Why Marketing Silos Could Be the Death of Your Brand

Cheryl Catts

April 26, 2013

Marketing Silos

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

This implies that something would have to be working, before it could be fixed, right? But how do you know if something is working? There would have to be some way to measure its effectiveness, it seems. Because I personally know of their impact, I’ve made an evaluation of things in my life that ain’t broke:

  • The thrill I feel when berry season makes it to Costco
  • Monday nights on the couch with the Bachelor
  • My mom’s chocolate Bundt recipe turning out perfectly every time
  • Sunny weather improving my mood by at least 17 percent
  • My dog, Jack, waiting at the door for me when I get home from work

I don’t want to “fix” any of these things. They work well in my life, and I know exactly what I’m going to get and how I’m going to feel when they happen. Unfortunately, not everything is so cut and dry.

Marketing is one of those things – there are A LOT of different avenues that marketers use to reach their audience. Yet, marketers don’t always know exactly what the outcome is going to be, or what the audience’s response will be. We can use tried and tested methods, strategy, theory, and really great design to improve our odds, but it’s hard to really know if what we’re doing works, or if it’s broken.

So what are marketing silos? A mistake of marketers is getting stuck in the rut of doing the same thing, over and over, because it’s just the way things are done—running the same campaigns, on the same mediums, the same way, without integration. Enter silo marketing—a decentralization or isolation of various marketing efforts.

Nowadays, we see an all too common separation of traditional advertising and new media marketing. Running a print ad without adding the campaign-specific Twitter hashtag or failing to showcase the new TV spots on the company Facebook page are missed marketing opportunities—more specifically, missed integrated, cross-channel marketing opportunities. Silos don’t always have to be a bad thing, but when you’ve got a complete separation of channels, and your marketing folks operate independently instead of collectively, you may end up with conflicting or inconsistent messaging across your marketing mediums.

In recent years, there have been strides to combat this, since there has been a cry for marketers to show proof that their efforts are working – to track, provide analytics, and show an ROI. The more we can show this proof, however, the more valid we become. While there is, and should be, a place for the “tried and tested” mediums, we need to be challenged to think outside the box – to see what is coming ahead, engage, and interact.

In the 13th volume of this year’s AdWeek, an infographic was published that showed 29 percent of teens, ages 14-17, access internet mostly on a cell phone—and Smartphone ownership increased 14 percent from July 2011 to September 2012. It doesn’t take a genius to realize what’s coming down the pike.

As we can challenge ourselves to determine which things really work, and which show us a valuable return, we can engage and integrate the mediums that are most valuable to our business. As we do this we will most certainly realize the things that are “broke,” and reallocate dollars to the spaces where we can really prove their worth.