Inbound Marketing Results Require Orchestration, And That Means Breaking Down Silos
If you’ve been working on inbound marketing and the results seem a little underwhelming, it could be because you’re still looking at marketing in silos. Marketing has been siloed for a lot of years.
That usually manifests itself in the form of individuals or even agencies that are working on one single tactic. You have an SEO expert on staff or you have an SEO agency working with you. That’s siloed marketing.
Inbound marketing requires connectors across ALL of the tactics in the program, including web, content, email, social, conversions, search and nurture. Doing any of these tactics in a vacuum without context from the other tactics produces downward pressure on results in almost every scenario.
Here’s how we break down the silos and get marketing tactics to be 100% orchestrated.
Start With Thoughtful Strategy And Planning
I probably sound like a broken record when it comes to this part of the story, but if you don’t plan your marketing you’re just wasting time and money. Everyone knows the tactics. Everyone knows they need a great website, blog articles, search-friendly pages, emails and social media posts, but people still struggle to get results. Why? If everyone knows what tactics to do, then the answer must be that they don’t know how to orchestrate the tactics and fill the tactics with the right messages.
The crazy part is that it’s not that hard to do the strategy and planning, it’s just that most people think they already have it when they don’t. I’m not going to dig down into the details associated with the creation of a marketing and sales strategy because we have tons of resources on the blog about marketing strategy, sales process design and the benefits of both. Here’s one on marketing and here’s one on sales.
My point is simple: If you can’t email me your marketing and sales go-to-market plan or strategy, you don’t have one. This is not a personas deck; it’s a complete messaging, differentiation, analytics and tactical rollout plan for inbound marketing. This plan alone breaks down the individual tactics and highlights how search, content, buyer journey and conversion impact the website project.
Rethink The Resources
OK, enough about planning. Now we’re ready to execute. You either have a team of people (it might be you and one other person, as that’s still a team) or you have a few agency partners. Agencies tend to be experts at one or two elements of marketing. For example, you have the SEO firm, the social agency, the email marketing experts and the website design shop. I’m not sure this old model is going to work.
In my opinion, you need an agency that can do all of this under one roof. If you’re not comfortable with this, get comfortable with the idea that you’ll need to be the quarterback for all of these agency resources.
It will fall on you to make sure that the website has the search strategy built in. It will fall on you or your team to make sure the content created matches elegantly with the buyer journey and that the website is designed to facilitate. It will be your job to give the social guys the assets from the content and the buyer journey research they need to engage the audiences. It sounds pretty complicated to me.
And if you’re doing this all in-house, that means you and your people will have to do exactly what we described above with no outside support, no outside expertise and no outside experiences to lean on. They’ll be making decisions solely based on their own personal experiences, which are likely limited when compared with those from outside teams.
Here’s another reason the silo approach doesn’t work anymore. When we engage with a client, we deploy a cross-functional team of experts. Marketing, sales, content, design and web are all focused on creating a highly efficient funnel. They start with the strategy. Who do we need to attract? What does their buying journey look like? What do we need to say to them to get their attention? When in their journey do we need to say it? Where are they hanging out? This influences everything else.
Now, working together, they start creating the assets required to increase a client’s ability to get found, to connect with target prospects who are not yet searching, to deliver a remarkable website experience, to create the content that converts, to nurture those leads until they’re ready to enter the sales process, to continue providing a remarkable sales process, to engage clients in advocacy and to ultimately drive revenue. Because the click-to-close experience is seamless to the prospect, it has to be executed by a team without seams or silos.
Build Your Program With An Agile Marketing Methodology
There’s one more important point to consider. If you’re doing it right, you’ll be doing it in an iterative or Agile manner. This means you’ll be building it quickly in small sections and adapting it or optimizing it over time. It’s extremely hard to do this with siloed resources.
First, everything we do is based on data. How do you share this data across teams? It’s doable but not optimal. When everyone on the team has access to all of the data, when they’re reviewing the data and responding to the data with tests, and when they’re making recommended adjustments, the results get lift in a much shorter time frame.
You want your team huddling every single day. You want your team looking at results every single day and looking at other metrics weekly and monthly. What you see today can get adjusted tomorrow to produce better results. If you don’t have a team that can execute like this or isn’t currently executing like this, you need a new team.
I get questions a lot regarding the size, scope and scale of the inbound programs I refer to. You don’t have to spend six figures to see lift in your marketing program, but you do need to configure and align your expected results with your investment in both time and money.
For example, if you’re on a tight budget and just starting out with inbound, build an amazing website that is SEO optimized using two tactics, website design and search engine optimization. Even this very simple first step includes two of the traditionally separate silos. Break these down. Next, move into content, and keep search and user experience in mind as you start creating content. The content will be critical to getting visitors to convert into leads on your site.
By stepping through the orchestration process, it will take longer to generate leads, but you’ll be building an orchestrated inbound program without the legacy of silos that have created many of the challenges facing business leaders today.