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Marketing in the Round Q&A – Part 1 – Silos and Budgets

Gini Dietrich is the CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm based in Chicago. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and, of course, co-author of Marketing in the Round with Geoff Livingston. This is the first of three follow-up posts related to the awesome Marketing in the Round Think Tank webinar that Gini presented for us as part of our Think Tank Summer Series.  Get the recording here. Part 2 and 3 coming up tomorrow and the next day!


A couple of weeks ago, I presented a webinar about Marketing in the Round, the new book written by Geoff Livingston and me.

Maddie Grant asked me to keep the presentation to about 35 minutes so there was plenty of time for questions.

And questions there were!

There were so many questions, we thought answering some of them would make a good blog post. But then that one blog post turned into three.

Some of this Q&A (and the subsequent others) will be most valuable to those of you working inside associations or non-profits because that who the audience was for this particular webinar. But some also will be valuable to you if you’re looking to integrate your marketing and communications in a way that harnesses the wild, wild west nature of social media and allows you to effectively measure your efforts.

So fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride!

How can we relate this to smaller staff associations? 

The nice thing about the marketing in the round concept is it isn’t built for one sized team. The idea is that you integrate the disciplines in order to drive the best results. You might be using one of (or a combination of) the four approaches we discuss in the book – top-down, direct, groundswell, and flanking – or you might be breaking down internal silos to actually talk to one another.

If your team is small, it’s likely you have what’s called lonely silos. You’re working on a small team and you have a great rapport, but you each are responsible for your one thing – or your one discipline – and you forget you have to communicate to everyone else what it is you’re doing. This creates silos, which don’t allow for a flexible and nimble organization.

Break down those bad boys and talk to one another!

Maybe the silos are not an issue…but the overall integration is still hard. Are the rewards and incentives the key?

Incentives and rewards are key, in fact. No one is going to do something extra for their job if it’s not required. At least, not for very long. They may have the best intentions to do so, but then life and the real job responsibilities get in the way.

So make integration part of one’s job and reward them for doing it well. The rewards don’t have to be financial, either. If you believe what Dan Pink says in Drive, people are not motivated by money. Sure, we all need money to pay our bills, but the day-to-day activities we do can be incentivized by other types of things that motivate us. Such as gift cards to restaurants or theater tickets or expensive hair tools. Find out what motivates your team and reward them that way.

How do you prioritize budgeting if you’re starting something completely new–like digital marketing, SEO, or social media?

You know, I hate to use “it depends” as an answer, but it really does depend. The nice thing with the digital tools – particularly social media – is they are free. Now, don’t get me wrong. The time involved in using those tools is not free, but you have the opportunity to test some things without spending a bunch of time or money.

My best advice is to create a listening program. You can do this with tools such as Google alerts, Jugnoo (who is a client, but I’d still recommend them because their tool is wicked cool), and Social Mention.

What these tools do is allow you to monitor what’s being said about the industry, your competition, and even you online. Once you figure out where people are spending their time online, focus your energies there first. Don’t try to be all things to all people or jump on every new tool. Once you figure out whether or not there is an opportunity, then you can figure out how much time and money to invest in doing it right.

What percentage of the budget should be experimental?

Gosh. I don’t know if I’d say there is a percentage of your budget that should be experimental. Rather, I’d make it part of someone’s job. For instance, maybe they spend an hour a day (or half an hour) looking at new tools, reading the reviews and blog posts, and determining whether or not it’s something you should invest time in learning more about.

It’s pretty easy to tell, within a year of a new product/tool launching, whether or not you should experiment with it. For instance, I’d recommend all organizations use Google+ just for search engine optimization purposes. Google looks very kindly on returning search results for the content that is shared through Google+. But if you’d asked me a year ago, when the tool came out, I would have guessed it’d have been more of a social network.

So I’d say allot some time each day to learning more about what’s out there, but let things settle before you decide whether or not you should integrate something new into your overall program.

If you’d like more context to these questions, I’m pretty sure Maddie and her team will let you download the on-demand video. You can find that by clicking here.

And, if you have additional questions, don’t be shy about asking them in the comments here. I’ll stop by a couple of times a day to see how I can help.


(photo credit)


ginidietrich October 5, 2012 at 10:27 am

@geoffliving Jeez! How did you get that so quickly? I didn’t even know it was running!

geoffliving October 5, 2012 at 10:29 am

@ginidietrich Google! You’re doing a great job. Public shout out for the Pen Pal!

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