By Mariam Elsayed, Digital Manager at Seven Media
The SSP or Social Silo Problem is prevalent among marketing agencies. A significant mistake that brands tend to make is hiring a PR firm, a digital marketing agency, and a creative agency that don't communicate. A brand should have all these three functions sitting under one roof in an ideal world.
In the image: Mariam Elsayed, Digital Manager at Seven Media
What we see happening nowadays in most 360 marketing agencies is what we can call organizational rigidity. When brands opt to give their marketing to one agency with different functional divisions, they still get disappointed. Different marketing departments within a single agency often care most about having a bigger slice of the cake or gathering client portfolios under their wings, which harms the agency as a whole. The problem with this analogy is that each silo will have its own vision for its clients, resulting in an unpleasant and disjointed experience for the brand. Similarly, inadequate cooperation between different teams will impede the agency from creating a cohesive and streamlined communications plan, affecting the overall messaging.
As Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This means that close teamwork will only smooth out the execution process. What happens in agencies with departments that work in silos is that the teams are often unaware of what the other department is doing, which really defies the whole point of working for a "common goal." Think of marketing as a vehicle that shares information via screaming them simultaneously into different mics. The sheer volume of message dissemination will only leave your client's target audience "dissipated" and confused.
The best way to approach this is to have a "customer or client-first approach". If you are a business owner or have your own marketing agency, put yourself in the client's shoes and think of how will the client perceive you as a prospective agency that can service their marketing needs.
The saying "we put the customer at the heart of everything we do" has become redundant now and is merely all talk. Start by aligning your departments and setting up weekly meetings with teams working on the same project. Everyone should be aware of what the other team member is doing and input should be welcomed by everyone. What we usually see nowadays are very strong strategies that work best if applied in silos. The last thing a client wants to see is a 360 communications strategy with PR saying left and Social saying right with a Digital Advertising plan that pushes for something entirely different.
The only way an agency can elevate a brand they are handling above their competitors is by consistently and collaboratively disseminating the same messaging via different channels which will only happen if we break the silos.