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Top 4 Factors Stunting Your Digital Marketing Strategy

By Jessy SmulskiSep 5, 2017

stunting-digital-marketing-strategy.jpgIn the same way that money doesn’t buy happiness, strategy doesn’t guarantee digital marketing success. You can be experienced, calculated, more tactical than Arya Stark with a vendetta — and still — important benchmarks get missed. In fact, almost 85 percent of enterprise marketers and CMOs in a recent study admitted their organization falls short in key marketing areas. But we’ll get to that.

What the heck is going on?

Per the usual — we have consumers to thank for mounting marketing challenges. Their expectations and demands. They want it all!

  • Valuable content worth engagement
  • A brand capable of instantly engaging back
  • A harmonious omnichannel experience
  • Personalized interaction at every touchpoint
  • A meaningful experience

We can’t blame them for wanting to be treated as individuals instead of generalized personas. But it’s impossible to concoct this quality of brand experience without incorporating the buyer’s entire history of engagement with your brand, including:

  • Purchases
  • Preferences
  • Interests
  • Timing
  • Locations
  • Devices
  • Prior issues
  • Demographics

Every detail you know about a prospect must go into the fabric of the relationship you’re crafting with them. It’s tedious stitch-work.

As a result of all these demands, two colossal challenges have emerged—and they’re entangling even the most experienced digital marketers.

  1. Creating a brand experience that ties every touchpoint and opportunity for interaction into one holistic journey. 
  2. Identifying and capitalizing on every “critical moment of engagement” in the buyer’s journey (moments when the brand/buyer bond is either made, strengthened or broken).

Clearly, we’re dealing with a gaping disconnect between marketing intention and the practical ability to execute. Marketers are hung up on fragmented moments instead of strategizing to leverage the “critical moments of engagement.” Customer engagement strategies compete for attention with customer experience strategies. Actually, a successful digital marketing strategy prioritizes both equally.

To master the moments, we must define the setbacks…

4 Stunting Factors of Digital Marketing Strategy

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned an alarming statistic. This information came from a recent survey conducted by RedPoint and CMO Council. The survey involved 263 marketing leaders (including VPs, directors and CMOs), mainly from organizations with more than $500 million in annual revenue.

Shockingly, only 16 percent of respondents felt that their organization was handling engagement and brand experience well.

According to this survey, here are four factors that top marketers identified as the reason for underperformance.


1. Budget Limitations


54 percent of marketers surveyed said an inadequate budget is to blame (at least in part) for their lack of engagement strategy.

Based on the annual revenues of the organizations surveyed, this statistic isn't the result of unavailable funds. More likely, marketers either are neglecting to measure and analyze their campaigns or struggling to communicate the value of their strategies to the C-suite.

We’ve got some advice to help your marketing team prove its case. Click here for a free guide.


2. Lack of Customer-Centric Culture

43 percent of marketers surveyed reported their organization lacks a customer-centric culture.

A customer-centric culture prioritizes the customer experience above all else (including products or services). These types of organizations spend time learning about and understanding who their customers are. It’s an initiative supported by every level of the business. They also have tools in place to help them achieve this understanding through data aggregation. Predictably, their marketing teams are all about personalization and real-time response.  

Organizations that are not customer centric probably lack in several areas. They likely function on siloed information about the customer, which hinders marketing and sales performance. They probably don’t have key technology platforms to manage and make sense of data. Without sufficient, centralized data support, their digital marketing strategies pale compared with a brand that knows and shows its understanding of target audiences.

Transitioning your culture to customer-centricity isn’t easy. You need buy-in from the top, education and training, awareness and reward initiatives and a complete shift in focus from the solutions you offer to the people you serve.


3. No Senior-Level Support

32 percent of marketers surveyed attributed their shortcomings to a lack of senior-level support.

Workforces take cues from the top. C-suite is the gatekeeper of your budget and the drivers of cultural change. Without their buy-in, it’s nearly impossible to evolve. If you can’t convince them to support your goals, your digital marketing strategy will remain limited by resources.

Refer to the guide mentioned in factor No. 1. By improving your communications with the C-suite, you will strengthen the relationship and share a better understanding of what both levels of business need from each other.

4. Lack of Data (Or Inability to Use Data)

Only 7 percent of participants claimed the ability to deliver real-time, data-driven engagements across physical and digital touchpoints. Only 5 percent of respondents said their engagement strategies revolve around data, and 28 percent admitted they don’t understand how data relates to the bottom line.

Why such low percentages? Organizations are failing to centralize data, focus efforts on data aggregation and make it accessible across the organization. After all, the buyer experience doesn’t end with the marketing team. Every department perpetuates it. The inability of organizations to manage and keep pace with evolving technology is partly to blame. Others can’t upgrade from complex, antiquated processes to newer, streamlined approaches.  

Why do you think that is?

  1. They have no senior-level support helping to mandate changes.
  2. Their overall culture is averse to change.
  3. They lack funds to upgrade technology platforms.
  4. All of the above.

The answer is (D).

Much like the season finale of Game of Thrones, this isn’t going to be a feel-good ending. But sometimes tough love is necessary. If you haven’t already figured it out, the four stunting factors are synergistic. They profoundly influence one another. And while it is possible that your organization only identifies with one, it’s more likely that improvement is necessary in multiple areas. The good news? Now you know where to begin your journey to improvement.

If this feels like more than your team can handle, an outside digital marketing agency is a wise investment. From inbound strategy and planning to marketing execution and data analytics, they have the resources to complete your team and deliver the results you’ve been struggling to achieve.How to Present Marketing Data

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Jessy Smulski
The Author

Jessy Smulski

Jessy is a professional creative writer with over 8 years of experience working with businesses, marketing agencies, news papers, and magazines. Intrinsically empathetic, her talent is transforming the experiences of others into meaningful recounts that connect brands with customers, readers with stories and words with purpose. She also specializes in brand development and content marketing. When she’s not creating content, you can find her snowboarding out west, backpacking or capturing life through the lens of her camera. She takes her coffee black, her wine red and her books non-digital. Catch Jess on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter @Jsmuls.
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