What are the pros and cons of different marketing channel teams working closely together? And how can these channel teams communicate more effectively?
That's what we're discussing today with a lady who enjoys taking long romantic walks to the fridge, accompanied by her miniature sausage dog.
She has over 15 years of marketing experience working for top brands in Canada and Europe as a marketing trainer and fractional SEO Director.
A warm welcome to the Strategic Marketing Show, Myriam Jessier.
[You can find Myriam over at PRAGM.co.]
Watch the episode via your preferred pocast platform:
Topics discussed on this episode include:
- Let’s focus on SEO and PPC, to begin with - how closely should these 2 teams be working together?
- What about TV and radio, and their impact on online marketing?
- When do good email promos create problems offline?
- Why do we have silos in the first place?
- What are the benefits of silos?
- When do silos become detrimental?
Myriam Jessier 00:00
Silos exist because we get to specialize. We get to take accountability for a channel. We get to help it grow. This is important. But, if you have two specialists that don't talk, they may hinder each other - and if you have one person doing both, you run the risk of them favoring one practice over another.
David Bain 00:30
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Hey, it’s David. What are the pros and cons of different marketing channel teams working closely together? And how can these channel teams communicate more effectively? That's what we're discussing today with a lady who enjoys taking long romantic walks to the fridge, accompanied by her miniature sausage dog.
She has over 15 years of marketing experience working for top brands in Canada and Europe as a marketing trainer and fractional SEO Director. A warm welcome to the Strategic Marketing Show, Myriam Jessier
Myriam Jessier 01:16
David Bain 01:19
Hello, hello. Well, thanks for joining me, Myriam. You can find Myriam over at PRAGM.co. That's PRAGM.co.
So, Myriam, let's focus on SEO and PPC, to begin – different departments that you're very much used to working closely with. So, how closely should these two teams actually be working together?
Myriam Jessier 01:42
Whenever I operate with clients, I say very, very closely. And this is not always the case, because the nature of these two beasts is just wildly… it’s a big, big change. Many people do not switch from PPC to SEO or vice versa. We each have habits, expectations, and budgets that vary wildly.
Very often, SEOs will have a tendency to say, “Oh, we work harder.” or, “We can't predict things.” and, “When you stop the PPC spending, poof, that visibility is gone.” and, “We're stable. We're the stable ones.” PPC folks have a tendency to answer, “Well, we can actually project what is going to happen. We have real tangible numbers. We don't answer with ‘it depends.’” So, there's this dynamic that settles in where the silos happen voluntarily.
Experts/specialists have a tendency to just want to do their own thing and think that their practice is more important than the other. But at the end of the day, David, it's called Search Engine Marketing. There's a reason. We both operate within the same results pages, so it's very important to communicate.
I have a current situation where – actually I have a few – where, sometimes, SEO will be unpredictable. Google will decide: “I’m going to have a translation box here.” Hmm, you cannot find the translation box. We need PPC’s help to be visible. That box takes up a lot of space. Whenever Google runs some tests, PPC brings stability to organic visibility. That's very important, yet we don't talk about it.
David Bain 03:40
I guess the challenge is that there are positives to marketing silos, and if you're hyper-focused on something like PPC, then you can be an expert – brilliant – at that one discipline.
So, how often should PPC and SEO have conversations? Should they be sitting as part of the same team? Or should they perhaps just review what the other is doing perhaps once a week or so?
Myriam Jessier 04:08
I think the review portion is very important. You bring about a very good point: In some smaller companies, the person in charge of the SEO is also the person in charge of the PPC. This leads to problems because you will have silos within one person. There's always one practice you'll favor over the other, right?
I don't necessarily recommend hiring a PPC person that has SEO knowledge to do both. But I also don't recommend hiring an SEO that also says, “Hey, I do PPC.”
David Bain 04:43
Sorry, just jumping on that particular point then. Is it actually better to have a part-time SEO person and a part-time PPC person, instead of having one person's full-time role to do them both?
Myriam Jessier 04:56
If they talk to each other, I would recommend so. I know this is controversial, but yes, because you need to look for someone – or experts – you need to hire for a specific strength instead of a lack of weakness.
This is a very, very important point. Silos exist because we get to specialize. We get to take accountability for a channel. We get to help it grow. This is important. But, if you have two specialists that don't talk, they may hinder each other - and if you have one person doing both, you run the risk of them favoring one practice over another.
David Bain 05:46
So, let's dive into what the talking looks like. Is it a sit-down meeting once a week? And, if so, what aspects of SEO and what aspects of PPC need to be reviewed and discussed at that particular meeting?
