Pri Shumate
Pri Shumate
Posted 18 January 2024

Attempting utopia: how do we de-silo retail marketing teams for a more connected experience?

I’m Pri Shumate, a Growth-Driven CMO, CGO and Brand Strategist. For a brief backstory, I started my marketing career as a Product Marketer at Nike and made my way to VP of Brand, including a CMO stint in Nike’s then subsidiary Hurley. I moved on from Nike to be the CMO of the World Surf League, and then headed to Airbnb, to head the Experiences Marketing team.  Most recently, I was CMO at Columbia Sportswear. 

Bringing teams together to provide seamless customer experiences is a passion of mine and throughout my talk at Lifecycle23 in New York City, I discussed how to de-silo retail marketing teams for a more connected customer experience.

Pri Schumate's Lifecycle talk


When it comes to delivering a highly connected consumer experience (i.e. Utopia), marketing teams must work together as one force with a shared goal.

In the earlier days, marketing was simpler, technology was less advanced, and there were fewer channels to reach the consumer, and therefore, to manage as a marketing team. There’s now a much higher level of complexity, which means marketing teams need to split their time accordingly. As a result, different roles, functions, and specialists have formed. The necessity for these hyper-defined expert teams has become a breeding ground for organizational silos.

Functional marketers broadly stick to their job functions and the ability to deliver a connected consumer experience is under threat.

When the opposite of utopia for the marketer is a broken consumer journey, marketers must find ways to break down silos and build bridges that help to make the consumer journey smoother and more effective.  

My three rules for breaking down silos

In my keynote, I shared three main areas that helped me in my career to break down these silos.

  1. 1. Unearthing actionable insights
  2. 2. Prioritizing the consumer
  3. 3. Designing one-thing touchpoints

1. Unearthing actionable insights

When it comes to bringing teams together, actionable insights provide a bridge. It’s simply not practicable for marketers to sit on data without sharing it with the very stakeholders who could learn from and implement these insights.  

Asking tough questions about the data ensures teams have the opportunity to answer these questions collectively and ultimately understand whether the insights are actionable in the short-term, medium-term, or long-term. 

What’s more, seeing these insights through the lens of real business growth is a shared responsibility, and this forces alignment and keeps teams on top of the KPIs that matter.

Real-life example: I give an example in my talk of the power of data from my time at Nike here.

2. Prioritizing the consumer

Knowing the data is one thing but knowing the consumer is another. It’s not just about putting the consumer at the center of your world, it’s more about putting the consumer ahead of your KPIs. What if some of your legacy KPIs don’t match the new consumer reality? It’s time to ask the question: ‘What’s in it for them?’ This helps teams move towards growth opportunities instead of remaining stagnant.

Once we put the consumer first, we allow ourselves to get creative about what matters the most. It can be easy to get ‘analysis paralysis’ which holds us back from experimenting with more creative touchpoints. 

Real-life example: I give an example in my talk from Starbucks who put their consumers first here.

3. Designing “one thing” touchpoints

The third tactic builds on prioritizing the consumer. This is an authentic and tangible way to put the consumer first. The saying: ‘the chain is as strong as its weakest link’ fully applies to the consumer journey. Your weakest touchpoint gives you a leaky bucket. Because of this, marketers have to obsess over every touchpoint.

Enter the “one-thing” touchpoint. This practice brings teams together to decide on the one thing they should focus on that matters the most to the consumer at that point in time. Forcing a priority KPI brings clarity and alignment.  Teams can shed the weight from the messages and KPIs that don’t matter to free up time for mission-critical messages and KPIs. Each touchpoint is more creative and meaningful to the consumer and teams can then spend more time connecting the touchpoints in a way that benefits the consumer, and moves them further into their journey with the brand.

Real-life example: You can find my Airbnb vs Vrbo example on one-thing touchpoints here.

These three rules have taken me to unexpected places in my career and ultimately made my career and day-to-day a bit more exciting. 
If you’re looking to connect your teams in order to create unforgettable marketing journeys, you can speak to the Ometria team here. And if I can leave you with one final thought: it’s to de-silo today for a better tomorrow 🙂

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