Digital marketing is truly a Wild West frontier, with marketers today facing unprecedented opportunity – and obstacles.
When encountering an obstacle, you have two choices. You can bang your head against it, trying the same thing over and over, and see if eventually goes away. Or you can find a new path around it.
Here are the top 3 obstacles that digital marketers face in 2016 – and how find a path around them.
1. Data Silos
Marketers today face a greater challenge than ever before getting the big picture of marketing data. That’s because data increasingly resides in a variety of far-flung places.
When outsourcing marketing, different agencies usually specialize in different areas of marketing, such as search or social. That means data is siloed amongst different service providers. Even if these marketing channels are handled internally, a business typically has different marketing departments with different agendas, again leading to disparate data.
Solution – outsource to a one-stop agency that specializes in gathering and analyzing all data, and providing executive-level reporting. If internal, adopt a technology solution that collates data and provides that executive level view.
2. Minimal Insights From Sales
In the past, sales and marketing were one department with one leadership. When these functions were split roughly two decades ago, marketers lost the benefit of direct communication and insights from sales teams.
Today, sales departments rely on CRM systems. The systems are great at gathering and analyzing funnel data, but offer little field feedback to marketing. Marketers are thus more challenged than ever before to get feedback from sales about customer problems and needs.
Solution: communication. Marketers need to reopen lines of communication with sales. Get in touch and schedule regular meetings with sales leadership to get real time feedback from customer front lines.
Also leverage technology. Marketers need to make clear what frontline information is most important to them, and create a process for getting CRM reports that are relevant, with the data they need.
3. Misaligned Goals
Marketing is in part a creative profession. But marketers are often governed by creative whims, with little if any alignment with C suite goals. Marketers are notorious for ad-libbing or going rouge, and creating marketing campaigns with little relevance to enterprise objectives.
This often wastes money, time and resources, while undermining enterprise financial objectives.
Solution: technology. With roughly 1,000 vendors of marketing technology today, there are a number of great tools that can help ensure your marketing is aligned with top-down enterprise objectives.
Aprimo, for example, is a marketing management tool that fosters best practices for policy and resource planning. MarcomCentral helps ensure that branding and messaging is delivered consistently. And Black Ink is a powerful tool that tracks marketing ROI and reveals new revenue opportunities.