Marketing in a Silo World: The Challenge for Chief Marketing Officers

by David Aaker

Fall 2008

Volume 51
Issue 1

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A silo is a metaphor for an organizational unit that has its own management team and lacks the motivation or desire to work with or even communicate with other organizational units. Organizations have a collection of silos that include product silos (business units defined by product or service offerings) and country silos (geographic silos defined by countries or regions). Today, communication and brand building involve a variety of fast-changing modalities that do not lend themselves to the silo world. Customers are demanding silo-spanning offerings and services. There is just too much at stake to allow silo interests to inhibit or prevent the effort toward achieving brand and marketing synergies across the organization. Recognizing that autonomous silo organizations are no longer a viable option, there are a host of firms that are developing, expanding, or energizing the corporate Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) position and creating or enhancing the supporting central marketing group. Efforts by a CMO and his or her team to gain credibility, traction, and influence represents a formidable task in the face of silo indifference or resistance. This article examines how silo barriers to the creation of great marketing and marketing organizations can be reduced or eliminated, leading to stronger offerings and brands and effective synergistic marketing strategies and programs.

California Management Review

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