4 Most Common Marketing Challenges (and solutions)
Do you ever get frustrated with constant challenges?The other day I was watching a movie and I just got fed up with all of the bad things happening to the protagonist. This poor guy couldn’t win for losing. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, he turned around and made a fool of himself one more time. It was so frustrating.Does your business journey or marketing efforts ever feellike one of these movies? …frustration, time-wasting, pulling your hair out. Mine has on occasion.But as most of us learned in literature class, a story cannot exist without problems. The problems that the characters face are literally the core ingredient that hold the entire plot together. And when there is finally a resolution to that big problem, it results in the big happy ending that we waited around 2 hours to see.When it comes to our own personal “movie”, sometimes it’s easier to dwell on the fact we have problems than it is to specifically identify them and do what it takes to find actionable solutions.So, based on research of the top marketing challenges that managers of small and medium-sized organizations face, I want to provide some actionable solutions that will you help write the success story for your business.
Here are the top 4 challenges (and solutions).
1. Lack of knowledge
This world of “marketing” is wide, vague, and ambiguous. There are so many technologies, platforms, and services to choose from that it can be overwhelming. Some argue for X while others swear by Y. So how are you to know which ones are best tailored to you and your business?On top of that, who should you trust? But most people would like to keep you in the dark so they can over-promise on results and under-deliver on moderately valuable services. Not everyone has bad intentions, but your unfamiliarity with the space make you vulnerable. Most marketing service will do the work you ask them to do without thinking about the holistic picture. When it’s all over, you have “pretty" stuff that isn’t guaranteed to get results.
Solution: Identify people who can help you, and do your homework.
The first thing is knowing where to find the information you need to learn quickly. Identify a few people you can trust that have similar values and understand your audience. Here are few people that I turn to most for advice:
- Bryan Harris (list building)
- Donald Miller (messaging/storytelling)
- Ray Edwards (Copywriting)
- Mike Kim (Consulting/coaching)
Second, do your homework to find out what services and technology you should use to start building your online platform. It is important that you use the right tools for YOUR BUSINESS. I recommend checking out a site like Growthverse to point you in the right direction. This is a free interactive tool that with show you the in’s and out’s of just about every tool imaginable.Warning: this may be a little bit overwhelming for you. So I created a short PDF with my favorite beginner/intermediate tools to ease your marketing headache. I would recommend checking it out here.
2. Lack of resources
You only have so much manpower, hours, and money to go around. But properly marketing your organization is the best investment of personnel, time, and budget that you can make.Time - Even though time is our most valuable resource, it’s a lot easier to keep ourselves busy with the day-to-day work and distract ourselves from the problems we know need to be fixed. But writing, promoting content, and managing a website can seem almost impossible on top of everything you have to do in your business.Money - You know you should invest money to ensure you are promoting a quality image through the right channels. But it’s often the hardest thing to “justify” spending money on because it's difficult to track your ROI. And hiring another full-time employee to do it might also be out of the question.
Solution: Create a specific plan of action that maximizes time and results.
Using the foundation of knowledge you've gained in section 1, you need to create an actionable plan that focuses on consistency and efficiency. Here are a few basic examples for that plan:Writing - A great way to efficiently produce content is do it a little bit at a time. For example, I try to write 250 words per day, and then press publish on Friday.Content promotion - There are also tools to help you automate promotion so you don’t have to spend hours posting on social media every week. Services like Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to schedule posts days, weeks, or even months in advance so you batch your promotion efforts into specific windows of time. Also, you can also connect your blog inside Wordpress to many content aggregation sites which automatically pull your post through when you press publish.Second, it's important that your plan allows you to easily track results. Being able to tie your sales results back to your marketing activity will also be the best way to prove to yourself (or your boss) that they resources you are consuming are worth it. So tracking your key metrics like time, leads, conversions, sales, etc is very important when considering an action plan.Again, here’s the link to the PDF toolkit. It includes tools for productivity and tracking metrics like these.
3. Increasing visibility and generating leads
According to a study done by State of Inbound in 2017, this is the #1 marketing challenge.Most organizations struggle to generate demand for the content they create. As more people create great content that attracts the attention of your audience, the noise and competition in the space increases. On top of that, there are so many places available for you to promote your content that it's difficult to know where to focus.
Solution: Start by asking the tough questions.
Ask yourself: Am I actually creating great content - that people would pay for? Do I really know the type of content my audience wants?For example, A recent HubSpot survey (LINK) stated that "43% of consumers want to see more video from marketers in the future, while only 29% want to see more blog posts.”Once you are creating the type of content that you’ve proven your audience wants, then comes promotion. It’s important that you focus on the platforms where your audience lives. This may change depending on your industry, product, or geographic region. HubSpot has an interesting guide to content promotion in 2017. If you are a little further along in your journey this will be helpful. However, building and utilizing an email list is the most effective way to consistently drive traffic to your content.Side note: I have some more email marketing tips coming soon…so if you are interested in knowing more about that, drop a note in the comment below.
4. They don’t have a guide
In your journey, you are the hero - the main character. And even though you are chalked full of great ideas and you are doing an amazing job running your organization, you need help.But that’s ok. So did Luke…Luke Skywalker that is. He was a hero. But he wouldn’t have been able to destroy the death star if it weren’t for the people like Yoda and Obi-Wan in his life who understood his pain, gave him an actionable plan, and pushed him to realize his full potential when he just wanted to quit.An outside perspective and fresh set of eyes are always helpful to help you refine your plan and create accountability for putting it into action.If you have further questions about how to get started building a platform online, cost-effectively revitalize your brand, or create a sustainable marketing strategy, I’d love to chat with you.Or if you are further along on your journey and need help optimizing your website for sales, promoting your content, and generating more leads, I'd also love to see how I can help.
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Have you experienced any other challenges? Share your questions or experiences below.
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