The Cross-Functional Marketing DifferenceThursday February 4th, 2016
Cross-functional marketing allows your marketing campaigns to pivot, save time, innovate and achieve consistency. Here’s how.
Over the last few years, there have been many proponents of knocking down silos and building cross-functional teams in their wake.
This is for good reason. When executed properly, the benefits can be tremendous.
Here at Brolik, we have been refining our cross-functional teams for the last four years. While they were forced at first, cross-functional teams have since become natural for us. The work we do for our clients has benefited as a result.
The ability to actually pivot
Here at Brolik, our digital marketing department consists of T-shaped marketers. Each member of the team is versed in SEO, PPC, social, UX, CRO, content, etc., while also/simultaneously having a deep understanding of one of those facets.
T-shaped marketers spend time problem-solving instead of task-crunching
As T-shaped marketers, Brolik strategists are not only able to identify a need to pivot, but they can identify how a campaign should pivot.
Sometimes that means pulling resources out of Facebook and focusing on search ads.
Sometimes that means abandoning Twitter and optimizing a remarketing campaign instead.
Sometimes it means pausing PPC and focusing on CRO.
And sometimes it even means identifying a need for an overarching business pivot for the client.
With the cross-functional team, we make all of those recommendations, while keeping the client under one roof.
Ask yourself, would your social marketing company recommend pulling the plug on a failing social strategy to try a mix of email marketing and search engine marketing instead?
Cross-functional teams also save time.
This is caused by working in teams instead of departments. When there are content, PPC, design and development folks all sitting in the same room pulling for the same goal, there is a drastic drop-off in handoffs.
In other words, a Brolik PPC expert can strategize with a designer and a developer when they need a new landing page, instead of shipping a work order off to the design department, who creates a mock up, which then needs to be sent to the development department to be coded.
The design and development departments may each have a week turnaround time, resulting in two to three weeks to get a landing page launched (if there are no revisions), whereas members of the cross-functional team may have a turnaround time of a few days, or even a few hours!
“Seamlessly” integrated marketing communications
In many organizations, Integrated Marketing Communications, or the application of consistent brand messaging across marketing channels, is a lofty goal that always seems just out of reach.
With a cross-functional team, this isn’t the case.
Imagine a team sitting at one table, where team members jointly brainstorm creative concepts before applying it to their field of expertise. As work commences, they are still sitting side by side, so they can bounce ideas off one another and critique each other’s work. Version after version leads to campaign refinement with a message reinforced across initiatives. From the brand’s perspective, the campaign seems to have a consistent brand message by default.
Compare this to working with separate SEO, social marketing and web development companies. You may be able to convince them to all play nice for an initial kickoff meeting, but the chance that they actually work together in a coherent and consistent manner is wishful thinking at best. In this situation, messaging needs to be realigned to strive for integrated marketing communication just before initiatives launch. This is often too late, effectively placing integrated marketing communication just out of reach yet again.
A functional cross-functional team spends a lot of time problem-solving, instead of task-crunching. Having a variety of experts pulling towards one goal leads to outside of the box thinking and naturally progresses towards innovation.
Here at Brolik, one example of this is the SEO section in Leverage, our custom CMS.
Before the days of cross-functional teams at Brolik, the SEO section of Leverage consisted of title, description and keyword tags. This made sense because the development team was responsible for building the entire CMS, based on their needs at the time.
They added the most fundamental components of SEO and checked it off of their to-do list. A majority of our clients didn’t even know what title tags were back then anyway, so it was a perfectly acceptable solution.
After several strategy team hires, new client contracts and a developed cross-functional team structure, we realized we needed more tagging functionality from an SEO and social perspective. Strategists communicated challenges to the development team, and together they created an innovative solution.
We now have all OpenGraph and Twitter tags, a quick Analytics upload tool and sitemap editing functionality.
As a result, the strategy team is empowered to do better technical work for clients, while the development team is free to solve new challenges.
The Best Campaign
There is a reason why a brand would want to work with expert agencies, instead of holistic cross-functional teams. This is because the expert can deliver for specific requests.
In these scenarios, you will have some great aspects of a digital presence, but they likely aren’t leveraging cross-functional merits.
Ask yourself these two sample questions:
As you can see, if you go with the “siloed” approach, you will have pieces that work independently, but you’re missing out on the the beautiful synergy and innovation that can happen when people work together to solve problems in different ways.
If you want the best campaign, featuring effective marketing, you’re more likely to end up with positive ROI, instead of just a few top ranked keywords.