The Top 5 Challenges Marketers Face Today

There are 5 key marketing challenges every marketer is facing today and must be ready to solve to be effective.

Marketing seems like an easy profession for most people. But marketers know there are many challenges marketers face. Marketing is getting broader but also harder every day. Every function within marketing has its own challenges, but these impact every marketer:


Marketing Challenge 1: How to break through the noise.

Ads are everywhere. Attention spans are shorter. Everyone is ignoring banner ads. There is too much noise on social media. Everyone is selling ‘solutions’ promising lower costs, more time. Everything is on sale.

All this makes it harder and harder for marketers to deliver their message to prospective buyers. How do I get my message across?


Marketing Challenge 2: How to differentiate. 

Categories are saturated. Competitors pop up everywhere. My product and the competition’s seem very similar from the customer perspective. How many more insurance companies that promise savings can exist? Starting a copy cat company is easy. Establishing a new market is impossible. My product has some new features but the competition does too. What is the right position for my product? what can I say that will compel customers to buy?

To face this challenge marketers need a better understanding of their customers, the problems they are facing, their decision criteria, the real reasons why they buy (rational and emotional), their perceived alternatives and how your products can add value, which often comes down to corporate strategy.


Marketing Challenge 3: How to drive demand without discounting. 

Need more sales? let’s do a coupon, a sale or a promotion. Let’s open an outlet. Then let’s promise more discounts through our ‘loyalty’ program. And cash back. Margins? who cares! we are in marketing.

We know we are eroding the value of our brand, but we need to increase sales! Can I sell more focusing on value and not on price? more here Buyer Psychology and Customer Value: Why People Buy Starbucks coffee


Marketing Challenge 4: How to avoid the shiny object syndrome.

Social media. Personalization. Responsive design. Artificial intelligence. Big Data. Internet of Things. Growth Hacking. Buyer’s journey mapping. Predictive analytics. Account based marketing. Remember when Facebook Commerce was the biggest buzzword? Just take a look at the latest Gartner Research predictions for 2016 and beyond.

How do we focus on what will move the needle and ignore buzzwords and trends that are not really going to help us grow the business? We don’t want to miss big market shifts but we can’t afford to waste resources and effort. For more, you may want to read 9 Marketing Un-Predictions for 2015 (published last year but still valid)


Marketing Challenge 5. Attribution.

The old saying ‘half of my marketing is wasted, I just don’t know which half’ is still true. It’s not like we don’t have plenty of tools, we do. The main problem is that People buy based on emotions, then justify their decisions rationally.

I purchased a new car recently. Did I buy this particular model because any of the ads I saw over the last year? a comparison published in a magazine? comments from friends? the research I made on-line? the engine specs? the price I got?  Did following them on Instagram have any influence? I don’t know. I could not tell exactly the contribution to my buying decision from each factor. And because I don’t know, it is impossible for the manufacturer to know, therefore it’s pretty hard to measure the real impact of marketing channels and tools.

You can measure ‘engagement’ and observe certain actions. We marketers should continue on our pursuit of why? The answer is not in more or bigger data, but in better data. We need a better understanding of why people buy, of their emotions, of their  buying decision process, of what influences those decisions. Customer knowledge is the key to marketing success and it’s the core of the value marketing brings to the organization.

Did I miss any challenges? I look forward to your comments.