Marketing Lessons I Learned from My Middle School Dances

Marketing Lessons I Learned from My Middle School Dances

Napolean-Dynamite_BWMarketing departments are like a middle school dance. The content writers huddle next to the punch bowl, the SEO team tries to liven up the dance floor, the directors live out their DJ fantasies, and anytime different divisions try to come together, there’s a lot of sweaty palms and stepping on feet.

If the dynamic in your marketing department has you flashing back to your own awkward adolescence, you’ve probably got a silo problem. Lots of companies staff up with smart, dynamic marketers, then prevent them from ever collaborating effectively. No one does this intentionally, of course, but by emphasizing technical know-how over coordinated campaigns, you end up with a highly segregated department where no one works particularly well together.

Maybe you have an SEO rockstar on your hands, but he’s focused on a very narrow set of assignments. Sure, he may improve your search rankings, but what happens in that very small window that you have to convert someone once they find your brand? There should be a clear conversion path between search engine, targeted ad, and purchase, but you only create that when marketers with different expertise work together. Your team could be brilliant at SEO, email, AdWords, and social media individually, but their skills go to waste without a unifying structure.

Silos & Scalability

Silos occur when team members keep their heads down, focusing on their tasks in a vacuum. That model will prove disastrous over time. You need to create a seamless customer experience, including a similar voice and brand personality across different platforms.

Instead of segregated marketing divisions, consider this scenario:

Your PR department publishes a thought leadership article with a website popular among your target market. A prospective customer reads the article, then sees an ad for your brand later that day. The ad reinforces the core message of the piece she read, and she clicks through to a landing page that invites her to download a free ebook. The brand message, tone, and look are consistent at every step, making the potential client feel she’s really got the pulse of the company. She signs up for your email newsletter and makes a purchase after receiving an exclusive discount code.

That’s what a coordinated marketing effort looks like. Everyone understands how their job fits into the bigger picture, creating a more cohesive and effective customer experience.  

Still skeptical? This model fueled President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Everyone on the marketing team had access to valuable data and communicated about their media strategies. Silos don’t work. Collaboration does.

Siloed marketing departments also hinder scalability, which is crucial to your organization’s growth. Each division can only scale so far on its own before hitting a plateau or maxing out on its potential. They rely on one another to keep audiences engaged and constantly attract new people into the pipeline.
With so many channels to coordinate, marketing teams can’t afford not to work with one another. Hiring people with great technical skills is only the first step toward building a great staff. You need to establish the right infrastructure in which your talented team can work together and thrive.

Picture of Rory Holland
Rory Holland
Rory Holland is CEO and Co-Founder of CSTMR. For more than 20 years, he has made it his passion to help Fintech and financial companies leverage digital marketing and advertising to drive growth.

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