By Michael Fisher
We’ve all heard the phrase “break down silos.” For marketers, these words are as cliché as “synergy” and “the bottom line.” Despite the phrase, silos really do hurt marketers, and recognizing the problem is the first step to fixing it. Unfortunately, marketers are stuck in this recognition phase. At Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s most recent Innovation Day, Chris Marriott, vice president of services and principal consultant at Relevancy Group, described this phenomenon as a “marketing hangover.”
Marriott, silos and hangovers share three characteristics, said Marriott:
- They make everything hurt
- They’re difficult to get rid of
- They make doing anything nearly impossible
But unlike drinkers who’ve enjoyed a few too many cocktails, marketers can’t simply wait for the pain to go away. The organization will become chaotic and revenue will suffer. The prescription for curing the disease of silos is a three-part process.
1. Collect Data
Big data is more than a buzzword. With the abundance of information available, however, data can feel overwhelming at times. The best way for marketers to use data is to share information between departments and across channels. This provides common ground for all teams to observe current customer pathways and map out future ones.
Examples of big data uses for marketers include customer purchase cycles, ad success, customer databases, customer demographics and much more. Data is important because it keeps everyone on the same page. When this happens, the entire team moves in the same direction and at the same pace, which leads to success.
2. Connect Data to Customers
Once marketers have meaningful data, they need to find a way to connect them to the customer. Transforming something a company has into something a customer wants is the goal of marketing after all. And as marketers know, this is rarely a single step transition. Marketers should use the data discovered in step one to develop the plan in this step.
The data will tell you that “buy now” messaging gets stale quickly. Marketers need to think of alternative ways to keep the conversation going. There are three basic types of messages: context, content and conversations.
Realistically, the real back-and-forth conversations between brand and customer will rarely happen. Instead, brands should aim to provide customers with context and content between purchases. Examples include new ways to use products, DIY ideas, loyalty rewards and exclusive invites.
3. Set Up Automation
This step may seem counterintuitive. After all, many experts who call for the breaking down of silos blame automation. However, automation is a tool, not a mindset. Problems occur when marketers think of automation as a time-saving measure, but this is not the best use of automation.
When we think of it as a revenue-earning measure, it becomes most useful. Thinking of automation in this way allows brands to reclaim missed opportunities.
Welcome campaigns are an excellent example of automation done well. When consumers sign up for emails, the brand should automatically send an email that confirms and thanks the customer for signing up. This shows consumers that brands care about their attention, and customers remember that feeling throughout the purchase cycle. Despite this, only 65% of marketers run these campaigns, according to a Relevancy Group survey.
Another great automation example is the abandoned shopping cart campaign. When customers click away from their online shopping carts, retailers should email customers because they receive instant feedback. Customers may have been on their mobile device and wanted to wait until they were home, but the email reminds them to return and purchase later. They also could have been surprised by the cost of shipping, so this email could give brands important insights into customer purchase behavior. With that feedback, brands can then decide if they are able to adjust the price or eat the cost of shipping if it means a sale. Without a follow-up email, brands lose the opportunity and insights.
Marketers have worked within siloed departments for so long that many believe it to be the only way to work. That is simply not true. There is a cure for a marketing hangover. Simply collect data, use it to understand customers and automate simple contacts with the customer.
Recognizing that silos exist is not enough. Marketers need to diagnose the symptoms and follow a prescription to cure the marketing hangover. This opens new opportunities to all marketers.
Michael Fisher is president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing.