Marketing Silos Crush Creativity Posted by Scorpion | 7.31.14 12:15pm

When was the last time you were truly creative or came up with a groundbreaking way of increasing brand awareness and driving growth?

If you are like most companies I know, it's been a long time. Not from a lack of want or effort, but more from the lack of time and resources. We live in age of instant gratification, with consumers becoming increasingly impatient when it comes to how you market and service them. This has marketers scrambling, with the majority of them playing a never-ending game of catch-up.

Time Is the One Thing in Life That Is Truly Limited

The challenge with most marketing teams I know is that they spend so little time doing what they love and were initially hired to do: building the brand and driving growth by making a striking impression on consumers or other businesses. Rather than letting their creative juices flow, and allocate dollars to new and effective forms of advertising, internal marketers today get bogged down dealing with multiple vendors who all have competing interests and their own quotas to hit.

These marketing teams end up becoming nothing more than managers of chaos.

Breaking down marketing silos is notoriously difficult and starts by identifying the ones present in your company. A marketing silo can be defined as any channel that is provided either internally or externally that is not fully integrated and aligned with the rest of the marketing organization. Alignment is most often lost due to a lack of communication and/or a shared goal.

Common digital silos include the following:

Don't Become a Manager of Chaos

If you have different vendors for each of the digital silos explained above, then guess what? You, my friend, are a manager of chaos and are a victim of the silo effect. My guess is that you spend more time managing all of these competing vendors then actually doing any real marketing.

"They're not competing. I've done an excellent job of finding the best of the best in each category and we're all aligned."

Wrong. They may have a common goal, proving why their channel is the best and/or most important, but they're not aligned (at least not in the way you think). Each separate company is competing for a piece of your budget and a moment of your time. We've already discussed how limited your time is and my guess is that your budget seems pretty limited to. You see, silos don't create efficiency; they create the illusion of it. They are neither efficient from a cost standpoint, nor are they efficient from a time perspective.

Silos Create Cost & Time Inefficiency

Cost inefficiency is pretty straightforward. Each separate vendor has their own hard costs that they need to cover in order to provide a service to you. These costs are everything from employing that amazing SEO guru to simply keeping the lights on. This means more of your marketing dollars go into hard costs and not the promotion of your brand. Remember that each time you pick up the phone and talk to your vendor, it is costing you money. You may not be charged hourly for those consultations, but that time will be made up for in terms of higher margins and fees.

Having lots of vendors doesn't just eat up your budget—it eats up precious time. Having multiple vendors means that not only are you spending more time managing them, but it is also taking you longer to get things to market. This kills your flexibility and ultimately kills your creativity.

When was the last time you had a great idea you wanted to explore, only to realize shortly thereafter how many different people it was going to take to execute your vision? Did you pursue it? The sad reality is that the answer is most likely "no." This is the core problem of marketing silos. They kill your marketing team and prevent them from executing either their own, or the CEO's, vision.

Solving Your Marketing Silos Problem

Now that you know you are not alone, how do you go about solving this problem so that you can focus on growing your brand? The answer is simple . You find a digital partner who you trust and who provides complete transparency into both results and costs. Certain things such as web design and media buying should be core to the company you partner with. Your partner shouldn't be afraid to disclose media fees and you should be realistic as to what an appropriate margin is.

Your partner should be able to fully support the site and any systems they've built for you. If you are hiring internal resources to support the infrastructure of a CMS, then you hired the wrong digital partner. E-commerce and certain Fortune 500 companies are the exceptions to the rule here, but for the most part, having the right partner makes more fiscal sense than building internal teams.

So break down those silos, get your sanity back , and find a partner who is aligned with your goals so they can can take that heavy lifting off of your shoulders. Get back to doing what you love!