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Are you still doing your digital marketing in silos?

Unless you are a farmer, silos are never good. Yes, I am asking you about the dreaded “s” word when it comes to your digital marketing.

What I see when I talk to most marketers is that they have separated digital marketing very neatly:

  • Website
  • Organic search
  • Paid search
  • Social media
  • Display advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Mobile

It’s possible that this makes sense sometimes; I don’t claim to know everything about marketing. But I am talking to clients about a new way to think about their marketing. A way that not only breaks down these silos, but also allows you to break down the silos of digital vs. traditional marketing.

Here is what I am suggesting:

  • Customer research. This includes all the traditional means of offline market research, but also brings in online methods, such as surveys and communities. Most importantly, it integrates social media listening and mining search keywords for what customers really want. Most companies “doing” search and social are not doing this.
  • Content marketing. Developing content is too important to allow its haphazard spread across websites and social media and even offline marketing communications. Where you put the content is not its most important quality. What the content is and who it helps is what to focus on.
  • Promotion. After you know what the customers want, it makes sense to then promote both your offerings and your content-using search, social, ads, email, mobile, and any other method you desire (online or offline). But each of these methods must be checked against the others, so it makes no sense to have separate teams optimizing each one. One team with one budget allocating credit and spending across all channels makes the most sense.

Some agree with where I am going, but argue that analytics must be a separate area. I don’t agree. Each of these areas are dripping with analytics and each should be perfectly capable of setting their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and judging how they are doing.

I know that I am merely creating three new silos here. But in large organizations, you do at some point need to organize. I am claiming that these new silos make more sense right now than the ones that most of us have. What do you think?

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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