Top Challenges Facing Senior Marketing Executives – Part 2

Article - Marketing
By Ben Roberts|6th April 2023

In our previous article, we began delving into the challenges facing 645 senior marketing executives attending our GDS event experiences across Europe and North America. If you haven’t read that piece yet, it’s definitely worth going back and catching up on what you’ve missed.

Let’s dive straight back in.

Jump to section:

  1. Time
  2. Omnichannel
  3. Budget
  4. Marketing Tools

5. The challenge of time for marketers.

Of all our results, this challenge piqued the most interest and provided the most diverse range of responses. These included:

  • Speed/turnaround of marketing production: this relates to balancing the ability to adapt to quickly changing scenarios while maintaining quality.
  • Speed of data analysis & real-time data: the challenge of having access to campaign results in real-time or within a timely manner and then being able to make changes/adjustments as required.
  • Timing of delivery: getting the right messages to the right audience when they want/need it.
  • Time to plan and review: being given the time/latitude to properly plan and review marketing projects, activities and campaigns.

Time is a significant factor in marketing, both pre and post-activity. Some activities can produce real-time results, such as pay-per-click ads, while others—namely SEO (Search Engine Optimization)—can take months for results to take effect.

For senior marketing executives, there must be an understanding that not all marketing activities will have an instant reaction. Some will require a longer investment of resources and constant activity to begin generating a return on investment.

It’s also worth noting that while some said that this was a challenge for their teams, other external stakeholders have a significant impact. Managing those stakeholders is part of this particular challenge for marketing leaders.

6. The challenge of omnichannel marketing and channel optimization for marketers.

Earlier in this article, the diversification of channels was mentioned, but the senior marketers in this research clearly highlighted that channel optimization and taking an omnichannel approach to marketing is challenging.

Simply put, omnichannel marketing looks at how marketers can simultaneously utilize several different marketing channels to share their messaging, using an array of content types. In contrast, channel optimization focuses more narrowly on ensuring that each channel is used effectively.

So, the central question senior marketing leaders are asking is: how can I get my team to effectively use an omnichannel approach while also making the best use of those channels?  In other words, how can we employ/modify/utilize the brand video we’ve produced on different platforms?

This challenge has been rising in recent years. Take TikTok, for example: two years ago, this social media platform was nowhere near as prevalent as it is now, and it requires a whole different approach to content marketing to master.

New channels and technologies are emerging almost daily and as quickly as one appears, another disappears, requiring marketing teams to stay dynamic and flexible.

7. The challenge of budget and resources for marketers.

In a previous article, we delved into some of the budgetary challenges facing CMOs and other senior marketing executives. Our data identified that overall marketing budgets decreased by up to 23% from 2021 to 2022 and we continue to hear that marketers are expected to do more with less.

Moreover, marketing spend is being scrutinized, with a greater emphasis placed on the returns each channel is driving.

This was the case for senior marketers across Europe and North America, but the most significant decrease was experienced in Europe. This is likely due to the varying impact the pandemic had on both regions.

It’s not just spending budgets that are being squeezed, but personnel as well, with marketing teams expected to be leaner than ever before. This means an increasing reliance on agencies to scale marketing activities and keep the fixed costs of the marketing team low.

Here are some insights into the challenge of scaling marketing using agencies:

  • Choosing the right vendors and agencies for long-term cooperation.
  • Finding a new full-service agency to help us scale.
  • Finding a great agency that specializes in marketing cloud journeys and finance as a content expert.
  • Finding the right agency partners that can assist in creating content.
  • Difficult to find producers within agencies when they join: data issue.
  • It is difficult to find agencies or companies that specialize.

This snapshot of the responses begins to highlight the struggle of senior marketing leaders regarding resources and budgets.

There is a need for scalability and flexibility, but there appears to be a mismatch in the supply of agencies that are capable of working with certain businesses and ultimately bringing success.

8. The challenge of marketing tools for marketers.

This challenge was highlighted by a much higher percentage in Europe compared to North America.

It was the one challenge that saw the most significant differences, yet our research provided limited rationale as to why there was a difference.

What it did highlight was that marketers in Europe were actively on the lookout for new or better tools to aid them in their marketing efforts.

Here is what they were looking to address:

  • Which tools to use, how to coordinate between all markets, how to get reports in a uniform way.
  • Looking for responsive tools that deliver quality dynamic content, with the ability to make changes directly and in real-time.
  • The vendors, prioritization and the necessary vs. unnecessary tools.
  • Utilizing tech tools to the best extent possible.
  • Identifying tools that provide a solution for all global markets and languages.
  • Global alignment on which channels to serve, using the right tools and platforms that provide insightful reporting and moderation opportunities.
  • Creative automation tools to address fast turnaround and creative fatigue.
  • Selecting enterprise partners and transitioning tools and capabilities.
  • Tools to attribute demand to various media investments.

This highlights that, despite the drop in European marketing budgets, marketing leaders are still looking to invest in tools.

By connecting the dots between the above challenges, it would be reasonable to conclude that many marketers are looking to address these challenges through tools rather than additional personnel.

The challenge of tools is one we expect to continually evolve as both micro and macro-economic factors play their part in marketing budgets, and new technologies emerge.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will likely spring to mind here, and we are expecting to see this topic come up in our GDS Summits and Roundtables with increasing regularity.

As the marketing industry continues to evolve and adapt to new technologies and shifting consumer behavior, it’s crucial for marketers to stay informed and connected with their peers. That’s why our Virtual Summits and Roundtables provide a valuable platform for sharing insights, best practices and strategies to tackle the challenges of today and prepare for those of the future.

In conclusion, the various challenges facing today’s marketing leader, including time, omnichannel marketing, budget and resources and marketing tools, all contribute to the ever-changing and complex landscape of the marketing industry. By understanding these challenges and staying abreast of emerging trends and technologies, marketers can better position their organizations for success and drive growth in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Data demographics

The data included in this blog is based on the results of research conducted through our GDS event experiences from 645 senior marketing professionals at large enterprise businesses of 1000+ employees. The aim was to find out more about the challenges facing senior marketing executives in a post-pandemic world.

Our data includes insight from large multi-national companies including L’Oréal, PepsiCo, Lenovo, Marriott, Comcast, Facebook and LVMH. This is in addition to some smaller SMEs to give a more rounded view of the state of budgets.

At GDS we’re all about insights. We’re not just talking about data; we’re talking about actionable outcomes, insights and results that can drive pipeline and conversions for our partners.

We deliver insights through event experiences; connecting solution providers with decision-makers virtually. It’s effective, it’s efficient and it doesn’t stop there. Not only do we provide insight and pipeline, we also offer content and production capabilities.

Extend ROI and say hello to ROX; return on eXperience, return on eXpertise, return on eXpectation.

Download infographic: The shift in marketing focus

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