Myriam Jessier 05:58
The answer is always, “it depends.” Yes, once a week or (let's be realistic, depending on the company) sometimes it's once a month. And sometimes it can even be once a quarter, which I do not recommend. Once a month would be the maximum for me. Here's why: You will always find unusual things, and you need to dig into those unusual things.
A concrete example of silos that are broken down and enable PPC and SEO to work well together: Whenever the competition gets incredibly ferocious, to the point that there's no organic visibility above the fold, it's just ads. The teams have to talk to one another and go, “Hey, I'm losing out here. I can tell there's a problem organic-wise. Can you help me? Can you compensate?” There's also the well-known, “Oh, darn. The competition has started running ads on our brand name. We don't own this as much as we thought we did. We need PPC to help.” That's an example. Or, vice versa, “Hey, PPC is spending a lot of money on something that, organically, we're showing up for first. And there are no ads. We're the only ones we're competing against ourselves. Can I please reuse this budget for something else?” These are the conversations you should be having.
David Bain 07:27
Absolutely. And that's a tough conversation to have, isn't it? Because, traditionally, PPC like to spend on terms like brand that can convert quite heavily, and they can demonstrate the effectiveness of what they're doing. But it's not necessarily the best use of their dollar.
Myriam Jessier 07:45
You bring up an amazing point tied to silos. We like to be in our area of genius. We like to feel good, we like to feel efficient, we want to report that we are the best, and sometimes we take shortcuts for that. What do I mean by shortcuts? We will do things that make us look good, but that do not help the company overall. And that is a huge problem.
David Bain 08:13
When I first got into digital marketing, quite a while ago, it was seen as a very technical discipline, and far away from the traditional marketing team. But more traditional marketing activities – like TV, like radio – that’s still happening. That's still effective in some way.
So, how do those more traditional channels work more effectively with digital, and vice versa? How do they understand their impact on online marketing?
Myriam Jessier 08:41
Oh, very good question. We have to talk about this because one of the things that irritate me quite a lot is that traditional marketing teams do not communicate quite well with web marketing teams. And this creates situations where you will stare, you will squint, at Google Analytics going, “Why was there a spike here? What happened? How can I recreate it?” And you don't know, because nobody told you that, “Hey, the performance is down because last year we had a radio budget, we had a TV ad budget, and this had an impact.” And you don't know this, so you're trying to recreate it.
I've seen situations where, thank goodness, I was not thinking with my SEO hat on but thinking more like, “Ooh, this is unusual. This is weird. What is going on?” We were seeing an organic spike on a website that shouldn't have happened. It was only on brand, David. And this brand was seasonal; it was created as a marketing gimmick. We didn't know what was going on. Well, what was going on was the traditional marketing team had decided to boost our project without telling us and there were radio ads and people were googling this made-up, fly-by-night brand for a Christmas gimmick.
And I was seeing the results because, when people are in their cars or on the bus, that little search bar? Yeah, they're not looking for the website – even though the TV ad or the radio ad says to do so. They're googling. So, if they google, that falls into the organic channel, and then you're going, “Oh, we're hot stuff. We're doing great. There's brand demand!” and you don't know where it's coming from. And then you're disappointed that you can't recreate the magic. You really, really need to consider that standpoint as well. There are quite a few ways to measure this but, at the end of the day, breaking down the silos and communicating adequately is the best way to go about it.
David Bain 10:49
And that's also a good reason to continually do internal digital marketing training, and ensure that all departments are aware of the impact what they're doing can have on different channels out there. I would imagine you would encourage incorporating those kinds of examples within the training that you conduct internally.
Myriam Jessier 11:10
Absolutely. I'm a trainer by trade, it's been quite a few years that I’ve been doing this, and I come in to train teams, to figure this stuff out, to stop blaming each other, and to start actually working efficiently together. Because you can be the best specialist in the world – you can be as efficient as you want, and you can have very clear roles and responsibilities – but you work within an ecosystem. And if you forget that, how useful are you? How efficient are you? That's a big question.
Ultimately, I think we see this more and more. Traditional PR is moving into digital PR. We see that impact. So, we have quite a few things to learn from each other, instead of trying to overstep each other to get that budget. And this leads me to something else. If you showcase that you use the budget efficiently, together, you can get more next year. You can get more buy-in, instead of trying to grapple and grab your little bit and then let others deal with the rest.
This really does work. You can see that there's a lot of creativity once you open up and start communicating. Because there are other people with other specialties – other skills – that can help you overcome whatever issue you're having. Sometimes you will hit a wall in digital marketing and there's a way around it, or there's a way to simply just clear the wall by jumping super high because you have somebody with 20 years of experience or 30 years of experience in TV going, “We’ve been through this before, here's how we handled it.” That feels so good.
