More on siloed teams

When I wrote about siloed teams, I left a lot of ideas out. This is a follow-up post, expanding on the same topic. If you have landed on this page for the first time, I suggest you first read my previous post and then come back here.

The good

Not all is bad when you work in silos. It could even be argued that, as a starting point in the evolution of digital marketing maturity, it is acceptable. I have yet to find one company that started working in a complete collaborative way. So, do not think that you are doomed if your company is still structured in silos.

When a team focuses on a single marketing tool, they tend to become masters of that tool. Let me show you a few examples of this.

  • The web analytics team should know, not only the difference between eVars and props, but also create great reports in Analytics Workspace, use contribution analysis regularly and take advantage of the real-time reports in critical moments like Black Friday.
  • The DMP owners will be creating the most accurate segments, using both online and offline data. In certain scenarios, like in acquisition campaigns, they also need to leverage the look-alike modelling capabilities of Adobe Audience Manager.
  • Email campaigners will become masters of Adobe Campaign workflows. This will help them in creating campaigns with very high click rate and very few unsubscriptions. At the same time, they will make sure the deliverability stays high.
  • Optimisation managers will always be looking for areas of the website that could be improved, creating new A/B tests in Adobe Target.

And once the siloes are broken and teams work together, these knowledge must be retained.

The bad

All the above activities are good, granted. These teams should strive to achieve these goals. But only achieving these goals is not enough in today’s world. Here are a few additional examples of why not:

  • Users of Adobe Analytics need to know how the other teams have created the different campaigns, in order to configure the Marketing Channels reports and for the tracking code classifications. In fact, I would argue that it should be responsibility of the the web analytics team to define the tracking codes and all other team should follow the instructions. I have seen so many headaches in the web analytics team, dealing with wrong tracking codes…
  • Traits in Audience Manager are based on Analytics data. This means that both teams need to collaborate closely.
  • The ultimate goal of an email campaign is not to increase the click rate, but to increase the conversion rate, which they do not manage. Also, I would argue that some landing pages should be personalised based on the email message, forcing optimisation and email teams to work together.
  • Adobe Target, on its own, can only optimise against a single conversion. With A4T, you can evaluate in Analytics multiple conversions.

These are just a few examples I have thought of in a few minutes. I am sure you have others, based on your personal experience.

But this is not all. Each team will have its own KPIs and they will work towards increasing (or decreasing, depending on the case) these values. However, they will only care about their own KPIs, not those from other teams or the company KBOs. For example, an email team will only want to increase the open or click rate; if done wrong, it can be disconnected from a KBO of increase sales.

The ugly

If all the problems were just lack of communication or technical issues, it would be so easy to fix… Unfortunately, the main problem I see is misunderstanding, when not distrust, between teams. I am sure you can relate to this situation. I have been in some client meetings recently, with some ugly discussions. This is what happens when personalities or individual agendas get on the way. In my simple world, if we are paid by our employer, it is to make the company more successful.

It goes without saying that working in this situation conduces to limited successes. Personally, I have been in the past in similar toxic environments and I have ended up quitting.

Breaking silos

As I said at the beginning, I have already written about breaking silos. I am not going to write again about ideas for solutions. The aim of this post is to raise awareness of the situation and, if you are currently trying to break your own silos, give you more ammunition in your discussions.

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