Use These Goal Alignment Tips to Minimize Silo Damage

by Bruce Swann

posted on 11-03-2017

In my first of four articles about technology silos, inspired by work with my wonderful colleague Linda Reed, I brought up the three key building block activities on how you can eliminate the problems silos cause without having to face the daunting task of eliminating silos completely. In my last post, we talked about collaboration. Today, it’s goal alignment.

According to Forrester, cross-channel marketing is an approach to marketing that focuses not on delivering standalone campaigns but, instead, on optimizing a set of related cross-channel interactions that, when added together, make up an individualized customer experience. What this means is the very nature of cross channel marketing often involves many teams, departments, and skill sets. This is important as you move to a cross-channel solution that you are aware of the importance of goals and some of the common pitfalls when you don’t have them.

Because goals are always evolving and external factors within the project always tend to work their way in, you can get a headache in the form of scope creep or other unintended consequences. Getting everyone to agree on goals (both within a department and within the organization as a whole) and making sure everyone understands them can take the level of understanding in your organization extraordinarily higher. This alignment is the key ingredient that needs to be in place for a push toward higher growth, as goals are so frequently misaligned.

Here are four tips for preventing goal misalignment:

Know your mission and define it.

The best mission statements integrate all aspects of a company and allow people to focus on a bigger picture. Each of your teams are able to march with a big-picture goal on the horizon in their view. They march, as is said, to a common goal.

For the cross-channel marketer, this could mean having a clearly defined mission that brings together not only those responsible for different channels like email, mobile, web, and offline, but also other groups like IT, loyalty, or retention marketing. This gets everyone in alignment on topics like “providing a superior experience,” “increasing awareness of online content,” and providing relevant, personal experiences every time a customer engages. These initiatives take planning, but also alignment across different groups.

Set clear objectives.

Once that mission is defined, develop waypoints that can further encourage your team to stay on task and to succeed along the way. These are concrete tasks that help your team understand vividly what you want and enable them do the work to get there.

Craft an internal communications plan to regularly and reliably deliver the messages about objectives to your teams, but that also allows information from your teams to travel up to you (allowing you to continue revising those objectives for the better).

I recently spoke to Linda Reed, full services manager for Adobe Campaign, about a client she was working with and mentioned that they set straightforward objectives linked to the known mission of the company. For this travel and entertainment company, they set common goals that different team functions could align on. They were:

  1. Increase customer awareness of new areas of their parks and hotels.
  2. Increase customer utilization of online processes that are faster and easier for customers.
  3. Reduce the amount of calls to their call center with questions linked to their campaigns.

Emphasizing critical success factors.

Setting objectives is the big one. But once you have them in place, figure out the most appropriate actions for your team’s success in these areas and stick to them. This is how you accomplish your objectives on the ground level.

I asked Linda about measuring the objectives she defined for her client and gave a great example — for the objective of increasing awareness of their parks and hotels, they developed the following Critical Success Factors:

  1. Be more contextual and only send key communications with the goal of a higher open rate. For example, if our customer only cares about theme-parks in specific locations, focus on content for those rather than others in different locations. Then you’ll tend to have higher open and conversion rates while drastically decreasing ‘batch and blast’ type marketing.
  2. Create a ‘sneak peek’ series for loyalty members when new sections of the park open and when new theme hotels open, provide them with special offers.
  3. Have offers and content follow the person across their marketing channels — i.e. Facebook, emails, call centers, online. This is consistency in promotion. And ensure relatable pictures and offers. For example, people who travel with families would get images with families, couples would get a different look and feel.

Utilize cross-team KPIs.

Once you’re keyed into your critical success factors, you can measure them. No matter what they’re about (whether from marketing ROI, campaign sales revenue, purchase funnel, etc.), you can find the right KPI to focus on it. And because your KPIs are linked back to your mission, everything is in sync and you can really create a plan to achieve your goals.

Let your KPIs teach you if you’re spreading your net too wide, not wide enough, if your net should be constructed differently, etc. Then let the results of those KPIs drive your behavior.

Then, also before you get started, make sure your objectives, critical success factors, and KPIs are in alignment across departments, so your evaluations are complimentary and not in conflict with one another.

Then get started measuring.

Here’s an example, if your objective is to reduce the number of lapsed customers by 10 in a year, you can look at your numbers, judge it by your KPIs, and start to truly see how you’re doing. View which behaviors caused certain things to happen (by viewing the analytics associated with those behaviors) and then meet with your team to discuss ways to iterate to get better actions that speak to improve KPIs.

As for Linda’s client, changing the KPIs to the following helped make metrics for the entire group rather than a specific channel.

  1. Increase sales linked to ‘new features’ by 10% over the course of Q1.
  2. Decrease lapsed customers by 20% in 2018.

Final thoughts.

Ensuring effective goal alignment guarantees your team is working toward the same outcome together, it creates goodwill, and it is a fertile environment for your best-case scenario business growth.

Get your mission. From it create objectives, set actions to meet those objectives, and create KPIs that align with all those and tell you how you’re doing.

These are the core actions that really, truly — in a nitty, gritty way — get you on the right track. You will have not just aligned goals, but taken another important step (beside refining your collaboration) in getting the most out of silos, while diminishing their problems — allowing your business to grow. The next and final step to dealing with silos is Change Management.

This is the third of four blogs in a series about getting rid of silos the right way. Check out the next one next. You can also listen to Bruce Swann and Linda Reed’s talk from the Adobe Summit this past summer.

Topics: Campaign Management