Thanks to advancements in data-gathering technology, marketing and advertising strategies can be more robust and precise than ever before.
But there's another side to that coin. Instead of just a few media outlets with picture-perfect target segments, there are now thousands of channels that consumers use to find and consume information.
Today, it's much more challenging to figure out which platforms and tactics are best for your company’s growth and customer retention.
As someone who frequently speaks to people in marketing roles, I've noticed trends in the kind of obstacles they are facing. Here are 3 of the common problems all marketing directors have, along with how to overcome them.
1. Wearing Too Many Hats
Marketing directors are not only expected to be experts on most types of advertising, but it is often assumed that they should be able to execute the work themselves as well. I think this misconception started with the onset of digital marketing.
Digital marketing was (and is) often viewed as one tactic, while in reality, it's a group of tactics that each require different knowledge and skills to execute well. Though this misconception has changed a bit over the years, I still meet marketing managers who are tasked with far more than one person can effectively accomplish.
In traditional marketing, there are different people and even whole agencies that specialize in newspaper, television, radio, and billboard advertising.
Digital marketing is also segmented into categories like SEO, social media, content marketing, and PPC. Each digital specialty requires a different set of skills, perhaps even more so than with traditional media.
For one individual to produce great content, manage a PPC account, stay on top of social media accounts, and optimize a website for search engines would be an impressive feat. If they can, one of a few things is happening. They are either about to pull their hair out because of the crazy hours, or they're getting the job done at a sub-par level.
I think my answer is going to be pretty obvious. Hire a team of experienced individuals capable of driving your marketing vision. I’m sure most of you are thinking, "Not everyone can afford to do that!" That’s true, but there are some scalable options for businesses that need to increase their marketing capacity.
For example, writing blog posts is very time consuming for me. Writing isn’t something I’m immersed in every day, so switching gears can be challenging. Hiring an agency to write blog posts, even just to supplement what you're producing in-house, is a simple way to tackle content marketing challenges at a relatively low cost.
For larger companies, hiring a digital agency to help supplement the efforts of your marketing team can be one of the best options. For the cost of one to two salaried employees, you get the benefits of an entire team of writers, graphic designers, web developers, and social media experts who can help you create and implement a comprehensive campaign.
2. Securing an Adequate Budget
It would be impossible to write a post about the challenges that marketing directors face without talking about budget.
As a general rule, businesses should be spending roughly 5% of their total revenue on marketing to maintain their position in the market. Businesses that want to grow or gain market share should be spending close to 10% of total revenue, though of course this varies by industry and market.
If you're struggling to get your budget approved, the key is to be able to demonstrate ROI. According to HubSpot’s 2015 State of Inbound Report, respondents whose teams demonstrated positive marketing ROI in 2015 were more than twice as likely to receive higher budget.
The first step in demonstrating the ROI of your marketing activities is to make sure you have a form of closed-loop reporting so you can see clearly how your marketing efforts impacted your sales efforts.
This can be a challenge if your sales and marketing teams don’t have good two-way communication about their activities. Tools such as marketing software (like HubSpot) and customer relationship management (CRM) software like HubSpot’s free CRM can help close this gap. This way, you can directly keep track of your marketing efforts, lead generation, and closed customers.
3. Acquiring New Business
Let’s face it, the customer now has a lot more control over who they buy from and how they do business. This makes acquiring new business a central challenge for many marketing directors. We're all looking for ways to make the most out of our marketing dollars!
One of the most cost-effective ways to get new business is inbound marketing. The basic idea of inbound marketing is that you earn a person's business with relevant and engaging content rather that paying for their attention.
Because it addresses their questions, interests, and needs, this content is shared, searched and sought after, driving more traffic to your website and giving you more ways to capture leads, nurture those leads, and close more business.
Learn more about how to put inbound marketing into practice for your business with our ebook How to Create an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign.