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Five major challenges

James Delves, Head of PR and Engagement, The Chartered Institute of Marketing


What are the challenges being faced by the marketer in today’s climate?

What are the challenges being faced by the marketer in today’s climate?

Today marketers today face a range of challenges.

With a wider remit than ever before, teams and budgets stretched and more responsibility than ever – marketing is expected to promote business and guide it towards growth in the face of uncertain times. In this article, we consider what challenges are being faced by today’s marketer, and how CIM and becoming data literate can help you to recognise and overcome them


1. Why data is key to demonstrating ROI 

Both proving and communicating the ROI of marketing activities has been a long-debated topic within the profession, particularly in the digital age. With many senior marketers still missing out on a seat at board level, if the industry cannot make the value of marketing obvious and marketers are unable to influence the wider opinion of business leaders, it risks being viewed as a cost centre and missing out on future buy-in. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. CIM’s recent research with PwC found that the UK marketing industry generates £36.5 billion in annual Gross Value Added – but communicating this internally can be a challenge. Marketers must speak the same language as the board and bring numbers to the table that demonstrate exactly what marketing is delivering to the business, whilst simultaneously aligning goals with the wider business. Communicating how much pipeline marketing brings to the business, and how your campaigns have contributed to business growth is crucial for getting further buy in but gathering the best data, and sharing this in an effective way, is undoubtedly an obstacle for many marketers.

It can be difficult for marketers at any level to prove the impact of their activities, so learn how to develop a metric-orientated approach and show measurable outcomes for your marketing strategies and tactics.

2. Using customer data to understand behaviour

Research from CIM has found that consumer trust is decreasing year by year. The survey of consumers found that four in ten don’t trust any organisations to use their data responsibly, despite the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulations. Whilst these new regulations aim to bring greater clarity to how organisations can use consumer data, there is still a lot of distrust. Whilst this is an industry-wide issue, some sectors are affected more than others, with even more people (73%), not trusting technology platforms like Facebook and Twitter with their personal data.

A decline in brand loyalty has also put marketers under strain. Consumers in both the B2B and B2C world are now led by choice, experience and price, spelling trouble for marketers who cannot deliver all three. With marketers increasingly tasked with interpreting and predicting consumer behaviour, keeping a finger on the pulse of changing customer trends and expectations has always been a priority – but anticipating these in a fast-changing world is harder than ever.

Understanding these new and emerging behavioural patterns is crucial to marketing success, so learn more about how to engage, acquire and retain your customers.

3. Understanding your digital skills gap

With the rise of marketing specialisms and non-linear career paths, Target Internet’s recent Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark found that marketers in junior roles generally lack knowledge of core marketing principals, even whilst they have more practical digital skill. Even with the enhanced technical and digital knowledge, addressing the shortage of core marketing knowledge is a challenge for junior marketers today more than ever.

Furthermore, marketing’s extra responsibility, with a further focus on customer experience, data, digital and sales, has blurred the lines between departments and organisational structures. With non-marketing focused departments often being those that directly interact with the customer, and controlling key marketing channels, it is an increasing challenge for marketing to work across function and fulfil its remit.

Maximise the impact you can make to your organisation, and ensure your skills are up to date with an introduction to the core marketing principles, skills and best practice.

4. Keeping up-to-date with digital

In a world where digital technologies are moving faster than many businesses can keep up with, organisations must evaluate what skills and technologies are required to reach, engage and add value to your customer. The primary goal is to deliver growth and stay relevant, but the ultimate ambition is to think proactively and get ahead of customer trends. Target Internet’s recent Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark, in association with CIM, highlights some worrying trends about how up-to-date marketers are with the latest technology.

The research revealed skills gaps in analytics and content marketing across all seniority levels and industries. Furthermore, it found that those marketers in senior roles lacked working knowledge of SEO, social media and programmatic advertising, posing questions for how effectively strategies would incorporate these key channels for digital marketers. Whilst these skills gaps may not be surprising to many, the level at which they still exist in the industry should be concerning. Furthermore, the growth of digital channels means that making an impact online is a challenge facing marketers across the industry. This skills gap must be addresses if the industry is to meet customer expectations.

Digital disruption has spelt trouble for both large corporations and SMEs, so gain access to digital marketing e-learning modules and maximise the impact of your digital activities, with a minimum impact on your time.

5. The evolution of product management

Marketers across the industry know that the customer journey has changed significantly over the last decade, but this has caused a challenge for product management, which sits at the centre of customer experience, technology and business growth. In many organisations, product management has moved to a solution-based approach, with product lifecycles changing all the time.

Product management has evolved into a crucial competitive advantage for organisations, but in a time of industry-wide disruption, product marketers must ensure they can align maximising the implementation of their products with a clear strategic vision. More than ever, it is the job of project management to lead their organisation with new product development and compelling value propositions that meet rising customer expectations.

Keep up with the changing role of product management in the B2B sector and guide your organisation with confidence.

Find out more about the top data challenges facing marketers visit the Data Literacy website or CIM’s website for the latest information and digital training courses.