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What do you suppose keeps marketers up at night? Well, according to a recently published Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs survey, 68 percent of technology content marketers said their top challenge is creating content for multiple roles. And according to a 2019 Adobe digital trends survey (download required), more than half (55 percent) of respondents said one of their top three priorities for this year is the better use of data for more effective audience segmentation and targeting.

The recent Adobe Summit had wall to wall marketers on hand and CMSWire took the opportunity to talk to a number of marketing professionals to uncover what they foresee as the big challenges they face in 2019, such as product integration, proving their value to the C-Suite and working through data and communication silos.

Moving Beyond the Cost Center

Deirdre Walsh headshot
Deirdre Walsh

A big question some marketers face is how to get beyond the cost center. This is especially true in B2B, according to Deirdre Walsh, director of marketing and communications at Silicon Labs, an IoT and semiconductors provider of silicon, software and solutions. Walsh’s senior leadership team is almost entirely composed of electrical engineers who don't have a lot of marketing background or experience. 

How do you get those folks to understand and prove ROI? “I know a lot of marketers are showing the value of an accelerated pipeline and revenue, and thank goodness because we've been trying to do that for years," Walsh said. "We're finally getting to the point we can do that right."

Showing efficiency is also important, she said. Another way for marketing to make a mark in an organization is to help reduce costs. “How can marketing be a way to make organizations more aligned, more efficient and reduce costs?” Walsh asked. Prioritizing support operations is one way, she said. If something came into a public forum in the past, the marketing team for Silicon Labs would help serve an answer, just in no particular order. Today, the real value is segmenting and using intelligence analytics to prioritize top customers and getting answers for them first.

“If you think about it from a B2B perspective our applications engineers are highly technical and highly paid, and we have to make sure that they're using their time most efficiently,” Walsh said. “That's one area where we like thinking outside the box. How do we reduce costs in addition to just accelerating the pipeline?”

Related Article: 'Killing Marketing': Reinventing Marketing as a Profit Center

Quest to Build Relationships With Customers

Another challenge for Walsh is constantly ensuring her teams are working on building valuable relationships with customers. “Part of the reason I got into marketing was to be able to build that connection with the customers. How do you do that at scale? As much as I love geeking out about all the data and analytics it’s about not forgetting that people want to work with businesses that they know and like and trust and can go to when they're trying to do really hard engineering tasks,” she said.

The ultimate goal for Walsh: having her marketing team see that they can impact key business metrics and build relationships with customers. “It’s building that relationship face-to-face and recognizing that understanding the human connection is still important and then applying data with it,” Walsh said.

Feeling the Pressure to be a Growth Driver

Glen Hartman headshot
Glen Hartman

As a marketer, Glen Hartman feels the pressure of proving value. The senior managing director of Accenture Interactive North America and global digital marketing said his challenge is to remain relevant to the CEO and CFO. He said there’s a reason you see companies across all industries hiring chief digital officers, chief customer officers, chief experience officers and marketing technology officers. “What can I do as a CMO to actually drive the enterprise to come together and figure out how to drive growth?” Hartman said. “The growth agenda is critical. How do I actually drive sales and drive more loyal customers in a different way? Marketing's much more than brand affinity. … I need to get our firm to be aspiring to do something more, and I need to be the driver.”

Everyone in the marketing industry talks about relevance, Hartman shared. “I need to find ways as a marketer to be relevant to my enterprise.” The goal is to become “hyper-relevant to the customer in real time,” Hartman added. It’s about understanding and empathizing with the customer in real moments. “That's not personalization,” Hartman said. “It’s an elevated level of relevance in real time.”

Related Article: Become a Customer Experience Champion (and Create a Team of Champions Too)

Breaking Down Tech, Communication Silos

Lindsay Jundt headshot
Lindsay Jundt

Lindsay Jundt, digital project manager at The Jackson Laboratory, said her main challenge as a marketer is “breaking down silos” with other departments internally. “A lot of the times we can't move things forward because there's either bottlenecks or silos,” she said. “So we’re just looking at better ways of communicating and just getting things done, rather than having them get stuck in certain processes.”

Product integrations remain a challenge, too, she said, because a lot of them aren’t talking to each other. They’ve also got some work to do making the most out of their analytics. They need to streamline analytics into one dashboard so that all key stakeholders in the organizations have access and “know exactly how we're doing. And, we need to make sure we're attracting the right metrics. So we're just looking for different ways that we can ... smooth out that process.”