Madelyn Gardner

In the world of marketing, there are a lot of innovative and creative campaigns that help businesses achieve great results. But an industry as vast and expansive as advertising also allows space for problems to arise. If you’ve experienced (or are currently experiencing) issues, you may feel like your troubles are unique. Take heart! You’re definitely not the only person — or company — going through digital marketing woes. 

Several situations have proven consistently tricky for many branding and marketing agencies all over the world. The COVID-19 pandemic was the stem of some of these issues like hiring, but others are just typical problems that many advertising agencies experience simply because they work in the marketing industry. 

We’re going to explore some of the most common types of situations that marketers find themselves facing, what solutions you can implement, signs that problems are occurring (even if you may not see it) and how a strong and set marketing strategy can help any agency avoid falling into the trap of common complications. 

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!

Common Marketing Problems You May Be Facing

The worst possible response to marketing problems is to freak out. First, you must understand that this is, sadly, much more normal than you’d expect. There are certain obstacles nearly everyone in the industry encounters at one time or another. 

Before diagnosing a situation, you should start by figuring out if it’s a marketing problem or a business problem. Although advertising agencies are called to fix marketing problems, if you do a deep dive into what’s going on, you may actually discover that it’s a problem connected to the business. 

  • Business Problems: Any hurdle, situation or variation that leads to a difference between the desired objectives and actual accomplished results is a business problem. This type of issue can’t be solved with more marketing. For example, if your message isn’t connecting with the intended audience, saying it louder or more frequently isn’t going to fix anything. You’ve heard the saying “putting lipstick on a pig,” right? Well, dressing up your business with marketing when the inherent problem is much deeper than that won’t do a thing. 
  • Marketing Problem: If you don’t have a business problem inhibiting your efforts from being effective, then you most likely have a marketing problem. This type of issue can be defined as any factors in a campaign that affect the results you may be looking for, like a lack of strategy, a bad understanding of your target audience or unengaging social media posts. These are the types of problems that we’re going to discuss today. 

So, what are the most common types of marketing or advertising challenges? Here are a few examples that many companies experience: 

Recruiting Talent

During the shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses had to adjust how they run their business, and marketing was no different. Now that the recovery and revival of “normal” is taking place, some agencies have found that hiring and keeping employees is a difficult task to undertake. The HR managers put much effort to make team extension as quality and profitable for their business as possible. 

Talented marketers are often in high demand, making recruiting and maintaining an accomplished staff an issue. Many marketing professionals have found ways to offer their staff benefits and positive work experiences including more flexibility, educational opportunities and higher salaries. 

Lack of Clear Strategy

About 50% of companies using digital marketing have no plan or strategy in place for their efforts. This is a problem because if you don’t know why and how you’re doing something, it will most likely not yield helpful or beneficial results. Having a plan of attack for all things, from email marketing and content creation to website design and social media, will enable you to make informed decisions and will most likely deliver you the outcomes you’re hoping for. 

With a marketing strategy you can:

  • Find your target demographic.
  • Create SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals.
  • Keep your team on the same page.
  • Be timely. 
  • Make your brand more authentic.
  • Ensure brand awareness.

No Alignment With Buyer Personas

If marketers don’t know who they’re creating content for, then it will be difficult to effectively communicate with them. No industry is the same, meaning that every audience that is being targeted has specific needs that should be met, and tones of voice and language choices that resonate with them. If you aim at nothing, you’re sure to hit it.

Another common sector of buyer persona problems is shooting for the wrong group of people. Trustmary found that 80% of content marketing is targeted at the wrong audience. Basically, a marketing team could have the best possible creative work to send out, and a great marketing plan to execute, but if it’s given to the wrong people, it won’t land properly. 

Showing ROI

Often, when a company experiences financial hardships, the first thing to be cut is marketing spend. The reason for this might be that proving its value can be difficult without specific tactics in place to do so. Hubspot’s State of Marketing Report found that demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) of marketing activities to be the No. 1  roadblock for marketers

When done correctly, marketing does offer a boundless supply of benefits for companies. But if you can’t specify what the impacts of advertising efforts like market research, email campaigns or social media marketing are to upper management or clients, it’s going to be difficult to continue producing quality work. 

You have probably found yourself knee-deep in one of the situations above, but there are solutions to these problems. Continue reading to learn what you can do to help yourself and your clients get the results you’re hoping to achieve. 

Effective Solutions for Bumps in the Road

For every marketing problem, there’s a solution. Some issues might take more effort than others, but all fixes require strategic thinking and research to fully understand where the problem stems and what the best steps forward are. Let’s look specifically at the challenges we listed above:

How to Fix Your Recruiting Practices

There are loads of ways to make your current employees happy as well as bring in new talent, but we’re just going to talk about a few. First, ensure your marketing team is heard and satisfied by adding feedback channels in the workplace. This could be a digital platform that collects remarks, or could be a physical version in your office. Either way, make sure your employees know their thoughts are valued by actually giving them the ability to share.

