Organizational silos are a blight on corporate America. Business publications and corporate sentiments give a never-ending treatise about their evils and the way they stand in the way of progress.
Which begs the question: Why are silos still with us?
I can’t speak to every type of silo that plagues businesses, but when it comes to marketing organizational silos, one answer is that there has historically been a lack of attribution. Silos proliferated because since last-touch attribution proved to be an inefficient solution, no one was really sure how much each marketing unit was contributing to a sale. Now, the industry is turning to multi-touch attribution (MTA), which will be the Trojan horse starting conversations about a more customer-focused approach.
Why Marketing Silos are Inefficient
Historically, as the number of channels and platforms proliferated, organizational silos emerged to meet the need for specialized communications. While this worked in the moment, that often meant that there was no one on the client marketing side who could champion a holistic view of consumer communications. Here are three other reasons why marketing silos are inefficient:
1. Self-interest: Under last touch, no one really knew how much each unit was contributing to a sale or desired action. That prompted a situation in which all the marketing departments — CRM, email, social media — vied for slices of the budget. With MTA, the departments will likely find instances in which the disparate functions complement each other. For instance, MTA might show that a video ad followed by email works better than the either on their own. This will lead to less jockeying among the units and more collaboration as marketers can get an accurate read on which channels are contributing to marketing ROI and consumer engagement.
2. Duplication: Say you’re a financial services firm and have a credit card group, a banking group and one for high-end investors. Odds are, each will create their own content from the beginning when they could tweak the content and have it run across all product lines. An article on “How to be Financially Responsible” could retain about 80% of its original content in each case. Getting more mileage out of content saves money.
3. You could be missing whole parts of the consumer journey: Doubling down on what has worked in the past will cause you to form an incomplete picture of the customer journey. When this happens, marketers clobber a consumer in the midst of their journey and eventually the ads become counter-productive.
The Great Unsiloing
MTA won’t in itself spell the end of silos. It also won’t solve issues like duplication and missing parts of the customer journey. But as marketers pour more money into content marketing, the inefficiencies of silos will be magnified. MTA will provide an impetus to consider alternative ways of executing their marketing.
At the moment, a large portion of marketers are still trying to prepare their data for MTA. But the change is coming and marketers will start to see better ROI off of those increasing content marketing spends. Marketers shouldn’t wait until then. Now is the time to start laying the groundwork for an MTA world — and for better content marketing,