Unfocused marketing activity generally leads to unsatisfactory results. This is magnified online where it is very easy to pour time and effort into tools that promise much but fail to deliver.
If you are marketing products and services to other businesses, return on investment is critical. If you aren’t thinking strategically you are wasting company time, effort and resource and not only harming the prospects of the business but also your own career prospects too.
Here are some common problems and ways to overcome them.
1. You’re directionless. Companies without a digital strategy don’t have clear strategic goals for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. Setting goals provides direction, makes it possible to decide on the best digital tools to use to support your business and sets a benchmark for evaluation.
2. You don’t have a powerful offer. A clearly defined Online Value Proposition (thanks Dave Chaffey) will help you differentiate your online service encouraging prospects and existing customers to engage initially and stay loyal.
3. You don’t know your online customers well enough. Google Analytics will help with volumes but won’t tell you how they think or what they want. You need to use other forms of feedback to identify customer need in order to optimally meet them.
4. You don’t know your online market share. Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven’t researched this. This will make it difficult to know how you’re competing. Requirements online will be different from traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behaviour, competitors, propositions and options for marketing communications.
5. You’re not integrated, you’re ‘disintegrated!’ It’s all too common for digital to be placed in a silo whether that’s a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT or a separate digital agency. Failing to integrate with other marketing activity is a missed opportunity and something you should work urgently to address.
6. You don’t have enough people/budget. Insufficient resource will be devoted to both planning and executing digital marketing activities and there is likely to be a lack of specific specialist skills, which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.
7. You’re wasting the people, time and money you do have. Even if you do have sufficient resource it may be not deployed optimally. This is particularly the case in larger companies where you see different parts of the marketing organisation purchasing different tools or using different agencies for performing similar online marketing tasks.
8. You’re not optimising. Hopefully every marketer managing a business website employs Google Analytics. What is often missing is the reporting to senior management. An agreed strategy places a focus on the basics, which include goals that allow progress to continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, site user experience, email and social media marketing.
9. You’re not agile enough to catch up or stay ahead. If you look at top online business brands like Blackberry, Dell, FedEx, Norton, Siemens as well as more consumer focused brands like Amazon, Tesco and Zappos, they are all dynamic – trialing new approaches to keep and/or gain online audiences.
10. More nimble existing and start-up competitors are likely to gain market share. If you’re not devoting enough resources to digital marketing or you’re using an ad hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, you will lose out to your competitors.
Q: What other challenges do you face as a B2B marketer tasked with digital marketing?