Stop Treating Marketing Like A Silo Operation

Geoffrey ColonSeptember 29, 20163 min

Sadly and incorrectly, marketing is something many businesses compartmentalize into silos.

Marketing is still seen as its own organization that takes products, services, solutions, or messages to market using gut-level instincts. Traditionally, marketing has been viewed as a group of people with glamorous job titles like managing director, senior vice president, vice president, director, manager, and coordinator whose main functions are to lead the horse to the water in the hope that it will drink.

This, of course, is a conventional, twentieth-century way of viewing marketing roles. With software and data analytics, marketing can now be more of a creative workshop to build new products based on customer experience. While software may be disrupting how marketing functions, it is also flipping the table on how organizations assemble products and go-to-market strategies, even reorganizing teams where creative hybrids apply real-time, data-driven decision making.

As the global economy evolves and market forces drive competition for jobs, including marketing roles, people who have proactively worked to expand and diversify their skill sets will be the most well placed in the creative economy. When you synthesize your knowledge and skills into a new offering, you evolve from a knowledge economy worker into a creative economy entrepreneur. Thomas Friedman wrote about just this scenario in his book The World Is Flat: “Everyone is looking for employees who can do critical thinking and problem solving. . . .What they are really looking for are people who can invent, re-invent and re-engineer their jobs while doing them.”

Conventional marketers and advertisers may be satisfied that they are still generating revenue right now. The question isn’t a matter of if but when that all will come to a fizzled end. Vivek Wadwha, a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance, at Stanford University; director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University; and distinguished fellow at the think-tank/university Singularity University in California, wrote a December 2014 Washington Post article about this. His message should make conventional marketers raise their eyes from the email they spend too much time sending and take notice that not only will the marketing industry be disrupted but every industry in which marketing has a role, from manufacturing to supply-chain management, from finance to energy, and from health care to education to communications, will also be disrupted.

According to Wadwha, not one industry is immune from the rapid change that is about to dismantle everything we’ve become accustomed to. Wadwha wrote:

In practically every industry that I look at, I see a major disruption happening. I know the world will be very different 15 to 20 years from now. The vast majority of companies who are presently the leaders in their industries will likely not even exist. That is because industry executives are either not aware of the changes that are coming, reluctant to invest the type of money required for them to reinvent themselves, or protecting legacy businesses. Most are focused on short-term performance. New trillion-dollar industries will come out of nowhere and wipe out existing trillion-dollar industries. This is the future we’re headed into, for better or for worse.

The type of disruption Wadwha was talking about isn’t new. First, we moved from an agricultural era to an industrial era, then to a knowledge era, and now to a new creative age. People who find opportunities in a changing environment are those who are actively looking for them. Marketers included.

Marketing now allows for new ways to initiate small-batch creative execution. Today you can analyze data on how people interact with the messaging or experience, monitor what they actually say about your company, test reactions to new features, and work in conjunction with your customers to build better products or a better world.

Marketing isn’t just for businesses, either. Nor is it something done only by the marketing department or by people with “marketing” in their title. Marketing can and should be used by non-profits, governments, politicians, scientists, and anyone else who deals with spreading and adopting new ideas.

Learn more about how to keep your brand relevant in the 21st Century in my new book Disruptive Marketing.

The Blake Project Can Help: Disruptive Brand Strategy Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

Connect With Us