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3 signs your marketing department is siloed and how to encourage teamwork instead

Zoe Averbuch 6 min read
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Sales just refined their pitch but it’s not aligned with the three digital campaigns you just launched. Your public relations team is scrambling to remove a blog post after the content team published it early. And who knows what your designers are working on – they have a backlog of 3 months of creative work.

If the above rings a bell, then you may be working in a siloed marketing department. 

We all experience this disarray in one form or another, however, that doesn’t mean that you should accept the situation as-is. 

To get the whole company to seamlessly work together, it’s important to know how silos are affecting your department.

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What are silos and why are they detrimental to a company’s success?

Organizational silos are any type of barrier between teams. Typically, they emerge when leadership struggles to bridge teams together, due to conflicting priorities, goals, work methods and work speed. This creates an environment where different departments withhold information as they use different software and services. 

Oftentimes, siloed teams root from the use of different tools, not working together, or differing ways for completing work.

In the long-term, this reduces productivity, motivation and leads to frustration and inner conflict.

What is the function of a marketing department and why are they often siloed?

The primary role of a marketing department is to build a company’s brand, generate leads, and provide back-up to sales and support teams to boost the bottom line of a business. 

Marketing departments are made up of different teams, each responsible for a distinct marketing domain – from campaign management and events, to content creation, creative design, and production. 

Although silos can occur in any company or team, marketing departments are prime candidates. This is due to the way they are naturally segmented by roles that typically have very different skill sets. This segmentation can lead to breaks in communication that threaten the professionalism and efficiency of a company. 

Sometimes silos occur within a marketing department – and sometimes your marketing department is siloed from other departments within the company. 

Marketing department and organizational silos

3 signs your marketing department is siloed

1. You’re left wondering about teammates’ work

Whether you are an associate or manage your own team, not having visibility into your colleagues’ progress ultimately sets you back. When employees lack information, they’re deprived of insight that could play a key role in their work. 

Once such blind spots are created, employees start wondering: Did the newsletter go out? How successful were the FB Ad Campaigns? Did dev fix that website bug? 

With everyone using a different platform or application to manage their work, each employee becomes a gatekeeper to their own information and collaboration between teammates becomes clunky. Data silos emerge.

2. Your teams aren’t in sync  

You know your marketing department is siloed when teams aren’t aligned. Each team starts their own project and carries out tasks without checking in with the rest of the division. When teams function autonomously without a shared workspace to keep everyone on the same page, a collaborative silo forms. Once teams become isolated and ownership is blurred, work can easily become redundant. 

3. You don’t know the procedures teams are following

When teams and departments don’t enforce standard processes, individuals are likely to go with the system that best suits them, be it SAAS, CRM or payment tools. This discontinuity within the company is known as an operational silo, a barrier caused by the lack of one established procedure. When operational silos exist, employees struggle to understand the systems others are using. 

For example, without a uniform content development and publishing method, copywriters may leave out important keywords outlined by the SEO team and designers may not complete their graphics on time. Teams need to work together to ensure that all these teams collaborate to produce the best content possible. 

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How to run a marketing department that is conducive to teamwork

Break down those pesky silos that are hurting your team with the following steps.

1. Build a cohesive leadership team

As mentioned earlier, silos root from leadership.

If VPs and managers communicate, collaborate and establish transparency, trust and inclusion will flourish within teams. If leadership is in conflict or doesn’t incorporate other teams, employees will naturally cluster.

2. Rally people over a common goal

The second step in boosting marketing performance and eliminating productivity barriers is to establish a thematic goal. 

The moment a goal is shared by the company, the entire team can push towards the same objective. With one common cause, all employees become aligned and can easily jump back into focus when falling out of sync. 

You can set thematic goals by using the following steps:

  • Choose a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
  • Set only one KPI at a time
  • Set the KPI for a period of time (around 3-12 months)
  • The KPI must apply to everyone

Once your thematic goal is established, your team should set the objectives needed to successfully accomplish the KPI.

3. Collaborate!

A final way to eliminate silos is to create an environment that encourages collaboration. 

To successfully get teams to collaborate, think like IKEA. The IKEA effect, inspired by the popular furniture store, shows that getting individuals involved in a process from the beginning (i.e. assembling furniture) makes them feel more invested in its success. In the same way, involve teams in the creative process of a project early on. This will help increase the success of the project as more ideas, insight and resources go into it. 

Running a marketing department requires a lot of work, but with a common goal and cross-departmental collaboration, teams can seamlessly work together for the benefit of the company. To combat silos in your marketing department, consider utilizing a collaboration template that will help bridge the gap between teams. 

You can try out the following template that we built for you to help promote collaboration amongst your teams!

best solution for marketing silos

Bridge your silos with the perfect teamwork template!

Zoe is a New Jersey native gone Telavivian and marketing fanatic. On a typical day, you can find her writing about the latest in tech whilst making her 10th cup of coffee.
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