According to Investopedia, a silo mentality is "a reluctance to share information with people from different departments in the same company … which makes the company less efficient".
In other words, if different people or teams in your company are not on the same page about everything that is going on, they can do a worse job.
Silos can make your company look less innovative and reduce employee engagement, leading to decreased productivity.
You could also make your marketing less effective.
What is Marketing Siloing?
When it comes to marketing, “working in silos” usually means that everyone in the marketing department is separate.
The SEO people only think of SEO, designers of design, developers of development … you get the picture. Like real silos, they are separate and do not interact. Why is that important? Because it's bad for business.
Why are marketing silos adversely affecting your bottom line?
There are many reasons why marketing silos can create a ripple effect in your company that goes beyond ineffective communication.
Silos of waste time
With your marketing in isolation, your team can inadvertently waste a lot of time not coordinating with each other.
Imagine that …
You own a dog food company and your content marketing strategist is trying to come up with some pet care content ideas for your blog. You go to my keyword research tool Ubersuggest for some inspiration:
What they fail to notice, however, is that the SEO team did a lot of research on the matter as early as last week and could easily have told them. Nobody on the SEO team thought of telling the marketing team about their research, and nobody on the marketing team thought of asking about it.
Because of marketing silos, your content marketer has now spent all day doing what has already been done.
Here is another example:
You have a freelance copywriter writing for your new website and a UX specialist working on the design. They work separately.
When they present you with the final results, none of the copies will fit on the wireframe. At all.
Your copywriter now has to repeat all the work, it is annoying and costing you more money.
The whole thing could have been avoided if you had just asked the copywriter and UX specialist to work together.
Silos prevent you from getting the best marketing results
Marketing siloing not only wastes time and money, it also prevents you from getting killer results.
Your customers expect your marketing to be consistent across channels. This is how they know they are on a legitimate website for your business. This is why an integrated marketing strategy is so important. When your marketing department is isolated, your campaigns – and even basic things like font choices and colors – will look inconsistent. Silos can also create confusing situations and missed opportunities.
Let's say you're starting a new content marketing campaign. Your content team invests a lot of money in hiring freelance writers, graphic designers, and videographers to create lots of great content for your website.
Nobody knows what happened. The content is really high quality and perfectly optimized for SEO. You get loads of extra traffic, but no conversions. What gives?
It turns out the tone of the content is wrong. It is written in such a way that none of your ideal customers can understand or relate to it.
Do you know who could have told you that? The sales and customer service teams. After all, they know your customers pretty well.
Again, siloing leads to a marketing mistake.
(By the way, trying to get more conversions for your website is about more than just content creation. In the following video, I'll share seven cool hacks that you can use to improve your conversion rate.)
Silos demotivate your employees
Another terrible thing about marketing silo is that it demotivates your employees.
It's easy to get excited about something when you see the big picture. But the bigger your company gets, the more each individual gets removed from the overall task of your company – because they may not even know who makes decisions, let alone why.
Think about how freelancers and consultants see their business. You are responsible for doing everything yourself. So it seems like a real win when they get results.
The same applies to small teams – when something goes well, everyone celebrates. People feel that what they do makes a difference.
When you run a larger company, that dynamic is more difficult to keep up.
For example, let's say your SEO person sits around copying and pasting keywords into a spreadsheet without seeing how this affects the company's marketing strategy. You will likely start to think that your work is pointless. After a while, they'll likely look for another one. Losing talent is expensive. You don't want your best people to leave because of an easy-to-solve problem like marketing siloing.
For employees in medium-sized or large companies, it can be motivating to meet with colleagues to exchange ideas, especially if those employees are not the same people they see every day.
It makes everyone feel like they are working towards the same goals.
This is how you can tell if your marketing is stupid
By now, you should be pretty convinced that marketing siloing is a bad thing: it can harm your business.
But how do you know if you have a silo problem?
When you are “in the trenches” day in and day out, it can be difficult to take a step back and think about what is going on at the macro level in your company. And when you make higher-level decisions, you may not know what your people are going through.
If you're worried about marketing silos, see if you notice any of the following:
Your marketing reps aren't talking to each other
Have you noticed that your employees only talk to some of their employees?
Maybe they don't leave their desks and just chat to the people next to them. Or maybe they have a friend or two in their department and don't speak to anyone else.
If you've seen this happening in your business, marketing siloing can be a problem for you.
