Silos Are For Farmers. Don’t Keep Your Marketing Programs In Them.

There’s way too many things going on with marketing these days. Whether it’s print advertising, broadcast, websites, emails, online advertising, banners, radio, or even social media, the hard task people are apparently coming across is just how do they make them synch together. Unfortunately it seems a majority of companies are still debating this since a recent report indicates that most marketing efforts are still being siloed. In fact, the biggest target of this report is social media, blogs and various social networks.

The State of Social Marketing Integration

As you can see, while most of the companies surveyed in this report are running these social media tactics as part of an integrated campaign, there is about a 1/3 of respondents who are separating them from other campaign programs. This is not the right thing to do. All your marketing programs should be integrated together. Just because you have a Facebook page does not mean it should not be linked in with the rest of your social media efforts or even pointed back to your website. Your social media team should be communicating with your marketing and public relations department to make sure that the message, creative and efforts are all coordinated.

I can recall when I used to work for a communications firm in Hawaii and when I oversaw a website redesign project that involved advertising, public relations and other departments, the creative was to be worked on from one department and moved down the line. It was a collaboration process and in the end, the website mirrored that of the print advertising and every facet of marketing was a cohesive unit. It is pretty interesting that less than 50% of those surveyed said that they integrate third-party social networks + blogs + online communities with other parts of the campaigns. Even more surprising is how an RSS feed, blogs and (yet again) third-party social networks are just some of the networks mentioned as being siloed. Everything should be tied back together. If you have a call-to-action with an ad featured on Google or Bing, that link should redirect you to your website where you can point the end user to a plethora of other sites, including your Facebook page, Myspace account, Twitter page, or even YouTube. There’s a reason why these social networks have a spot for your URL. Leverage that and point them to your blog or website so people will be able to keep up-to-date on your information and news so they won’t feel left out.

Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst, said in the report “Five Reasons Why Marketers Need to Have a Social Media Strategy� that marketers often neglect an integrated strategy because of the perception that social media is easy and cheap to do.

This is a false impression on social media. While technically true that it is cost-effective to implement a social media strategy, it still requires a substantial amount of time and even that cannot be operated in a silo. Why? Well imagine that you have a Twitter account and you’re going to promote active conversation on it and even do some customer service. If people start asking you questions or if there is a crisis, you’re going to want to point them somewhere. Where would that be? You can’t keep talking on Twitter forever because then you’d generate WAY too much noise. By tying it all back to a blog or perhaps another social network like Facebook or even FriendFeed (although it’s now technically part of Facebook), you’re going to be able to have more lively conversations. And through the use of RSS feed, people will be able to integrate that into their own Google Reader or discover it in embedded blogs. There’s so much more possibilities that lie within social media. In fact, it’s almost like social media is something that cannot stand alone. It needs to be a part of a larger group…don’t let it sit out there isolated from everything.

The State of Social Marketing Integration

But while social media is still somewhat segregated from the rest of the marketing conversation, there is data from that shows that people & companies are beginning to understand just how to use social media in their business lives. In fact, the report goes to show that “a substantial percentage had progressed to using social media strategically in their research, objectives and actions. That entailed having a formal process that was routinely performed for social campaigns.” What could this mean? With a formal process, one might assume that these companies are now thinking that social media can play a vital role in campaigns and are making sure to include any web 2.0 tools in the marketing programs to help them gather the data and results that they’re looking for.

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