Companies don’t have too many silos in marketing – they just have the wrong ones. Why you shouldn’t all leave.
The almost knee-jerk reaction of many when it comes to the silos in marketing is as follows: “They have to be broken up in order to create synergies.” To understand these demands, a closer look at how marketing departments and companies operate in are usually set up. In many companies, marketing is communication. All other marketing Ps are elsewhere. In sales, for example. Marketing only has something to do with products when the aim is to market a finished product. And when it comes to pricing, you don’t ask marketing first.
Of course, not all companies are created equal. But even if it is “only” about communication, there are more and more silos. Because a separation according to channels is often the norm. After all, you need digital experts and people who take care of classic communication. Still others deal with social media or CRM day in and day out. At the same time, through this separation, more and more agency partners, perspectives and blinkered thought patterns come together. There are frictional losses.
A supposedly sensible solution could actually be breaking down the silos. But does it really make everything better? I doubt it. If you try to work without silos, the following happens: everyone brings their views to the table, looks at things and then judges them with their glasses. The result? At best, a lot of arguments, because everyone is right from their point of view. In the worst case, a lazy compromise such as “Building the brand while making the sale”. In theory good, in practice a compromise with many winners and the brand and economic success as losers. What to do?
The solution sounds almost painfully simple: You pull in three silos in marketing.
Successful marketing needs the right basics – otherwise a lot is done, but without working towards a common goal. In the strategy silo, all competencies are bundled that are required to properly answer the marketing strategy questions. Among other things: What needs are there in the market? How is my brand performing on the market and in comparison to the competition? Which market segments can and does a company want to raise? Is the brand still correctly positioned? How successful have measures from the past been? And of course the mother of all questions: How much marketing budget does it take to achieve these goals?
What is definitely not needed for this are people who – before the strategy is even in place – jump straight into the tactical implementation. Rather, what is needed is those who keep looking at the past and the coming year in an unbiased and analytical manner. They develop the annual strategy in good time for budget planning – with respective goals and fixed budgets for the two other silos.
This silo takes care of long-term, emotional brand building. The skills needed in this silo revolve heavily around brand understanding and big emotional issues. This calls for employees who do not allow themselves to be put off by short-term things and trends, but who – almost a little stoically – keep the proverbial rudder stable over a long period of time.
During the brand development, claims and brand worlds are defined and brand codes are developed and presented to the general public. If you work successfully here, every consumer should know at a glance which brand he is dealing with and what it stands for overall. The execution takes place at all relevant touchpoints and is controlled by the employees in this silo.
This is where all employees gather who draw their satisfaction from the success of short-term, often product-centered activations. They know how to knit campaigns around the products in such a way that demand increases in the short term, through campaigns at Christmas or at major sporting events or even bundles and collaborations. Or campaigns and initiatives that show consumers what you can do with the product. Everything always with the clear goal: More pallets should leave the yard. And now. For this purpose, employees from the activation silo often work in close collaboration with sales. Therefore, an understanding of sales mechanics and logic is certainly more helpful than a derogatory sniff.
Honestly, companies have almost no choice but to go into the marketing silo organization described above. On the one hand, the economic success of the brand for the future must be ensured through long-term, emotional brand building and future-oriented initiatives – and on the other hand, short-term money must be earned in the here and now. This also shows that no silo is more important than the other.
The jobs that lead to success, namely those that build up the brand in the long term and also those that earn the money in the short term to finance the brand development, must be solved in an increasingly complex world – concentrated and focused by those in the respective Employees work in silos. And in this world, companies simply cannot afford the luxury of wearing themselves out on the way to implementation and ultimately coming to half-baked compromises.
Brand work must clearly and consistently pursue a long-term goal. The separation in silos helps to do the individual jobs better. And that creates synergies again. Visible in more success.