Your marketers don't understand what their peers are doing
Another way to tell if your marketing department is isolated is to ask your marketers what their employees are doing.
Ask your designers what the development team is up to in relation to their projects. Check if your SEO team knows about paid ads. Verify that your content marketers are working with your social media reps to write consistent content across industries.
If the answer is "I have no idea" over and over again, they are working in silos.
Your marketing team isn't working with any other teams
Even if your marketers can work pretty well with other marketing team members, that doesn't mean they can work well with other teams.
Marketers need to know what other teams are doing – even if their jobs are unrelated.
If your marketing team doesn't understand your business from an overall perspective, they can make serious mistakes that will cause your marketing campaigns to fail.
How To Get Rid Of Marketing Siloing Now
For example, let's say you've decided your company has a problem with marketing silos. What should you do about it?
You to have Take steps to deal with the siloing.
The first thing you should do when creating a plan to combat marketing silos is to speak to your managers.
Siloing often starts at the higher levels of a company. If your marketing department is divided into multiple teams, meet separately with your team leaders to determine their goals.
When the team leaders don't work together and their goals don't seem to be related, this is a problem. You should call a meeting with them to find a way to make things better.
Here are some of the things to include in your de-silage plan:
Have a marketing master plan
Have a central marketing plan that everyone must follow is essential to your business. If you don't already have one, this is the first place to start.
If you've got your marketing done by throwing things on the wall and seeing what's stuck, it's time to nip that in the bud and take your strategy seriously.
What does that mean? First of all, you should have one or more buyer personalities who show who your customers are and what interests them.
Next, you need to know what your competition is doing. Do a competition analysis and try to understand what they are doing and how you can use this information to stay one step ahead of them.
However, do not copy their strategies. You are not the same as your competitors. Instead, you want to show that you are better. More on this in my video below:
Once you've covered these things, you can create a multichannel marketing plan that will help you get the results you want.
You want to define your main goals and KPIs and make sure you achieve them. Make it clear that everyone needs to be involved in this process.
Meet, talk and train Together
If you already have a marketing plan in place but still feel like you're dealing with marketing silos, how can you get everyone in your company to come on board as a cohesive team?
If your company's employees don't see the bigger picture, it may be because they aren't talking to each other enough.
Schedule regular meetings for your marketing department where your marketers can showcase what they're working on and tell others about their gains and barriers. Even a weekly 15- or 30-minute meeting has a positive effect on team connection and communication.
Another thing to look into is the collaboration software you are using.
If people are divided into different groups in your internal chat software or in your project management tools, make sure that some company-wide channels are open too. This allows everyone to talk to each other.
Make sure all of your marketers have access to training, even in areas that are different from theirs. Maybe your SEOs want to learn more about web development, or your developers want to learn more about copywriting. Let them learn!
Not only will training your employees help them do their jobs better, but it will also show that you care about helping them advance their careers – and thereby making them more engaged at work.
Identify and treat cultural problems
If you still can't figure out why your marketers aren't working together, your company may have a culture problem.
Perhaps one of your managers is having trouble controlling their temper and has blown people up in the past. Everyone tries to avoid them, so communication breaks down.
Or, you're paying your lead SEO twice as much as your content marketing director and the content marketer isn't happy about it. Since the content marketer is opposed to SEO, they stopped talking to them and just do it themselves.
Once you've fixed these issues, it's time to fix them.
Restructure your marketing teams
If you've already tried fixing culture issues and giving your marketers more opportunities to communicate, but are still struggling, it is time to consider bigger steps towards addressing your marketing silo.
Maybe you need a complete overhaul of your organizational chart.
If you have several small, isolated teams, consider merging them into a larger unit with a few different "sub-units".
Gather these larger teams in the office to talk to each other about their current projects.
Or, you could keep the hierarchy you have now but move people to make them feel less isolated.
Follow over time
Regardless of what you do to deal with marketing siloing, the most important thing is that you get it through.
Don't just go on an "anti-silo crusade" for a few months and then forget about it, so that things can go back to how they were before. Make sure your engagement is permanent.
Marketing siloing is one of the most important things that can sabotage your marketing campaigns. Fortunately, once you discover your business has a silo problem, you can often deal with it fairly quickly – as long as you have an organized plan.
Your employees will be relieved that you take the initiative. You benefit from better communication between departments and individual employees.
Have I missed any opportunities to deal with marketing silos? Let me know in the comments.