Busting Marketing Silos is about Data, not Org Chart | HCLTech

Busting Marketing Silos is about Data, not Org Charts

In the FMCG industry, an integrated data platform accessible to all key decision-makers in sales, marketing, finance, and elsewhere is a starting point for breaking down the institutional silos.
4 minutes read
Varun Kaushal


Varun Kaushal
Senior Regional Sales Director - UK & Ireland
4 minutes read

It’s one of those catch-all phrases, always on the tip of the tongue when the tongue in question is a strategic marketing consultant advising a client in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. Bust the silos! Get rid of the silo mentality! The imagery is certainly catchy: who can’t picture a field of silos, each proudly vertical and self-contained, as an image for the pitfalls of thinking and making important decisions in isolation? Tear down the silos, goes the thinking, and the growth and profits will return. If only it were that easy.

A Complex Legacy

It’s easy to criticize marketing silos, but it’s worth remembering that the organizational structure of modern FMCG companies evolved as the business of selling goods became ever more complex over the past decades. The functions of selling, branding, promoting and advertising became increasingly specialized, as did the financial decision points around each activity. Evaluation metrics are different for salespeople, brand champions and category managers. So are the incentives that follow from them, and thus the functional priorities set by management within each functional silo. It’s not surprising that activities, processes and even culture became increasingly divergent over time.

An Enterprise Discipline

It’s not realistic to think that the business will become any less complex, or the functions therein any less specialized. Moving boxes around on the company’s organization chart is unlikely to get at the real problem at the heart of the silo mentality. That problem is data. More precisely, the problem is the lack of access to data that can provide a unified view of demand.

An integrated data platform accessible to all key decision makers in sales, marketing, finance and elsewhere is a starting point for breaking down the institutional silos. It can lead to the right sorts of questions being asked: what are we really good at, and what is lacking? Do our account reps in the field understand the demand elasticity of their product lists and how that elasticity can vary from customer to customer, and from situation to situation? Do our brand specialists have a clear sense of how the brand value may be strengthened or diluted by specific promotional campaigns? Is our finance team looking ahead to the long term revenue and profit potential of today’s marketing decisions, or are they captive to the budget shortfalls in last year’s campaigns?

The Science…and the Art

Creating an enterprise-wide integrated data platform and then using it effectively is both a science and an art. The science today is capable of delivering a great deal more than it was even a few years ago. Predictive to Prescriptive analytical methods power sophisticated trade promotion for the business and can provide detailed insights into demand at the most granular level of every customer and every SKU.

HCLTech domain experts can help sales reps, marketing managers and finance VPs alike understand the practical effects of individual campaigns and also evaluate their impact in conjunction with other decisions around pricing, product mix, packaging and other key levers.

But the best technology in the world will be of little help without the “art” side of the equation. This is about doing things right as an organization – both in terms of building common metrics, incentives and priorities between the different organizational silos, and also in building the right foundation for your key customer relationships. A healthy FMCG – retailer relationship is one that rises above immediate transactional interests and identifies practical levers for mutual long-term growth. Their data, such as point-of-sale trend analysis, can augment and improve your own insights – and help further still in the effort to break down those silos.

HCLTech’s Consumer Services team have built an array of ‘platforms’ and ‘accelerators’ to help achieve these goals. All of these are built using open-source technologies and are easily integrated into a client’s existing environments without issues such as ‘lock-in’. For example, HCLTech proposes building an Adaptive Data Platform using a composable and modular architecture. We also have an accelerator called that helps migrate from disparate data platforms into a single consolidated platform.

Alongside having an integrated data platform is the need to have data democratization to ensure it is easily consumable across various teams, as that is where the real business impact is. This is where HCLTech have built a platform called ‘X’ which acts like an integration platform to enable real time promotion decisions, content handling, authoring and commerce, all backed by real time data.

In addition, our data science and professional services teams are led by experienced domain experts to help you create predictive models to give your business competitive advantage and create win-win plans.

For more information, visit our Consumer Goods page or drop me an email at varun.kaushal@hcl.com

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