Reads. The marketing world is rife with conversations around ‘how can you connect with the customer’ and ‘the power of personalisation’. Yet there is an important issue that’s often overlooked – connecting your own internal teams. This ‘silo’ effect is a growing concern for many businesses. In this current ‘Age of the Customer’ marketing teams are promoting an image of being customer obsessed yet failing to take action. Teams isolating themselves and failing to work effectively with each other not only impacts productivity, it directly impacts revenue.

Interesting ideas and innovation happen when things are brought together in fresh ways. At Brilliant Noise, we are interested in the dots that are connected to create these new combinations.

The impact of strategy

Marketing agencies face regular challenges to meet shifting demands of the marketplace. It’s common to plan in the short term. Yet relying on a short term tactic forces you to urgently demonstrate ROI without planning for the bigger picture.

Research from advertising institutes IPA and ISBA shows that only 14% of marketers agree that marketing objectives focus on the long-term. At the same time, 68% believe their measurement approach is fragmented.

To achieve marketing effectiveness, it’s important to test new ways of working across the business and improve methods to share responsibility and avoid the disjoint approach typical of a silo mentality.

Reporting on an individual campaign, activity or channel performance will keep your silos intact. ROI can be improved by a more effective long-term strategy that includes looking at the internal structure and arranging the right mix of resources, fostering a more collaborative approach instead of a fragmented one.

Three-quarters of marketers prioritising short-term tactics over long-term strategy

Marketing Week, 3 mins

Making change to the chains

It may seem like a nigh on impossible task to disrupt these embedded team habits but there are ways you can create change. These changes will ensure your teams are more efficient and effective. There are common topics that arise when silos are mentioned, so we’ve gathered two key methods you can use to be aware of and finally break these department walls down.

Bring marketing operations in-house

With most brands working with several different agency partners it’s hard to maintain control over the myriad of projects running at once. In an effort to create efficiency you need to shift your ways of working from within. Reduce the reliance on agencies and consultancies and bring marketing operations in-house.

Repeated, pro-active change

Silos are often born from a typical human trait: habit. People get stuck into certain methods of managing their jobs and goals. Now, what if there was no longer a ‘normal’ for teams to settle into? By picking a simple structure for the business, for instance a functional structure, and changing it now and then – perhaps to a product structure, and then a geographic one, and then back again to the old functional structure – has the advantage that it unleashes the power of your informal organisation; particularly its social networks and corporate culture. The tendency of creating functional departments is examined in depth in Gillian Tett’s ‘The Silo Effect’.

How To Break Down The Silos In Your Firm

Forbes, 6 mins

Lost in the tools

Many organisations have a plethora of tools and systems that are intended to boost production. Be it a work tracking tool (Trello, etc.), Google sheets or shared drives. These are all well and good but when your teams are broken up using different tools and systems it kills the most important thing in a company – communication. This is the key belief of silo busting, get your staff talking to each other.

What does an organisation need to do this effectively? The first aspect has already been touched upon – tools. A large scale, business-wide prioritised to-do list of tasks is crucial. This will be your company’s single source of truth and should always be a means of ensuring you bring the business together in a customer focused fashion. Next it’s about the right people. Identify who needs to be in the core team from the off and make meetings effective ensuring the decision makers are directly communicating with the team doing the work. Finally it’s the simplest tool of them all, just talk to each other! People build walls and silos when we avoid doing the simple work of communicating. The clearest, simplest way of doing so? Have a sit down and a chat.

Forget About Agile vs. Waterfall, It’s About Silo Busting

Medium, 3 mins

The agenda issue

A surprising statistic arose from Econsultancy’s latest Implementing Customer Experience Strategy Best Practice Guide. 40% of marketers believe that they are not adequately supported by other members of the organisation and that despite the push towards customer-centricity different departments still have their own agendas. What seems to be the biggest challenge for these teams is a lack of an overall broader strategy. Adding to this issue of fractured strategies and planning, 30% of respondents stated ‘we design and measure our customer experience on a channel-by-channel basis’. The challenges of service design are best met by broader strategic thinking or mapping the customer journey.

With almost half of all marketers interviewed admitting to being siloed from other departments it’s imperative for organisations to break these down. Improving ways of working is all well and good but if you don’t bring the entire company together under a centralised, supportive single system your efforts will ultimately be in vain. We explain how you can start breaking down these silos below.

Customer experience: 40% of companies say each department has its own agenda

Econsultancy, 4 mins

The three elements of cross-collaboration

What happens when silos emerge not only inside your company but across agencies? For example if experts in search engine optimisation (SEO) team up with pay per click (PPC) professionals. These are two very different parts of the same discipline: search engine marketing.

For a strategy to work across agencies you need three things implemented from the start:

  • Excellent communication – Communication is the most important way of keeping a joined up approach when working with different agencies. You’re relying on each other to share updates and developments. It’s a great idea to have regular calls and face-to-face catch ups to discuss what projects are coming up and what key milestones or events you all need to work towards.
  • An open mindset – be flexible and ready to test. Experimenting has to be encouraged, what worked last month might bomb the next.
  • Specialism combined with humility – respect each other’s expertise and find a common language you both understand, so that you have information about each other’s responsibilities. This will speed up the path to your shared overall search strategy goal.

At Brilliant Noise we make sure not to tell the experts how to do their job and expect the same humility from the agencies we work with. If you want to find out more about how our digital strategy team can help elevate your paid search strategy then contact us today.

How to master a cross-agency paid and organic search strategy

Brilliant noise, 3 mins

Thanks for reading. If you have any feedback, or suggestions for future editions, get in touch.

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