David Bain 12:58
One other marketing channel that I'd like to touch upon is email. Because email can have a significant impact in terms of driving traffic, but it's not necessarily going to drive the most relevant traffic at the right time.
So, can you touch upon email? What's your experience with email communicating effectively internally, and perhaps not doing so and being too much of a silo?
Myriam Jessier 13:24
So, one of the biggest things about email – and hello to my email marketing nerds, because I adore you, and I don't think they're getting enough visibility. Email folks spend a lot of time figuring out the right campaign. There are a lot of constraints, they're working really, really hard to make the magic happen, and then there's nothing on the other side. Or the landing page is lackluster or, even worse, The teams that are supposed to take over once the magic happens are not even informed.
I’ve had situations like this, where there are beautiful campaigns that go out – they’re funny, they're memorable, they engage people – and people are told a clear call to action: “Go into any of our stores and just tell the cashier this, and you will be getting a surprise.” Imagine customers saying an Easter-themed keyword and expecting fun, delightful stuff to happen, and then the cashiers are just like, “Yes? Can I help you, random person? I have no clue why you're telling me this. What do you expect?”. You feel like a fool, as a customer.
Then the email team is like, “It's been opened. We are getting feedback from social media that people are complaining. What's going on? Why are we not working together? I thought this was clear; we were doing this thing. Where did the communication breakdown happen?” Well, it's because we work in silos. And it's because it's either a tiny issue or someone on the other end did not prioritize this initiative. You see it cost you money but, also, brand reputation. This is not a good look. This is not a fun thing for the customer or the marketing team in charge of this. This is why silos can be devastating.
David Bain 15:21
So you've got a marketing director listening to this thinking, “I'm thinking of restructuring my marketing department. I've got 100 marketers and I've got 10 different channels here. Instead of having 10 different teams of silos focusing on their individual tasks, why not actually have 10 different teams all focusing on a different project, but having a different person from each channel in that team – so having a piece PPC person, having an SEO person, having an email person, and having all the different marketing channels within the same team talking to each other all the time?”
Would that be beneficial? Or would that be detrimental to what they're trying to achieve?
Myriam Jessier 16:04
It really depends on who you are and, also, what your company culture is. Because you would be kicking up the can in a different format, in that case. Let me explain why. If you're unable to learn from your mistakes – if you're unable to learn from your successes from each project – how is that going to help? You need to ensure that communication happens, and it's very important to foster communication and collaboration instead of: “You need to be the star. You need to be the best at the expense of others.”
For one company that I really enjoy, the way they do this is – it’s not necessarily per project. They operate per team, but whenever a team has a good process – has a good approach – they take it and they go, “Hey, can this be applied to another specialty? What can you do with this, because it's been working really well for the other team? Can this be integrated?”
Whether you approach it as a project or as a specialty, communication and really learning as you go, and iterating are key.
David Bain 17:20
So not necessarily thinking about what we've been talking about so far with marketing silos, what's the number one thing that marketers need to incorporate into their strategy?
Myriam Jessier 17:29
This is going to come out of left field, but: don't be afraid to fail. Have room to fail. Because, if you expect excellence out of every turn, you stop innovating. You get scared. You don't take risks. You don't do anything because you're afraid and you're bound by the previous success.
In the worldwide economic (I can't call it a downturn, it's just unpredictable right now) how are you supposed to manage? How are you supposed to be flexible? How are you supposed to adapt? If you're not feeling like you have the ability to fail and learn from it. You can't. You will just keep going down, sinking, wondering why the old stuff is not working anymore.
This ties into silos as well. If the projects or the specialists are afraid and feel like they need to showcase that they're always the best, they will end up cannibalizing each other and hurting the company.
David Bain 18:35
So what does that look like, practically? Do you have something like 10% of your resources, your personnel, and your budget, focusing on new ideas and new possibilities that haven't been tried before?
Myriam Jessier 18:45
Concretely, what does it look like? Well, a team will come to you and go, “We have a problem. We think we have a solution to this. It's a hairy problem. Nobody wants to approach it, but we know it's there. Here's what we could do.” So, figure out what portion of your budget that looks like and figure out if you can afford to take that moonshot.
But you should take a few of these every year to go, “Hey, we can't stay static. Things are eroding. What can we do to clear that wall – to jump just straight across?”
David Bain 19:18
I'm your host, David Bain. You can find Myriam Jessier over PRAGM.co. Myriam, thanks so much for being on the Strategic Marketing Show.
Myriam Jessier 19:26
Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.
David Bain 19:31
And thank you for listening. Here at IFP, our goal is simple: to connect you with the most relevant information, to help solve your business problems, all in one place. InsightsForProfessionals.com
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