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The 4 biggest challenges for marketers this year

Published on 6th June 2016

Just like every other industry out there, the world of marketing comes with its unique set of challenges.

Let's face it, we all love a good challenge to keep us stimulated at work. After all, how boring would life be if everything was super smooth sailing? Okay, it would actually be pretty great, but the point is, we need to acknowledge that marketers will always come up against major challenges and road blocks; the key is to tackle them head on and be proactive!

First, let's acknowledge a few of the biggest challenges marketers today face:

1. Measuring ROI

Possibly the biggest challenge in modern day marketing is measuring ROI on different activities. Why? Simply because demonstrating an impressive ROI is key to justifying an increase in budget.

John Bernard, Global Marketing Director Firefox OS agrees, "The biggest challenge with any global marketing role is ROI. It is more important than ever to show the value in what you do."
 
Failing to effectively and accurately gauge and track the ROI of marketing activities such as campaigns and content pieces, results in a serious lack of Intel on the overall success. If there is no concrete evidence proving the effectiveness of your work, who's to say what you are doing is even working? 

It's a pretty simple concept: no ROI = no budget to continue. However, actually measuring ROI is not so simple, and easier said than done! 

Many marketers agree that the most effective way to measure ROI is to combine and compare data sets from a variety of sources (Google analytics, your marketing automation platform and CRM) to identify trends and data correlations over time. 

Once benchmarks and targets for measuring marketing ROI have been agreed, you’ll want to establish processes for monitoring this and other marketing KPIs and implement a dashboard system. 

2. Hiring top talent

Attracting high quality employees is a struggle across all industries; the war on talent rages on, and it definitely doesn't discriminate against marketing! The inability to hire top talent comes up again and again as a huge issue for marketing managers and competitive agencies. 

Marketing is an industry which is heavily affected by constantly changing factors such as digitalisation, meaning the skills required for typical marketing positions are at a constant shift.

Bob Myhal, Director of Digital Marketing at CBC Advertising agrees that recruiting marketing professionals nowadays requires a really head-on, creative approach; "Today, it's far more important for a marketing recruiter to be proactive when finding candidates." 

This is why it is increasingly important to have strong relationships with top marketing recruiters. It's also important for the recruiters to have established relationships already in place with the more "passive" quality candidates. 

3. Internal communications

The bigger the company, the more links in the chain. Internal coordination of complex campaigns across the business remains a key challenge for marketers. "The global marketing challenge today is a one of execution," says Doug West, Global Marketing Director, ex Rentokil-Initial. 

Many companies have adopted knowledge management systems and vastly improved their communications to try to counter this issue, but there is still some debate around how to achieve the best results. 

A step in the right direction would be getting seen! If you're a marketing director/lead then many marketing professionals have suggested making sure you are getting in front of all relevant areas of the business during key staff meetings. 

Not only is this extremely valuable for bringing your marketing plans and campaigns to life, but also vital in establishing your credibility internally. 

4. Digitalisation

An obvious challenge that the modern day marketer is faced with, is all thanks to technological advancement. As the internet continues to take over the world, the digital element in marketing becomes an increasingly crucial source of competitive advantage in both B2C and B2B marketing. 

As digital is making its place in our world more and more each day, new competition is constantly arising. Wayne Arnold, Global Chief Executive of Mullen Lowe Profero, captures just one of the issues under disruption: "Uber is the world's biggest car company, but doesn't own a car. Amazon is the world's biggest retailer, but doesn't own stores. The digital disrupter is the competitor to every single brick-and-mortar business.

With digitalisation comes A LOT of data; data which, if not analysed correctly, will result in losing vital information. If marketing professionals don't realise this and take the appropriate action like investing in hiring qualified data analysts to manipulate this data and turn it into something of use, they will lose out on sustaining a competitive advantage.

So there you have it - the 4 big challenges affecting marketers right now. 

It's not all doom and gloom though, if you are aware of the stumbling blocks you will face, you can make sure you plan your defence in advance. 

What are your tips at overcoming these challenges?