It’s that time of year, when brands reexamine their marketing campaigns and try to determine what’s working, what’s changing, and what’s next. According to a recent study released by Search Marketing Daily, 80 percent of marketers will increase their focus on digital advertising, SEO, and content marketing in 2017.

Digital advertising. Search engine optimization. Content marketing. Yes, these are distinct “things.” But when marketers think like this, they tend to execute them as such — separate efforts with their own goals and plans. Even top brands find themselves with marketing silos. And they’re not the way to build a visible, influential presence. The complex landscape we navigate demands a better way.

Unify your team.

Do your agency partners talk to one another, share data points? Does your optimized content inform your paid ad copy? Would you even know?

Crafting and maintaining an influential presence online is expensive. You spent money to create content for your site. Then you paid for that content to be optimized. You pay an internal community manager for social content, and an agency to design social ads. Everyone’s running down their own track.  

When you break down silos, you create an opportunity to stop wasting budget. What efforts can be scaled? What content can be reused? While more challenging at the high level, take the time to define brand goals and KPIs, and discuss how channel performance ladders up into that. It won’t only result in a clearer picture of your ROI; it’ll deliver a more consistent and seamless presence for your audiences.  

Get a personality.

No, seriously. Facebook revamped its algorithm to reward brands that show character, so this isn’t a “nice-to-have.” Unless you’re offering something no one else in the world does, you need to stand out. Give consumers a reason to choose you. Connect with them on a human level.

Find an agency that knows the value of a distinct brand voice and develop one. Then arm your team with a usable style guide. It’ll ensure your personality is present in every piece of content you produce, from emails to Facebook posts to PPC ads. A compelling, recognizable personality helps you stand out from competition, and is nearly impossible to pull off when you don’t work together. 

Think in context.

Consumers enjoy more varied forms of content these days than simple text. And while investing in rich media is smart, it’s more effective when you add a contextual layer.

Is your content resonating at every step of the consumer journey? Do you plan for the micro-moments? A team that works in silos doesn’t connect its content or efforts with one another, so your brand could simply not be present at key times.

Contextual content meets audiences where and when they need it. Get everyone in a room and sketch out a journey for each of your personas. Then detail the content they’d each need on every channel as they move from awareness to purchase. Your audience will reward you for serving up the right information at the right time.

Marketers who plan to focus more on digital have a tough road ahead. Changing the way your teams work will be met with resistance, but it’s worth the pivot. To be a more efficient, effective, and compelling brand, silos have to go. Only a strong, unified approach at the onset will carry you through to 2018.

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