Perfecting Process Silos in Marketing
Do processes cramp your marketing style? Many marketers get antsy at the talk of processes, anticipating cumbersome rules that interfere with essential creativity or spontaneity. But is that true? Ironically, regardless of whether you formally establish a marketing process, all the work that everyone does is by default a process.
Whenever your work is not smoothly connected to other people and things that depend upon it, you’ve got process silos.
Here are some examples:
1. Manageability Myopia
In the quest to stem scope creep we may essentially put blinders on our eyes which shield us from a big-picture perspective.
- We might inadvertently create marketing process silos because we are unaware or insensitive to the ripple effects of our work on the whole department’s success.
- The cost: delays, rework, scrap, sapped morale, churn, precious resources underutilized.
- What’s needed: context: maintain a big-picture perspective as the foundation of our individual and group roles.
2. Person Preference
In the quest to simplify or expedite work we may over-depend on someone (possibly you!) who’s been in a role for a long time or who has a unique knack for their work specialty.
- We might habitually create marketing process silos because we get comfortable relying on a capable colleague.
- The cost: everything falls apart when that person is unavailable or leaves, causing a painful lapse and requiring your team to re-invent the wheel to get things going again.
- What’s needed: cross-training, workflow documentation, job rotation.
3. Department Disconnects
In the quest to meet deadlines, quotas, and day-to-day demands we may become department-centric.
- We might provincially create marketing process silos because we think of our department as an end in itself rather than a cog in a wheel.
- The cost: loss of clout, CMO churn, uphill battles to gain or maintain resources, missed opportunities to influence the rest of the company.
- What’s needed: create opportunities for stakeholders to come together on interfaces and manage the impact on others.
4. Flow Fragmentation
In the quest to protect creativity and independence — or just to get the ball rolling — we may build-in silos to workflows that span groups, departments, and external stakeholders.
- We might recklessly create marketing process silos because we don’t think about implications downstream or upstream.
- The cost: redundant or competing resources, customer dissatisfaction, customer service costs, lost productivity, employee turnover, turnover of channel partners and alliances and suppliers.
- What’s needed: connect the dots and plan for smoothness from the start of every endeavor.
5. Lifecycle Limitation
In the quest to drive immediate revenue we may focus on certain phases of the customer life cycle.
- We might narrowly create marketing process silos because we underestimate marketing’s potential roles and the ROI of supporting the end-to-end customer life cycle.
- The cost: customer churn, weak customer relationships, low (or costly) customer engagement.
- What’s needed: deep understanding of the customers’ viewpoint and pressures throughout the entire customer life cycle; connect data across all life cycle phases; manage continuity, predictability and mutual value from the customer’s perspective.
6. Control Climate
In the quest to keep things on-track we may over-engineer processes and governance.
- We might coercively create marketing process silos in our eagerness for things to go well.
- The cost: workarounds, sapped morale, bureaucracy, productivity.
- What’s needed: guidelines akin to guardrails that allow flexibility while driving follow-through, accountability, and continuity; a super-process to manage and optimize all the other processes; systems thinking for a holistic approach that incorporates all the parts.
It’s Marketing Operations’ M.O. (modus operandi) to provide the tone and structure for integrating processes throughout the Marketing organization. This structure must be holistic: aligned to the enterprise’s strategic objectives. The tone must be collaborative and inspiring.
The key is to adopt a mindset for smoothly connecting everything you do to other people and things that depend upon it. It will free-up your time, concerns, resources, engagement, follow-through, influence, and happiness. The grand irony is that proactive, constructive process management is what will set you free and propel your growth.