THE BLOG
07/16/2014 08:42 am ET Updated Sep 15, 2014

4 Signs Your Marketing Department Is Operating in Silos (And How to Eliminate Them)

When all the parts of your marketing organization aren't working together, your success and growth may suffer. It's no secret that silos are absolutely detrimental to marketing operations - and finding a way to break free of silos can be difficult.

Marketing departments are, by nature, segmented. They must communicate with departments internally, while communicating with external agencies and parties. They must communicate within the marketing organization itself and to other departments at the company. But when that communication breaks down, silos may begin to form. Here are four ways to determine if you've got a silo problem in your company:

1. Customers aren't receiving a consistent brand message. If your customers complain about mixed messaging or inconsistent branding, it may be because of silos. Each department could have its own brand vision, goals and ideas. Until all your departments and people are on the same page, customers likely won't receive consistent messaging and may be confused about your brand.

2. Your own employees are compromising your brand integrity. When each department or team member feels as if they're working in a silo, they are less likely to follow regulations and protocol meant to protect the brand, simply because they feel less connected to the overall brand. Team members might compromise brand and company standards in order to boost sales or meet short-term goals. While it may be beneficial for the one silo, it's terribly harmful to your brand and long-term success.

3. You struggle to get your teams to cooperate. If your team members feel that they're working in small, separated pockets instead of one big team with similar goals and incentives, teamwork and cooperation will suffer.

4. You have trouble scaling programs and ideas. If you have a scalable program or idea that just doesn't seem to be growing in the way you imagined, silos may be to blame. Ideas and programs cannot scale and flourish if departments operate independently of each other.

Smashing Silos

So, what's the good news? Teradata teamed up with Forbes Insights to release a study titled, Breaking Down Marketing Silos: The Key to Consistently Achieving Customer Satisfaction and Improving Your Bottom Line. This study shows how and why silos form and how to break them down. But how can do you do it? First, it's important to know that if you're operating in a marketing silo, you're not alone. Nearly 65 percent of marketers admit that silos make it difficult to have a clear view of initiatives and campaigns. But you don't have to be a part of that 65 percent. Here are four ways to rid your organization of silos for good:

1. Create an environment that fosters effective communication and cooperation between departments and team members. It seems obvious, but effective communication is truly the best way to break down marketing silos. The CMO and leadership team should work to create an environment that encourages communication across departments and teams.

2. Increase internal training, strategizing and team building exercises. Take it a step further than communication. Schedule training sessions about internal standard operating procedures and processes to make sure everyone is on the same page. Create strategies with your leadership team that will allow your marketing department to see success and measurable results. Encourage team building through activities and exercises.

3. Don't be afraid to consolidate. Part of the reason silos form to begin with is because employees are spread out across too many teams and departments, making internal communication and resource-sharing difficult. Rethink your organizational strategy and see where you can consolidate and simplify your internal teams.

4. Be the liaison between departments and teams. If all teams can't communicate effectively with each other, you (or someone else) will need to be the liaison between all departments and teams. This role could be especially important for a large organization or a company with teams spread out across different offices, states or regions.

Learning to recognize silos, understanding how they affect your organization and knowing how to get everyone on the same page will be essential to your organization's long-term success.