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Breaking Down Marketing Silos: A Research Insights Study with Forbes Insights & Teradata


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Interviews and insights from leading CMOs on breaking down marketing silos. David Aakers, marketing expert & author of "Spanning Silos: The New CMO Imperative" and Mike Volpe, CMO of Hubspot, share their initial insights and perspectives on the seven problems with silos along with best practices for spanning silos.

Stay tuned for the full study coming later this summer!

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Breaking Down Marketing Silos: A Research Insights Study with Forbes Insights & Teradata

  1. 1. Breaking Down Marketing Silos: The Key to Consistently Achieving Customer Satisfaction and Improving Your Bottom Line The Seven Problems With Silos Hubspot: A Case Study in Restructuring With their many different work teams, from public relations to demand generation to events and online, marketing departments are particularly susceptible to fracturing into silos, which not only erodes office morale but also eats away at sales numbers, general productivity and the bottom line— not to mention leading to cascading effects on the customer. “Silos can have a large impact on the customer experience,” says David Aaker, a marketing expert and the author of Spanning Silos: The New CMO Imperative. “When Procter & Gamble integrated systems across all its products with Wal- Mart, there was a better relationship with customers and a huge cost savings,” he recalls. Yet, despite warning signs of the ill effects, Teradata found in its 2013 global “Data-Driven Marketing Survey” that silos persist in many corners of the marketing world, both within marketing departments and between marketing and other core functions. One standout finding from last year’s research: 74% of marketers say that marketing and IT are not strategic partners in their company. The challenge for CMOs lies in both identifying the problem and coming up with solutions. “CMOs, with rare exceptions, realize that silos are impediments to their goal of creating strong, flexible brands and synergistic portfo- lios,” says Aaker, vice chairman of the branding firm Prophet. So how can CMOs create a cohesive, creative and streamlined marketing department that delivers a better product and experience to their customers? A few years ago Hubspot, a 650-employee, $77 million-revenue Boston-based company featuring a marketing software platform that helps companies attract customers, took the pulse of its clients. Hubspot found that its unhappy customers were unhappy because they felt there was a big difference between what was promised to them and what was delivered, recalls Mike Volpe, the company’s CMO, who has overseen the growth from a handful of clients when the company was founded in 2006 to 10,000 today. Volpe, in collaboration with others in the C-suite, saw those un- happy customers as an opportunity to reorganize the marketing department—and to break down silos. Today at Hubspot the changes are visible: marketers are not housed in a specific part of the building; they are integrated with other departments. “We’ll have the sales and customer service teams sit together,” says Volpe. “We structure based on what stage of the customer lifecycle each team is addressing, rather than touch points or channels. People sit according to different customers’ personas.” “We all have the experience where you deal with a big company and the person on the phone doesn’t know you emailed them two days ago, and you have to explain it all over again,” explains Volpe. Hubspot’s integrative approach is geared to rooting out that kind of customer annoyance. So far, it’s working, says Volpe. “Our customers’ satisfaction has increased a lot, our renewal rates are up, and we are growing at a rate of 50%. I think the customer experience you are having with Hubspot is a lot less disjointed.” 1 Marketing resources tend to be over-allocated to the big product markets; future stars are under-resourced. 2 Each silo may have its own brand vision. 3 Teams may incentivize some to exploit and damage the brand in order to boost short-term sales. 4 Poorly integrated teams suffer from inadequate cooperation. 5 Silo interests stand in the way of programs that require scaling. 6 Key growth areas such as digital and sponsorship are not scaled because they are dispersed across silos. 7 Success in one silo is not leveraged, or often not leveraged quickly enough, into others.
  2. 2. A few gold standards, according to Aaker: What are some other strategies used by other companies to break down silos? Look out later this summer for Teradata’s full report, “Breaking Down Marketing Silos: The Key to Consistently Achieving Customer Satisfaction and Improving Your Bottom Line,” with more interviews and insights from leading CMOs. Nestle has a center of excellence around such issues as Hispanic marketing. Frito-Lay manages a brand evaluation system across countries. Cisco has virtual teams that gather using telepresence meetings. Chevron has a global brand council to coordinate brand visions and brand-building teams. The global Unilever Marketing Academy has 150 courses for employees to put a common management system in place. Best Practices for CMOs for Spanning Silos 1 Replace competition and isolation among silos with communication and cooperation. 2 Act as a facilitator, establishing frameworks, encouraging collaboration through teams and knowledge hubs, and upgrading marketing talents. 3 Think like a consultant. Create company-wide insights, train marketing talent and participate in strategy development. 4 Secure access to the C-suite—Teradata found that marketers with executive responsibilities are almost twice as likely as others to believe there are no barriers to interdepartmental integration. 5 Force integration. In Teradata’s study, marketers say the best way for marketing to become more intertwined with other functions is to set up integrated processes.