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By: DemandLab on July 25th, 2023

Conquering Corporate Silos & Breaking Growth Barriers: The CMO’s Playbook

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Rhoan Morgan is a regular contributor to CMSWire. She helps CMOs and marketing leaders lead with customer experience and establish a clear connection between their efforts and the business’s bottom line. This post originally appeared on CMSWire.

Watch Rhoan’s interview with CMSWire Managing Editor Dom Nicastro:

What are the pressing issues of corporate silos for chief marketing officers?

The Gist

  • Silo persistence. Corporate silos continue to exist in today’s business landscape. 
  • Silo impact. Silos hinder harmonized customer experiences and business growth.
  • CMO’s role. CMOs can lead efforts to dismantle corporate silos.                              

Corporate silos, a persisting issue, are actively shaping today’s corporate landscape despite the perception of their dissipation. The need to overcome these barriers for harmonizing customer experiences and fostering business growth is more critical than ever. 

Notably, the potential role of chief marketing officers (CMOs) in this battle against corporate silos is under examination. With their unique customer-centric perspective and strategic positioning within the organization, CMOs may hold the key to dismantling these corporate silos.

To explore practical strategies in marketing automation and their role in addressing these issues, we delve into a CMSWire Contributor Q&A with Rhoan Morgan, CEO and co-founder of DemandLab. Morgan previously wrote about silos in her CMSWire piece, “Breaking Silos: Empowering Marketers for Customer-Centric Change Drawing from her extensive experience, Morgan sheds light on achieving business success by breaking down these barriers.

Dom Nicastro: Hey, everybody, Dom Nicastro, CMSWire managing editor here with our latest CMSWire contributor interview, it’s gonna be Rhoan Morgan, CEO and co-founder of DemandLab, and a longtime CMSWire contributor, Rhoan, thanks for joining me today.

Rhoan Morgan: Thank you, Dom, I’m really happy to be here.

Nicastro: So happy to have you. Before we get into the topic of the day, we’re going to talk about corporate silos, breaking those down, they still exist, that’s crazy to me. They always will. And we’re always going to have fodder and good people like you to talk about it. And so that’s awesome. But let’s get into a little bit about yourself, yourself and your company. Once you tell listeners what, that’s what you’re all about and your company.

Morgan: Sure. So I started working in the space of marketing in my early 20s. I fell in love with it actually in high school. So it’s been a passion of mine for most of my life. Started DemandLab in 2009, really, at sort of the very beginning of the launch of marketing automation, and DemandLab started as a Marketo-Salesforce consulting company. And our first clients were all on the West Coast primarily because that’s where it was sort of born and grew from. And since then, we have also, you know, we’re working with a lot of different marketing automation platforms, and also do a lot of deep work in data. Because as marketing technology has grown, it’s more clear than ever that data is obviously a key component, foundational component. And then we’ve also done a lot of work with clients just strategically and then also execution around how to best leverage their martech systems. That’s what we do today — 14 years later.

Automation: The Unchanged Bedrock in Marketing & Persistent Silos

Nicastro: Yeah, marketing automation, really the bread-and-butter, the bedrock of like any good marketing operations team. It’s like, you know, I’ve been covering the space since 2014 for CMSWire. And as many advancements as we could have AI, DXPs or whatever acronym you want to throw out there. The bottom line, my marketing team is still embedded into Marketo every day. Yeah, it’s the lifeblood, right, that these tools really are the lifeblood of many, many marketing operations teams. So it’s good that folks like you were in the space to help. So your latest CMSWire column talks about those silos, like we said, so do corporate silos really exist these days? I think I know the answer to this one.

Morgan: And what I think is really interesting is that if you look at our, you know, our blog, or any other consulting firm out there, they’ve been talking about silos, any analyst firm, they’re all talking about silos for years and years and years. That hasn’t changed. And as you actually said earlier before we started recording, it probably won’t change. There are some really good reasons for some silos, subject matter, expertise, accountability, I think, is another really good reason, because we need to have some sort of structure. But yes, the silos are still alive and well. I talk about sometimes, you know, we’ll have clients that will say, Oh, you know, we go to happy hours, this was pre everybody-working-at-home. And so everything’s fine. But in fact, still within the organization, there are still a lot of silo or silo effects, related to, you know, sort of a disconnect between what marketing is doing and sales is doing, and then, you know, bring in IT and customer success. They have different goals. And KPIs are kind of running sometimes in different directions. So it is alive and well, for sure.

Dismantling Silos: Key to Achieving Business Growth

Nicastro: Yeah. And what’s the bottom line impact on business growth? Because when I see something like this, I say, wait a minute, is it possible that you can have silos and kind of still be good? Or is it hey, if you have these, it’s going to impact growth in a negative way.

Morgan: We really believe that you have to break down the silos in order to achieve growth. And this has already been proven by a number of different research, but the silos between these key functions of marketing sales, customer success, IT, they can be broken down and they must be because ultimately, what you achieve is sort of a harmonized customer experience. And that’s what everybody’s demanding. Now, there’s way less patience for — by the consumer in the B2B space and the B2C space — to sort of deal with an experience that brings friction into their world right. You’re going to lose them very quickly. And so when you can harmonize these functions, you do see, and it’s proven that you see increased returns, double digits compared to organizations that are more siloed. Or they have, you know, not focused on creating that sort of one customer view. So it must be done. The how-to-do-it is complex. It’s a really complicated challenge. But the returns and the benefits of doing this are not only external, with increased returns, revenues, etc., but also internal there, you can also see that teams working in more harmony. And, you know, you’re rowing in the same direction, as we put it here internally, are happier. There’s a greater bond between the entire organization, which I’m sure also has an impact on revenues.

CMOs: Natural Leaders in Breaking Business Silos

Nicastro: Yeah. And as far as, you know, putting this together and building the team that’s gonna actually literally break down the silos. You put marketers, as the lead on that, you think the CMO, for instance, could be a good leader for that — should be the leader — now convince me because you and I are both like, we’re partial towards marketers, right? You and I. Now convince me that’s not just you being partial to your friends.

Morgan: So, in fact, we’ve talked about this quite a lot. In 2017, I wrote a book with our COO Eric Hollebone called “Change Agents.” It’s a small, beautifully designed book, I must say. But anyhow, you can check it out on our website. And it is kind of the beginning of this thinking. But if you look back, there’s a page on our site that talks about this. And it is from 2016. It’s a snapshot that I personally took at the summit, a Marketo summit. And there was some research on it, 2016, I can’t remember who did it. They, what came out of it, that was 86% of CMOs believed that they would own the customer experience, they would own CX by 2020. And that did not happen, maybe about 35%. And there were additional surveys and research we did to find what, how many do own it. And so this is not just me saying this should happen. This actually, I think is something that marketers are, and CMOs would like to own that mandate. And it’s partially because we’re so passionate about the customer. That is the only thing that marketers are thinking about day in and day out. And so to me, it’s a very easy step, you know, to head in this direction, where marketers are going to own that entire experience. They want to.