1) Providing the ROI of Your Marketing Activities
Measuring the ROI (return on investment) of your marketing activities was identified as the most common marketing problem. Interestingly larger companies recognised this as more significant (71%) than smaller ones (42%). Either way, it’s a vital way for marketers to understand the effectiveness of each particular marketing campaign, piece of content, etc.
Proving ROI often goes hand-in-hand with making an argument to increase budget: No ROI tracking, no demonstrable ROI. No ROI, no budget. But tracking the ROI of every single marketing activity isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t have two-way communication between your marketing activities and sales reports.
When it comes to providing ROI, there’s a strong case to be made for dedicating time and resources to establishing links between marketing activities and sales results. This means using both marketing software plus a CRM solution and then tying them together to close the loop between your marketing and sales efforts. That way, you can directly see how many leads and customers are generated through your marketing activities.
Leading marketers also check their analytics frequently to enhance their ROI.
Finally, when it comes to increasing ROI, inbound marketing is proven to be the best bang for your buck. Every company is 3-times more likely to see a higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound.
2) Securing Enough Budget
Securing more budget has been the second-most pressing challenge. But marketers know getting more budget is often easier said than done — especially for smaller organisations that aren’t working with sizable nor flexible marketing spend.
The key to unlocking budget lies in being able to prove the ROI of your marketing efforts. Companies who prove positive marketing ROI tend to be more than twice as likely to receive higher budget.
Marketers who did see a change to their inbound budget from 2014 to 2015, the most important factor to driving a higher inbound budget was past success with inbound marketing. Top marketers realise that inbound marketing is a long game. If you get off to a slow start, you shouldn’t back off.
3) Managing Your Website
Managing a website was the third biggest challenge for marketers in 2015 — especially for small companies fighting to reach the growth phase, as well as for not-for-profit organisations (for whom managing their website was actually the number one concern and ranking above providing ROI and securing more budget).
Your website is an asset that works around the clock to draw in visitors, convert them, and help you hit your goals, after all. Hence it’s top priority for smaller companies and their need to ‘sweat their assets’.
Issues with website management includes a variety of different factors, from writing and optimising the content to designing beautiful webpages.
4) Identifying the Right Technologies for Your Needs
Finding the right technologies was the fourth biggest concern for marketers this year. Oftentimes, this is because feedback on technology is scattered. This is another factor that is of most significance to smaller companies.
When you’re looking for a tool, software, or piece of technology to solve a specific marketing problem, where do you go to find it? Marketers might turn to colleagues, friends in the industry, and/or analyst reports to figure out which technologies best fit their needs — only to find that feedback is spread across emails, social media, and so on from people of varied reputability.
5) Training Your Team
Marketers found training their team to be the fifth biggest challenge this year. Whether it’s training them on the concepts and tools they’ll be using every day or making sure they’re achieving their full potential. It also appeared to be any equally significant factor, regardless of company size.
To get an overall idea of where your team stands, take a few minutes to assess each of your team members’ marketing strengths and weaknesses, levels of expertise, and passion/commitment to your company. Then, objectively rate the priority (or level of importance) of their expertise and their contribution to bottom line objectives (ROI) to date.
You might also consider requiring your team members to rack up some online marketing certification. Google offers training and certifications on analytics with their online Analytics Academy.
What about new hire training, specifically? We recommend creating a training plan for new team members.
6) Targeting Content for an International Audience
Targeting is a key component of all aspects of marketing. To be more effective at targeting, one of the first things any marketer needs do is identify their buyer personas to determine who it is they should be marketing to. If you’re expanding internationally, it can be a big challenge not only to figure out the best ways to market to an international audience, but also to organise and optimise your site for different countries.
Some really helpful tips on global marketing might include
- Identify your top three growth markets,
- Explore local trends,
- Choosing the best localisation providers.
Remember, your website visitors might speak a plethora of different languages and live in totally different time zones. To make your content appealing to a wide audience, you’ll need to keep your global visitors top-of-mind when creating all your content. This means being aware of seasonal references, translating units of measure and monetary references, and giving translators the tools and permissions to customize and adapt content for a specific audience when they need to.
Finally, be sure you’re optimising your website for international visitors, too. One of the first and most important decisions you’ll need to make is determining which domain structure should be used for additional languages and countries.
7) Hiring Top Talent
Hiring top talent was the seventh biggest challenge marketers reported experiencing this year. Why? Many companies are shifting more resources to inbound marketing, which means higher and higher demand for top marketing talent. But supply simply isn’t keeping up. From sourcing the right candidates to evaluating for the right skills, finding the perfect person could take months … or more.
What’s more, the type of marketing talent companies are looking for is changing, too. Companies are seeking marketers with technical and creative skill sets. And the quick rate at which the demand for these jobs are rising has caused a marketing skills gap, “making it difficult to find candidates with the technical, creative, and business proficiencies needed to succeed in digital marketing.”
Employers are looking for marketers with a diverse skill set that includes digital marketing, content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing. To find the best inbound marketer for your team, the first thing you should do is decide what that person needs to be able to achieve for your business.
- What will the new marketer’s tasks and duties include?
- What skills do those tasks and duties require?
- What goals or challenges will the new marketer face?
Next, post your jobs where talented inbound marketers will find them. While traditional job sites like Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.com, or LinkedIn will help you cast a wide net, we recommend checking out Inbound.org, which is the only job listing service in the world that’s exclusively focused on inbound marketing and sales jobs.
8) Finding an Executive Sponsor
Having an executive sponsor usually means you have someone in a highly placed position pushing your agenda for you. While finding one is eighth on the list of top marketing challenges, this priority has become significantly more important for marketers in 2015.
This makes sense, given that our survey respondents skewed toward SMEs: Marketers who are highly focused on securing more budget (and proving the ROI of their marketing spend) are likely interested in getting executives on their side to secure buy-in for inbound marketing practices.
One key way to help convince an executive to help push your inbound marketing agenda — and hopefully become a sponsor — is to use data to make a compelling case for inbound marketing. It’s much harder to refute data than it is mission statements and philosophies.