Word of mouth is everything nowadays. If your employees share that they’re happy on social media platforms like LinkedIn, or if they speak positively about your company with their friends and family, more people will be prone to apply to your open positions. And, you’ve hired your team for a reason — pay attention to who they think would be a good fit for the business. 

Creating a Clear Strategy

A set strategy is vital for consistent and effective marketing, but that doesn’t mean it’s a breeze to build. Let’s break down the process for creating a marketing strategy:

  1. Define Your Goals: Have your target objectives in mind before you start creating any advertising content. This can make sure your hard work is going to serve a specific purpose and will help you have an end goal to aim for. 
  2. Think of Your Audience: Understand and highlight who it is that you’re trying to reach. Every industry and type of business speaks to very unique people, meaning that your marketing initiatives must work for your target audience. Create buyer personas to help you visualize the set group of customers as you work.
  3. Build Brand Messaging: Since you’re speaking to your specific audience, ensure that they can recognize and pick out your brand from the competition using a set tone and voice. 
  4. Research Your Competitors: You should never ever copy what your competitors are doing — you bring a unique voice to the market. But, it’s smart to pay attention to what other brands are bringing to the table. 

Once you go through the process of creating your marketing strategy, you’re off to the races! 

Mending Your Buyer Personas

Finding a solution for your either lack of or incorrect target audience comes from having a clear marketing strategy, which we’ll get into more later. After you create your strategy for all marketing and advertising efforts, you should understand who it is that you’re trying to reach. With that knowledge, you can ask yourself the following questions before creating any content:

  • Is my customer really interested in this?
  • Will they actually care about this topic or information?
  • What needs am I meeting or problems am I solving for my target audience?
  • Is there a better way that I could connect with my audience?

If you’re confident in your answer, go ahead and interact with your buyers! And if you’re not? It may help to create buyer personas — model people who match your ideal customers. Give him or her a name, a detailed description and think about them every time you’re working on a component of your marketing. This can help you cut generalizations about who you’re creating content for, and be more specific and focused on the right group of people. Then you can create inbound marketing to attract these people and build more brand loyalty. 

Better Prove Your ROI

Your digital marketing efforts should be full circle, meaning that you should always end up with actual results and data that you can either determine successful or not. Without the power of marketing and sales working together, it’s really difficult to calculate ROI. Discover how much impact your content actually had on your target audience by looking at data points like impressions, qualified leads, web traffic, conversion rates and actual sales. After checking over the relevant information, compare those numbers to the specific goals that you’d made prior to creating the content. 

Did you meet your objectives like you’d hoped? We hope so! Either way, it’s time to put those numbers into a dashboard that can be easily displayed and read by your clients or upper management. By showing the impact of the advertising procedures you followed throughout the project timeline, you’re better able to discuss and prove the work was worth it and made a difference for your clients. 

Maybe none of these issues are things that you’ve experienced — so you think. But what if problems are occurring that you’re unaware of? If that’s the case, you could be losing money or potential customer partnerships without even knowing it. Want to learn more about how to know if you’re flying blindly into challenges? You’ve come to the right place. 

Tell-Tale Signs That You’re Experiencing Issues

We sincerely hope your marketing efforts are going well, but if they’re not, we want you to be aware. Here are some common red flags that you may be missing with your current advertising:

  • Email Unsubscribes: This happens pretty normally, but not at alarmingly high rates. If you’ve had a drop-off in subscriber numbers, it’s probably because the content may be irrelevant or targeted toward the wrong people. This could also be a sign to check in on your email marketing platform to ensure your leads and contacts are being handled correctly. 
  • Wrong Audience: Have people been clicking on your organic listings without converting? Maybe it’s time to reassess your messaging and brand personas. 
  • Ad-Heavy: We’ll say it very loudly: Paid advertising isn’t bad! But, if you’re solely relying on it to be noticed by any members of your audience, then you should consider creating meaningful content that can draw more organic traffic to your brand. 
  • Losing Followers: Similar to email subscribers, if you’re seeing a large dip in social media followers lately, it could be smart to reassess your social media marketing strategy. Although this is a common marketing problem, it can be more serious than some understand.

How Strategy Can Safeguard Your Marketing Practices

We’ve talked a lot about strategy, and that’s because it’s super important to find success with your brand. 

To ensure your marketing is strategic, you must create goals that your efforts can adhere to. And, to pinpoint objectives you need to do a bit of research. Here are the key elements of a brand strategy:

  • Value Proposition: A simple statement that summarizes why a customer would choose your product or service over the competition.
  • Key Brand Messaging: Set tone, language and values that articulate how your brand sounds and speaks to your audience.
  • Target Customers: The specific audience that your product or service is aiming to please, as well as the competition that you’re battling.

Also described as the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. Having these factors defined can help your team align to achieve specific goals, tie your efforts to business objectives, identity and test what resonates with your target audience and helps you stay up-to-date and capitalize on emerging technological and cultural trends. 

Although these marketing problems are common, they don’t have to be inevitable. Avoid the above issues (and any unlisted situations) and find success by efficiently recruiting, defining your strategy, targeting the right people and proving your ROI.