Digital Marketing – What Are The Top Goals And Challenges?

Last week I attended the ExactTarget Connections conference with nearly 10,000 other digital marketers.

And all of us were looking to find out the best way to reach and convert new customers.

Just ahead of the conference, previewed this research from ExactTarget, conducted by Forrester and uncovered that “meeting the expectations of the always-connected customer” was the biggest challenge. This was reported as the number one challenge by 15% of the digital marketers surveyed.

The second biggest challenge was “executing consistent digital campaigns that drive business outcomes.” This was reported by 14% of the digital marketers as the top challenge they face in reaching new customers.

The third biggest challenge was the “proliferation of new touch points and channels to engage customers across paid, owned and earned media.” This was reported and the biggest challenge by 13% of the digital marketers surveyed.

When adding the issues cited as a top-3 challenge across all the digital marketers surveyed, personalization rises to the top as a challenge, specifically “personalizing every customer interaction with relevant experiences.”

This is followed by “meeting expectations” and “analyzing streams of digital data.” See the results in the chart below:


Interestingly, marketing attribution and which tactics and programs are getting their fair share of credit for marketing ROI, continues to be marketing’s dirty little secret.

The report showed what may be a trend in marketing of pushing responsibility for post-sale customer service t the operations area and leaving marketing to focus more on personalization throughout the customer journey.

The report stated that nearly half (44%) believe that personalization activity has had significant impact on loyalty and retention while less than a third (31%) report that those efforts have had the same amount of impact on acquisition metrics. So personalization is relevant across the buyer journey, not just after the sale.

While personalization is seen as important, few collect the data required to be effective. Less than a third (28%) use customer information daily to plan and execute their digital marketing programs. The majority of digital marketers are more likely to use demographics (67%), behavioral data (64%) and campaign response data (63%).

The top tools used by digital marketers included

  • Web analytics
  • Email marketing platforms
  • Site search technology
  • Web content management systems (CMS)

At the conference I also attended a session from Deloitte where they also presented research on the top objectives of today’s CMO.

The main challenge cited by their study of marketing leaders showed that tying marketing results to the larger business was a top priority. Managing customer data was second and staying on top of marketing technology was third.

This is similar to my prediction that the marketing department of the future will be organized around content, data and technology. And while the Deloitte study did not mention content, a few questions from the audience led them to explain that content runs across all of the challenges and may, in fact, be the biggest challenge facing CMOs aside from the need to tie results back to the business.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

2 thoughts on “Digital Marketing – What Are The Top Goals And Challenges?

  1. Thanks for the post Michael. On the note of personalization, I’d have to agree that it is important to always be personal along the buyer journey. Loyalty with customers will result in a sale better than an impersonal sales pitch. I believe many digital marketers are missing the mark on this. Thanks for bringing attention to it, and I looking forward to reading more posts from you in the future!

    1. Thanks Eric,

      I agree with you that this is one of the more advanced features of effective content marketing but a really important one that will be getting more important as time goes on.

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