It’s marketing’s job to tell the brand story to consumers. But that’s a tough assignment, with so many more channels than when companies built those departments. Over the years, marketing departments have grown, adding dedicated teams for each channel.
Brand storytelling becomes fragmented because of independent budgets, measurement criteria and often agencies. In theory, each channel’s conversation thread is tied to an over-arching brand strategy. But in practice, execution isn’t connected. This clouds a comprehensive assessment of a multichannel campaign’s effectiveness. No wonder CEOs and CMOs are questioning their return on marketing investment.
On the flip-side, channel silos hurt the seamless experience consumers expect from a brand. Fifteen years ago, the average consumer used two touchpoints when buying an item, and only 7 percent regularly used more than four. Today’s consumers use an average of six touchpoints when making a purchase, and nearly 50 percent use more than four. It’s jarring for them when those channels are telling different stories.
Legacy marketing organizations can’t keep up
Marketing has to be part of the coherent, fluid end-to-end experience consumers expect. When it doesn’t happen, they are quick to shift their attention and business someplace else. When marketers do deliver a consistent experience, studies show better customer retention and higher value customers. Harvard Business Review points out that customers who experience consistent marketing through multiple channels spend 4 percent more in-store and 10 percent more online. Yet companies still attempt to address this new MO with legacy marketing organizations. The global consulting and research firm McKinsey says companies are reluctant to abandon the approach to marketing because they don’t recognize the magnitude of the disruptive economic force bearing down on them. This force, powered by the digital transformation affecting so many aspects of modern life, is incompatible with traditional economic, strategic and operating models. A siloed marketing organization simply doesn’t work in today’s multichannel world.
Taking a new approach
The need for change is clear, but the prospect of dedicating time and resources to remake a legacy marketing organization keeps many companies maintaining the status quo. How can a brand tell if its marketing team is stuck in silo-mode? Redundant activities and responsibilities, differing priorities and limited collaboration are all signs that a marketing team is not optimized for modern marketing. But it’s not a terminal condition if companies are willing to rethink how they work.
Content creation, revisions and approvals today are typically based on a decade-old print-centric workflow, despite advances in media and technology. As more media channels have joined the marketing mix, separate silos, workflows and technologies have come along, which results in mixed messages to the customer. Tools exist to help integrate the planning, creative and production processes — but an organizational structure should be overhauled, too. Think about who really needs to be involved in content creation and approvals, and reorganize teams and process accordingly. This will shorten timelines, increase efficiency and reduce costs.
An example of success
While smart marketers agree on this point, too often it’s more lip service than reality. A major retailer came to Quad for help with this challenge. The CMO realized that even though they employed highly qualified individuals, the marketing department couldn’t be expert in everything it needed to do. There were too many new content and communications technologies and too many channels. “We are in the business of providing solutions to our customers, not of marketing services,” the CMO said.
After analyzing the customer’s workflow, Quad’s experts streamlined their processes, from creative concepting through execution. This solution included a content hub that pulled together creative assets and personnel who were scattered across five floors. It jump-started true collaboration that unified content production. The new workflow eliminated 44 steps in their ad production process, and reduced the content creation timeline by three weeks.
A new marketing model that eliminates channel silos and pulls capabilities and execution onto a single platform made all that possible. It’s a more efficient, and — most importantly — a less expensive way for companies to tell their stories consistently.