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Silos May be Great on the Farm But…

Never having been a farmer or even having worked on a farm, I confess that I don’t fully appreciate

the value that farmers place on silos. I’m most familiar with the end result of agriculture, not the process. Silos must have high value or else so many farmers wouldn’t have them. We can stipulate that.

On other hand, what works fine on the farm may not be so great in other environments. Most notably, we’re talking about marketing communications and the silos that exist and have existed over time.

For years marcom professionals have been bemoaning silos in their world. “We must tear down the silos,” they shout. And they’re right.

Interestingly, as the lines of demarcation among the various disciplines of marketing communications have faded over the years (and this is especially true over the past 10-15 years) the more prevalent and the more rigid the silos have become.

It used to be that people tried to maintain distance between sales and marketing. Of course, most people now recognize the importance of the symbiotic relationship that is inherent there. But that wasn’t always the case.

It used to be that marcom professionals – within their own world, among themselves – fought to create stringent distinctions between advertising and public relations… as well as sales promotion and market research and the like. While some vestiges of those hard lines still exist, still more have been spawned out of the changes wrought by the emergence of the digital world.

Now, it’s not enough to have advertising, public relations, market research and sales promotion. Now we need staff dedicated to web development, content management, social media and more.

All the while the inevitable interplay among those activities has become more and more intertwined. Today’s tweet or Instagram message is tomorrow’s news release which becomes next week’s e-newsletter which at some point along the way is posted to website – all of which happens after the content management team wraps their hands around it.

Yet they all dig in their heels to defend their own turfs.

It requires the grounded, strategic marketing communications professional to recognize the interdependence of these various functions and to tear down the silos that have been constructed. An effective marketing communications program demands that free and open communication exists – internally – among the different disciplines with little or no regard for the artificial silos that people try to create.

Everything in its place. Although silos may be great on the farm, they provide little, if any, value to the successful marketing communications campaign.

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