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Top Challenges and Opportunities That Face Marketers…and Ways to Increase Productivity

Top marketing challenges blog screenshotAn engaging two-part series featuring thought leader Ian Michiels, Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research

Investments in marketing operations optimization are on the rise as large brands look for opportunities to improve operational efficiency in repetitive back-office marketing processes. These days, customers reward share of wallet to brands that deliver great customer experiences in whatever channels the customer prefers. It’s getting to the point where big brands literally can’t maintain or grow market share without new technology investments and process improvements in back-office marketing execution. A Gleanster Research survey on brand marketing, we asked 240 brand marketers about their top challenges and opportunities. Five years ago we would have anticipated a heavy emphasis on top-line revenue growth as a top priority for marketing. In fact, productivity, efficiency, and process improvements were largely put on the back burner until very recently when the economy took a turn for the better. Many CMOs, particularly those at large enterprise brands, are finding the infrastructure that supports multi-channel brand communications is manual and cumbersome; left unchecked it’s also detrimental to the growth of the brand. Today, more and more CMOs are turning inward and gaining support from shareholders and the BOD for investments that will improve bottom-line profitability and operational efficiency amid a half-dozen marketing channels.

Infographic - Mitigating Brand Marketing Challenges with Technology
Figure 1: Mitigating Brand Marketing Challenges with Technology

Mitigating Brand Marketing Challenges with Technology

Operational Efficiency/Cost Savings (87%): Manual and cumbersome back-office brand marketing processes are getting bogged down by increased demand for content across offline and online channels. CMOs are looking for ways to streamline processes and centrally manage multi-channel customer experiences. These are buzz terms we have been talking about for decades, but according to the research more budget will be allocated to solving these challenges in 2015 than any other year over the last 10 years. We also know that early adopters of next-generation marketing operations tools have a propensity for outperforming peers. The bar has been raised and all companies will have be more strategic about marketing operations just to maintain parity.

Embracing Digital Channels (76%): Digital remains a huge challenge for large enterprise brands, even to this day. So while 89% of CMOs indicated the web, mobile, and social are a regular part of the marketing mix, they also recognize supporting these channels is a pretty manual and disconnected process. In many cases the creative and copy being developed for offline channels isn’t even usable for digital marketing efforts. Throwing resources at the problem is a temporary fix. But eventually separate dedicated departments for digital marketing efforts leads to separate and fragmented brand communications – and if only 30% of customers are loyal to brands in 2014 (Nielson) the ramifications for failing to manage the customer experience are costly.

Visibility into Marketing Performance (62%): Let’s face it, brand marketing does AMAZING things for your organization but gets very little credit for the effort they put in. For most large brands digging into the actual processes that support marketing communications is a real eye opener. Band marketers will find ways to get the job done, no matter what. But this typically means brand marketing processes are very disconnected and the result is a complete lack of visibility into project status, performance, and overall return on budget allocation. Costly agency relationships, redundant asset licenses, and a myriad of disconnected marketing technologies somehow get the job done – but over time, increased demand for a more holistic customer experience, customer preferences, and measurement demand a more efficient approach. Ultimately there are processes in marketing that can and should be standardized and centralized. But until this happens the CMO has limited visibility (and may or may not know it).

Stay tuned for Part-2 of this series, “Overcoming the Top 3 Enterprise Brand Marketing Challenges in 2015”.


Ian Michiels


About Ian

Ian Michiels is the Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research. He is a recognized thought leader and accomplished speaker with a wide body of thought leadership on Sales and Marketing technology adoption, demand generation, marketing operations, and the customer experience.

Follow Ian on Twitter: @insightfanatic