The pace of change has never been quicker. Accelerating technological developments mean it’s expected that in in five years our technology will be 32 times better than it is now, and in 20 years it will be a million times more advanced.
This is driving changes in consumer behaviour and expectations too. The demand for instant gratification means consumers are speeding up, and within businesses, it is marketers leading the race to keep up.
Expectations on marketers have never been higher. The modern marketer is now expected to be an expert in cross department working, breaking down internal silos to ensure collaboration and convergence. Marketers must be able to communicate marketing effectiveness in business terms, while being strategic and practical in execution. Marketers now require mathematical and statistical skills to understand and report on big data, as well as creativity and the ability to keep up to date with new technology.
What are the biggest challenges faced by marketers today given these new demands?
1. Inability to turn strategy into execution
The old adage is true that a strategy without execution is merely a hallucination. Strategy is complex, but executing it requires simplicity. Research by The Economist Intelligence Unit reveals that typically strategies fail to deliver 50% of their promised gains because of the ‘strategic-performance gap’ – the inability to turn the strategy into actionable day-to-day activities.
2. Fear of complexity
‘No-one ever got fired for hiring IBM’ sums up many organisations’ attitude to risk. Fear of the new or unknown is rife – anything that is considered outside of the norm is difficult to get buy-in for. Consequently implementing effective new marketing is difficult, particularly strategies that are based on emerging and exciting technology.
3. Inability to make the most of technology
Organisations often invest in new technology but fail to make the most of the investment. There has been a proliferation of vendors in an already a bewildering market meaning it is now almost impossible to carry out exhaustive due diligence, leading to fear of missing out and in many cases cognitive dissonance.
4. The bandwagon effect
Taco Bell’s Cinco De Mayo Snapchat sponsored lens turned consumers’ heads into a giant taco shell, and resulted in 224 million views in one day. It worked because of the context, execution, and customer. This success led other brands in unrelated sectors to try to replicate the campaign like for like, essentially jumping on the bandwagon with no strategic reasoning, and ultimately poor results.
5. Rigidity of suppliers
Many marketers work with suppliers that are rigid, large networks meaning they can only execute campaigns using their technology. There is little flexibility in buying into new solutions that could supported more personalised, one-to-one marketing. On the flip side are the independent specialists – yet they are often unable to undertake simple additional projects or scale up activity, meaning missing out on any kind of scale efficiencies.
Change is the only constant for today’s marketers – across both business environments and customer expectation, and it’s those marketers that can navigate this changing landscape who will thrive.
Rochelle Fowler is marketing manager UK & Nordics at Selligent Marketing Cloud
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