The Dangers of Marketing in Silos

5 Ways to get your Marketing Team to Work Together

Great healthcare marketing is a team effort. Every individual brings their unique talents and abilities to bear on a challenge. And with all that combined knowledge and experience, it’s easier to reach (and expand) your goals. 

At the same time, healthcare marketing is complicated, and that can lead to specialization. You want one team that’s really great at PPC, another that can specialize in content creation, and so often, as this specialization intensifies, you may unintentionally create marketing silos: a stark division of talents that undercuts your ability to work (and succeed) as a team. 

And that can be a terrible mistake.

Silos can undercut cooperation, isolate information, and create an unpleasant working environment. The key is to avoid them if you can.

What are Organizational Silos?

  • Silos are a form of professional separation. It’s a metaphor that evokes images of grain silos and missile silos.
  • The idea is that the person in one silo doesn’t know what the people in any other silo are doing.
  • This leads to isolation and lack of communication.
  • Silos can comprise entire departments or single individuals.
  • In a marketing sense, silos can occur between digital and print teams or SEO and PPC specialists. In some cases, silos can even grow between account teams or creative leads.

Healthcare Marketing Team Silo Example:

In most healthcare marketing settings, a healthcare leader (such as a doctor, administrator, marketing manager, or project manager) will determine the overall strategy. Often, this strategy is set monthly or quarterly.

Then, leaders will assign each team to tactics and tasks designed to carry out that strategy. Teams could consist of a digital marketing team, content team, graphic design team, or a web team–just to scratch the surface.

Each team then individually creates the desired assets and delivers those assets to the leader. In this example, it’s easy to see how each team may only be aware have limited awareness–they’re only focused on the tactics involved, so it’s hard for them to keep track of hte overall strategy. 

How Marketing Without Silos is Better:

There are several ways in which marketing without silos could improve results, workflow, and retention.

  • Assets from print can include valuable information or links that the digital team provides (for example, QR codes). This can help drive conversions and provide valuable print ad analytics data.
  • Content created for downloadable digital resources can help effective calls-to-action (tested an approved by the digital team). This can help both the digital and content teams succeed.
  • Coherent communication amongst the design, content, and digital teams can help ensure that banner ads have effective banners and calls-to-action. The effectiveness of these banners and CTAs is improved when teams communicate about what’s working and what’s not.
  • Messages for print, digital ads, downloadable resources, and web are all consistent, enhancing your overall brand message.

These are just a few examples of how marketing without silos and enhancing communication can help achieve your overall strategies more effectively. 

What Causes Silos to Form?

  • Poor communication: When healthcare marketing teams don’t regularly and institutionally communicate with one another, silos can unintentionally form between them. If the PPC team doesn’t know what the SEO team is doing, they could unintentionally cannibalize their own successes and growth potential.
  • Your mission statement or organizational goals limit how you think: If you’re thinking local because you’re on the “local” marketing team–you may not give a thought to how the regional marketing is going.
  • Management gets involved: Sometimes management will insist on teams staying in their lane–maybe they want to keep digital and print from stepping on each others’ toes. Unfortunately, the end result is typically tribalism and isolation–which means no chance to capitalize on marketing synergy.
  • Lack of tools: Most healthcare marketing teams will have specialized data analytics tools (you might use one tool to keep track of web traffic and another to manage lead nurturing). But if you don’t have the right project management tools in place, that data may not be shared between teams as widely as it needs to.
  • Lack of people: If you don’t have people with the right skills (maybe they’re too focused on one area or not focused enough on another), you may find people unable to share data or results. Your back end coders don’t need to know HTML, but they should understand the basic concepts that go into front end development. Likewise, PPC and SEO teams need to understand the fundamentals of each role.
  • Teams get territorial: Sometimes, especially when the incentive structures are not well thought out, teams can get very territorial over their particular department. This can lead to digital and print teams, for example, competing with each other instead of cooperating.
  • Lack of priorities: If global priorities are not established at a high level, teams may find themselves focusing only on their individual priorities. This could lead to competition–and to silos–and most importantly, to the failure to drive the leads that your healthcare marketing should be driving

What are the Dangers of Silos?

  • Loss of productivity: Lack of information sharing can limit progress among teams. Tasks are repeated. Results diminish.
  • Lack of innovation: Creativity comes from unexpected connections. When those connections are limited, innovation suffers.
  • Morale plummets: Almost no one likes working in isolation. 
  • Patient experience suffers: Potential patients may have to repeat processes or get contradictory instructions–which can be exceptionally frustrating.

When Does it Make Sense to Create “Tactical” Silos?

  • When you have isolated tasks you need a team to work on. For example, you could form a work group to improve landing pages or implement a new PPC strategy.
  • When you’re testing two different ideas against each other. Some siloing can make A/B testing easier and more effective.
  • When you want to generate an outside perspective on a given problem.
  • When these “tactical” groups can be easily absorbed back into your larger, non-siloed group.

Top 5 Ways to get your Healthcare Marketing Team to Work Together

  1. Give your team the tools they need to effectively collaborate. Using one central platform, such as Hubspot, to house all your marketing efforts can help ensure email campaigns know what social media teams are up to–and vice versa.
  2. Make sure everyone knows how you’re measuring the success of a given marketing campaign. Click-thrus? Conversions? Email subscriptions? The right all-in-one platform can easily track and communicate these metrics to all teams.
  3. Use common, company-wide platforms to schedule regular cross-team meetings so everyone stays in the loop. This will mean SEO experts and content writers can collaborate on keyword generation and the design team can work with developers to ensure websites are pixel perfect.
  4. Keep the lines of communication open. Make sure someone on one team knows how to contact other teams. Investing in an all-in-one platform can make this part of preventing silos easy.
  5. Design teams to be cross-functional from the ground up. For example, when your web developer knows how Figma (or Photoshop or whichever design tool your team uses) works, the design and development teams can collaborate more effectively across common platforms.

Creating Your Marketing Vision

“A narrow vision can result from the employees being bogged down in their daily tasks and never seeing the bigger picture. They may have no idea how valuable their information is to others, or they may be completely unaware of their role in the bigger picture.” – Reggie Singh

Analysis is the practice of taking things apart to learn how they work. Healthcare marketers do this with data all the time. But the really useful step is synthesis–putting those pieces back together to create something new! 

The right all-in-one project management and marketing platform can help your marketing team work together in a collaborative and seamless way. The right technology can prevent silos–which means you’ll see fewer opportunities will slip through the cracks and your marketing success will grow.

POSTED ON: May 17, 2023
By Kimberly Winkleman | Patient Experience

About the Author:

As the COO of PatientX, Kimberly wears many hats. She’s a delegator, a doer, a cheerleader, and a cracker of whips, but what sets her apart is her achieving, go-getter spirit. Kimberly is heavily involved in nearly every project PatientX undertakes, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. As a proud maximizer, she relishes the daily opportunity to help her team members and clients perform at their highest level. Throughout her sixteen-year career, Kimberly has served as an Executive Director for two non-profits while also running two campaigns in South Dakota, and she has experience in all facets of public relations, marketing, executive management, leadership development, public speaking, and event planning. Her love of people and helping others succeed is apparent in her work at PatientX and throughout her life and career.