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They Ask, You Answer
They Ask, You Answer

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They Ask, You Answer, the book

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5 Challenges Marketing Leaders Will Face in 2017

5 Challenges Marketing Leaders Will Face in 2017 Blog Feature

December 22nd, 2016 min read

5-challenges-marketing-leaders-will-face-in-2017-.jpgAs consumer behavior, marketing technology, and the role of marketing leaders shift, so do the challenges they face. 2017 will be no exception.

As a CMO, Director, or marketer in general, expect things to become increasingly complicated as marketing leaders move from being a “nice to have” to becoming the MVP in revenue generation.

What major challenges will marketing leaders face in 2017? Let’s pretend it is December 2017 and step into the perspective of one to find out.

Challenges Through the Eyes of A Marketing Leader

Who am I? I’m a marketing leader for an organization that does between five and 50MM in B2B revenue.

As an organization, we’re incredibly lean as we’ve benefited from the midsized business maturity that’s come with the rise of SaaS and other digital-age B2B companies, however, I don’t know if that has fully transgressed into our marketing department.

Here’s what challenges we are facing:

1. Sifting Through Content Marketing’s Noise

Finding resources that guide us through growth are getting harder to find as marketers are getting better at producing more content, but not necessarily better content. As a result, both my and my employees’ productivity has plateaued, if not decreased.

The reason? Not only are we distracted by the constant influx of content, but we tend to do “too little of everything” instead of doing one thing, or the next most important thing, well.

For this reason, our marketing is fragmented. We’ve seen little sprouts of success here and there, but we are struggling to tie it together.

2. Building a Comprehensive Buyer's Journey

As CMO, I’ve been working really hard to create an “end-to-end” experience for our buyers. However, I still struggle to prove the business value to our sales team and to my to peers.

It’s easier to measure the success of individual campaigns like a PPC campaign than it is to attribute success to the entire experience. Things like website updates and specific campaigns are always an easier sell than working on making these individual parts cohesive.

For that reason, we are working hard in a lot of areas, but we don’t work smart on how they fit.

3. Making Data-Driven Decisions

All of the marketers I talk to are using data to improve their marketing systematically, but I don’t feel like I fully understand what data is important to our business.

We are measuring the usual things, but I don’t see the direct correlation, nor do I know if they are the perfect things for me to measure. Basically, I can see the data, but we’re not using it.

4. Scaling our Marketing, Lean

Things move too slowly.

Sometimes, I feel like there’s so much DEPTH that goes into what we do, that we miss the opportunity of it.

We get hung up on the idea of specific things and I think the overall goal gets lost. I know it’s my job to keep these things moving quickly, but it’s hard to get my peers to understand the value of moving quick and iterating (like we do with our product) over moving slow and being meticulous.

Our competitors are moving faster and we’re constantly behind the eight ball.

5. Hiring Future Marketing Leaders

We struggle when it comes to hiring and building the right team. The widespread availability of marketing information on the web has leveled the playing field and, on paper, everyone’s an expert.

Not only has the velocity of applicants increased, but their quality has decreased. I know top marketing talent is in high demand, yet we struggle to identify the hires that will grow into future leaders.

Solutions Through the Eyes of A Marketing Leader

Here are the solutions I need:

1. Linear Content Journeys

It’s not about what’s “newest” or most recently published.  We need the content that correlates to our next most important objective.

We also need a plan that tells us the order in which we can approach these objectives. This way we’re working more linear and not constantly changing direction.

It would be awesome if I had a plan that was custom fit to us. We can do the work, but we lack focus.

2. Organizational Buy-in

Buy-in: We need to get the whole team to see the big picture. If we could create a simpler experience that was more aligned, we’d dominate.

The only issue, I can’t get the rest of my organization to think like that. Most of our team still sees marketing as a “nice-to-have” and don’t understand that it’s worth investing in from a development standpoint, not just a maintenance standpoint.

3. Data-Clarity and Application

I need someone to tell me what this data means to me.

Like I said before, we have the ability to make the improvements, but we feel like we’re shooting in the dark on what to improve.

When we do improve, how does that data prove that? What can I use to show my superiors the value in what we’re doing?

4. Lean Marketing Process

We need a marketing framework that allows us to fail gracefully. We need build to quickly to see what works, what doesn’t, and improve them.

In some ways, I feel like we need to think more like children.  They’re not afraid of mistakes.  We are and it’s holding us back.

5. Marketing-specific Hiring Process

Hiring for marketing has clearly changed and we need new tools and processes that help us identify who is the right fit and will grow into a leader within our organization.

What Can You Expect from IMPACT in 2017

Back to the present.

We’ve been doing an extra bit of thinking lately and we’re working on something awesome for you. Now, it’s not time to spill the beans just yet, but something great is in the works.

If any of those five problems resonate, we get it.  We feel them ourselves, and we’re working on solving for them. Together, we can lead the charge to solve these challenges in 2017.

In the meantime, hearing your opinion in the comments would be paramount.  We craft our direction from the feedback of readers like you.

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